Sgt. Nicholas Taylor Dixon, Co. E, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, On the Battle

7 06 2022

Headquarters 2nd Regt. R. I. V., Co. E
Camp Clark
Thursday, July 25, 1861

Dear Father,

Your letter of the 23rd I received last evening. I am glad to answer yours that I am alive and well. Uncle Sam Rodman arrived here last night and told us the news. I am sorry to hear the neighborhood is so filled with anguish on first hearing of the battle. But never mind. Cheer up all of you. We are not at all scared to death yet. We expect to sacrifice our lives—some of us—if we expect to conquer the enemy.

The South is pretty sharp in playing her games on us while with us we have secession generals & guides to lead us into the rebels snare. But I think if our own officers was more careful and go by orders more than by their own forwardness in rushing on two or three days before the appointed time, we would not have to lose our lives so foolish. I would that all of the regiments was like ours & stand up in front of the whole secession army showering shot & shell upon us like hailstones. Capt. [Isaac Peace] Rodman is one of the bravest men that New England can boast of—and Gov. Sprague [too].

Col. [John S.] Slocum was the first man I saw fall. He was off his horse in front of the battle, gave it [the reins] to one of our company to hold—Tom Flaherty. He was getting over a fence within three feet of me & Capt. Rodman and several more of Co. E when a shot struck him in the head from the rebels. [With] my own handkerchief I tried to stop [the bleeding from] his wound for a minute or two but [could] see it was no use. It was fatal & I went to firing again. I never got hit nowhere on the flesh. Got two holes through my tunic and a ball hit the heel of my shoe when I though my heel was knocked off but on looking, it did me no damage.

But I tell you, we fought like tigers until the rebels retreated and we were ordered to go and lie down when they were reinforced & attacked us again. But the Rhode Island regiments & several others which were in the first engagement was not ordered out. We—the 2nd Rhode Island Regt.—was formed in a line of battle when we was the last that retreated.

We are getting along comfortable at Camp Clark at present. The 1st [R. I.] Regt. leaves today or tomorrow for home, their time being out. I suppose we will take their quarters.

I guess I must close. You can see more news in the papers than I can tell you. All of Company E is present but those you have heard was missing & dead. [Corp.] Steph[en] Holland & [Pvt.] Billy Nichols I saw dead on the field. [Henry] L. Jakeways [Jaques] was most dead when I saw him. He is dead, of course, now. John Clark died there. Church not heard of yet & Esic [B.] Smith. Henry Dixon is getting along first rate & J. Dockry.

Give my love to all,
— N. T. Dixon

Contributed and transcribed by Will Griffing

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Unit History – 1st Maryland Infantry

7 06 2022

Was assembled at Winchester, Virginia, during the early summer of 1861 with about 600 men. It fought in General Elzey’s Brigade, then the Maryland Line, and was active at First Manassas, in Jackson’s Valley Campaign, and the Seven Days’ Battles. On August 11, 1862, the unit disbanded at Gordonsville, Virginia. Its commanders were Colonels Arnold Elzey, Bradley T. Johnson, and George H. Steuart, and Lieutenant Colonel Edward R. Dorsey.

From Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army, pp. 161-162