Map: From Surveys by an Officer of Beauregard’s Staff

20 03 2020

I came across an original lithograph of this post-war map last week in a shop in Gettysburg. You can find it online, with more info, here. It’s interesting in both what it includes, and what it does not.

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Image: Chaplain Edward Duffield Neill, 1st Minnesota Infantry

19 03 2020

 

EdwardNeill

Chaplain Edward Duffield Neill, 1st MN. From this site.

EdwardDuffieldNeill

Neil later in life. From this site.





Chaplain Edward Duffield Neill*, 1st Minnesota Infantry, On the Regiment’s Casualties

18 03 2020

Our War Correspondence.
———————–
From the Chaplain of the Regiment.
———————–

Washington City, July 26, 1861.

The telegraph before this reaches you, no doubt, will flash before a sadden people the list of our killed and wounded, in the never to be forgotten conflict of last Sunday.

Every one feels that bad generalship was displayed on our side, and an improper day chosen to begin a battle, which, from the first, has been sustained by the religious sentiment of the world, at the same time all praise and heroism of the volunteers engaged in the conflict.

Yesterday the regiment left its quarters at the Assembly Rooms, and encamped about half a mile east of the Capitol, just beyond the spot where it was previous to our departure for Alexandria.

A despatch came from St. Paul to day stating that my friend, Dr. Hand, had been appointed Assistant Surgeon in the place of Le Boutillier, deceased. It is true that Dr. Le Boutillier has not been seen since the battle, but we have no authentic information that of his decease, and we still hope that we may see him alive. The last I saw of him was just as we entered on the battle field, when he told me to go and tell Dr. Stewart to bring the litters and hospital assistants.

Dr. Stewart is also missing, but we all feel that he is in the old church, near the battle ground, attending to our wounded, although he may be a prisoner, as the enemy have taken possession of that portion of the country.

I would have been with the Doctor had the hospital not been so full that I was obliged to hurry on with some wounded I picked up in an ambulance toward Centreville.

The only loss our correspondent sustained was his entire wardrobe, down to tooth brush, come and brush, amounting to about $200. All that I can wish is that my clothes may be given to some Couthern Chaplain, the sermons in the trunk perused by the captors.

Javan Irvine, of St. Paul, arrived at out camp on last Thursday evening, and shouldering a musket went forth to battle on Sunday morning, and after fighting valiantly succeeded in capturing a gentleman by the name of Lieut. Col. Boone, of Mississippi, who is a prisoner of war now in the old Capitol.

Ever since yesterday we have been in tents, and I notice that all of the St. Paul men are busy writing to their friends. I have no doubt that extracts from their letters would be interesting to your readers and that their friends would furnish them if requested.

LIST OF KILLED, ETC.
COMPANY “A,” CAPT. WILKIN.

Killed – Sergeant Henry C. Wright, of Pine Bend, shot in the thigh, and carried into the bushes, where he received other wounds.
Private Ernst Dresher and Chas. F. Clarke, Benton county. Since the latter’s death, a daguerreotype of a lady supposed to be one to whom he was engaged has arrived.
Wounded – James Malory in the foot; Robert Stephens in the arm and back; William Kramer in the face; David McWilliams slightly, and John T. Halsted in the head.
Wounded and missing – Frederick Braun, W. Dorley, Wm. Betcher.
Missing – Wm. Schmidler and Louis Keifer.

COMPANY “C,” CAPTAIN ACKER

Killed – Sergeant John Renshaw, Eugene Wilmer, and Corporal Sam Waterhouse.
Privates Cunningham, Randolph, Robertson, Cyrus Smith, Julius Smith, and Thompson.
Wounded and missing – Corporal Geo. McMullen.
Privates Twitchell, Haskell, Hough, Marr, Ladd, Richardson, McNally, Combs, and Mayence.

Recapitulation of killed and wounded in the whole regiment.
Com.   Killed   Wnded/Msg     Wounded   Missing       Total

A             5               4                      5              2            15
B             –              11                      –              3           14
C              9               9                     10            4           32
D              1              1                       –              –             2
E              1             12                      1              1           15
F              5               3                      4              9           21
G             4              14                      –              3           21
H           12              10                      –              2          24
I               6              16                     2              –            24
K             5                 3                     1              6           15
Killed…………………………………………………………………48
Wounded and missing………………………………………….105
Missing………………………………………………………………30
Total……………………………………………………………………….183

(St. Paul, MN) Weekly Pioneer and Democrat, 8/9/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* Edward Duffield Neil of St. Paul was the regiment’s first chaplain.

Edward Duffield Neill biography

Edward Duffield Neill in the news 

Edward Duffield Neill at Ancestry.com

Edward Duffield Neill at Fold3

Edward Duffield Neill at FindAGrave.com





Private, Co. A*, 1st Minnesota Infantry, On the Battle and Retreat

13 03 2020

Our War Correspondence.
———————–
March To the Battle Field – The Battle – Dreadful Scenes – Behavior of Col. Gorman and Lieut. Col. Miller – Defence of the Regiment, &c. &c.
———————–
From our Regular Correspondent.

Camp Gorman, Alexandria,
July 23, 1861.

I returned here last night with sore feet, lame limbs, wet through, indescribably exhausted, and a heart beating with rapid pulsations for our losses and reverses in the battle at Bull’s Run. Partaking of refreshments at the hands of our colored cook, we retired to rest, and this is the first opportunity I have had to address you a faint description of the scenes of terror through which we have passed.

I will begin with the beginning. On Saturday last we were all encamped at Centreville, and at noon we had orders to prepare for march at 6 P.M. At this hour we had our three days’ rations in our haversacks, our muskets discharged and reloaded, and standing in our ranks, when the orders were countermanded so far as to extend the time till 2 o’clock next morning, when after a good rest we rose and accoutered and quipped as usual for march.

The morning was bright and the moon cast its silvery rays over a beautiful landscape; the atmosphere cool and pleasant, and every thing around us calculated to make us buoyant and hopeful. The column formed in line and passing through Centreville, and we were at once upon our march for the battle field. The sun rose on Sunday in all its glory, and all nature, as we progressed through woodland and fields, seemed aglow with fragrance and beauty.

On arriving into an open field, the occasional reports of artillery which we had heard at intervals grew louder and more frequent; and in the distance we descried the smoke that arose from the battle field. Here we halted a little to fill our canteens with water – a highly commendable move as the day grew hot and sultry. Here we shook hands with some of the Company “C” Second Infantry Regulars, which we relieved at Fort Ripley just as they were about to proceed in advance to the battle field, then three miles distant. Instantly we were again ordered to fall in, and in quick and double quick time, under the burning rays of a July sun, over a rough rocky road, over hills and through valleys, we approached the battle field, the roar of artillery and musketry growing louder and louder every moment. We were first brought into a field in the rear of the battle, and afterwards under the lead of Col. Heintzelman brought right up into the battle, passing regiment after regiment, or rather remnants of them, after they were cut up under the destructive fire of the enemy; and as we passed along the edge of the hill where the battle had for hours been raging with fury, and cannon balls and shells still scattered about, we saw the field covered with dead horses, and men carrying away the dead, dying and wounded. It was a terrible sight to see, but at that time it made little or no impression on us. Our brigade was marched over a little hill, where we were formed into a line of battle, our regiment on the extreme right, and the Fire Zouaves on our left, with Rickett’s battery in the centre. Here the battle raged with fury for upwards of two hours, in the course of which two other regiments were brought to our aid; but the once retreating enemy was reinforced with fifteen thousand of a reserve force, and they became to formidable for our shattered ranks. Yet our brave men did not yield before an aid of General Heintzelman came up to order us to retreat into the woods, with the words, “Why do you stand there to be slaughtered by the enemy?” Simultaneously with our retreat the whole column began to move to the rear, and a precipitous retreat of an unorganized army was the result, the enemy pursuing to harass us in the rear. Rickett’s battery was left on the battle field. The sight that met every eye for a moment, when retreating down the hill, miraculously escaping from the stream of musketry, artillery and shells, which formed the parting salute from the enemy, was horrible beyond description. There lay the dead, riddled with musket balls, in every conceivable condition, some with the skull pierced and brains scattered on the ground; others severed in pieces with cannon balls, and the wounded and dying suffering intense agonies, who called in vain for succor from those who could but save themselves by flight. It was a sad picture, and will carry sadness and sorrow to the hearts and homes of thousands throughout the North, who have lost a father, a son, a husband, a brother or a friend, at the battle of Bull’s Run.

In the rear of the battle field the woods and fields were strewed with knapsacks, haversacks, blankets and other garments, thrown aside in the hurried march into the battle and in the hasty retreat. Broken wagons, provisions, and implements of war lined the road from Bull’s Run to Alexandria – a distance of forty or fifty miles. Boxes of crackers, barrels of bacon and other provisions, and useless garments thrown off to facilitate the hasty retreat of an army of exhausted and fatigued men, will furnish the colored population along the line – who were busily appropriating them to their own use – clothing and provision for years, while the Federal Treasury will lose thousands.

Two miles beyond Centreville the retreating column was again thrown into confusion by shells falling into their midst, and the artillery and cavalry accelerating their speed, heedlessly rushed through, and no doubt over, our own men – leaving a cloud of dust to mark their rapid progress. Our column scattered again into the woods, and an engagement took place with our rear, which lasted but a short time, and resulted in the death of one man on our side. The enemy did not pursue us farther, as we ascertained next morning after passing this night in the woods. The main body marched on and halted at their encampments in and around Centreville for a couple of hours. Here Col. Gorman was seen for the first time after marching us into the battle field, his boasted bravery not being observed by any one – and his voice, so bold and commanding on dress parade, was either drowned in the roar and noise of the battle field, or else he must have kept himself at a safe distance. I have good authority for this statement – authority that can be substantiated by evidence. Lieut. Col. Miller, however, was very active in rallying us, pointing to the Stars and Stripes, and calling on us to justify the fond expectations which Minnesotians have placed in our Regiment. He was in the thickest of the fight, and Minnesota should justly acknowledge his bravery.

After a lapse of about two hours, the retreating column again took up the line of march through Fairfax to their former encampments in Alexandria and Georgetown. A part of our regiment is encamped in Washington. Most of those who were left exhausted along the line, have come here. Stragglers will continue to come in – yesterday quite a number arrived. I learn that four hundred fo the Minnesota First are encamped at Washington. A few of our men are in the Alexandria Hospital. It is impossible to give you any reliable information as to the number of our dead and wounded, as yet; but as soon as I can ascertain it, to any degree of certainty, the statistics shall be immediately forwarded to you.

The telegraph makes some disparaging and unjust statements about our regiment, which I presume some reporter innocently made up from unreliable camp rumors – which are as numerous as they are unreliable. Thus I find in this morning’s Baltimore Clipper the following;

The panic was commenced in a light battery commanded by a fat lieutenant. He was porceeding under orders to flank one of the enemy’s batteries, when a detachment of their cavalry made a dash at them. Instead of unlimbering and essaying to receive the charge with grape or canister, he turned and instantly fled, leaving two of the pieces on the field.

The Second Connecticut and the Minnesota (of Gen. Schenck’s brigade, which were exposed to the fire of the battery which the fat lieutenant had started to flank) then broke and run into the bushes. Instantaneously it seemed that the panic was communicated in all directions.

The above is but a conctanation of misstatements. The first statement about the battery is an evident absurdity. Of the “fat lieutenant” was not “unlimbering to receive the charge with grape or canister,” how could he “leave two pieces on the field.” Secondly, the Minnesota regiment does not belong to Gen. Schenck’s brigade, and we did not “break and run into the bushes” before the proper order was communicated through the proper officers, and then simultaneously with the Fire Zouaves (who always receive so much praise) and the whole column. It is a base slander on the Minnesota First, every man of which fought side by side with the Zouaves, whose bravery is universally acknowledged.

According to the telegraph reports, the enemy’s force at Bull’s Run ws 120,000, while ours is set down at 25,000, which latter number is by many considered exaggerated. I learned from some volunteers who formed the reserve force that there were a number of regiments not called into the field at all; and when taken into consideration that the enemy had the advantages of strong fortifications and masked batteries, acting as they did on the defensive, how could we look for any other result than a disgraceful rout, acting as we did on the aggressive.

There is considerable talk among the boys of trophies taken during the engagement, while some have taken prisoners, some secession flags, some pistols, revolvers and other implements of war, &c., &c.

Considerable excitement exists among the soldiers and others as to the probable attack on Washington, or retaking Alexandria, but I rather think the enemy will have enough to do to bury their dead and nurse their wounded. If they had not force enough to send out from Bull’s Run to head us off our retreat, how could they dare an attempt on the offensive when their policy this far has been on the defensive? We are safe enough here; and the movement to concentrate troops at Washington and on the Potomac is only to organize a strong force for another advance on the rebels.

Later – July 24th. – Mail facilities were cut off to Alexandria yesterday, and I send by a messenger to day. We are ordered to Washington to day, and once there with our regiment, I shall collect further details for you. Captain Wilkin is with us. He estimates the killed and wounded of the company at twenty.

Private.

(St. Paul, MN) Weekly Pioneer and Democrat, 8/9/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* Captain Alexander Wilkin, mentioned in the last paragraph, was in command of Co. A of St. Paul, and so the letter writer is assumed to be a member of that company.





Unknown Captain*, 2nd Vermont Infantry, On the Battle and Retreat

24 02 2020

From the Daily Freeman.
The Vermont 2d at Bull Run.
———————–

The Vermont Second were on the left wing, which brought us directly opposite a portion of the enemy’s line stationed behind a fence; but in about ten minutes we had the pleasure of seeing their line give away, and they fled to the woods. But at the same instant I discovered a movement of a large body of their troops towards us, with the evident design of outflanking our right. We seemed to have the battle now immediately before us, and the necessity of a change of position of our Regiment was apparent to all. We had nearly ceased fire when I noticed Capt. Walbridge, who was on my right, and on the right of the Regiment, facing his men to deploy to the right. I inferred from this that the general order had been given to deploy, although I heard no such order. But it was impossible to hear, and we had to go by signs, and guess our way through. I immediately gave orders to my Company to face to the right, and we marched around so as to prevent their outflanking us. I discovered at this time that Capt. Walbridge and myself were alone in this maneuver, and I have since learned that no order was given to this effect; but the movement saved a part of our artillery at least. All concerned had by this time discovered that, on account of superior numbers of the enemy’s reserve, we should not be able to hold the ground against them; but the Fourth Maine, which was not on our left, and the Vermont Regiment – part on the left and part on the right – held the position a long time, retiring slowly, while our wounded, baggage, and artillery mostly gained the line of retreat. It was nearly night, and God save me from another such scene as followed. The ground where we were, was so situated that we could only retreat along one road, which passed through a dense wood, and that vast array of wounded and whole, baggage and artillery, all rushed for this pass. Why we were not all cut to pieces, I do not know. The Rebels did not see our entire defeat, and did not pursue us as promptly as they might have done, and we gained a very fair start on them. But night was setting in, and we could not get Companies together, much less Regiments, and every one retreated on his own hook. Horses were unhitched from baggage trains, and turned back, covered with riders, and the wagons left to block the already narrow pass. Horses and wagons were often overturned, and left piled pell-mell in the gutters. At one place we had a bridge to cross and I never saw such confusion. There we lost most of our baggage. I counted as many as twenty dead horses, with wagons innumerable, piled in this ravine, and troops actually crossed over this mass of horse flesh and wagons, boxes and barrels, cannon, &c., rather than over the bridge. I had thus far kept the most of my Company together, and from the fact of our being last off the field, and in the rear, I was every moment expecting an attack on our retreating columns. But the delay here was so great that I rallied my men, and we passed to the left into the woods to a point above the bridge some few rods, where we crossed by wading the creek, which was about waist deep. This carried us to about the middle of the column, and we stopped a moment to witness the dreadful scene at the bridge. I saw an ambulance, in which were several wounded troops, run off the bank, killing the horses, but leaving the men still alive. All sorts of horrible sights, too shocking to contemplate, were before us. We now proceeded to the top of the hill, where we sat down to empty the water from our boots and ring it out of our clothes. While this engaged, the report of a cannon to the rear but too plainly told that we were pursued and overtaken, Our cavalry, however, it seems, were expecting this, and a gallant charge from them saved us from utter annihilation.

We were now ten miles from the camp we had left in the morning, and thirty-five miles from Alexandria, the only point where we could count ourselves safe. If we had stopped the retreating column here, and formed in some order we might have made a successful stand, but this was impossible. If I had now had all my company together, I would have given all the money I ever saw in Vermont, or ever expect to. You may perhaps faintly appreciate my feelings in thinking that out of my whole company who were anxiously looking to me for advice and direction only about twenty could be counted; and among the missing was my own boy. I halted and we held a counsel as to whether we would proceed or wait and try to gather in the rest. We concluded that we could not aid them by remaining, and having with us all that we knew were wounded, we concluded to keep along and pick up what we could. Our march was now direct to Alexandria, thirty-five miles, and we did not make any long halt till we reached here about ten o’clock this morning, a terribly tired and worn out set of fellows. We ate some luncheon from our haversacks about eleven yesterday, just before going into the battle, and that was the last we had until some time after noon to-day. I have been trying to get up life enough with the boys to have them wash and improve their looks a little, but all except one or two are still sleeping in the dirt, so black you could not recognize them. We succeeded to-day in getting some bread and butter, which is all we have had to eat, but the men are so tired they all lie around me unconscious of hunger.

(Barton, VT) Independent Standard, 8/9/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* The writer mentions a son in his company. Using this roster, this captain could be – Co. D, Capt. Charles D. Dillingham (there is also a Martin L.); Co. E, Capt. Richard Smith (also Edward H. and Nathan F.); Co. H, Capt. William T. Burnham (also Andrew J.).

Dillingham was born in 1837, and would not likely have a son of age.

Smith was 40 years old at the time. Fold3 

Burnham was 43 years old at the time. Fold3

I’ve been unable to positively establish links between the Smiths or between the Burnhams.





G. S. A., Co, C, 3rd Maine Infantry, On Capt. W. E. Jarvis in the Battle

7 02 2020

Letter from the Third Maine Regiment.

We received, after our paper was ready for the press, a letter from a reliable source in the 3d Maine Regiment. We make room for the later and more important portion, omitting much that we would cheerfully have published, if received in season.

Clermont Place, Fairfax Co., Va.
Aug. 3d, 1861.

I wrote an account of the battle soon after the return of the regiment to Alexandria – but finding that your correspondent “Litchfield” had already sent an account of the battle, I threw my letter into the tent, and there it would have remained, had it not been for some of the iliesi that came back to us from Gardiner. In some of the letters that came to us to-night, from home, it is said that the report was current in Gardiner that Capt. Jarvis was not on the battle-field, and that he was in so great haste to get back to Alexandria, he run his horse over the retreating soldiers. So far as Capt. Jarvis himself is concerned, he needs no bolstering up by newspaper correspondents, but his friends “down East” may want to know the facts.

On that day, Capt. Jarvis acted as Lt. Col. of the 3d regiment, and I wish it understood at home, that if there is any man in the regiment who is always at his post, that man is Captain Jarvis. He was among the first on the field, and remained there until long after the flag was carried off. During the fight he was perfectly calm and always at his post.

In regard to running over men with his horse – I can dispose of that “double-quick” – Capt. Jarvis walked all the way to Manassas, all the way back to Alexandria. One thing is plain, the man who made the statement is either of the number, liars – or of that number who were unable to get on the field, and consequently did not know who was.

Capt. Jarvis stops in the tent of Co. C and is in good health and spirits, and one of the few officers of the regiment who asks no furlough to go home. He remarked to me yesterday, that he had rather lay his bones beneath the soil of old Virginia, than go home without whipping out secession. Capt. Jarvis can stand on his own bottom.

Wm. H. Peacock of West Gardiner, a member of Co. C, died yesterday in the hospital at Washington. He was one of our best soldiers – a man always ready to do his duty.

Rev. H. C. Leonard, our new chaplain, arrived Wednesday, and makes quite a favorable impression with the men. He lives on soldiers’ rations, and with his gray flannel shirt and plain clothes, he makes not a bad looking soldier.

Gardiner should raise another company for the war. They have all the material; but none are wanted unless they are able to endure some hardship, and live on soldiers rations. The least they can do is, to send twenty men, to fill the places of those unable to do duty in the companies at the seat of war.

All the rubber blankets presented to us by the citizens of Gardiner, were lost at Bull’s Run. They were left at Fairfax, and stolen by the negroes. We miss them much, as the men are obliged to sleep on the ground.

The citizens of Bath are going to send new ones to the two companies from that city – (Think the Gardiner folks will take the hint?)

Peaches, blackberries, tomatoes, and all kinds of fruit, are very plenty, and can be bought for almost nothing, from the negroes who come around our camp. The slaves in this part of the country live high this season. Their masters having gone to the war, they make free to sell whatever is wanted to the soldiers – and pocket the money.

Bye the by, the best joke of the season, was Beauregard’s order to his men. “Don’t shoot the officers, if you do they will get better ones.”

“Litchfield” will be at his post next week. He has been on special duty this week.

G. S. A.

Gardiner (ME) Home Journal, 8/8/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy





“A,” Co. I, 2nd Wisconsin, On the March, Blackburn’s Ford, Battle, and Retreat

7 02 2020

Letter from the Second Regiment.

Fort Corcoran, July 29, 1861

Messrs. Bliss & Son: I have delayed writing you anything in relation to the great battle, and great defeat as it is called, at Bull’s Run, supposing, in the first place, that some one else had written you, being desirous of getting information of the whereabouts of several members of our company who were missing. The full account with particulars you will find in the newspapers, most of which are nearly true. But there are many omissions of importance. For instance, in your paper of the 23rd, which we just received to-nigh, the 2nd Wisconsin is not mentioned as being in the fight at all. Now, the truth is, we were in both battles at Bull’s Run, on the 18th and 21st. But we did not spend $50.00 to hire reporters to blazon our deeds to the country through a venal press; and what is more, our officers actually refused to pay the $50.00 for doing so in one particular case.

I can only give you a condensed narration of our part in the proceedings,

“— quorum magna pars fui,” *

as I would say, had I the vanity of AEneas, when he told his story to the confiding ear of Dido.

We left our camp near this place on Tuesday, the 16th, in the afternoon, with three days’ rations in our haversacks and with no baggage except our blankets, which were strapped over our shoulders. We marched some fifteen miles and camped at Vienna, where the Ohio boys were attacked in the cars from a masked battery some weeks ago. Starting at daylight next morning we resumed the march, passing through Germantown, where we drew up for a fight, but one or two shots from our cannon sent the enemy flying in double quick time. Here we found batteries just deserted, and quite a quantity of provisions. The batteries, I must say, like most we encountered on the road as far as Centreville, seemed more to have been built to scare us than to injure us. The roads, however, were obstructed with fallen timber, which delayed us very much in removing. Here in Germantown, to the discredit of some of our troops, one or two houses were set on fire and consumed. We pushed on from here until within a short distance of Centreville, when we camped, and the boys had a taste of secession mutton, chicken, etc. The scene on the march, though tiresome, was gay. As far ahead and back as the eye could reach the road was crowded with men, horses, baggage wagons and artillery. It seemed the march of an army to certain victory.

We lay in this camp until 9 or 10 o’clock in the morning, when we heard the booming of cannon in advance on our left. This was Gen. Tyler’s first introduction to the masked batteries of the rebels. About four o’clock a courier came riding up, his horse covered in foam, with orders for Col. Sherman to advance immediately with his brigade, to which we were attached. Of course we lost no time, and in a few minutes were on the march, and soon arrived on the ground above the battery, and were drawn up in line in the woods. The balls from the rifled guns of the rebels flew around and over us lively, crushing trees in their path and killing one of our men and wounding two others. Finding it impossible to dislodge the enemy without great loss of life, we were ordered to return to a camp about a mile in advance of Centreville, on the main road. Our boys had shown their courage and coolness under fire without returning it, and were highly complimented by Col. Sherman. We met while going down to the attack the 12th New York and 2d Massachusetts, puffing and blowing, saying they were all cut to pieces and had left at least half of their regiments on the field. Their fear lent wings to their fancy; the whole loss of all engaged being only some forty killed, but many scattered. There was no reason to complain of the Miners’ Guards, – all being ready to “go in” and take a hand, and only dodging the balls which passed over our heads.

We now remained in camp quietly awaiting reinforcements until Saturday evening, when we received orders to prepare two days’ rations and to be ready to start at 2 o’clock the next morning. At this time every man was ready, his haversack filled with hard bread and cold tongue, and silently as possible we took up our line of march, over a hilly and timbered county. On the way we encountered several of the “contraband” whose masters had deserted their homes, having been impressed into the rebel army. They said that the slaves were kept quiet by the story that the Northern men only wanted to get them to sell in Cuba. They did not all believe the story, however. They gave us correct information in reference to the rebel batteries, as subsequent events proved.

Of the first attack by the left wing, and of the flanking movement of the right wing, I have not time to speak. We were in the center, and from the position we occupied could tell by the dust and smoke the progress of the other divisions. At first, although, after we were drawn into a line on the edge of the wood, we could see a large extent of the country, where not a man could be seen, and it was only after our artillery began to play with thin[?] shells and cannister shot that the men began to swarm out of their hollows, all of which were densely crowded.

About 10 o’clock, after the left wing had taken the first masked battery, and Hunter and Heintzelman had made their attack on the right flank of the enemy, we were ordered to advance, which we did in double-quick time; and after fording a stream and climbing a precipitous bluff, we formed in line of battle. The first sight that met our eyes was the enemy retreating before the gallant charge of the New York 71st, who were slaying them like sheep. The slaughter was awful. But we had no time to lose. We advanced over a rise of ground and found ourselves directly in front of the rebel batteries on the opposite ridge. We marched forward under this fire until we reached a hollow, when we were partially protected from their shot, but not from their shell. A piece from one dented my word, and others hit several of the men, but nobody was killed. We were soon ordered to cross a muddy stream and charge up the hill in the direction of one of the rebel batteries. This was gallantly done, and the regiment drawn up in a road, flanking the enemy. The Fire Zouaves were fighting gallantly on our right. Our men now went to work with a will, and stood under the direct fire of a strong body of infantry for more than an hour, and fought with a spirit and determination which was much admired by their neighbors, the Zouaves, who cheered the Wisconsin boys, and several of them afterward remarked that the Zouaves themselves did no better fighting.

A constant fire was kept up, only interrupted for an instant by the cry of some traitor in the camp, “Don’t shoot your friends!” The hoisting of the stars and stripes by the rebels deceived many until the delusion was dispelled by a volley of musketry. Soon a movement was discovered on our right which proved to be a reinforcement of fresh troops from Manassas. Up to this time the victory was with us. The enemy were giving away in every direction, and had lost several of their best batteries. We were now ordered to fall back for the purpose of reforming our line and renewing the attack, and at the same time evading the flank fire. We had now had over twenty men killed and some sixty wounded. The regiment fell back to the opposite ridge, and under the fire from the battery was thrown into some confusion, like all the others on the field. But the order was given to fall in, and a large number was collected around the flag under one of the regimental officers, who conducted them down the hill where the panic had commenced, and then without any officer they made their way with the crowd in the wake of the “glorious 69th” to Centreville. Near here the regiment was re-organized by several of the company officers, and marched in obedience to orders from Gen. McDowell to camp at this place, – a tedious march of thirty-five miles, after fighting and marching from 2 o’clock in the morning. We did not arrive here till 10 a. m. on Monday morning., having rested only two hours at Fairfax. Thousands were in camp before us. What caused the panic, I do not know. The newspapers may tell. I think it was a want of officers to rally the men. It certainly was not a want of courage in the men, for they had shown the contrary; it certainly was a want of organization that caused a disastrous retreat, after having at one time gained a glorious victory.

The loss of the Miners; Guards was small compared with that in two or three other companies. This was owing to the fact that Lt. Bishop was detailed, just as we started to make the charge, with thirty men, to assist in manning and putting in position the big thirty-two pound Parrot gun, and who found it impossible to rejoin the company under the raking fire to which they would have been exposed. They did good service, however, where they were.

William Owens, of Dodgeville, was killed by a shot through the head; Lieut. LaFleiche was wounded by a shot in the shoulder; Lieut. Bishop was injured internally by his exertions; Philip Lawrence was wounded by a shot in the breast; Emile Peterson was wounded by a shot in the hip; Christian Kessler was also wounded, and is yet among the missing. James Gregory, George W. Dilley and Walter P. Smith have not been heard from, and are probably taken prisoners, as they were well when last seen. They are brave boys, and we hope to see them again soon. The wounded are all doing well and will soon recover.

Of course, the boys were tired, and the more so that they stood around the whole of Monday, in the rain, waiting for accommodations at the Fort. They are recruiting rapidly now, though quite a number are unwell. They will go into the next fight with more coolness, but not with more courage. They fought like old soldiers, and won the praise of all spectators, hundreds of whom were looking on.

I neglected to mention the fact, that, soon after crossing Bull’s Run, on the retreat, the cavalry charged on the regimental colors. The Wisconsin boys rallied around and drive back the cavalry after emptying eight or ten saddles. The colors were not afterward disturbed.

We are now encamped within the walls of Fort Corcoran, ready to assist in the defense of the capital, which lies constantly in sight. How long we shall remain here we do not know. We hope to do our duty wherever we are, and to have a share in the good work of delivering our country from the conspirators who are seeking its destruction.

Hoping to have leisure to continue this brief correspondence, I must retire to my wearied pillow, as the snores of my companions remind me it is high time.

A.

Mineral Point (WI) Weekly Tribune, 8/6/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* Translated “In which I played a great part.”