Image: Col. Ambrose Everett Burnside, 1st Rhode Island Infantry

31 08 2022
Ninth-plate ambrotype by Manchester & Brother of Providence, R.I. (Courtesy Military Images Magazine, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)

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Image: Lt. Addison Hyde White, Co. A, 1st Rhode Island Infantry

31 08 2022
Carte de visite by Mathew B. Brady of Washington, D.C. Addison Hyde White, was a 30-year-old businessman born in Connecticut. He’s pictured here in officer’s full dress. Of note is his tall-crowned fur felt hat, to which is attached a dark plume. Also of interest is the device on his cap box cover, which may be the state seal or an eagle. The use of this device appears unique to the Cadets. He poses with a holstered revolver and a U.S. Model 1850 sword. White survived his enlistment, returned to Rhode Island, and became an insurance agent. He died in 1894. (Courtesy Military Images Magazine/Rick Carlile Collection)

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Image: Maj. Joseph Pope Balch, 1st Rhode Island Infantry

30 08 2022
Carte de visite attributed to Bundy & Rowell of Providence, R.I. Joseph Pope Balch, 38, had experience as a militia officer prior to the war. He led the regiment at the Battle of Bull Run in place of Col. Burnside, who commanded the brigade, and Lt. Col. Joseph S. Pitman, who had left the regiment the previous month. Balch returned to Providence after the end of his three-month term and resumed his service as an officer in the Rhode Island Militia. He received a brevet rank of brigadier general of volunteers in 1865. He died in 1872. (Courtesy of Military Images Magazine/Rick Carlile Collection)

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Image: Pvt. William Chace, Co. D, 1st Rhode Island Infantry

29 08 2022
Carte de visite by Mathew B. Brady of Washington, D.C. Providence-born William Chace, a private in Company D, wears the blue blouse, which harkens back to Revolutionary War era hunting shirts. Chace is fully dressed and equipped for campaign, complete with red blanket, haversack, drum-style canteen attached to a thin cord and a small pocket revolver. He grips the muzzle of his U.S. Model 1855 rifle musket. His black hat, turned at an angle, reveals the lining inside. Chace survived his time with the regiment and did not rejoin the army after the expiration of his term of enlistment. He lived until 1908. (Courtesy Military Images Magazine/Rick Carlile Collection)

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Image: 1st Rhode Island Infantry Staff

27 08 2022
Col. Ambrose E. Burnside sits with arms folded in the center of officers and non-commissioned officers. He is flanked on the left by his gauntleted major, Joseph P. Balch, and on the right by cap holding Augustus Woodbury, the chaplain of the regiment. In 1862, Woodbury’s A Narrative of the Campaign of the First Rhode Island Regiment was published in Providence. Standing on the far right with cap in hand is Capt. William L. Bowers, the commissary officer. (Courtesy of Military Images Magazine)

Image: Pvt. Minor Atherton, Co. C, 1st Minnesota Infantry

26 08 2022
Minor Atherton (Courtesy Andy Kmiec)

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Pvt. John B. Edson, Co. E, 27th New York Infantry, Revisits the Battlefield

25 08 2022

Manassas Junction
Sunday, April 6th 1862

Dear Father,

You no doubt will be surprised when you see this. We left Camp Franklin Thursday morning about 11 o’clock, marched to Alexandria & there took the cars for Manassas. Arrived all safe. As we came through the deserted camps of the Rebs, it was shameful to see the destruction of property. Locomotives & cars burnt right on the track.

Yesterday morning, Friday, I started for the old battle ground of the 21st of July last, arrived there about noon—it being about seven miles from where we are encamped. You cannot imagine my feelings when there & seeing the bones of our boys bleaching in the sun. It made my blood boil. There were a number of bones found of men belonging to our regiment which we buried over and there being a minister present, held a short service of the bones. His name was Parker. I went to the spot where Co. Ellsworth’s Fire Zouaves fought & there were the bones of nearly a dozen of them exposed to the gaze of the passers by. I helped cover them over again. I have now with [me] one of the ribs which was detached from the back bone & intend sending it home when convenient. I also have a piece of one of the Zouaves red shirts which I enclose in this and the girls can work it into a piece or needlework to keep in remembrance of those brave men.

I visited the old stone house where I carried John Clague. It looked natural—only has been torn to pieces pretty well. It still bears the mark of the cannon shot.

This is a rough sketch of the stone house. It was a tough sight to see these bones of our comrades thus exposed.

I suppose by the time you get this you will have received letters I sent by David Scott with the draft in. We expect to go on tomorrow towards the Rappahannock. The whole of McDowell’s Corps are now coming on. I will write again soon but you must answer this as soon as you get it. Give me all the news. So goodbye for the present. Your affectionate son, — John B. Edson

Letter Image

Contributed and transcribed by William Griffing, Spared & Shared

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Pvt. John B. Edson, Co. E, 27th New York Infantry, On the Eve of Battle

24 08 2022

In camp 5 Miles beyond Fairfax Court House
and within 2 Miles of the Rebel Batteries
July 20th [1861]

My Dear parents,

I’m writing this under peculiar trials and circumstances as I’m seated in one of the camp wagons trying to write to you, my ever loved and to be loved parents.

We left Washington last Tuesday afternoon at 4 o’clock. The order for marching came very suddenly. We marched until 11 o’clock that night to a place 11 miles from Fairfax, there encamped until the next morning at 7 when we started on and such a march it beggars description—one of the hottest days I ever saw, if not the hottest. Men [were] falling out of the ranks at every step exhausted. I stood it until the last when men who had worked in the harvest fields at home in the morning said said if they had had another mile to march, should have dropped in the road. The rebels having poisoned several wells and destroyed others made it very bad for us.

We arrived at Fairfax at two o’clock. We expected to find a large secession force there but they had eloped. Consequently we were disappointed. We stayed in Fairfax from 12 o’clock of that day until 4 o’clock of the next day. We lived on the spoils taken from the secessionists. While there the boys took their guns and shot chickens, geese, pigs and even bullocks. One party went to a farmer’s house some two miles off and found 7 bottles of wine, pies, cakes, &c. No one at home. Fairfax was a deserted hole.

Started at 4 o’clock for this camp where we arrived at 7 o’clock [and] set our picket guard that night. That was a night indeed to me. I can assure you, I laid down upon the ground with a blanket over me [and] it commenced raining soon after and I was wet through. About 12 o’clock we were awakened by the firing upon our pickets. We all jumped up and seized our arms. During that hour volley after volley came pouring in. Such a sight! Men standing whispering to one another. Our Colonel came around and told us to lie down by our guns which we did only to be awakened by another alarm.

While I’m writing I hear the artillery booming in the distance towards the rebels’ batteries. I suppose you have heard of the battle on the 18th [see Battle of Blackburn’s Ford]. It was a small affair [paper creased] troops they having to retreat. The Colonel who led them on did so contrary to the orders of Scott. We lost some two hundred men. Gen. Scott is expected to be here this evening to plan the attack. It is this—to shell the batteries, then pour in shot until they are burned out, then bring on the infantry and give them the bayonet. We are waiting now for the shells to come on so we can proceed wit hthe battle. There will be severe fighting. We will in all probability be in Richmond some time next week. Our Colonel told our Orderly when he asked him for a sword that he would scarcely need one for we would all be home in three weeks. I tell you, it is tough. We will have all of Virginia in our possession before another month. I hope I shall live to see you all again. I often think of home and all its comforts. Tell all my friends if they write to direct to Washington.

John B. Edson, Company E, 27th Regt. N. Y. S. V., Washington D. C.

I wrote to you when in Washington but have received no answer. I will get it if you write. I have received no money yet. Probably will not until we are again in Washington. Let me know how you are getting along and what the people think of the movement of the army in Virginia. I hope to see you before many months are passed. It is very warm today. My love to all. Ever your affectionate son, — J. B. E.

Letter Image

Contributed and transcribed by William Griffing, Spared & Shared

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Image: 1st Michigan Infantry

23 08 2022
1st Michigan Infantry, Detroit, MI, 5/11/1861 (Courtesy Dale Niesen)

Image: Francis Raymond Rice, Co. A, 1st Michigan Infantry

22 08 2022
Francis (Frank) Raymond Rice as 2nd Lt (LOC)

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