Pvt. John B. Edson, Co. E, 27th New York Infantry, On the Death* of Pvt. John Clague

8 01 2021

From Capt. Wanzer’s Company.

Camp Anderson,
Washington, July 23d.

Dear Sir: – You no doubt have heard of the great battle fought on Sunday last. Our regiment was brought in to the hottest of the affray. I have a painful duty to perform. It is with a trembling hand I inform you of the death of your son John. He fell by my side mortally wounded in the right shoulder. He lived about two hours and a half. Myself and two others carried him to a stone building nearby, used as a Hospital by our troops while in action. I made him as comfortable as possible. He deemed to take everything very easy and died nobly. Our troops had to retreat, and consequently could not bring him off the field. We’ll try however, and obtain it by a flag of truce if the rebels will respect it. John was thought a great deal of in camp. He was quite and took everything very cool. I am in hopes of getting a furlough for a week or two, until our regiment is made up again, it having been terribly cut to pieces, and then will give you a full account of his death.

[To] William Clague.

J. B. Edson.

Rochester (New York) Evening Express, 7/26/1861

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Contributed by John J. Hennessy

27th New York Infantry Roster

*Per the regimental roster, John Clague mustered out with his company on 5/31/1863. Hospital steward Daniel Bosley of Co. E. reported Clague killed instantly. Pvt. Duncan Brown of Co. E reported Clague died after about an hour. Clague was however reported very much alive after the battle by Co. E’s Corp. W. H. Merrell in his account of his captivity after the battle. John Clague of Co. E died in 1921 per FindAGrave

John B. Edson at Fold3





Lt. Col. Thomas Ford Morris, 17th New York Infantry, On the Battle and Camp

7 01 2021

THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN, FROM AN EYE-WITNESS

Camp Lorrilard, July 22.

I was an eye-witness of the battle at Bull Run yesterday. The 17th were not in the action, but thinking there would be a brush, I with one of our Captains, Bartram, left our camp early Sunday morning. We met with no adventure, and on arriving on the heights near Centreville, heard heavy guns and saw the smoke. We pushed on rapidly for two or three miles, and found ourselves at the head of the centre division under General Schenck. The men in this command appeared demoralized and under great excitement. On inquiring the cause, I learned that their General had led them on a concealed battery, and that they had been considerably cut up; we had evidence of this in the numbers brought into hospital. I obtained a good position on rising ground, and for three or four hours watched the progress of the battle made by the division on our right, Hunter’s. It was a magnificent sight, and cannot be forgotten. Our men were perfect heroes, and I would have had the world see their bayonet charges, forcing the enemy back, and still rallying in to drive them farther back. Our men were perfect heroes, and I would have had the world see their bayonet charge, forcing the enemy back, and still rallying to drive then farther back. I was within 200 yards of one of our 32 pounder rifled canon, and when the enemy came out in any considerable force on the hill opposite, this gun would drop a shell among them, that would scatter them like sheep. The captain and myself were obliged to go back near Centerville to get waster, as the wells were guarded to keep the water for the wounded. We had just obtained water, and about giving some to our horses, when a stampede took place, soldiers, ambulances, horsemen, and representing two regiments. I determined to rally them, and no circus rider ever mounted quicker. The captain and I rushed in front of the frenzied multitude, and called out to them to rally, which had no effect. I drew a pistol, and shouted I would shoot every man who attempted to pass me, that there they must stand. I succeeded beyond my hopes, and forming them in line, marched them back to their command, Gen. Schenck. Both of these regiments had lost their Colonels, one killed and one carried off wounded. We returned to the battle field, and just as one of the divisions made an advance, throwing out artillery on the open field, where it was soon at work splendidly. At this time a message came from Gen. McDowell saying the enemy were in full retreat. This was enough glory, and I determined to go back to our camp with news of victory. We had gone but a mile when we stopped by the roadside to eat lunch, and unbridled our horses that they might graze, when lo’! the whole of our force were in retreat. I supposed the enemy were closing, and as my horse is hart to bridle at all times, I thought I should be taken, and ordered the captain to return to our camp. It was a perfect pout, and I hope I many never witness anything like it again. Wagons, ambulances, guns, men mounted and dismounted. It was utterly impossible to stop the current. Officers were powerless, and until they reached Centreville, where the reserve under General Miles were drawn up, there was no order. The most of the regiments made a stand, but the two I rallied in the morning (if by any means they could reach the Potomac) never wou’d stop running till they got home. I remained at Centreville until there was comparative quiet, owing to the knowledge that there was no enemy chasing, when I started for camp, and arrived at 1 a.m., on the 22d.

July 26th.

Our regiment is now inside Fort Ellsworth, our pleasant camp (Lorrilard) in the grove on the hillside, had to be given up with its cool breezes and delightful shade, and we are now sweltering in the sun. Our men are continually employed shifting and mounting guns, and cutting down trees that obstruct the range of those already mounted. On a hill near us a body of sailors from the navy yard at Washington, are throwing up a battery, and altogether we have busy times. If the enemy had pursued our retreating columns, they would have taken thousands of prisoners, and all the fortifications on this side of the river, would have been in their hands now. To be sure, we determined to hold this place to the last, but with the force they could bring, we could not have kept them out 12 hours. The 17th would have been annihilated, there was no retreat for us and we knew it. Now it is utterly impossible for them to hurt us. They will approach no nearer than Fairfax. We can whip them in open field, I think, three to one. Their strength lies in batteries, and they are terrible. We have tried them now, and hereafter will fight cannon with cannon; there will be no more sending men to be cut down without being able to effect anything.

July 29th.

A week has passed and no attack had been made upon us, and probably none anticipated. What an error the rebels had made in not following up their advantage. Our men have worked very hard the past week; wheeling dirt for gun platforms, building the same, and mounting guns. We feel secure against any force the enemy can bring against us.

President Lincoln, Mr. Seward and General McDowell paid us a visit a few days since. I was in command, and had the pleasure of receiving them. I had a long chat with Mr. Lincoln who inquired into many details of the battle, &c. He is very affable. Yesterday we had a visit from Gens. McClellan and McDowell with their staff officers, some twenty or thirty in all. I was delighted with Gen. McClellan; he is very unassuming in his manners, but there is a same about him I like. He is the General for me, and I think, the man of the day.

T. F. Morris,
Lt.-Col. 17th Regt., N. Y. V.

Yonkers (New York) Examiner, 8/8/1861

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Contributed by John J. Hennessy

17th New York Infantry Roster

Thomas Ford Morris at Fold3

Thomas Ford Morris at FindAGrave





Sgt. Robert E. Ellerbeck, Co. E, 27th New York Infantry, On the Battle

6 01 2021

ADVENTURES AT BULL RUN.

We are indebted to Mr. F. J. M. Cornell, for the following private letter received by him from his brother-in-law, Mr. Robert E. Ellerbeck of the 27th Regiment of New York Volunteers for the war. Mr. Ellerbeck is well known to many of our readers. The New York 27th has not had due credit for its share in the conflict. It formed part of Col. Porter’s brigade in the division under acting General Hunter, and consequently was placed on the extreme right of our lines, where the fight was most severe and the march the longest and most fatiguing. The letter was written with the attendant inconveniences of camp life, and was not intended for publication:

Camp Anderson,
Washington, July 25, 1861.

Dear Brother: – You of course have heard much of the battle, and the defeat of our army at Bull Run – or what is more proper if I know anything of the location of the country – before Manassas, for we marched at least five or six miles after we crossed the Run. I suppose you have not had an account from an eye-witness. Of all the days I ever beheld, last Sunday was one that will be remembered by me and by many, not a few of whom were Rochester boys.

Since I came to Washington it seems as if here, where above all other places we expected better treatment, we have received the worst. There seems to be no management but to have the Quartermaster make as much as possible, for no other excuse seems to go down with out men.

If I begin to give a detailed account of all that took place on that eventful Sunday, it would take a much longer time than I can possibly spare, for our regiment is so much disordered by retreat, it will take a good while to get them as they were before they left Washington. We left this city for Virginia one week ago last Tuesday, camped each night in the open field with but a blanket to wrap around us, and not a day passing without the men grumbling of their scanty provisions, except one day when they went out and brought in everything you could think of being raised on a farm, enough at least to appease their appetites for one day, among other things they got a bull belonging to Beauregard or some other “secesher,” shot him, dressed him, and divided him among our regiment, they burned barns and houses in their rambles, harboring no pity for the enemy who is the cause of all their sufferings. The night previous to the battle of Bull Run or Manassas, we were up cooking beef for the day’s rations, that and biscuit for the same period was all we had to subsist on. At one o’clock on the morning of the 21st of July we commenced our march, which was a laborious one to begin a day’s work of which no man could foretell the result, or who of us would be left to tell the tale, but I am thankful to say I saw it all and did my duty, and although I saw my comrades shot from my side I am among the number who remain to lament the fall of our fellow soldiers. We marched about ten miles before we saw the battle field, on which some of our bones might be bleached. We made but one halt and that only long enough to get water from a stream that many thousands of soldiers had marched through but a few moments before. Many men fell exhausted from hunger and thirst, together with the burning effects of the Southern sun. I saw numbers fall out of the ranks to die by the roadside from the effects of sun-strokes; we fear that one of our men on the retreat, after passing the danger of the cannon’s mouth, fell exhausted from its effects and was taken by the rebels.

It seems very strange to me that none of the New York papers speak of the conduct of the New York 27th Volunteers when we were the first to engage the enemy with musketry. We were led in from the right by our gallant Col. Slocum, flowed by the N. Y. 14th, who after we had reached the ravine, in full view and reach of musketry and grape, retired and left us alone to the mercy of a deadly fire, till our Colonel was shot and many of our men fell mortally wounded, at which time our Colonel gave the command to retire, or at least ordered the Major to do it, but the men seemed reluctant to do so without revenging the fall of our Colonel. When my friend John T. Clague fell I saw a dying look on his face, he threw his arms across his breast as if in calm and sweet repose, and swooned to rise no more. I had only time to order men to carry him to the rear, and then to my post. They carried him a short distance, laid him carefully on the ground, and then returned to our aid. We finally had to retreat over the brow of the hill, firing as we went, and leaving our dead and wounded on the field. It seemed almost a shower of bullets and shell, tareing up the ground all around us. After our first engagement our Major rallied us together under cover of the hill, when our boys were completely exhausted, and led us again down the hill at a double quick. Some were played out, and some were frightened out, but, however, I led our company in the second time, followed by our Ensign in charge of the left platoon. I was cheering our men on down hill, when all at once a dozen voices sung out, “Go in Bob, bully for you.” I looked to the left, and there, scarcely recognizable, I beheld the 13th N. Y. Volunteers, in whose ranks I, for the first time since we left Elmira, have seen so many familiar faces; I was grasped by the hand (and who knew for the last time) by my old friend Capt. Putnam, and many others that I cannot recall, as I kept up a hurried march for the balls were falling fast around us. The 13th were waiting for orders to move forward. I saw them ascend the hill almost to the enemy’s lines of defense afterwards, but they were soon compelled to retire. We had driven all the rebels in the fort and taken up a position behind a bank near a creek, shell whistling over our heads and almost grazing our backs. I began to look around and found the rebels had brought a piece to bear on us from the extreme east of the fort, that would sweep right along the bank. I gave the word to the men to retreat to the ravine by small squads, which they did, and it protected them from the cannon ball, however two of our men remained on their own responsibility and a moment later a shot took off one of their legs, he is among the missing. After our first engagement we did not see our Captain or Lieutenant till next day (Monday) at Washington.

Our company have missing four, probably dead, our regiment probably seventy-five or more. We are in hopes some are prisoners. William H. Merril our correspondent of the Rochester Express was wounded twice and is missing. William Hanlon, leg shot off probably dead.

I met Capt. and Lieutenant Putnam in Washington yesterday, and exchanged another friendly greeting with warm congratulations for our deliverance. Our Colonel is getting along finely, but it will be several weeks before his is out.

There was very little water we drank that day but looked like such a pool as one sees by the roadside in a heavy shower. I don’t know when we will go out again, but probably not till our Colonel gets about. I will have lots to tell when I see you. I have got a secession sword.

Yours as ever,
Robert.

Yonkers (New York) Examiner, 8/1/1861

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Contributed by John J. Hennessy

27th New York Infantry Roster

Robert E. Ellerbeck at Ancestry.com

Robert E. Ellerbeck at Fold3





Pvt. Frank M. Boutelle, Co. I[*], 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Battle

5 01 2021

STRAY SHOTS FROM BULL RUN.

We are permitted to give a few extracts from a private letter from Frank M. Boutelle, of this city:

How they came on to the Field.

I was all worn out, having marched double quick for half a mile; the fight had been going on about fifteen minutes. The rebels had been driven about 40 yards, and as we came on, the rifles of Company B[*] sent them another notch, and a volley from the regiment made them take to the woods. Our cannon were then planted on the ground they had occupied.

How they faced Death.

Company B[*] did their duty. Poor Moses Eastman was shot in the leg; he stood behind me; the ball that struck him cut the sheath from my bayonet. One of my friends was shot through the breast a little way from me. H. L. Morse was struck by a cannon ball in the neck, which cut his head off. I could cover this sheet with such incidents; but it would do no good and is unpleasant.

Not good at a retreat.

At seven the retreat began in earnest. – Regiment after Regiment passed before I got off the field; as I was getting over the fence into the road, a hasty charge of rifle bullets came rattling after me; this opened my eyes some, but was soon driven out of my mind by a handful of marbles which plowed up the soil about me. One of them made of shoe of my right boot pretty quick, by taking off the leg. The same volley killed a horse and wounded two men, and one shot struck my heel. The first brook I came to filled my newly made shoe with gravel and water. I stood as long as I could and then pulled off both boots and stockings, for they had holes in them. After travelling all night Sunday, with the exception of two hours, and until 4 o’clock next day, I reached Alexandria. Reached Washington by boat on Tuesday. My feet were so cut up that I was obliged to take a hack, and arrived at Camp Sullivan at 10 o’clock, A.M., tired and worn out. Have not got over it yet, but soon shall. It begins to rain and has wet my paper, so I close.

Camp Sullivan, July 31, 1861.

(Manchester) New Hampshire Journal of Agriculture, 8/10/1861

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Contributed by John J. Hennessy

[*Frank M. Boutelle shows in the roster per regimental history as a member of Co. I. Moses Eastman and Henry L. Morse are also listed as Co. I. From this site, it appears this company was accepted into state service 4/22/861, but discharged and again accepted prior to its formation as Co. I. It may be that members referred to themselves as Co. B as a nod to their earlier enlistment date.]

Frank M. Boutelle at Fold3

Frank M. Boutelle at FindAGrave





Unknown Officer, Co. F, 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Battle

5 01 2021

LETTER FROM WASHINGTON.

We are permitted to make the following extracts from a letter received in this city yesterday, written by an officer in the 2d New Hampshire regiment:

Camp Sullivan, 2d N H. regiment,
Washington, D. C., Jul 28.

Dear —-; — “Everything for the cause; nothing for men,” thought we as the bullets and bombs whisted Hail Columbia around out devoted heads at Bull Run on Sunday, but still we fought regardless of the danger for nine long and bloody hours; and if the order had not come for us to retreat, we should have remained on the battle field until no one was left to tell the tale. Yes, all hail 2d New Hampshire. You fought well, and if you were not successful in this, your first action, we thank God that there is a day of reckoning coming, and God pity the poor rebels when next we get at them – they that refused mercy to our wounded and dying will receive an awful retribution, and the day of retribution is not far distant.

Our poor company, F, was sadly shattered, and it seems as if ours was the unfortunate company in the regiment. We had fifteen brave boys killed and wounded, and quite a number missing. One of our lost, Sergeant Brackett, was my particular friend, and it seems hard to have him cut down thus early in his glorious career. His was a noble death! Peace to his ashes.

It seems as if our best men were picked out to be slaughtered. I wish it were otherwise, but I suppose it was so ordered, and all too for the best.

Our regiment was the first on the field and the last one to retire, and we did not want to go then, but the order was peremptory and we must obey, so with heavy hears and not very christian expressions we left the field to the traitors and rebels.

I would rather ten thousand times have been shot down like a dog than been obliged to retreat in such confusion – ‘twas a fight without a leader – and thank Heaven we have now a true General in McClellan. McDowell did not know his business.

Our Colonel, Marston, was severely wounded, and I don’t think he will resume command again. He was very brave on the field. After he was wounded he was brought on to the field and held upon his horse till the last shot was fired.

A Member of our company died yesterday at the hospital here. He has never seen a well day since he left New Hampshire. He was from Laconia, and leaves a widowed mother to mourn his untimely fate. His disease was consumption that fell destroyer of the North. He was not in the fight of course, not being able to set up.

A member of our company[*] is to be hung tomorrow for murdering a woman at Alexandria, yesterday. He was drunk; when sober he was a good soldier; he never has been in camp since the battle, having stayed out and kept drunk all the while. Poor fellow, what a pity he could not have died on the battle field.

New Bedford (Massachusetts) Evening Standard, 8/1/1861

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Contributed by John J. Hennessy

*Per regimental history, William F. Murray of Co. F was hanged 8/2/1862 for the murder of Mary Banks A history of the Second regiment, New Hampshire volunteer infantry, in the war of the rebellion : Haynes, Martin A. (Martin Alonzo), 1845-1919 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive





Pvt. John Marshall Hamlet, Co. H, 18th Virginia Infantry, On the Battle

18 12 2020

Centreville, Fairfax county, Va.
July 24, 1861

I should have written to you sooner & I fear that my delay has caused you some anxiety, but this is the first opportunity I have had for a week. I am well except a sore throat and slight cough. We have had a great deal of rain within the last few days and have been very much exposed as our tents and baggage have been at Manassas since our retreat from Fairfax Court House which you have no doubt heard of.

I will now give you some account of the battles here. Our pickets were driven in about 7 o’clock A. M. on the 17th inst. (we were then at Fairfax Court House). The pickets were within two miles of the enemy’s camp and came near being surrounded by their skirmishers before they came in. We were ordered out on the field and forming in line of battle, but as soon as the enemy came in sight, we were marched off in this direction (none of us knowing that a retreat was intended). One regiment remained of South Carolinians long enough to fire one round & [then] retreated.

The enemy’s advance forces came to Centreville that night and came to Mitchell’s Ford (across Bull Run) early the next morning [18 July] and cannonaded the fortifications there until finding that they could not get over that way, they made an effort to storm the works. The infantry behind the works held their fire until they came very near when they fired & leaped over the works & charged upon them with the bayonet and repulsed them so completely that they gave up the idea of crossing there. The fight lasted four of five hours.

Our regiment was at a ford about four miles above Mitchell’s so we were not engaged in the battle. It is stated that between 900 and 1,000 of the enemy were left dead upon the field. Our loss in killed was very small—not over 20. I suppose though about 40 or 50 [were] wounded.

The Battle on Sunday the 21st was about two miles above us & extended over several miles & lasted between eight and ten hours. Our regiment was marched to the field about 2 o’clock P. M. We marched about one mile over the field where they had been fighting. It was a horrid sight—strewn with the killed and wounded. When we got within 4 or 5 hundred yards of the enemy, we were much exposed to their fire. One South Carolina regiment had taken their battery and they had retaken it. The South Carolinians again drove them from it and they were rallying to get it again when our regiment came in sight. We were ordered to charge upon it which we did & fired a volley upon them when they retreated rapidly. We fired three rounds, then turned their battery upon them so they ran. We had one man killed and three or four wounded, one of whom is mortally wounded.

Our Capt. was wounded by a bomb shell & has returned home. Our regiment lost only five killed and about twenty wounded. Some two or three Southern regiments were badly cut to pieces. Ellsworth’s Zouaves from New York were nearly all killed though they fought desperately. In their retreat, they threw away their guns, knapsacks, and took to the woods. Radford’s Cavalry & Kemper’s Battery pursued them to Fairfax Court House and took an immense number of horses, wagons, ambulances, and a large number of cannon. I do not know how many cannon were taken as there are so many reports about it, but I heard repeatedly today that there were 82 pieces.

Our loss is said to be 1500 in killed and wounded. That of the enemy’s is said to be triple that number at least. No doubt the papers will give more reliable accounts of the loss than I can. The Yankee’s will certainly fight although they are said to be so cowardly. A large number of prisoners were also taken. Since the fight, our forces have been advanced towards Alexandria rapidly. We are now at Centreville and expect to leave tomorrow…. Write soon. Direct to Manassas Junction as our mail is sent to us from there.

Yours affectionately, — J. M. Hamlet

Contributed and transcribed by William Griffing.

See post at Spared & Shared, including other letters of James and his brother, John

James Marshall Hamlet at Ancestry

James Marshall Hamlet at Fold3

James Marshall Hamlet at Myheritage





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.

—————

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.

—————

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