Image: Capt. Edward Fontaine, Co. K, 18th Mississippi Infantry

15 12 2022
Edward Fontaine, Co. K, 18th Mississippi Infantry (FindAGrave)

Edward Fontaine at

Edward Fontaine at Fold3

Edward Fontaine at FindAGrave

(Edward Fontaine was the Great-Grandson of Patrick Henry)

“C,” Co. K, 18th Mississippi Infantry, On the Battle

15 12 2022

From Our Correspondent.

The Battle of Manassas.


Genl. Scott’s Late Headquarters,
July 25th, 1861.

The South has won a victory that entitles her to be crowned Queen of Nations. The destroyers of our peace have fled ingloriously. Justice, truth and the God of Nations and of battles, have triumphed over the ruthless invaders of our soil, and joy and gladness reign in every heart.

The fighting commenced Sunday morning about 9 o’clock and continued unceasingly until 6 P.M. – Gen. Johnson led the left wing, and Gen. Beauregard the right wing of a line of battle from six to eight miles long. Standing for a few minutes upon a high hill on the extreme of the right wing, I had a view of the whole line. It was a grand but horrific scene. The mountains beyond the valley seemed to bend mournfully their tall and rugged brows as clouds of smoke continually rose and curled around them. The beast and fowl of the forest fled from the pathway of a terrific and devastating storm. the earth shook beneath the roaring of cannon; rivulets and streams ran red with human gore; hills and hollows were lined with dead men’s bodies, and the air grew faint with the groans of the wounded and dying.

The result was a glorious but dear bought victory to us. The loss of the enemy cannot be estimated. They lost about five men to our one, and from the amount of guns, equipage, &c., that have been taken and brought in, they must have left everything behind. We took more arms and ammunition than we had in our whole army before the fight. Two million dollars will not cover the loss sustained by the Northern army.

The brigade of which Col. Burt’s Regiment was a part was ordered to take a battery on a high hill near McLains Ford. We went over in the morning to make the attack – but just before we got there the order was countermanded. We returned and waited until evening. About 4 o’clock P.M., we went over and made a most daring and reckless charge. The Brigade marched down a hollow in four ranks facing the enemy and his cannon. The South Carolina Regiment being in front were permitted ot form in line of battle. Just as the 18th Mississippi Regiment was forming into line – canister and grape shot, shells and minnie balls poured down on us like hail stones. The command ‘Charge’ being given by some one, the Regiment moved at double quick to the top of the hill about two hundred yards. Finding that they were not in sight of the enemy and seeing their way impeded by a deep ravine and a rocky bluff on the other side up which they could not climb – the regiment became confused, and after remaining there in the old field for half an hour – exposed to continuous volleys of shot and shell trying to rally and get a chance at the Yankees who were safe under cover of the brow of a hill and at the convenient distance of four or five hundred yards off – it was ordered to fall back into the wood and reform.

A portion of the Burt Rifles under the command of Capt. Fontaine and Lieut. Fearn – thinking that the regiment was retreating – and being near the South Carolina Regiment formed on its right wing. This brave and gallant band were the last to leave the field. Had the remainder known that this portion of our company was alive and where it was – with the permission of Col. Burt, we would have left our regiment while reforming in the woods and gone to them, tho’ each one met his death messenger on the way. We had pledged to stand by and with each other, and to the latter strictly would we have fulfilled the pledge.

The enemy, supposed afterwards from various accounts to be ten or twelve thousand strong, commenced retreating as soon as they commenced firing – consequently after reforming we had no chance to return by an available route and attack them. They fled before we hurt them, but Gen. Longstreet stationed us on the other side, pursued them and took many of them prisoners and nearly everything they had.

This was the closing scene of the greatest battle ever fought between the Atlantic and Pacific.

Many a brave and gallant spirit of the South took its flight to distant realms. Among them was that of the good and heroic little Eddie Anderson of the Burt Rifles. Peace be to thy ashes, Eddie! A nobler death thou couldst not have died. A better grave no man can covet.

Capt. McWillie, of the Camden Rifles, Lieut. Leavy, of the Brown Rebels, Lieut York, of the Mississippi College Rifles, and many others whose names I do not now recollect were killed on the field or being mortally wounded have since died.

Our army is in fine spirits, and all are eager to continue the march to Washington City.


The Weekly (Jackson) Mississippian, 8/7/1861

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