“Blockhead,” Co. D*, 27th New York Infantry, On the Aftermath of the Battle

27 02 2023

Washington, July 27th, 1861.

Mr. Editor, – I have been unwell but am better now, able to drop you a line at all events. I was somewhat surprised at the list of killed published in the Republican of Binghamton. There are seven known to be killed in our company alone, (Capt. Rodgers*,) and some companies lost more than we. – That will all be straightened out when you receive the official report.

The rebels are making a great blow over their victory, I see by the Southern Journals. They admit their loss to be between three and four thousand killed, and claim ours (which we know to be but little more than seven hundred) to be 15,000 men. They claim to have captured 88 cannon, 25,000 stand of arms, 1200 horses, and stores in the value of one million. The truth is we lost but 10 pieces of cannon, all of which we have now but one which was bursted at the Run. There was but about 19,000 engaged. All that were not killed brought back their arms with them, at least we are not 1,000 stand out, all told, and them mostly spoiled. We had 420 Cavalry – all back but 12, and the stores they brag of capturing is confined to eleven baggage wagons, which the drivers got scared and cut the harness loose and left. They were upset, however, and broken. So much for their boasted captures.

The boys have nearly all of them been sick, not so bad though as to leave camp. The citizens of Washington have nobly responded to this call upon charity, and have been on hand to administer to the sick and wounded such little comforts as the necessity of the case demanded. One man in particular, (a Mr. Stuart, living on J street,) brought tea, toast and medicine, to administer to the sick boys of our barracks, and his two little boys were always on the go with something inviting for us to partake. He is decidedly a Southern man, though Union. He don’t recognize a nigger equality with a white, nor do I either. I begin to believe the nigger question to be a humbug like everything else. As far as my experience goes, judging from what I saw through Maryland and fifty miles in Virginia, I have been forced to believe that the “shades” are the happiest race of beings alive. They have no wants but what are supplied, and don’t do enough to earn their bread, we North would think.

A great many of the friends of our soldiers have been rushing in since the battle of Sunday last, to see who is dead and all that. Mr. Sampson, of Binghamton, was in camp yesterday. His son Will was shot the first charge at the Run, in the foot – this wound was not severe, yet I am afraid the rebels made way with him. Mr. Harris Rodgers, Mr. Gregory, Mr. Doubleday and others from Binghamton, visited camp yesterday. The Hotels are running over with soldier’s relatives, anxious to hear the fate of their friends.

The soldiers made [??] for a feast last night which, ’twas said, the citizens – the ladies, more particularly – were going to furnish the Regiment. Early in the afternoon, the boys began to erect tables along one side of our camp ground, out of dirty boards, old boxes, &c. – ‘Twas soon finished, and some of the most aristocratic took their straw ticks for table spreads, and about seven the provision began to be distributed along the muddy, greasy boards. The entertainment consisted of two small potatoes, a small biscuit, a slice of bread and butter, one small cucumber cut in vinegar, to twenty men and three crackers. That, I believe, includes the whole and was a happy change from our rations of sour bread, coffee without milk, and slice of fat pork, which is our regular fare.

The was news for a day or two has been unimportant. The rebels, I believe, are slowly advancing towards this city, but there is no fear. The defences on the West side of the reiver are not to be taken by any force they can bring against it. There are three vessels of war lying off Alexandria and a heavy land force. I think we may not fear any advance from the rebels nearer than Fairfax, that is the main body.

I am so sleepy I cannot write any more now. I was on guard last night. Will write to morrow, if I feel well enough.


Union (NY) News, 8/8/1861

Clipping image

Contributed by John Hennessy

*H. C. Rodgers was captain of Co. D, 27th New York Infantry.



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