Pvt. Randolph Phillips, Co. H, 12th New York Infantry, On the Blackburn’s Ford

17 02 2022

In relation to this battle, we have also received the following communication:

To the Editor of the National Republican:

Permit me through your columes to disabuse the public mind, of a gross reflection cast upon the New York twelfth regiment, volunteers, by some unknown “eye-witness” in his account of the battle of Bull Run, on Thursday of last week. I am a member of that regiment and confess I am pained at this false statement, and aware that my membership may place me in a light of partiality to it will simply make a brief statement, which I vouch for on the honor of a man and a soldier.

Three companies of the Massachusetts first, entered the gully as skirmishers, and encountered the rebels by whom they were cheered to induce them onward, and who our troops mistook for Michigan troops in that they were dressed nearly the same. Coming directly upon a masked battery they were fired upon, and lost heavily before they could retreat.

Two guns were then made to bear upon the rebel battery, sustained by Capt. Brocket of the cavalry.

The gallant captain rushed up to where we were in possession of a winding ravine, crying “for God’s sake help me to sustain that battery, or it is lost – we can drive those dogs out of that.” Our Colonel at that moment was absent, but our men rushed up and met the battery retreating, in doing which it broke our ranks. We, however, rushed up the hill and down into the thick underbrush, and were checked by a fire from a masked battery, not six yards in our front. Fortunately the aim was too low, the next two high, and we suffered no loss, but discharged two rounds, loading upon our backs. When the rebel fire became too terrible for any regiment to withstand, and not being supported right or left, we were forced to retire. Not a soldier of our brigade was to be seen when we emerged from the thickets. The centre of our regiment rallied and discharged seven more rounds – others were carrying off the dead and wounded, while others were prostrate from fatigue of the several days preceding march and the encounter.

Col. Walrtath stood bravely by his men, and acting the part of a discreet commander, did not permit his men to return to a conflict which would be nothing less than suicide.

It is in evidence that the rebel force secreted in the battery at the time of our attack not less than 10,000 – certain it is that the fire poured upon our regiment was more than thrible our own number, and the result has shown that the order sending our brigade into the strong hold of the enemy, unsupported by either right or left flanks, was highly censurable. It is highly desirable that the act of our soldiers be hereafter judged by men of military education, instead of reporters for sensation sheets.

Very truly,
Randolph Philips,
Private, Company H, 12th reg., N. Y. V.

(Washington, DC) National Republican, 7/24/1861

Clipping Image

12th NYVI Roster

Randolph Phillips at Ancestry

Randolph Phillips at Fold3

Randolph Phillips at FindAGrave



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