Lt. Nathaniel Rollins, Co. H, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry, On Blackburn’s Ford

26 10 2022

Extract from a Private Letter from Lt. Rollins of the Second Regiment

Battle Field.
July 18, 1861, 6 P. M.

This forenoon I wrote you a note. – Shortly after I sealed it, a heavy cannonading commenced to the West of us. We waited for a while. At about two P. M. nothing was doing, and I went to the grove after some water. As I returned, the line was forming. Several regiments formed as quick as possible, and pushed forward at double quick time to the scene of action. A sharp musketry fire had been kept up for some time. As we neared the place, we met a number of ambulances and other conveyances bringing wounded and dead men from the field. We pushed on still farther at double quick time, and filed to the right into the line of battle, across the road. All this was in thick woods. Cannon balls whistled through the air, and cut through the trees in all directions. One struck the ground about forty feet ahead of our line and bounded over us about two or three feet above our heads, and directly over mine. We were then ordered to sit down. One ball struck the La Crosse company, and wounded three or four men very badly. – We stayed here about one and a half hours. Rifled cannon balls were flying all the time; most of them too high, but some covering us with dirt. We were then ordered to retreat, as we could be of no use where we were. The rebels are in a ravine, with cannon, where we cannot reach them without very great exposure. Since we have halted by the roadside, several regiments have passed – First and Second Ohio, and some others – towards the field again.

8 o’clock P. M. – When I had got so far in the above, the bugle sounded “to arms,” and we fell in, and started again towards the enemy. We are now encamped for the night in a field, where we are to sleep again by our arms in the open air. The New York Twelfth was cut up this afternoon very badly. We shall most likely try them again in the morning. – Through so much of the battle, Col. COON has acted in the capacity of aid to Gen. SHERMAN, our Brigadier, and behaved very bravely. Lt. Col. PECK appears as cool as on parade.

N. R.

The (WI) State Journal, 7/24/1861

Clipping image

Contributed by John Hennessy

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More on Nathaniel Rollins here and here and here.



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