Pvt. William J. Hubbard, Co. H, 18th Virginia Infantry, Before, During, and After the Battle (3 Letters)

20 10 2020

Fairfax Ct. House July 11th [or 14th] 1861

Dear Tom,

I have a chance to send you a letter by Mr. Brow, and tell you how I am getting along here. I wrote to you the last of June while we were at Centerville and again on 4 of July while at Georgetown and have not received no answer. I was afraid my letters was not sent to you. I have been sick four times since I left home by cooking and was washing too much. I have at present a very bad cold with a slite [slight] headache and have a very sore lip that seems to be a blood bile. We have a wet time of it at present, and our tents is so damp that a sick Man can’t improve at present much. We had an alarm last week and our regiment was out with less excitement than before, but it was all nothing, some of the boys said the Picket shot at a lightening bug for the enemy, they say that they saw a man strike a match and so the tale goes. Our Pickets hear the drum and fife of the enemy frequently indeed that Wally Wootson [William Woodson Co. H*] was and I was really surprised [surprised] to hear it[.] I little thought when we went to gather [together] to the degarian room to have our likeness taken that he would soon be done with earth. I know it goes hard with the old folks our people begin to feel the scourge of war, though we are in the right. I had my likeness taken for Sue, and gave it to G.H. Gilliam to send it to you the first opportunity, write me word if you have received it yet.

I received a letter from [unknown name] dated the 2 and it was a treat indeed to hear from home. She inquired about our flys whether we received them or not they all came safe to hand.

Sunday night it was raining again and we will be made sick, if the wet weather continues, we have 80 men out every night standing guard and taking the weather with out any shelter and they come in of mornings complaining they were nerly [nearly] Frozen.

We have Preaching twice on sunday [Sunday] in good weather and in the week. Dr. Dabny reads a portion of scripture [Scriptures] and comments on it some four times a week. It dose [does] me good to hear songs of zion, and hear the earnest prayer on our behalf.

Tom you see from the position we occupy we stand a chance to have a brush with the enemy at any time. The citizens of Fairfax have been moving off and I see furniture passing every day for the last 4 or 5 days. Fairfax is a place about as large as Pr. E. C. House with regular streets and some nice private residences. This is a grass and wheat country and quite level. The timber is the same as ours with a good deal of undergrowth and makes it impossible for our army to march through it. We have to guard the roads and wach [watch] the open fields.

We can by [buy] mutton and eggs[,] chickens and butter most every time we need it We have orders to keep 3 days provisions cooked on hand, and to be ready to march at a moments warning we know not where.

I wish you all could come and see what a soldier was to go through in camp, I told our boys if we were spared to reach home again we could camp out to show the ladies how the soldiers cooked and how they fiked [fixed] their beds, it would amuse you to see them fixing after they have arrived at a new place you see them striking every piece of plank they can lay hands on, some rakeing [raking] up leaves like an old sow. Some round a tree that has been cut down like you have seen cows in spring pulling of the bows to keep them off the ground and make their beds soft such is a soldiers[‘] life. As the drum will tap for lites [lights] to be put out soon I must my letter to a close. If you have a chance to send, let me have some more of the McLanes Pills and Jamaca [Jamaica] ginger. Write me the news, give my love to I.P.G and Winston and Mr. Matthews and Sady [Sadie?] Misses Fanny Evelin and Betty and tell them I will never forget the pleasant hours we spent together. I have not heard from Ned Gilliam for a long time write me how he is getting along. I been sorry I did not stay home when I was their until [until] I got well. I am afraid it will be some time before I am prepared to stand guard with safty [safety], but if we are called out to night I will shoulder my musket and do the best I can, the drum has taped for lites [lights] to be put out.

So Tom

PS I hope none of the Family will think of [illegible word] by themselves slighted because I do not call them by name. I write to all in the same letter and wish all to read.

Wm. H.

*William J. Woodson, a 22-year-old farmer that enlisted at Pamplin Depot, died July 8, 1861, of typhoid fever.

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Centerville Fairfax July 26th

Dear Family,

I know you all have been looking for a letter from me, since our retreat from Fairfax. [O]our Regiment has been staying in the woods as a Picket[s] guarding a ford on Bullrun [Bull Run], without anything except a few blankets and our clothes, and there we stayed untill [until] Sunday evening, when we marched off to the field of Battle, we had a trying time of it, as soon as we left the low grounds and got on the hill where the enemy could see us they let fly the Bunbs [bombs] at us, they came hissing through the air, and fall and explode all around us tareing [tearing] up the ground like a thunder bolt, I tell you all we tried to be quite small, we soon reached to the top of the hill where we could hear the fireing [firing] as plain as if it was only a few hundred yards off, as soon as we reached that point the cannon balls and shell came thick and fast making the trees and ground crack again, I tell you I did not feel as comfortable as I would like to be behind a brest work [breastworks], we march on to the field of battle expecting every moment to be our last, and such a field I hope not to march through again the pruse [spruce] pine was so thick that you could not see a man ten steps, and we had to press throug[h] it several hundred yards before we could reach the field of battle as soon as we reach the opening we form in line of battle, and we were scarcely form[ed] when [Andrew] Leach was shot by my side and fell dead without a groan and the next moment Billy Grey [Gray] was struck by a ball on the neck which only bruised a little, and [Robert P.] Meadows was struck on the nose, which blined [blinded] him for a while and gave him a very sore nose

I tell you it was raining bullets jus[t] about that time we dropped on the ground until [until] the shower was over and as soon as it slacken we marche[d] to the top of the hill where we saw the enemy in full view, as soon as they saw us they sent another storm of lead at us, we fell on the ground the secon[d] time, as soon as the fire slacken we charged on the battery just as they were ready to send reinforcements to it, as soon as they saw it in our possession they gave up for good we let them have a few rounds and they retreated out of the way, soon we saw several Regiments comeing [coming] on the wright [right] of the enemy and fired in to them and soon they were all retreating, to our joy. Some of the boys proposed to wheel the cannon [a]round and give them a fire from their own guns. No sooner said the boys seized her and pulled her around, loaded and fired, and made an opening in their ranks. I tell you there was no order in retreating after that before they could load and fire again our Regiment was ordered to the stone Bridge where we expected some of them would try to cross under the fire of their guns over the river. We marched below the bridge in the bend of the river where we could rake them if they had crossed but they had higher up on a bridge they had made. We crossed the river with the expectation of pursuing them but Col. Withers had orders to wait for the rest of the brigade did not come up we halted to rest our selves [ourselves] on the grass and here Sergeant [Thomas H. B.] Durfrey [Durphy] got shot while sitting on the ground. We had not been long here before we were ordered to Manassas, as they heard that an attack would be made Sunday night but the defeat at stone Bridge broke it up. If we had pursued them with our forces we could have taken nearly all the army. We got a march?? about 9 o’clock at night and march 5 miles near Manassas and took a nap upon the cold ground with the blue heavens for our covering. We were wakeed [woke]up the next morning by the rain gently falling in our faces though with grateful hearts for the protection we had received on the battle field the day before. I can say without doubt, the Lord mighty in battle fout [fought] for us, and glory and praise be to his name for his goodness unto us. We march Monday through the rain wet as rats near the battle field and halted for the night. And the rain pouring down next morning I went to battle field to bury poor Leach hoo [who] had been overlooked on Monday, such a sight I never wish to see again[.] The enemy was lying over a field nearly a mile long in every direction with different uniforms it was sickening to behold. The mangled bodies as they lay on the field. The enemy was so frightened they never returned to bury their dead. Tuesday evening we came to this place, and we know not where next we go. As we came along the road[,] the road was srowed [strewed] provisions & every thing a soldier needs. I never expected to see such destruction. They throwed down their guns sourds [swords], shoes, hats, pants, socks that they might get along the faster. I found three guns two cartridge boxes pr [pair] of boots canten [canteen] and a pair of red pants. I am equipped with Yankee fixins now. I have seen several hundred prisoners. Col Withers has now a Col Wood in his tent that was wounded in the fight in the hip and will get well soon. Two of his men stuck to him. One was sent to the junction the other is here with the Col to wait on him. They looked like criminals when they were first brought in, when they were first taken. I understand that they pled for their life, but they now look quite cheerful. They are treated as the rest of us, the young man that waits on the Col is as lively as any of our boys and is fond of jokes. He says we are quite a different people from what he expected to see. He seems to be contented.

I heard an exhortation from H.B. Coles last night which the regiment was pleased with.

We as a regiment here are enjoying good health, though many has left sick sinc[e] we left Richmond. I have not been sick since the day before we retreated from Fairfax. I expect you all have herd more news about the battles then I have as I rarely se[e] a paper[.] Let me hear from you all soon. As Manassas is headquarters direct every thing [everything] to that place we get our provisions from there. Give my love to all my friends and pray for us while we are exposed to the perils of warfare. I am getting hungry and must go to cooking so Dear Friends good by for the present.

Tom I received yours and Sues letters the morning after the battle. It was a real treat. I received the nice little flag.

Yours,

W.J. Hubbard

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Camp Centerville Aug.11th 1861

Dear Family,

I take this opportunity of dropping you all a few lines. I have spent the Sabbath so fare [far] something like home. Dr. Dabney gave us a sermon this morning on swaring [swearing]. I thought it came in good time. It was the best on the subject I ever heard. It would astonish you if you were here at the wickedness of our men. They will swear on the field of battle where bumbs [bombs] and shot are flying around them. We have meeting every night when the weather is fair, and the Dr. is well.

Mr. Granberry was in camp this week to see us[,] he looks more like a soldier than a preacher, he is chaplain in a Regiment mad[e] up partly from Albemarl[e].

It has been quite a quiet time since the fight, and we feel as unconcern[ed], as if peace was about to be made. There will be a calm after a storm.

We drill in the morning and then have Dress Parade in the evening; our company is quite small and the Col. is complaining because so many is absent, he says he will deal with them as diserters [deserters] if they don’t return soon.

We have rain in the abundance, the ground has been too wet for camp life, and it has given our boys colds

I have been well ever since our retreat from Fairfax though exposed a gooddeal [good deal], I was glad to see Sam and Brown once more, and hear from home, they have been complaining ever since they been here, Sam was quite sick last night, but better to day [today], Billy Gilliam is complaining of the r[h]umatism a little, he got very wet in the coming here from Manassas. Julius Fore is been complaining for several days and I would not be surprised if he haves a spell of sickness.

I have received four letters since the battle and a great treat it was to hear from home once more, I can’t read a letter from home without sheding [shedding] tears.

I do hope the yankies [yankees] have their fill of us, and will make peace, and let us return to our homes, once more I met with Mr. Leach last Friday to the Battlefield to see the grave of his Brother, he is now on his way to Pamplins. There was quite a change since I were there last, the Yankies [Yankees] had a little dirt thrown on their boddies [bodies] jus[t] where they ly [lie], and by fall their bones will be s[t]rewed over the field, with the frames of the horses that was killed in battle

I would like to see som[e] one from the nieghborhood in our camp, I believe all the companys have been visited by some one [someone] from their neighborhoods since the fight, I would be glad to see you Tom, or Par [Pa] here and let you see a little of camp life, and try it a week or too [two] for yourselves.

We hear but little news that is true, you all can tell more about the fight than I can, because you have read all the points.

In this neighborhood there is I reccon [reckon] 100 wounded prisoners and most of them will get well, they say they will not, take up arms against us no more, they have been fooled by their officers they say, they only took up arms to protect Washington. We have re[a]d a great many letters that droped [dropped] in their retreat, I saw one written to a young lady in Main[e] stateing [stating]that Scott was with them at Bullrun [Bull Run] and he was a fine looking man, and he was in good spirits and would press the war on with vigor. We have no hint where we will go next. I would not be surpprised [surprised] if we were sent to Fairfax again

It is a b[ea]utiful sight to get on some high hill and look on our encampments in all directions, having the appearance of little towns, and at night like a citty [city] lit up with gass [gas].

The boys who lost their [k]napsacks have been in a bad fix, they have but one such and that is on their backs, some have divided with them, I thought all my clothes were gone for good but one of the boys saw my knapsack at Mannassas [Manassas] and brought it to me, I tell you I was glad to see it. I only lost my big blanket.

I wrote last week giving our movements in the fight I reckon you all have red [read] it before this time I want a pa[i]r of everyday yarn pants sent to me the last of this month so I may save my uniform pants. We have not received any pay yet, when I get it I would like for you to get it Tom, as I have a plenty for the present. I have received the medicine all in good order and they have been doing us good already

Tell Isham to write me soon,

Since you ask me what has become of my letter paper this is all I have seen I reckon this is the paper they sent Monday morning it is a beautiful morning, Col. W said dress on perraid [parade] yesterday evening, that he would arrest those who had staid [stayed] over there time and those who had gone without permition [permission]. good bye [Good bye]. One of your members

Wm. J. H.

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Letters contributed by reader Tim Smith of Joliet, Il. and Patrick Shroeder of Lynchburg, VA, and the National Park Service (with permission of NPS). Transcribed by NPS Volunteer Mike Hudson, [edits] by Patrick Schroeder, Appomattox National Historic Site.

William Hubbard is portrayed by living historians at Appomattox Court House National Historic Site

William J. Hubbard at Ancestry

William J. Hubbard at Fold3

William J. Hubbard at FindAGrave





Col. Dixon Miles, 5th Division, Defends His Actions

14 09 2020

RICHARDSON VS. MILES.

Col. Richardson, of the Federal Army, in his report of the late battles, reiterates the charge of drunkenness against Col. Dixson S. Miles, of the same army. The latter replies as follows, through the Washington Star:

Will you please give place in your columns to a short replay from an old soldier in correction of Col. Richardson’s report as published in this morning’s Sun. Perhaps no one has ever before been hunted with more assiduous, malicious vituperation and falsehood, since the battle of Bull Run, than myself. My name, I have been told, has been a bye-word in the streets of Washington and its bar-rooms for everything derogatory to my character. It was stated I had deserted to the enemy; I was a traitor, being from Maryland; a sympathizer; gave the order to retreat; was in arrest; and now, by Col Richardson’s report, drunk.

I will not copy Richardson’s report, but correct the errors he has committed, leaving to his future days a remorse he may feel t the irreparable injury he has inflicted on an old brother officer.

The order for retreat from Blackburn’s Ford, as communicated by my staff officer, emanated from Gen. McDowell, who directed two of my brigades to march on the Warrenton road as far as the bridge on Cub creek. I sent my Adjutant General, Captain Vincent, to bring up Davies’ and Richardson’s brigades, while I gave the order for Blenker’s brigade at Centreville to proceed down the Warrenton road. I accompanied these troops a part of the way, endeavoring to collect and halt the routed soldiers. I returned to Centreville heights as Col. Richardson, with his brigade, was coming into line of battle facing Blackburn’s Ford. His position was well chosen, and I turned my attention to the pacing of Davies’ brigade and the batteries. A part of Davies’ command was placed in echellon of regiments behind fences, in support of Richardson; another portion in reserve, in support of Hunt’s and Titball’s batteries.

After completing these arrangements, I returned to Blenker’s brigade, now near a mile from Centreville heights, took a regiment to cover Green’s battery, and returned to the heights. When I arrived there, just before dusk, I found all my previous arrangements of defence had been changed, not could I ascertain who had ordered it, for General McDowell was not on the field. Col. Richardson was the first person I spoke to after passing Captain Fry; he was leading his regiment into line of battle on the crest of the hill, and directly in the way of the batteries in rear. = It was here the conversation between the Colonel and myself took place which he alludes to in his report. Gen. McDowell just afterwards came on the field, and I appealed earnestly to him to permit me to command my division, and protested against the faulty disposition of the troops to resist an attack. – He replied by taking command himself and relieving me.

Col. Richardson states a conversation with Lt. Col. Stevens, of his command. I never say Col. Stevens, to my knowledge. I never gave him, or any one, the order to deploy his column; the order must have emanated from some one else, and hence my misfortune; for on his impression that I was drunk, those not immediately connected with me rung it over the field, without inquiry or investigation. – This is all that is proper for me to say at this time, as I have called for a court to investigate the whole transaction. Those who have read Richardson’s report will confer a favor to compare this statement with it; the discrepancies are glaring – the errors by deductions apparent.

D. S. Miles,
Colonel Second Infantry.

Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 8/6/1861

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“Trion,” Holmes’s Brigade, On the Battle

14 09 2020

From the Richmond Dispatch.

Holmes’ Brigade.

Richmond, Va., Aug. 9, 1861.

To the Editors of the Dispatch: – In all the accounts of the battle at Bull Run, I see in no place where Holmes’ Brigade is mentioned, and it is to do that gallant band justice that I now trouble you. – Holmes’ Brigade was stationed at Aquia Creek before the battle, it is now, though there has been some addition to it since then. On the 18th, before the memorable 21st, they were ordered to Manassas, arriving there Saturday, perfectly broken down, after a very fatiguing march, having had very little to eat, and very little sleep. On the next day they were awakened by the booming of cannon, and were soon ordered to fall in. They then stood there on their arms, expecting every moment to be ordered into the field, until 1 o’clock, when they marched in double-quick from the extreme right wig of the army to the left wing, a distance of eight miles. Though the enemy fired into their ranks a great part of the way, they pushed on unflinchingly. – After they arrived on the battle-field, Walker’s Battery, of the brigade, opened fire upon the enemy, doing great havoc in their ranks, causing a panic, and finally the grand rout. The firing was so fine that Gen. Beauregard inquired the name of the young man who fired the first shot, and complimented him publicly. Their cavalry also did their duty, killing a great many of the enemy, and taking a great many prisoners and canon.

Trion

The (Wilmington, NC) Daily Journal, 8/17/1861

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Pvt. John A. Jennings, Co. B, 2nd South Carolina Infantry, Incidents of the Pursuit

13 09 2020

Incidents.

Mr. Jennings, a member of the Butler Guards, arrived here yesterday on his way home for a brief visit. Being an eye-witness and an active participator in the battle of Stone Bridge, he relates some interesting incidents, one or two of which we note.

When Kershaw’s regiment was advancing on the retreat of the federals, and officer, mistaking them for a federal regiment in retreat, asked them not very politely what they were retreating for, and told them to go back to their guns. Col. Kershaw, who was at the head of the column, said:

“Who are you, sir?”

“I am Surgeon General Wyndham*, of the United States army.”

And I, sir, have to honor to be the Colonel of the second Palmetto regiment; dismount and deliver up your arms.”

Not obeying very promptly, Major Artemus D. Goodwyn drew his sword, and ordered him to dismount; which he promptly did.

After surrendering, he asked the Colonel if he would permit him to go on his parole of honor.

“Yes,” said Col. Kershaw, “to General Beauregard’s headquarters;” and he went. Col. K. then mounted his horse, which is said to be a magnificent animal.

Col. Kemper, who, with his command, was with the Carolina regiment, was, at one time, surrounded by some dozen of the enemy, who demanded his sword and surrender. Col. K. said he would deliver his sword to a proper officer. Seeing one of the North Carolina regiments on the left he said to the Lincoln men, yonder is one of your regiments, take me there and I will deliver my sword to the Colonel. They did take him, and found themselves all prisoners. – Southern Guardian.

The (Charlotte, NC) Evening Bulletin, 8/1/1861

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* Identity not determined. The Surgeon General of the U. S. Army in 1861 was Brig. Gen. Clement Finley.

John A. Jennings at Ancestry.com

John A. Jennings at Fold3

John A. Jennings (KIA 7/2/63, Gettysburg PA) at FindAGrave





Corp.* Warren D. Wilkes, Co. J, 4th South Carolina Infantry, On the Capture of “Sherman’s Battery”

12 09 2020

The Capture of Sherman’s Battery.

From Lieut. Warren Wilkes, of the 4th Regiment of South Carolina volunteers, who arrived here yesterday in charge of the remains of his brother, Adjutant S. M. Wilkes, killed at Manassas, we obtain the following particulars of the capture of this celebrated battery. The battery was masked in a pine thicket, from which position it opened fire, at about ten minutes past 8 o’clock in the morning, upon Major White’s battalion of the 4th South Carolina regiment, which maintained its ground until the 4th Alabama and 11th Virginia regiments came to its assistance. The battle continued to increase in vigor and intensity, and whilst raging most furiously, our men at this point finding they were being overwhelmed in numbers, were about giving way in the centre of the column. At this critical juncture, Ex-Gov. Smith, with the 49th regiment of Virginians came to the rescue. Seizing a Confederate flag he unfurled it to the breeze, and appealing to the troops in short, forcible terms, to rally to the rescue and make one gallant final charge with their comrades in arms and win the day, he put himself at the head of the column, and followed by our gallant men, charged through several companies of sharp shooters stationed in the bushes and behind fences, reached the terrible battery, and amid a blinding storm of “leaden rain and iron hail,” captured it and turned the pieces on the panic-stricken foe. Not one man of Sherman’s battery was left to tell of its capture, and but four horses remained alive.

The following are the casualties sustained by the 4th South Carolina regiment: – Capt. Kilpatrick received a shot in his right hand; a severe wound, but it will not cause amputation. Capt. Pool was shot through the right thigh, rendering immediate amputation necessary. Lieut. Ballale was shot through the left leg; amputated. Orderly Sergeant Fuller, of Capt. Poole’s Company, had his left foot shot to pieces. Orderly Sergeant J. W. Morrice, of the same regiment, was shot through the shoulder, and died from the effects of the wound. In Capt. Anderson’s Company, of the same regiment, private John Simpson, was shot through the heart in a bayonet charge, and instantly killed. Private Kay was wounded in the neck by a piece of bomb. This company sustained no further injury, though in the thickest of the fight. In the Palmetto Rifles, private Earl, had the flesh torn from his right shoulder to the bone, by a piece of bomb. It is hoped he will recover. Jas. Sloan, private, was shot through the cheek with a musket ball. Hubbard was wounded with a musket ball, which passed through his left arm near the elbow and through the abdomen. Cochrane was shot through the shoulder. Five members of the Company are missing.

Our informant states that the number of cannon captured from the enemy, amounted to at least seventy pieces. The amount of small arms and quantity of commissary’s stores captured in incalculable. – Richmond Enquirer.

The (Wilmington, NC) Daily Journal, 7/29/1861

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*While the article identifies Warren D. Wilkes as a Lieutenant, records below indicate he was a corporal.

Warren Wilkes at Ancestry.com

Warren Wilkes at Fold3





“Howitzer,” 1st Co. Richmond Howitzers, On the Battle

12 09 2020

The Howitzer Battalion.

1st Co. Howitzers.
Centreville, August 6th, 1861.

To the Editors of the Dispatch: Allow me to correct, through the medium of your paper, a wrong impression which may have gained credence form the communication signed “Chew,” of the Thomas Artillery. The article I refer to is this: “That the Richmond Howitzers did not perform efficient service in the battle of the 21st.,” thereby leading those who knew nothing of the circumstances to believe that we proved recreant to our trust, or performed iniefficient service. Had “Chew” simply stated that we were not on the left wing, he would have accomplished his object – that of refuting the statement made in a former issue, that we were actively engaged in the fight. For a long time we have been attached to Gen. Bonham’s Brigade, in the advance at Fairfax C. H., and by our position were entitled to the post of honor, the centre, and were placed there. During Thursday and Sunday we were subjected to what General Bonham told us was the truest test of the bravery of a soldier – a heavy fire, without being allowed to answer it. Shot and shell from a battery on the hill above us fell and exploded all around us. No one could tell where they would attack us. General Bonham told us if attacked we were to defend our positions as long as we had a man left; yet not a man quailed, but all were ready to take the risks in defence of such a cause as ours. We were in the pursuit and scout which followed the rout of the enemy. Still, far be it from me to detract from the exploits of the Thomas Artillery that day, which will immortalize them forever. We are now attached to General Longstreet’s brigade, with the 1st, 11th, 7th, and 17th Virginia Regiments. We are enjoying excellent health.

Howitzer.

Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 8/8/1861

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W. P. P., 2nd South Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

11 09 2020

From Camp Gregg.
[Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]

Advance Forces, Army of the Potomac,
Camp Gregg, July 31, 1861

Perhaps a letter from this quarter would not be altogether uninteresting to your readers. The Brigade of Gen. Bonham, including Capt. Kemper’s battery, are stationed at this point. We arrived here on Wednesday morning after the engagement of the 21st at Stone Bridge. The health of the troops generally is good. We have fine water, plenty of healthful food, (much of which at one time belonged to the enemy,) a large quantity of wood for cooking, and last, though by no means the least of our comforts, we are once more in possession of our tents. This important article had been dispensed from the time we left Fairfax until our arrival at this place, with the exception of one night.

The Yankee settlers in this neighborhood cut stick as soon as they found that their friends were whipped, and that the South Carolinians were coming. Many of them had raised the Union flag when the Yankees marched through here to Fairfax C. H. – Now their houses are deserted, and their possessors are perhaps safely on the other side of the Potomac.

I presume the details of the battle of Stone Bridge have reached you; but there are thousands of interesting incidents, perhaps insignificant in themselves, but which, collectively, went far towards turning the tide of battle. All the troops engaged, so far as my observations extended – and I was an eye-witness to much that occurred on that day – acted nobly. But as some newspaper correspondents have failed to do proper justice to the Second Palmetto Regiment, under Col. Kershaw, I trust you will permit me to say a few words in reference to the part it performed in that action.

During the first part of the engagement, the Second Regiment was stationed to the left of Gen. Bonham’s Brigade, about three miles below the Stone Bridge. About 12 o’clock Col. Kershaw, with Col. Cash (8th S. C. Regiment,) were ordered to repair to the battle-ground and take position on the left. – When we arrived in the neighborhood of the battle-ground, we met detached portions of Sloan’s S. C. Regiment, Hampton’s Legion, and a North Carolina Regiment, whose Colonel had been killed, leaving the field before superior numbers. So thickly flew the canister, grape, and Monnie balls of the enemy, that we were compelled to be flat upon the ground while the line of battle was being formed. It was whilst in this position we sustained a galling fire from the Fire Zouave Regiment, stationed behind a fence in our front. We also discovered at this time that there was a park of rifle cannon playing upon us from the right. At length the line of battle was formed, consisting of the 2d and 8th South Carolina Regiments and Preston’s Virginia Regiment, all under command of Col. Kershaw. Riding to the front and right of his own regiment, Col. Kershaw inquired of his men if they would follow him. Replying in the affirmative, he gave the order to charge, and with a shout they arose and broke the enemy’s line. So sudden did we spring on them and pass them, that more than a hundred Zouaves were left in our rear, and were made prisoners of by our straggling soldiers. The right wing of the Second Regiment came square upon the rifle cannon, which were in a short time turned upon the enemy. I have never ascertained the name of the battery; but a wounded enemy under one of the pieces informed us that it had once been commanded by Colonel Magruder, now of the Confederate army. It was in advancing upon this battery that the Zouaves displayed the Confederate flag, which caused us to reserve our fire for several minutes. Finally, they emerged from the woods with the Stars and Stripes, when they were fired into by the Butler Guards, the right flaking company of Kershaw’s Regiment, whose trusty Enfield rifles made many of them bite the dust. The rifle cannon were removed from the field, by order of General Beauregard, by men from the Second Regiment.

The enemy were pursued by the brigade under Col. Kershaw to within a short distance of Centreville, capturing a great number of pieces of artillery. Captain Kemper’s battery also performed a conspicuous part in the pursuit. The enemy was frequently in sight, large bodies of them flying in almost every direction. It was in the pursuit that the celebrated Rhode Island battery was captured. The small loss sustained by the Second Regiment, in killed and wounded, must not be taken as an indication that they were not in the hottest of the fight. When it is remembered that much of their fighting was accomplished whilst lying on the ground, and the enemy’s balls going over their heads, the reason why co few were killed is rapidly understood.

W. W. P.

Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 8/5/1861

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S. S. C., 4th South Carolina, On the Battle

10 09 2020

Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.
Fourth South Carolina Regiment.

Camp Pettus, 7 miles North of
Manassas, Aug. 5, 1861.

In reading the letters of your numerous correspondents with regard to the late battle at Stone Bridge, I see that nearly all allude to particular regiments, and the prominent parts enacted by each of them in achieving that great victory. Though I have been glad to see the gallantry and prowess of each regiment and legion thus chronicled to the world, I have been surprised to see that the very first regiment and battalion which were engaged in that conflict, and who sustained the whole shock of the enemy, unsupported for two hours, have been scarcely mentioned at all. I allude to the Fourth South Carolina Regiment, under Col. J. B. E. Sloan, and the Louisiana Regiment, under Maj. Wheat. As I am a member of the “Fourth,” I speak of what I know. Our regiment, with Major Wheat’s command, and two six-pounders of Latham’s Artillery, had been encamped for four or five days previous to the battle, within a few hundred yards if the Stone Bridge, waiting and watching for the enemy. Before daylight on Sunday morning, 21st, we were aroused by the firing of our pickets. Being formed in line of battle, our regiment by sunrise was lying upon the ground directly in front of the bridge, and covered by the brow of the sharp hill to the left of the road. Soon after sunrise, the long straight turnpike upon the opposite side of the Run was filled with the columns of the enemy as far as the eye could reach. They came within five hundred yards of us, threw out their skirmishers, and opened a battery upon us, feeling with ball and shell around and over the hill to find our position. Our regiment remained here with no other firing except between our skirmishers and those of the enemy, until about eight o’clock, under the immediate supervision of Gen. Evans, whose headquarters were within one hundred yards of our position.

At about 8 o’clock we received a message that the enemy had crossed the Run in large force about three miles above, and were marching down to flank us on our left. Withdrawing without the knowledge of the army in our front, and which was composed of eight or ten thousand men, we commenced a double-quick to meet the column which had crossed above. After accomplishing a mile or more, we came in sight of their long line of bayonets, glistening in the morning sun. Halting, we formed in a small hollow or ravine, with Maj. Wheat’s battalion on our right and a little advanced from our position. The enemy formed on a commanding hill, four or five hundred yards in front, and opened upon us with a heavy fire of musketry, and grape-shot from the Rhode Island Battery. Both the Louisianians and our regiment returned the fire with spirit, and several of our men were killed and wounded this early in the day, or before 9 o’clock.

Soon afterwards, we received an order to form under cover of a wood on our right, and somewhat nearer the enemy. Here we remained for some time, in the edge nearest the enemy, keeping up our fire, and having many of our men killed and wounded. The first reinforcement of which we were aware joined us here, and arrived at 9 ½ or 10 o’clock. It proved to be the 4th Alabama Regiment and some other companies, under command of the lamented Col. Bee.

With this noble regiment, which has been deservedly spoken of for its gallantry, we retired when the fire became too hot to be withstood. We, however, soon rallied, and returned to the fight, remaining in it throughout the day. A large portion of our regiment were in the first charge made upon Sherman’s Battery; and many eye-witnesses will avow that the regimental flag, presented to us a few weeks ago by the patriotic ladies of Leesburg, was the very first planted upon one of those guns. It was done by Major Robert Maxwell, our gallant color-bearer. These pieces were, I believe, taken several times before we finally succeeded in holding them. This much I have thought should be said, in justice to the 4th Regiment and the Louisiana battalion, without in the least intending to detract from any other command. Where all did nobly, comparison would be odious. History will, however, record that we were first in the fray, and, with about 1,000 men, )as four of our companies remained at the bridge as skirmishers and a reserve,) kept 30,000 of the enemy in check for one and a half or two hours.

After the day was ours, and victory had perched upon the new born banners of the South, our regiment returned to its former camping ground, now a portion of the battle-field, and, for the first time that day, partook of a soldier’s meal. Our tents and blankets had also been sent off, and, without either, we were exposed that night to a drenching rain, catching what we could of sleep, and dreaming of the thrilling incidents of the day. The loss od our regiment in killed and wounded as 102 men, our of 700 fit for duty. Among the gallant dead was Adjutant Genl. Sam. Wilks, of Anderson, South Carolina. – Our army boasts no more chivalric and accomplished gentleman. Himself and horse fell within 50 yards of our encampment, pierced by more than a dozen bullets.

S. S. C.

Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 8/8/1861

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Pvt. William C. File, Co. G, 18th Mississippi Infantry, On the Campaign

10 09 2020

The following private letter from a private in one of the Mississippi Regiments, was handed us for publication. Many of our readers are doubtless quite familiar with the author, as he was once a cititzen of this place. As it may afford some information to our readers, we give it publicity:

Camp near Fairfax, Va.
July 24th, 1861.

Dear Farther and all at Home:

If you received my last letter, you may not be surprised at getting this one. It is now one week since we left our camp at the Junction, shifting about from one place to another. We are now farther off than we have been yet. I will tell you what we have been doing the past week. About 10 o’clock A. M., last Wednesday, our whole Brigade was suddenly called to march. We got ready in a short time, taking nothing with us but our blankets, provisions, (raw meet and crackers) and marched out about one and a half miles to Bulls Run. Here we remained all day. The next day, three companies, (including ours) crossed the creek, lying in the bushes all day as scouts. About noon they commenced fighting in our rear, a mile or so off, and for about 3 ½ hours, cannon and small arms kept an incessant firing. We heard the cannon balls but were out of their range. The Yankees were routed and fled in confusion. We heard that our loss was 45 killed and wounded, that of the enemy, 7 or 800. At night, we had very thick bushes to cover us, and taking dry oats from a field near by, made a first rate bed, but just as we had got in a good way for sleeping, a little shower of rain fell, wetting our blankets and beds, so we had the pleasure of sleeping under wet blankets the balance of the night, but we managed to pass a tolerable comfortable night. – Next day we remained lying about in the bushes. At night we heard a good deal of firing. We crossed and re-crossed the Creek again, and took our stand in the pine bushes, lying on our arms all night. We were roused up several times during the night, by firing, but the enemy did not come. Leaning up against a pine, gun in hand, I slept until sun up. We remained here during Saturday. On the next day, (Sunday,) the enemy, some two miles distant, commenced throwing bombs but all fell over our encampment or exploding in the air, doing us no damage. Our Brigade then crossed the creek, and lay in the woods some 3 or 4 hours. We could from this time until in the evening, hear the roar of cannon and small arms, at Stone Bridge, some eight miles distant. Jeff. Davis and Beauregard were there, The Yankees were again driven off the field with great loss. We have heard they had some 60,000 engaged: ours only 18 or 20,000; their loss some 15,000; ours about 5,000. We took about 500 prisoners, some 30 pieces of their best artillery, and a great quantity of baggage, &c. But I wish to tell you of our little fight.

In the evening our Brigade advanced upon the Battery that had been playing on us in the morning. We advanced to a steep hill, and were forming a line of battle at its foot, our left flank exposed to the enemy’s batty, when suddenly they opened upon us and cannon balls and grape shot, fell upon us like hail. Some of the men in front commenced hollowing like the victory was won, and at one wild rush, the whole brigade rushed up the hill – all confusion – every one became his own captain – great many shooting at their own men. Our officers tried hard to rally them, but in vain. We were where we could not see the enemy for the bushes in front of us, while we were exposed to a severe fire all the time. I saw a great many shooting but finding they were firing at our own men, I did not fire my gun.

All then run to the foot of the hill, where we first formed, and ran to an old pne field in our rear, to rally. I followed some of our company to the pines, the balls whistling around my head, plowing up the ground all around me. As I crossed the fence I saw our flag-bearer fall, exclaiming, “I’m dead.” Our captain was found dead near by, the next day, also another of our company, with 8 or 10 others. I made my way to our Regiment again. We made the attack in a bad manner. We have the honor of taking the place. Col. Longstreet came up on the other side, as we were leaving, and they run without firing hardly a gun. Our company lost two killed, three wounded; our flag-bearer dangerously. The whole brigade lost 13 killed; I don’t know how many wounded.

On Monday we paid our last respects to our captain; it was raining all day, but we buried him with military honors, firing three rounds over his grave. Yesterday we came to this place. The enemy have all left the country; gone over the river, and I expect our troops have possession of Alexandria, at this time. But I must close. – Write soon and direct as before.

Remaining till death,
W. C. File

The Carolina Flag (Concord, NC), 8/2/1861

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William C. File at Ancestry.com

William C. File at Fold3





S. D. S., Co. K, 18th Virginia Infantry, On the Battle

9 09 2020

Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.
The Charlotte Rifles.

Charlotte C. H., Va., Aug.2d.

With your permission, I avail myself of the opportunity to return my grateful and heartfelt thanks to the kind ladies of Orange and Culpeper Court-House, who met me with many other poor wounded soldiers on the cars, with blackberry wines, warm teas and many other delicacies too numerous to mention, (but all calculated to soothe and refresh a worn out soldier,) while on our way from the battle ground of Manassas. Crowds of ladies assembled at the depots of the above mentioned places to await the arrival of the train which was to convey us from the scene of action, bringing with them kind words of comfort which almost made me thankful that I received the wound.

May God bless them – that God who so graciously protected us in our time of danger and turned aside the missiles of death hurled against us by the hands of the brutal, but cowardly foe. When I first commenced my journey I thought that I was far from friends and home, but I was greatly mistaken, for a wounded soldier will always find relief and comfort whenever and wherever he may meet with the ladies of the Old Dominion.

I received my wound in the early part of the engagement whilst attempting to shoot a cowardly Yankee, who was dodging behind a bush; the ball passed through the calf of my left leg, and was cut out behind. I was carried under a large tree to have the ball cut out, and whilst there a cannon ball shattered the top of the tree into a thousand pieces, without injuring me in the least. One of my company, James A. Thomas, was shot dead at my side by a Yankee, who pretended to be in the agonies of death. Our gallant Major George Cabell, seeing the deception practiced upon poor Thomas, (than whom a braver and better man never lived,) drew his revolver and sent the Yankee scoundrel to his last account.

Our regiment (the Eighteenth) was soon ordered to charge upon a portion of Sherman’s Battery, which they did with the greatest coolness and bravery, having taken it with the loss of but few men. The company to which I belonged, (the Charlotte Rifles, Capt. T. J. Spencer,) I am happy to say, acted with great coolness and bravery throughout the whole engagement. Our noble Captain is as brave and good a man as ever lived, rallying his men throughout the whole battle. First Lieutenant Matthew Lyle, of the Charlotte Rifles, distinguished himself by killing six of the scamps wand taking several prisoners. Among them was Capt. Jack Downey, of the New York Zouaves, who, with the true spirit of a Yankee after he was captured, threw up his hands and cried for mercy, when he was told he should not be harmed. A Minnie musket, a brace of pistols, and a sword, with his name on it, were taken from him. If ever a man deserved promotion, Lieut. L. does.

S. D. S., a Member of the Charlotte Rifles.

Richmond (VA) Dispatch, 8/5/1861

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