Pvt. John Stacom, Co. E, 69th New York State Militia, On the Battle (2)

19 03 2022


John Stacom, residing at No. 72 Elm-street, says he was in the late engagement. He returned Tuesday morning, leaving Washington at 4 o’clock. He left the scene of action at 6 o’clock, P. M., Sunday. The Sixty-ninth left Fort Corcoran on Tuesday, at 3 o’clock P. M., and encamped that night at Fairfax Court-house. Wednesday night reached Germantown. On Thursday morning, the Division under Col. Sherman took up the line of march, led by the Twelfth New-York Volunteers. After marching a short distance, a masked battery opened on them. Our regiment were ordered by Gen. Tyler to advance. After a short time we received orders through Gen. McDowell to fall back, when we halted for the night. About 2 o’clock in the morning we passed to the right of the battery without any danger. Marche about three miles and formed into line of battle, with our battery firing a gun at intervals to get the enemy out, which at length we did, they having returned a few shots. Shortly after the action became general. We succeeded in forcing our way down into the Run, (like a ravine,) between two mountains, in doing which we had to march through mud and water knee-deep. We marched double-quick about a mile to a hill, where there was a small house, uninhabited, where we afterwards left our wounded. Here we engaged a large number of the enemy’s infantry, which we succeeded in driving back, the masked batteries plying on us. The other divisions of our Army engaged the enemy. The fight continued without intermission till 4 o’clock P. M., when we succeeded in silencing three or four batteries. The firing then ceased. We felt quite elated, seeing Gen. McDowell complimenting Col. Corcoran on the success of our victory. Suddenly a large reinforcement came up, and opened on us with terrific effect. We suffered terribly, but firmly kept our ground. Once our regimental flag was captured; but Capt. Thomas Francis Meagher, clutching the green flag, and shouting to the men, rushed after to capture it, which we eventually did. Capt. Wilder, of the Fire Zouaves, shot the rebel who held the flag. We ran up to the edge of the woods and fired at them. They were behind natural rocks with earthen works, with four guns or more in each battery. We captured four. We found them nearly all spiked. Each battery was at a distance averaging about two hundred yards; they looked like bee hives. The country round was full of brushwood and trees, which gave them an advantage. The width of the road was only about 12 feet, a slight descent to the fields on each side. The ravine on an average was about one-half mile wide, and masked batteries at each side. It was utterly impossible we could head out. We lost several of our officers, including Capt. Haggerty, Co. A, Acting Lieut.-Col. Dalton, Capt. Catahan, and a few others. It was melancholy to see the poor fellows lying all around dead. I contrasted it with the jo they felt only a few minutes before, and felt sad. However, one has no thought in battle; the noise and confusion is really awful. It completely crushes out all feeling. Among those who distinguished themselves, (that I saw,) was the Colonel, who was very cool and collected. Capt. Thomas Francis Meagher, who acted as aid to Col. Corcoran. He rode a splendid white horse. He lost his cap, and was remarkable in his bare head, urging the men forward. Lieutenant Coonan, of Company J, and private Maxwell Sullivan Company C, were remarkable in their attempt to rescue the regimental colors. We got orders to retreat, which we did in good order, forming a hollow square. We marched off the field on the road.

He thinks the stampede first occurred amongst the Western regiments. He got slightly wounded in the hand. He congratulates himself on being so fortunate as to find a rebel horse on the road, which he seized and rode to Alexandria. The roads presented a curious appearance. Numbers of sick and wounded, artists sketching, newspaper writers taking notes, wagons, &c. He was terribly fatigued, and says it was with great difficulty he reached his destination. He bring with him a very costly coat, belonging to a rebel Major – a present from Lieut. Wilsey, of the Ellsworth Zouaves, to Sergeant Jourdan, of the Sixth Ward police. Private Stacom intends returning to Washington to-morrow, and would be happy to give all information and assistance in his power to the friends of the Sixty-ninth.

The New York Times, 7/26/1861

Clipping Image

John Stacom at Ancestry.com

John Stacom at Fold 3



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