Pvt. Eugene H. Fales*, Co. E, 14th New York State Militia, On the Battle

31 08 2021

OUR WAR CORRESPONDENCE.

—————-

From a Soldier in the 14th.

Arlington Heights, Va. July 28.

We did a harder 31 hours work last Sunday and part of Monday than I ever thought I was able to do, or ever expect to do again. We marked 65 miles between 2 o’clock Sunday morning, and 11 Monday A. M., besides fighting and manoeuvring on the battle-field. Previous to coming up with the enemy, which we did at a quarter of 12, we had marched 15 miles, with nothing to eat but a few crackers, which we ate as we went along. We emerged from the cover of the woods on a double quick step, throwing away blankets, and haversacks containing rations, to relieve ourselves of the burden we were no longer able to endure, and reaching the hill where Griffin’s West Point Battery was stationed, we sat down amid the flying balls for a few moment’s rest, being almost completely exhausted. The ball was now fairly opened, and the rebels getting proper range of us, our position became too hot, and rendered a change necessary, as a number of our boys had been wounded, but none killed. We then went into a deep gulch, through which ran a muddy stream, the identical Bull Run, the only water we saw after getting three miles beyond Centreville. We rushed into it, bathed our hands and heads, and filled our canteens. Stopping a few moments, the Fire Zouaves passed and formed in line behind their battery, on the top of a hill. They had been there but a few moments, when they were fired upon, with deadly effect, from a concealed battery, not more than 20 yards to their right, and a little to the rear. The fire was so sudden and unexpected that the Zouaves’ tanks were broken and forced part way down the hill, and before they had time to recover, the enemy had dashed out, took their battery, and carried it behind their breastworks in the bushes. The Zouaves made two or three desperate charges, and then retreated down the hill, the 14th marching up and taking its place. We had scarcely reached the top of the hill when a bomb-shell came crashing through our company, striking down eight – three were killed instantly. After firing two or three shots, I was struck down by a spent grape shot, but merely stunned. I came to just in time to take part in the third charge, which was the most desperate of all. We carried our flag up to the very muzzle of their guns, and would have entered their works had they not at that moment opened a cross fire on us from a thicket, on our right, which compelled us to retreat. The 69th came to our relief and taking our place, fought desperately, but our artillery leaving the field at the top of their speed tended much to create a panic that was impossible to check. But one thing is true of all the regiments with one or two exceptions; the men remained on the field after their officers had left.

Our brave Major, (Major Jordan) was the conspicuous man on the field. Seated on a handsome grey horse, he seemed to be every where present, giving orders and cheering on the men – was among the last to leave the field and kept in the rear until we reached Centreville. When taken Capt. Jordan, who was severely wounded in his arm put spurs to his horse and dashed between two regiments – which were drawn up in line of battle, on either side of the road, and which we at first took for a body of the enemy trying to cut of our retreat, but who proved to be friends – at the top of his speed.

We left the battle field at 8 o’clock and reached our camping ground at Centreville about 9 p. m. – laid down and rested about an hour, and continued our march without stopping more than a moment or two at a time till we reached here at 11 o’clock the next morning. All did not get in till late of Tuesday, having lain down exhausted by the road side. For two or three days we were so stiff that it was difficult to stir around much, although we are all about right again now.

A few nights before the battle, I caught a severe cold by lying out in a rain storm, on the wet ground, but have got most over it now.

Our regiment is now stationed where the 8th were, on the heights, at Gen. Lee’s house, the Headquarters of Gen. McDowell and staff.

Having heard so much of the natural wealth of Virginia, I took particular notice on our march, that I might find out in what it consisted. The first thing that attracted my attention was a few deserted houses on the road to Centreville, few and far between, plenty of “niggers,” some fine patches of Indian-corn, wide extended forests, and masked batteries. From my observations I drew the conclusion that the natural productions of the sod are: first, “masked batteries,” second, “Niggers,” third, forests, fourth, Indian corn, fifth, unmitigated scamps.

Two of our mess are missing. Charles E. Davenport, mentioned in the papers, was one, and was also one of those struck down by the shell I mentioned in my letter, but he was not killed, only slightly wounded in the neck; the last that was seen of him was about three miles from the battle field, coming through the woods; he is probably a prisoner. The other, Malcolm Stone, a very fine young fellow, was wounded in the shoulder by a cannon ball. I found him when I was leaving the battle ground, and carried him to Sudley’s church which was used as a hospital, and staid with hm until every one that was able to walk was compelled to leave. I first got a promise from one of the doctors, that every attention would be given him that was possible, but I feel that he was killed by the shells which were fired at the church. It was well that I left as I did, for I was not more than a few minutes from the place, when the firing commenced on the church.

Our Colonel was wounded in the thigh, and was brought safely as far as the bridge, three miles beyond Centreville, where he arrived just as the firing from the masked battery, which there opened on us, was the heaviest. He was in an ambulance, many of which were blown to pieces.

When the first shot was fired there, I, with Jno. York, one of our mess, was walking quite leisurely towards the bridge, and some tow hundred feet from it – the shot, a twelve pounder, struck behind us, bounded over our heads, and rolled down the road into the stream; then came a perfect shower of shot and shell. York took to the stream on the left, and dashing to his arm-pits, waded across. I dashed over the bridge, it being easier and quicker accomplished, and too to the woods on the right, where the shot did not seem to fall, most of it going to the left. There were dead horses, ambulances, baggage, wagons, and cannon all in a heap on the bridge. Walker is well and safe. York came into camp about the same time I did. A very heavy thunder storm is now raging, but we have just about the best arranged tent in the camp, and manage to keep dry – board floor, table in the center, &c.

Yours, truly,
Eugene H. Foley.

Brooklyn (NY) Times Union, 8/1/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* While the name in the paper is Foley, that name is not listed in the roster of the 14th NYSM (84th NYVI). However, Eugen H. Fales is listed in Co. E, and other soldiers mentioned by Foley as messmates (York, Davenport, Stone) are all found as having enlisted in Co. E. No information on Eugene H. Foley located other than a pension application for Eugene H. Foley noted as having served in the 69th New York Infantry. Hat tip to reader James McLean.

14th NYSM (84th NYVI) Roster

Eugene H. Fales at Ancestry

Eugene H. Fales at Fold3

Eugene H. Fales at FindAGrave





Capt. Robert C. McFarland, Co. H, 4th Alabama Infantry, On the March and Battle

24 08 2021

Army of the Shenandoah
Camp Bee, near Manassas, Virginia
July 29, 1861

Dear sir: On the 18th instant, the force of General Joseph Johnston left Winchester. Every street was filled with soldiers, wagons, and munitions of war. It was about 1 p.m. when our regiment marched from camp to Winchester when, owing to the length of the column it was sunset before the suburbs of the town were reached. The soldiers were much dissatisfied, thinking they were retreating and leaving the place to its fate. General Johnston, observing this, as soon as the forces were a mile outside of the town on the way to Manassas made it known that he was marching to the aid of General Beauregard who was attacked by overwhelming forces. Everyone was elated on hearing this and set forward with renewed vigor in order to reach the scene of action.

The march was kept up all night. The Shenandoah River was reached about 6 a.m. on the following morning. A few hours of rest was given here and then the column crossed the river, some in boats, some on artillery horses, while others forded. The road leading over the Blue Ridge mountains was very narrow, hilly, and rough, which very much impeded the march as the wagons were continually stopping. On reaching the highest point of the pass, a beautiful view of the country was afforded to the wearied soldiers. Piedmont was reached ay daybreak; the troops were weary and hungry having marched 30 miles over a bad road in 24 hours. A council of officers of our regiment was immediately called; General Bernard Bee, having expressed the wish that it be go on to Manassas by the first train. It was decided, notwithstanding the fact that the men had nothing to eat since morning and nothing to cook as the baggage wagons had not arrived, that the regiment would go forward without delay. This being made known all were much pleased.

The rain now fell in torrents, completely drenching the troops who were without coats or blankets. At 3 a.m., the regiment was on board the cars and reached Manassas about 10 a.m. So soon as it was formed, it was marched into a grove more remarkable for filth than anything else, being a general rendezvous for wagons and teams. Having rested about an hour, the line of march was taken for Camp Walker two miles from Bull Run and two from the field of battle. Here some crackers and middling bacon was distributed, a very welcome supper to the men who had nothing to eat for 12 hours. Having no cooking utensils, the officers and privates broiled the bacon on the end of a forked stick.

On the following morning Sunday July 21, 1861, the same kind of fare was served up. Shortly after breakfast, the enemy commenced firing on our center. In two minutes, the regiment was formed and the soldiers with baggage on their backs marched in quick and double-quick time to the scene of action. The enemy, whose lines extended from Union Mills to Stone bridge, commenced a cannonade on our center for the purpose of drawing out our forces- showing our strength, and make us believe that here he would make his grand attack. It soon became evident to our generals that he was making a feint on the center and was concentrating forces on the left flank. General Evans was posted on Stone bridge which is on the road leading from Centreville to the Junction to prevent the enemy from turning our flank. The enemy, however, marched dense masses of infantry two miles above the bridge and completely turned General Evans’ flank. He sent for reinforcements and General Bee with his brigade consisting of the 4th Alabama, 2nd Mississippi, and two companies of the 11th Mississippi was sent to Evans’ aid to hold the enemy in check until more reinforcements could be sent to that point.

The brigade was marched by the left flank in quick and double-quick time until it arrived within a mile of the enemy’s line. Here it was halted as the men were much fatigued and very thirsty, having marched about seven miles and allowed time only to throw down their baggage. The enemy’s position was a most excellent one on the Centreville road, commanding the country before them in every direction. We were marched forwarded to a road running parallel with the enemy’s line and about 700 yards from them. Here the order was given to load. Between the enemy and us lay a piece of woods on the top of a rising ground, and a small stream and meadow between us and the wood. The regiment was now formed in line and moved forward, part passing through the wood and part through an open field. On reaching the other side next to the enemy, the regiment was formed behind a fence, the 2nd Mississippi regiment being on our left.

[The original newspaper here is torn and about ten lines of text are missing. It picks up as follows:]

Imboden’s company, which was sent to our aid. We were not long halted until ordered forward. Everyone thought we were going to charge Sherman’s battery and brought his piece to a charge bayonet. When we had advanced within 75 yards of the enemy, the order was given to lie down. It so happened that the ground my company halted on was more exposed than any other position in the line. The Yankees kept close behind a hill. The first one that showed himself seemed to be an officer. I ordered one or two to shoot him. This commenced the fight. The Yankees advanced to the brow of the hill, took aim, fired, and retreated to load so that we had to shoot them while aiming at us. My men were cool and fired with great deliberation. Whenever a Yankee was killed by anyone, you could hear him tell his neighbor, “I got him.” The first one killed of the Lauderdale volunteers was Jesse Zills. He was shot through the breast early in the engagement. The next one was young Bourland who was shot through the neck. The firing was kept up briskly on both sides.

An impression seemed to have seized Major Scott that we were firing on friends, and he told some of the companies to cease firing. I left my position and went to Major Scott and told him that the enemy’s flag could be seen from where we were, and that they had killed several of my men already. On passing to Major Scott’s position, I told Lieutenant Simpson where I was going and why. This was the last conversation I had with him. He was quite cool and did not apprehend danger. He had received a slight wound in the arm but did not quit his position. Shortly afterwards I was looking along the line towards the left of the company and saw him the moment the fatal ball struck him. He never moved; he was shot dead instantly as was Lucious Lorance about the same time. They were only a short distance apart stretched at full length upon the corn row. Lieutenant Simpson was much beloved by all who knew him in the regiment- he was a good officer, a true soldier, and died like a man with his face to the foe.

Part of the first platoon took shelter while loading in the corners of a fence. The enemy, discovering this, commenced to fire on our flank as well as front so that no protection was offered by the fence. We had now kept back the enemy for the space of an hour and a quarter although they were ten times our number and we were unsupported. While looking to the right, I saw the first battalion in full retreat towards the woods. Not hearing the command to retreat, I ordered the company to retreat, having then near one half of our number killed and wounded on the field. Thomas Stone was killed on the retreat and three or four others wounded before we reached the woods. The Mississippi regiment, though not exposed to the fire, had retreated before we did, as also had a Georgia regiment on our right. Thus, we were left unaided and alone.

On reaching the wood, the enemy opened on us with grape while the regiments in our rear fired incessant volleys of musketry. It is a miracle that a single one escaped. The balls flew around as thick as hail. The grape cut the limbs of the trees. Having passed through the woods, two regiments were seen on our right flank as we descended into the meadow; we supposed them to be Mississippians. They were, however, two New York regiments that had completely outflanked us and in a few minutes would have cut off our retreat. They saluted us with a volley of musketry which did considerable execution in our ranks, wounding Lieutenant Colonel Law and killing a number of others. We crossed the branch, found the regiment, and returned their salute not without effect. Here we again were obliged to retreat; the ammunition of several companies being nearly expended, mine among the number.

The first force that came to our aid was a Virginia regiment, part of General Thomas J. Jackson’s brigade. We again formed behind this regiment and in a skirt of woods in a very heavy fire of shell and ball. General Bee joined us here. Having inquired what forces we were, the reply was given that it was the 4th Alabama regiment. He said it was the only part of his forces that he could find and asked us if we would follow him. The answer was “to the death.” We had lost all of our field officers. General Bee then dismounted and faced the regiment by the left flank in order to reach the point where the battle was hottest. Some confusion being shown, as the regiment was entering a piece of wood behind Captain Albertes’ battery, General Bee called me by name and ordered me to halt the regiment and form it. This was his last command. He was fatally wounded by a musket ball and breathed forth his noble and manly spirit on the following morning. He was universally loved by his whole brigade as a brave and skillful officer.

The men were now worn out by thirst and fatigue, and the regiment retired to get water and take some rest. At no time during the whole fight was it from under a severe fire until the enemy was driven from the field. It kept the enemy back until reinforcements were brought up and saved the day. It was a glorious day for the South, but it has brought mourning and sorrow into many a happy circle. Many a wife now laments her husband who fell on that field in defense of liberty and justice. How many fond sisters will look in vain for the return of their beloved brothers? Mothers, oh what a sweet word, are weeping for their brave sons whom they shall see no more until that great day when all shall stand before God.

The cannons roar having ceased and the evening’s shade closing down, my little band would not allow themselves to rest until their wounded comrades were carried off the field. Lieutenant Kirkman, Dr. Armstead, and a few more from my company together with three men from each company in the regiment joined me to go after the wounded. I pressed three or four ammunition wagons to carry the wounded; what a contrast between wagons and the splendid ambulances of the enemy. It was now dark and took some searching to find the place where most of the wounded lay. They were picked up as soon as found and put into the wagons and sent to Manassas Junction about seven miles distant. The last wagon reached the Junction about 6 o’clock in the morning in charge of Dr. Armstead and myself. Some of the wounded were put on the cars and sent to Culpeper, others were put in tents and hospitals.

One or two of my men are still missing. Having drank a cup of coffee, the first food except a Yankee cracker I had tasted for 24 hours, I returned to the battlefield to search for these and also to send in the bodies of our brave dead to the Junction. The quartermaster, however, had attended to this last duty before any of the company reached the field. My search for the missing was of no avail. Christopher Rowell being slightly wounded was taken prisoner and effected his escape during the enemy’s retreat and was safe at the Junction.

The wounded having been provided for, our next duty was the burial of the dead. Their graves were dug in a retired corner of the wood a short distance from the fortifications. The rain fell in torrents during the whole time. Officers and privates worked together until the sad labor was performed. Every effort was made to procure coffins for all, but it could be done as there was no planks to make them. We wrapped them in their blankets and laid them side by side in their graves- a sad spectacle of the horrors of war and a confirmation of the Scripture that “all flesh is but as grass.”

The company and the regiment suffered terribly on Monday and Monday night for want of food and covering from the rain. We had no tents, and the mud was six inches deep. The victory was a glorious one. If the friends of any of those who have fallen wish any further information regarding them, it will be welcome. I have written to most of them, briefly, it is true. I have endeavored to give an impartial account of the part my company took in the late battle. Every man fought like a hero though his comrades were falling fast on every side.

Very respectfully,
Robert McFarland, Capt., Lauderdale Volunteers

Florence (Alabama) Gazette, 8/14/1861

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Contributed and transcribed by Dan Masters

See more on this letter here.

Robert C. McFarland at Ancestry

Robert C. McFarland at Fold3

Robert C. McFarland at FindAGrave





Corp. Henry Ruffner Paine, Rockbridge Artillery, On Casualties

10 08 2021

Sunday night, July 21st
By Camp Fire

Dear Father:

A tremendous battle took place to the West or North West of this point to-day. We have kept the field, and the enemy are reported in retreat; yet it is said that we are threatened with an attack from the East. It will hardly take place to night; and no one knows what tomorrow might bring. Reinforcements are hurrying up to the lines. My recruits and Campbell’s are encamped in part of the vacant quarters of the 17th Va., Infantry. Bowyer Brockenbrough is here, and remains with us to night. He is slightly wounded on the nose and arm. Kable is here and safe. Rollins is slightly wounded on the head. Charley Bell, of the College Boys, was mortally wounded by a cannon ball. Jim Edmondson reported wounded in the hand. Neff is here with two slight wounds. Preston, (Tom,) is with us. He saw part of the fight. Wallace Ruff slightly wounded in the arm. David unhurt. Algernon Wade unhurt and is here. He reports Ben also safe. Hileman scratched in the face. Bill Gordon lost his company in the forced march from Winchester and could not get up to the fight. Jack Jordon is slightly wounded in the leg by the bursting of one of the Southern Ammunition Boxes. Willoughby Brockenbrough is reported safe by Bowyer. Bowyer was knocked from his horse. He says no man flinched from his post. Sherman’s Battery was taken and re-taken twice. ‘Tis said it remains on our possession. The 4th Alabama was cut to pieces. We have numbers of wounded here, and I see part of the horrors of Battle. Gen. Jackson is safe – reported by Bow. Brockenbrough. Jim Suddarth, Parks and Charlton are here all safe, but the latter slightly wounded. Bradley, of the Col. Boys, is killed, so is Asbury McCluer and William Paxton. Ricket is here and safe. Rollins saw Will. Lewis coming from the field after the fight. Sed Davidson is wounded. Calvin Utz is wounded, but getting well. Richard Jordan is wounded. G. Strickler is wounded in the side by a shell, which wounded also the above mentioned College Boys. Horace Wallace is safe. Capt. Jas. J. White safe – was here awhile ago – did not see him. Bill Kahle says a grape shot slightly wounded him in the back – he is running all about. Alexander Wallace wounded in the shoulder. Reed Hanger is wounded. Can’t hear of M.X. White’s company having been in the fight. John Moore unwounded. Bumpus safe. So is Sam Smith and Lewis Paxton. Don’t know the force on either side – both very large and the loss heavy. Copeland Page is safe. Two Arnolds safe. Henry Myers safe, and Tedford Barclay, and Woods. I write on a rough board by the light of a camp fire. We heard the firing all day. Col. Ruff could get no permission for us to go to the camp, and we can’t tell when we can join our companies. Henry Campbell caught up with his men to-day and is here. Seven of my recruits (Artillery,) have volunteered to support a battery of heavy guns close to us if we are attacked to-night. Wm. Lewis and my cousin Bob are reported safe. McCown safe at last reports, was carrying Sed Davidson’s gun. Byeton safe, C. Strickler slightly wounded. Sherrard safe. James McCorkle of the Grays is killed. M.N. White’s company was hardly engaged. Our companies are much scattered. The Rifles tried the Bayonet once and the enemy ran. Capt. Pendleton safe. His company did great damage, helped to capture Sherman’s Battery. I can hear of no more of our boys, though I have taken much trouble. Capt. Pendleton’s Battery did not suffer much – Lieut. McLaughlin and Lieut. Davis are safe. Good bye.

H.

[Note: Per records, Henry Ruffner Paine did not enlist until 7/23/1861. The tone of this letter indicates his reporting on the battle is second-hand.]

Lexington (VA) Gazette, 7/25/1861

Contributed and transcribed by Eric Mink

Henry Ruffner Paine at Ancestry

Henry Ruffner Paine at Fold3

Henry Ruffner Paine at FindAGrave

Paine Family Papers at Virginia Museum of History





Lt. Samuel Johnson Cramer Moore, Co. I, 2nd Virginia Infantry, On the Battle

9 08 2021

Camp near Manassas July 27th 1861

My Dearest Ellen

It is so difficult, the way I am now situated, to write a letter, that I have it not in my power to let you hear from me as often as I wish, or as I would under other circumstances; the difficulty consists in the want of pen, ink and paper, and of any convenient way of writing. To illustrate, I am now sitting flat on the ground with a board on my knee, upon which rests a sheet of paper I begged of a friend, on which I am writing with a borrowed pen, with ink out of a borrowed inkstand. Had I paper, I could at least write with a pencil, but I have none, and all my efforts to purchase have proved unavailing. Never was a poor country so completely stripped of everything as this is–no stores, no houses of entertainment, houses all deserted of their inhabitants and occupied by troops, very many since the battle as hospitals for the wounded of both our own and the Federal armies–fences destroyed, fields laid waste, crops such as they had, very poor at best, destroyed and trampled–all these present but a portion of the dreaded effects of war.

The enemy, with less humanity than ordinarily is found with savage tribes, ran away from the battlefield on Sunday last, leaving many of their wounded and the dead upon the ground, to whom they have since paid no attention. Their wounded have been gathered up by our men, and are cared for like our own. Our soldiers too buried many of their killed until their bodies became so offensive as to sicken all who approached them, since which they have left them alone, and many bodies now lie on the field where they fell, a sad spectacle of mortality. It is usual to send a flag of truce to the battlefield after a fight is over, for the purpose of taking care of the wounded and the bodies of the dead. But the Yankees, either from excessive fright or from want of regard for the fallen, have failed to conform to this custom–hence this state of affairs of which I have spoken.

The whole condition of affairs has completely changed since we came here, at first no man dared to put his nose outside of our lines, for fear of being shot or captured by the federal pickets. Now our men can roam at large over the country, without the danger of meeting a yankee, unless it be a dead corpse in the fence corner or a half starved refugee begging for quarter or a mouthful to eat. These last they take prisoner and send them to Richmond to swell the trophies of our glorious victory.

You can form no idea of the terrific grandeur of the affair of Sunday last. Cannons booming, muskets rattling, shells bursting around us in every direction, troops marching, and at last gallant bayonet charges from our brave Southern troops, all tended to excite and stir up our men to brave deeds. Our regiment for nearly, if not quite 3 hours, stood under a raging fire of shot & shell without a falter, animated by the promise that at the proper time they should fire upon the enemy & follow the fire with the bayonet, but when the time came for this to be done, instead of ordering us to fire and advance, the Col gave the order to fall back.

I regret to say that Col Allen did not display courage or self possession on the battle field, whether he professes these qualities or not, and also that in his official report of the battle, which I have read, he does, to my certain knowledge, make an erroneous statement to screen himself from censure for his course on the field. These facts, of course, destroy all confidence in him, with every true man in his Regiment who knows them, and there is consequently great disaffection in the Regiment, amounting almost to disorganization. I doubt not too, that many trifling men among us, who are not attracted by principle in the war, are taking advantage of the present state of affairs hoping to get out of service entirely, so that altogether we are in an indifferent state. What will be the result of this I know not, but it may end in my throwing up my commission and shouldering a musket as a private in the ranks of some other regiment. After our Regiment retired on Sunday, I went into the battle with another Regiment, the 18th Virginia Regiment and flatter myself I did some pretty good fighting, but I was among strangers, and had I shown the courage of Julius Caesar, I would not have advanced the object I had in view; my intention has always been at the first battle; if I found I could stand it, to endeavor to do something which would give me an honorable mention of my name in the Colonel’s official report, so that I could make it the basis of an application for a commission in the Confederate States Army. Circumstances, which I have related, prevented this and although I have proof from several individuals that I did not play the coward in the fight, yet I am no nearer my commission that I was before. These matters, personal to myself, I mention to you, because I know that what interests me, is not uninteresting to you. Have you forgiven me for fooling you about my destination, when I saw you on my way here? Although I know it was for your good, yet I felt badly at practicing a deception on you. How are all my dear little children? Keep them for Papa. Tell Scolley if he had been here on Sunday last and heard the guns firing + the balls whistling he would no longer want to be a soldier. What is to be the little daughter’s name? I want you to make your own choice about it. “I hope it may not be long before I get to see you again, The enemy were so completely routed on Sunday that we now have no fears of an attack from them, and our troops are everyday drawing their lines nearer & nearer to Alexandria, without molestation. Soon will come the storming of Arlington Heights and then I think we will pause unless Maryland joins us, when we will whip the Yankees from her border. Some part of our army I think will be forced to the valley to drive the enemy from there…..

yrs fondly, Samuel J. C. Moore

From website tennrebgirl.com July 2012

Transcription by R. E. L. Krick

Contributed by Eric Mink

Samuel Johnson Cramer Moore at Ancestry

Samuel Johnson Cramer Moore at Fold3

Samuel Johnson Cramer Moore at FindAGrave

Samuel Johnson Cramer Moore papers at University of North Carolina

Samuel Johnson Cramer Moore biographical sketch





Pvt. Robert LaFayette Francisco, Co. E, 4th Virginia Infantry, On the Battle

6 08 2021

The following is from a member of Col. J. F. Preston’s Regiment, to his brother in this city:

Camp near Manassas, July 30, 1861.

We left Winchester on Thursday, with the impression that we were going to prevent the enemy from out-flanking us in the direction of Charlestown; but when a few miles from town we were told by our officers that we were on a forced march for this place to help Gen. Beauregard, and that we must make it in forty-eight hours, which we did, and had some eight hours to spare. We had one day’s rest, when, on Sunday morning, 21st, while preparing breakfast in the pines, our ears were saluted by the enemy’s artillery, and in a few moments a few bombs fell in our neighborhood. This was only a feint.–We were in a few moments on the march, and, after marching and counter-marching, and double-quicking it some twelve miles, we were brought up immediately behind our largest battery to support it, and at which the enemy were hurling a perfect sheet of grape, canister, and every other kind of shot. We soon took our positions and lay down upon the ground quietly for two hours and forty minutes in the hot sun. During this time the pine bushes behind us were literally mowed down, and many of our best men were killed lying there. Three were killed by a bomb-shell within a few feet of me, a part of whose blood was spattered upon me. A little further off five of our countrymen were killed without having moved from their positions. Gens. Johnston, Beauregard and Jackson rode before us and gave us a cheer. Gen. Beauregard’s horse was shot within my sight. After a while the enemy got on our flank, and commenced a brisk cross fire both with artillery and musketry, and I began to think that our case was a desperate one, for our men who were on our left fell back and let the enemy have their position in the pines. But we did not have long to think of our position, for we were ordered to charge and clear the field with the bayonet.–Up we jumped, gave a loud yell, and over the fence and through the pines we went until we met the enemy face to face. We were met at every step with a perfect shower of bullets, and I saw many noble fellows full by my side to rise no more. One shot passed through the leg of my pants, and another through my shirt, but nothing could stop us; on we went until we charged on and over Sherman’s famous battery, and our brave Colonel (James F. Preston) was first to mount it and place our colors upon it. So, let the world say what they will, the Fourth Regiment of Virginia Volunteers took it and held it, though we were aided by the Twenty-Seventh; but they were a long way from it when we captured it. I am told that others claim and have received all the honor of the capture, some of whom perhaps never saw it. We took in all ten pieces, having first killed nearly all their horses and men. The men that we fought were the Brooklyn Zouaves, a part of Ellsworth’s Regiment, and the regulars.–But they could not stand the cold steel, and I never in my life saw men run so fast after fighting as well as they did; for there is no denying the fact that they know how to shoot, and for a long time fought well.

After our cavalry took them on the run, I returned to the field and assisted in removing many of our wounded men, and I never again wish to witness such a scene. The cries of the wounded and dying for help and water are still ringing in my ears. I carried water and ministered to both friend and foe as long as I could. Of the number of prisoners and amount of property taken in this fight, you doubtless know as well, if not better than I do.

I had many interesting conversations with the enemy’s wounded, nearly all of whom said that they had been most grossly deceived, but I don’t believe one word that they say. Some, however, said that they would fight again if they got the chance. I saw many letters that they had written to their lady-loves, telling them to direct their letters to Richmond, as they would be there in a few days. I don’t suppose there ever were men who calculated more certainly on victory than these men; but, thanks be to God, there never were men more bitterly disappointed.

They say that they can fight men with some hope of success, but not devils.

So you see, in the whole matter, the “harmless Fourth,” as we are called, have performed their duty well, and God in his mercy gave us help and put a “panic” into the hearts of the Yankees, and they ran; therefore we ought to give Him all the glory and thanks.

We had, when we went into action, a little over four hundred in our regiment. Thirty-five were killed and ninety-eight wounded. Our loss was, therefore, heavy in proportion to the number engaged. Not one of the company to which I am attached (the Montgomery Highlanders, Captain C. A. Ronald,) was killed, and only six wounded. I am satisfied that nothing but the protecting care of our Heavenly Father saved us from so many imminent dangers.

R. L. F.

Richmond (VA) Daily Dispatch, 8/6/1861

Clipping image

Contributed and transcribed by Eric Mink

Robert L. Francisco at Ancestry

Robert L. Francisco at Fold3

Robert L. Francisco at FindAGrave

4th Virginia Infantry Roster

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Capt. Alfred Horatio Belo, Co. D, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

5 08 2021

Battle Ground 4 miles north of Manassas
Junction, Va. July 21 [sic], 1861.

Dear Carrie;

Your very welcome note, together with Mollie’s interesting letter came very opportunely to hand this morning. We have just received our tents and put them up. We commenced receiving our baggage yesterday evening, but it was Company’s time to go on picket guard, therefore after going out and posting the pickets, I returned to camp, and with a few men left, succeeded in pitching all our tents last evening and this morning, and now as everything is going on quietly I have seated myself for the purpose off having a nice quiet chat with you.

It is unnecessary to say anything about our departure from Danville, as I noticed an article in the last Press giving the particulars. Our stay in Richmond was not long; we arrived here on Saturday about 10 o’clock P.M. and left on the following Tuesday at 6 o’c P.M. I suppose you have seen an account of the collision of that night. I was in the rear car, asleep at the time, but was waked by the jar. The troops were all on one train, and the baggage on another following behind. Between 11 & 12 o’clock the baggage train ran into our train, but strange to say the rear car was injured very slightly, while one or two next to it were smashed up considerably, wounding several of Capt. Connally’s men, and breaking and bending a number of guns. To look at the wreck afterwards impressed everyone with the thought that nothing else but the divine interpolation of God saved the lives of many of our Regiment on that night. The next morning we proceeded on our way and without anything unusual occurring, arrived at Manassas Junction about sundown. We were under order to report ourselves at Winchester, but learning here that a large force of the enemy was advancing, and in all probability a battle would ensue on the following day, we concluded to wait until Gen’l Beauregard returned, and if he thought our services would be more needed here than at Winchester, remain and go to W afterwards.

On the return of Gen’l Beauregard we were ordered to remain, and between 1 and 2 o’clock A.M. on Thursday the 18th inst. were commanded to wake up the men (who were still in the cars) and have them ready to march by 4 o’clock. Shortly after daylight we took up our line of march, and after marching four miles were halted and placed in the reserves. I will not attempt a description of our feelings and thoughts on that march, but leave you to imagine them. I will only say that events crowded each other so rapidly that we did not find much time for reflection, and marching to a battle field is not near so serious a thing as represented by some. The battle commenced about 12 o’clock and about 10 o’clock were ordered to take our position on the left flank, where we remained during he remainder of the engagement. The fight was chiefly confined to the right front and center, and we did not become generally engaged, altho’ occasionally a cannon ball or bomb shell would whistle past and strike before us to keep us on the alert, and be ready for an attack at any moment. Our men were all remarkably cool during the whole day, and when it was announced that the enemy had retreated seemed to be disappointed that they had not had an opportunity to try their muskets on some Yankee targets. I have often, when reading of battles wished that I could be placed in some position to see one, but then had no idea that wishes would be so soon realized. Carrie, I assure you that it is magnificently grand to hear the continued rattle of musketry, the clash of bayonets, the shouts of exultation rending the air when any point is attained, mingled with the booming of the field pieces, and no one can adequately realize it, unless by actual experience. After the battle we marched and took our position on the center (where we have been ever since). On Friday and Saturday we were busily engaged in strengthening our entrenchments, and were kept on the alert both night and day by constant alarms of the approach of the enemy. We were within sight, and by means of glasses could see the Yankees passing to and fro. On Saturday night, the same night you wrote, we slept in the trenches on our arms, but were not alarmed until about daybreak when we commenced preparations for the coming struggle. We breakfasted as early as possible. It was a beautiful, bright, sunny Sabbath morn, and Dame Nature seemed to have donned her best attire to witness the signal defeat of our enemies.

The first shot was fired about 6 o’clock and a brisk cannonading was kept up. Between 9 and 10 o’clock the enemy made an attack upon our left flank, and a bloody contest ensued lasting for several hours. The evident design was to attack both flanks, and then make a combined effort on the center, but they met with such stout resistance at those two places and had to reinforce so much that they had very few left to make the attack on the center. I heard it remarked yesterday that one of the Yankee prisoners said that they (the Yankees) had taken one of our pickets prisoner a day or two before the battle and had extorted from him the facts that the center was stronger than any other part, and the North Carolina men were in the center, whereupon they said ‘they would not encounter N.C. troops at all, but if they were compelled they would pit off to the last.’ Be that as it may, they did not advance upon us but kept up a constant cannonade upon us, which of course we could not resist, but had to keep well concealed behind our entrenchments. The battle was very bloody, and the victory dear as we lost some very good men, but our loss is not near so heavy as that of the enemy. The regulars and Zouaves are the men who did the hard fighting against us, and they are the ones who suffered the most. I am told that almost all of Ellsworth’s petlambs were left on the field. This was undoubtedly intended as a decisive battle on the part of the enemy. We are informed that a great many ladies and gentlemen, among them Congressmen with their wives and daughters accompanied the army as far as Centerville (three miles north of this), with the intention of going on to Richmond with the army, but in the evening of that great day suddenly concluded to postpone their visit to that city for the present. But I am digressing.

The battle continued with unabated fury until about 4 o’clock P.M. when the firing ceased and shortly afterwards we were told that the enemy were in full retreat, and were ordered to follow immediately. It was very gratifying to see the promptness with which our men leaped from their places, and in a few moments were in hot pursuit and with glistening bayonets and shouts of triumph rending the air. We passed right through the enemy’s camp and saw vast quantities of knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, blankets, uniforms, bread, beef, guns &c, that they had left behind in their haste, and continued the pursuit for several miles, when night came on us and we returned to our camp.

It is impossible for me to say anything correctly about the loss on either side. I know the whole of the next day was occupied in bringing in the booty and prisoners. We took a large number of baggage wagons and fine horses, all of Sherman’s battery besides a good many guns and other articles of war. On the day after the battle some five or six hundred prisoners were sent on to Richmond, including 30 or 40 officers, and there were, and are now a great many more to go on. It was decidedly the most signal victory that has ever been achieved on the American continent and several more lessons of the same sort will I hope have a good effect on Lincoln and his cohorts. But I declare, here comes the end of the paper and I must stop.

Write soon to Your cousin,

Alf.
Direct 11th Regt. N.C. Volunteers Manassas Junction. Va.

You doubtless heard of the death of Col. Charles Fisher. His remains were sent home.

Yours,
Alf.

Contributed by Charles R. Knight

Transcription from North Carolina Museum of History

Original letter at State Archives of NC

Alfred Horatio Belo at Ancestry

Alfred Horatio Belo at Fold3

Alfred Horatio Belo at FindAGrave

Alfred Horatio Belo at Wikipedia





Pvt. Thomas G. Read, Co. I, 33rd Virginia Infantry, On the Victory

4 08 2021

Manassa’s Junction
July 27, 1861

Dear Father,

I have been thinking sometime that I would send you a letter, as I have written twice to mother, I know you want the exact news about the big fight and what they took &ct. well I suppose you know we, that is, our company got here after the fight we got here last Tues. and have been under tent ever since, doing very well it is not near as bad as some report it we have had plenty to eat of fresh beef, bacon, flour, coffee & sugar, and some rice, we are kept right busy drilling three times a day, cooking, bringing water about 200 yds. The water is good freestone, but rather warm, still it does right well, there is plenty of it. As to the fight that took place last Sunday, it is considered by all a great victory, and so it is, I was out in the battleground Wednesday, it is 7 miles west of the Junction, and we are camped 3 miles west of it, so we are 4 miles from the battlefield, it is estimated that we killed 10,000 of the enemy, and they 3,000 of us, besides hundreds of prisoners taken by us, we took 70 pieces of cannon, 8 thirty two pounders, and 62 rifled cannon, besides 18,000 stacks of small arms. The value of all taken from them is estimated at a million and a half dollars so you see it is a pretty good gain to our side and less so theirs; there were a good many old regulars among the enemy; they are their best soldiers, and were dressed in red and blue, even had red pants, good marks to shoot at; it seems they intended to march right through to Richmond from the way they were prepared; they had 3 days rations in their haversacks, and had their Knapsacks on their backs pretty well filled; but God frustrated their designs and they have nothing left but infamy, dishonor, and defeat; if we had been able to follow them, we might have run them clear through, and taken possession of Washington itself, but it was not to be so, our men are very well satisfied as it is and there is no bravado, or boasting that I have heard, but we all believe that God was on our side, we being in the right. At last our men charged bayonets on them about a hundred yds off, but they ran like Yankees and we couldn’t reach them; they kept on running until they got out of danger though the cavalry pursued them and destroyed a good many with sword & pistol. they went back through Alexandria like stray sheep. Well, I can only tell you yet that I have been doing very well so far, we rode 35 miles on the cars from Salem to this place let me know whether Henry has gone in the militia and write soon to your affectionate son

Thos. G. Read

Let mother read this as if it were written to her, as I may not be able to write again soon, love to all, and tell James Zirkle I will write to him soon

T.G.R.

Contributed by Eric Mink

Read Family Correspondence at University of Notre Dame Rare Books and Special Collections, including biographical information

This letter at University of Notre Dame Rare Books and Special Collections (transcription and letter images)

Thomas G. Read at Ancestry

Thomas G. Read at Fold3

Thomas G. Read at FindAGrave

 





Capt. Asher Waterman Harman, Co. G, 5th Virginia Infantry, On the Victory

3 08 2021

Camp Jackson, July 25th, 1861

My dear Wife,

It has been a long, long time since I have received a letter from you. I know that it is not your fault, but that makes me the no less anxious to hear from you directly. I went to the Junction last night & was informed that the mail wouldn’t be opened until this morning & when I sent this morning was informed it would not be ready before 10 o’clock. John went in this morning & I am in hopes that he will bring me a letter from you. I know I am anxious. You were & are still to hear from me. I have done my part to communicate with you and have written daily. Some of my letters must have reached & relieved your mind on my account. We have been comparatively quiet for three days now, and we are down to our usual drill daily, & our orders has just come in to cook three days rations which does indicate a movement somewhere, though we may stay here for a week or so yet. Our forces are pressing on towards Alexandria. It seems now that Lion is to be herded in his den, and I think we may yet see the White House & Lincoln before we return to the Valley. Nothing would afford me so much pleasure. The newspaper accounts of the dead, wounded & prisoners of the enemy are moderate, also of wagons & army stores. It is almost incredible one can hardly believe their own eyes at the extraordinary sights. This has been a terrible disaster for them & will take millions of money for them to replace, if they even can their heavy losses. The results of this battle must change the face of the war. Their forces cannot penetrate into the State with a victorious army pressing on Washington & ready at a moment’s warning to be hurled on the rear of them. Such a course on their part would be fatal & render their destruction more than certain. I have no fears now for the final result of the contest. We have proven our superiority over even their Regular forces. Don’t think I am too confident. God is on our side. His finger is pointed direct to the late battlefield and speaks in tones of thunder his approval of our great cause & dare could it be otherwise. Are we not fighting for all we hold dear on this earth, and what is life worth, if we fail. I would not give a fig for it, but enough of this. Long before this you have seen Asher, Graham & Stafford & they have given you all the particulars from this Quarter & about me. Tell Willy he ought just to see the dead Yankees & Yankee prisoners. Father’s boys slayed a lot of them too & fought like wild cats. I am very anxious to hear from Michael. I want by all means to go into his regiment if I can get there. I think he has influence enough to have me there. William is especially anxious to go too. I hope we will all be together. When the horse gets home, if you need him, which I don’t think you do, as two horse plow teams will do the work, keep him, if not, Michael will dispose of him for me again. Bagly will let you have another hand if you need him. You will know best. Tell William or Mr. Dull to have the wheat land ploughed early & the land put in fine order so that the wheat will have a good start. I meant for you to get the Mediterranean wheat from Michael. Only seed as much in white wheat as will make bread for ourselves, say 8 or 10 acres. Sew our own Bouten wheat & the Med. from Michael. I am so anxious to get a letter from you, it seems like a mighty long time. Bearing the water, we are getting on very well, that is miserable & scarce. We suffer for it, but hope to be moved soon to a better place. Did we make much hay. How does the stock look. I hear that we have had a fine season and that the corn looks well. Hope our fall pasture will be good. Try & make a clover seed enough for ourselves. The Timothy seed you will have to buy. There is two bushels at home & five bushels more will do. Don’t sew the new ground in grass this fall. Leave it until next fall. Keep all stock off of the young grass except the colts & calves & don’t let them stay on in wet weather. Do with the wheat just as Michael advised. Remember me to the servants. How does Albert, Ned, Marshall, Fanny & Philbert come on. Hope they are all good. Mind me to Miss Sally & Mr. Dull. Good bye. God less you. Kiss my darling babies for me. Love to Lucy. Kind regards to Mrs. Donaghe. Love to Mary, Betty, Fanny & Corey. Hoping to get a letter from you soon.

I am as ever your fond & devoted Husband,

Asher W.H.

Have you seen my wounded men. I tried to send Doyle home this morning but could not. He has typhoid fever. Will send him up tomorrow. No news. Tom ate dinner with me today & is here now. Will & I are both well. Tom Gates is coming to stay with me.

Affec.,

Asher

Contributed by Eric Mink

The original letter and transcript were found by Eric Mink on the website of War Between the States Militaria July 2013.

Asher W. Harman at Ancestry

Asher W. Harman at Fold3

Asher W. Harman at FindAGrave





“L.V.H.”, Co. I, 4th Virginia Infantry, On the Battle

30 07 2021

Manassas Junction, July 24, 1861.

Mr. Editor:

I will now give you a short account of the important events that have lately transpired at this point. On Sunday, the 21st, inst., we fought a bloody and one of the greatest battles ever fought on this side of the Atlantic. I cannot enter into the details of the battle, but can only give you a description of the part played by Jackson’s brigade, and our regiment specifically. Early on the morning of the eventful day it was reported that the enemy were advancing upon us and that a large column was attempting to flank us on our left wing. So our brigade was put in motion and marched off to support the point of attack. Soon after our departure from our camp, the impudent fellows opened a cannonade just opposite our encampment, actually throwing balls, shells, &c., into it, yet we pushed on, and after a good deal of marching, counter-marching, double-quicking, &c., we halted for a short time in a grove. At that time there were cannon firing all along our line, but the heaviest was on our left, where the sharp rattle of musketry plainly told us that there the work had begun. It was then about 11 o’clock, but the firing had been opened some time before. After waiting for a short time, an aid came riding up at full speed and we were ordered into the field, which was at least a mile distant. Away we went over the hills towards the scene, whilst the din of the battle grew louder and louder. On arriving there our brigade was posted on the extreme left of the line of battle. Our regiment was posted just a few yards in the rear of the celebrated “Washington Artillery,” from New Orleans, which was stationed on the summit of a small hill. This we had to support, and await the order to charge on the enemy’s battery, just on an opposite hill. In the meantime the enemy’s whole fire from his artillery on the left was directed on the batteries just in front of our regiment, and we had to throw ourselves flat on the ground as a protection against the balls, shot, shell, &c., of the enemy’s battery, which came thick as hail just a few feet above our heads, and completely cutting to pieces a grove in our rear. Sometimes they would strike in front of us, tear up the ground, and bounce over our heads, and others would just graze the tops of our bodies as we lay prostrate. Whilst laying there, a fatal shell burst in the midst of our company, killed three of our boys and wounded another. Also we had some others wounded there. We lay in that awful place for at least two hours, during which time the suspense was of the most agonizing character. For our inactivity was a burden, and we expected every moment to be swept into eternity. The batteries in front of us did noble and effective work; and Capt. Pendleton’s battery was there too. After a time the enemy moved some of their pieces still further over to our left, so as to obtain an enfilading fire on our lines. Some of our pieces returned the compliment to them with a deadly fire. And then the strife was fiercest and the thunder of the battle the loudest. A large body of the enemy then attempted to get around us on our left, to take the batteries. But the word was given to charge on their lines. And believe me it was a relief for our boys to go get up from their dangerous position behind those batteries and dash forward in the charge. The Yankees cannot stand a charge, so they did not stand firm, but deemed it prudent to retire a short distance. Then our regiment was ordered to halt and open fire upon them. After firing upon their column for a while – many of the shots telling well – we again charged on them, and that was the turning point of the day, for they broke and ran like fine fellows. We immediately took all of their artillery, there, the celebrated Rhode Island battery. Abut the same time the enemy’s ranks broke along the line and the day was won. Some reinforcements then came in and joining in with our troops, pursued the routed army for about two miles. Then our cavalry put out after them for many miles, captured about 20 pieces of cannon from them, many baggage wagons loaded, guns, &c., which they threw aside in their flight. Our gunners turned some of their own rifle pieces upon them and played most beautifully into their ranks for miles. The road along which they fled was filled with blankets, haversacks, canteens, &c., laid aside by them, as they run like brave fellows. It was a complete rout for them and a glorious victory for us. Those were proud moments for our boys when they beheld our regimental flag wave in triumph over the field of Stone Bridge (the name given to the battle). It was the same flag given to our company on the morning of our departure, by the ladies of Falling Spring, as we gave it to the regiment, being the nicest of any among our companies. Opposed to our regiment were the New York Zouaves of Ellsworth’s regiment and some of the Brooklyn Zouaves; but with such a motto as “Pro Aris et Focis” upon our banner, we struggled hard and finally won the day. Also the rest of our brigade had to engage with regulars, and hence had quite brisk work of it. We gained the day, but it was a bloody victory for some of us. Our company lost five, and had seven wounded. There were also others from Rockbridge who fell to rise no more. Our company buried our dead comrades on the morning after the battle, just where we were first stationed, on the edge of the grove. Poor boys! they now sleep their long sleep in their soldier graves amid the hills of Prince William, where they fell in the cause of Freedom, and in defence of all that is dear to the human heart. On the field of Stone Bridge some of the best and bravest blood of the South was shed in the cause of Southern Independence, sons of Virginia, of the Carolinas and of all the other Confederate States, were there sacrificed upon our common alter and in one common cause. But the enemy’s loss far exceeded ours. I walked over the field in the evening of the day of battle, and where they stood the ground was strewn thick their dead and wounded. Some of the wounded said that we Southern boys fought differently from what they had been led to suppose. And that difference is owing to the difference on our respective causes. Had I time and space I could enter more into the details of the battle. Some of our boys remarked on that beautiful Sabbath morning that we would on that day fight a second Waterloo; and I hope it will be to Lincoln what it was to Napoleon. That it will but herald the downfall of the usurper and the tyrant and inaugurate the bright era of Southern Independence, when peace and prosperity will reign over the land of the sunny South.

L.H.V.*

Lexington (VA) Gazette, 8/1/1861

Contributed by John Cummings. Transcribed by Eric Mink.

Co. I was comprised of the Liberty Hall Volunteers (L. H. V.)

Original Roll of Liberty Hall Volunteers, Co. I, 4th VA Infantry





Unknown Officer, Co. G, 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers, On the Battle

19 07 2021

The following letter from an officer in Company G, Second Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, giving an account of the battle of last Sunday, will be read with interest. It was addressed to a prominent citizen of this town. It seems that our Company passed thirty-six hours wholly without food, drink, or sleep.

Camp Clark, Washington, D. C.,
July 23d, 1861.

Friend ——:– I suppose, were this, you have heard of our battle and defeat; but thinking that you would like an account from an eye-witness, I will give it to you. We left our camp at Centerville at two o’clock on Sunday morning, and, after marching about ten miles, we engaged the rebels. The Second Rhode Island Regiment, was in the advance, two companies on each side of the road acting as skirmishers, and my own company was the advance company on the road, marching by the flank in four ranks. We were marching in the woods, and could not see where the enemy were, when Col. Hunter came riding down to us and said, “Now, Rhode Islanders, we expect much of you – give it to them!” We assured him we would do it. We then leaped over a fence and found the enemy drawn up in a line and ready for us. We rushed down upon them, firing as fast as we could, but they outnumbered us, and being armed with Minie rifles, cut us completely to pieces. Through some mismanagement, our regiment was engaged with the rebels thirty minutes before any other troops came on the field, receiving a most galling fire. Within the space of ten minutes, Cols. Hunter and Slocum, Major Ballou and Capt. Tower fell, which was a severe loss to commence with. Our men fought like bull-dogs. During the thirty minutes we were all alone on the field out men expended all their ammunition, and we had to rob the dead to last till we were ordered off to replenish. The rebels are armed with first-rate arms, and use them well. They would bring out an American flag in their line and keep it there until they could rally their men in the bushes, and then make a rush upon us. In this way they deceived us.

Our light battery worked first-rate, but was obliged to leave the field for want of ammunition. After a fight of about five hours we were ordered to retreat. On our way back the enemy opened a masked battery upon us, and killed a great many men and horses, and took the light battery, except one piece. The Rhode Island Second Regiment received the highest praise from army officers and the citizens of Washington, for the prompt manner in which they went into battle. The greatest compliment I heard was than of an officer of the army, saying, that if it became necessary to cover the retreat, he would be obliged to take the Rhode Island Regiments and the Regulars to do it, which I thought was very good.

Major Ballou was in the midst of the battle, acting bravely, when a cannon ball passed through his horse, shattering the Major’s leg to pieces, so that they had to take it off. Our retreat was so hasty that we left both dead and wounded. How they will fare the Lord only knows. The rebels are a blood-thirsty set.

You can imagine the shape the men are in at present, when you know that we marched from 2 o’clock in the morning, without any breakfast, ten miles, and immediately attacked the enemy without resting at all; and then our retreat was so sudden that we could not rest. The distance to Washington was thirty miles, which we were obliged to mad before we halted, all without any food except what we could carry in our haversacks, and this we were obliged to throw away. So you see we were on our feet without rest from 2 o’clock Sunday morning, till eight o’clock Monday morning, when we arrived at Long Bridge. The men’s feet are in very bad condition. I never knew what it was to suffer for water before, being obliged to dip it up in the road all muddy, and drink it mud and all. It does not become me to give my opinion of this battle and its management, but I have one and you will, after you have read the whole account.

You must excuse the manner in which this is put together, for I have been writing all day making reports, and thought I would write you, if it was late.

Warren (RI) Telegraph, 7/27/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy