Pvt. Anson Hobart, Co. G (1st) F, 13th New York Infantry, On the Battle*

22 05 2020

From a “Broth of a Boy” in the 13th.

We have been shown a letter from private Anson Hobart, to his mother, in which he describes the events of Sunday, and the share which his own company took in the engagement. We copy a single paragraph verbatim:

“In the first place we stopped on a hill where we did not have a fair fight with the rebels. We thought to take them, when they run, but we got sucked in, for we could not see them nowhere. Well, then, we run four miles further, when we got a fair swing at them – then we gave them h—l on all sides, until balls flew about our heads like hailstones. Then our Captain gave the order to retreat, which made all of us as mad as so many crazy devils, but we had to do it. We are going to try them again in a few days, and I hope the Lord will spare my life till I see the Stars and Stipes flying all over the whole world. If He does, I shall feel happy when I die.”

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/29/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* While no Hobart is listed in the roster source below, records for Anson Hobart were found in the 3rd New York Cavalry, to which Co. G (1st) of the 13th New York Infantry transferred on 9/1/1861.

13th New York Infantry Roster 

Anson Hobart at Ancestry.com 

Anson Hobart at Fold3 

Anson Hobart at FindAGrave 

Pvt. Thomas Westcott. Co. F, 13th New York Infantry, On the Battle and Retreat

21 05 2020

Letter from W. H. Westcott.

Eds. Express: – As the Express has a large circulation in Clarendon, its readers may be pleased to read this letter from Thos. Westcott, private in Capt. H. Smith’s Company.

Truly yours,

Camp Union, July 21, 1861

Dear Brother: – Yesterday I returned to this Camp from a hard, long and bloody battle. The Clarendon boys have all arrived safe and sound. Tell Mr. Copeland that I saw Alden after the fight; he is alive and well.

I will now try and give a little account of the fight. We started from Fairfax, or near there, Sunday morning at 2 ½ o’clock. I assure you it was the most awful Sunday I have ever seen or hope to see again. After marching six miles beyond Centreville, we filed off the main road into a large wood, then marched at left flank until we reached the edge again. Here we lay about two hours, then Gen. Tyler ordered two companies of our regiment to a hill. Those ordered were ours (Capt. Smith’s) Co. G. and Co. A. – Upon arriving on the hill, we then caught first sight of the enemy. We commenced firing on them as soon as they opened on us, but without any effect. While we were there the enemy marched towards the east and way off to the right. We saw one of our divisions advancing towards them, soon two batteries of our Brigades belched forth furiously on them, but they did not return the fire.

On this little hill we remained two hours, then returned to our regiment, and staid about half an hour; now the heavy cannon thundered, the long and steady cracking of musketry told plainly the work had commenced. Orders came for us to march forward as fast as possible. We did so, making good time, until we reached a wide creek, which we forded without much delay. No place could be found to get the batteries across, as the banks of the creek were high and steep. This caused us to fight with great disadvantages. On this eminence could be seen the batteries playing from both sides; soon the enemy began to retreat in great confusion, and the principal thing going on, was taking rebel prisoners.

Forward, march! – and now we are in the thickest of the fight. O, the destruction of men and horses! What a sight! I revolt to tell particulars. Stopping a few moments urged the enemy to open on us a terrific fire. The ground was heaving and flying in every direction. We were ordered to march toward the battery – but halted in a gully. Here we lay until one of our batteries passed up the hill to play on the enemy. While we were here, Col. Slocum and regiment passed. I watched for Alden Copeland; soon he came along looking pretty hard. I asked him how he liked the “fellers” whistling over us, and whether they made him dodge or no. He said the shells from cannon he dreaded, but the bullets he got along with well enough.

While marching along, I looked up and saw two balls coming that had struck the ground and were on the bound. They were about 20 feet in the air and [?] feet apart. Says I to Clinton, “Look at those balls!” They passed over our heads and struck in Capt. Nolte’s Company. – They hit the first men I saw fall in our Regiment. The battery of the enemy now ceased firing and we were ordered to march across the creek and up the hill, passing along for 40 rods, were ordered to the left flank, right wheel; we did so,, halted, dropped down, and waited for the enemy. While laying here, the 27th marched on up the road to support our battery, working on the enemy whose battery raked ours, killing all the horses that were to draw the pieces. Two regiments supporting the rebel battery, moved towards us on the brow of a hill. Here, for the first time, I saw the rebel flag or rag, as it soon became when in sight of our regiment. – Here our company suffered; two were wounded – one in the arm, the other in the neck and arm. The closest call I got, was by the ball that took effect in the poor fellow’s neck; it passed through my cape which was wound around my blanket, and slung across my shoulder. We lay there pouring bullets on them like hail. I was our rebel flag bearers shot down. Our cartridges were nearly gone so we retreated a short distance and made a stand, firing away our last cartridge.

About this time the enemy received large reinforcements – what an awful volley of balls were poured down on us – we were compelled to retreat, leaving many dead and wounded on the field. We were not scratched, but to see horses running away, tearing everything to pieces, was frightful.

We left for Centreville about six o’clock, ad there met reinforcements which went on to Bull Run to guard the wagons. That evening we marched to Fairfax, where I fell out of rank and made up my mind to go no further that night. I soon found a barn, a buffalo skin, and laid down for the night, not caring for the consequences. At six in the morning I awoke hungry and sore.

I made up my mind I never could walk to camp, so a conveyance was found, and I rode into camp about noon. The most of the boys returned bare-footed, their feet being much blistered. I think the loss in our Regiment is about 50 killed and wounded.

I have always had a strong desire to see a fight. I have now seen it. Now I have a desire to have just one more chance at them, then I am done. I don’t like to fight where the balls are only bullets. They are of no consequence.

I staid last night in a corn house with some Couth Carolina prisoners. Our force brought away many such fellows; some New Orleans Zouaves are here. I have no more time to write, so wait a little while longer.


Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/29/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

13th New York Infantry Roster 

Thomas Westcott at Ancestry.com 

Thomas Westcott at Fold3 

Thomas Westcott at FindAGrave 

Image: Lt. Walter M. Fleming, Co. G (1st), 13th New York Infantry

21 05 2020

Walter Millard Fleming, 13th New York Infantry, co-founder of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (Source)

Lt. Walter M. Fleming, Co. G (1st), 13th New York Infantry*, On His Brother’s Return to Washington

20 05 2020

Interesting Letter from Lt. Walter M. Fleming.

We have been furnished with a copy of a highly interesting letter from Lt. Fleming of Capt. Lewis’ company:

Washington, D. C. July 23, 1861.

Dear Parents, – I hasten to write you that my brother William is comparatively safe. He came to my boarding house last night, assisted by two of our company, Mr. Geo. Masseth and one other young man. They had walked and ridden all day, and all the night before. [Illegible] many falling upon him – dead and wounded. But he was fortunate to escape, I trust, slight injuries. I was out around the city yesterday in the rain as long as I dared to be, to ascertain the fate of our regiment. All I could lean was, that they were badly cut up. I returned to my rooms sad, sick, and discouraged, and wet to the skin. I had been in but a few moments when the bell rung, and I heard the tramp of soldiers on the stair case. I felt that I was to learn the worst. Judge of my surprise and joy when in came my brother William, drenched with rain and covered with mud. He truly looked haggard and exhausted; but O, I could have died for that moment of joy. I could not speak, neither could he. We could but embrace each other, the big tears starting mutually from our eyes.

George Masseth, God bless him, found the poor fellow beneath, and among the dead and dying, lying in mud and gore, with the blood flowing from his nose and mouth, almost unrecognizable, and with another noble young soldier helped him here. Although I am happy in such a restoration of my dear brother, I am sad, very sad, when I remember that many of our poor noble fellows are dead on the field of Bull’s Run. My boarding mistress got supper for our suffering party, built fires, and they were fed, dried and slept here last night. William is ill, bruised and completely worn out. He is still sleeping in the next room. I shall keep him here for a time, and he will, I trust, by rest and care, soon to back to all right again. Poor Fred Willson – John’s brother – was among the first to fall; he was shot through the heart.

Our regiment, as near as we can learn, has lost about 200 men. Captain Lewis and Lieutenant Putnam are uninjured. Captain Nolte’s company suffered severely. We shall have full particulars soon. Our regiment, with the New York Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth, made the most tremendous charge ad fight of the day. Ellsworth’s Zouaves also fought with perfect desperation, losing many of their noble band.

I have had another hemorrhage, but am remarkably well for me. I have not seemed to suffer any injury from my great anxiety for poor brother William, as I feared I should. I thank Heaven that he is with me, and I trust in no intermediate danger. Wounded soldiers are arriving in Washington every moment, and are constantly passing here.

The Rochester Cavalry has arrived here.

William says when he left the field it was a perfect labor of climbing, for a long distance over the dead and dying, both soldiers and horses, with a perfect wreck of artillery wagons, camp equipage, &c. The rebel loss is immense.

The battle at Bull’s Run will stand out to all future time, as one of the most desperate and bloody battles on record. Our regiment was in three distinct charges at the point of the bayonet, and but for Johnston’s reinforcements to the rebels, at the moment when our men were worn out with fatigue, the day had been ours. As it is, the rebels have suffered a chastisement they will not forget. Notwithstanding their great advantage in numbers and position, their loss, compared with ours, is probably three to one.

Yours, in haste,

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/27/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* This company transferred to the 3rd NY Cavalry after the battle.

** Records indicate William L. Fleming was First Sergeant of Co. G. His brother Walter M. Fleming was commissioned 2nd Lt. 7/4/1861.

13th New York Infantry Roster 

Walter M. Fleming at Ancestry.com 

Walter M. Fleming at Fold3 

Walter M. Fleming at FindAGrave (possible) 

Walter M. Fleming bio (possible) 

Sgt. William L. Fleming, Co. G (1st), 13th New York Infantry*, On the Battle

19 05 2020

From Lieut.** Wm. L. Fleming.

Washington, D. C. July 24.

Dear Father – You are doubtless, ere this, advised of the great battle on Thursday last, and of course feel anxious to know if I am still among the living. I hope this will speedily reach you, and relive you of your fears and anxieties concerning me.

It is impossible for me at present to give you the details of that terrible battle, in which I participated, but I will give you a glimpse of the most important parts.

When our regiment came up to the scene of action, the rebels were out in the field, on and even footing with our troops, but they did not stand their ground long, as our fire mowed them down like grass, and they fled to their covers. The next move we made was to support our (Sherman’s) battery, where we lay some time, the shot and shell whistling around us thick and fast. We next made a charge at a house, close to their masked batteries, where they were shielded by bushes and trees. Here we stood some ten or fifteen minutes under a galling fire, our poor fellows dropping around us like falling leaves. We were told to stop firing, as those in the house were our troops. The infamous rebels displayed the American flag there to deceive us, which infamy they perpetrated several times during the day, to deceive and get the advantage of us. Such was the confusion thus induced, that our own troops commenced firing into us, supposing we were the enemy, killing several. This, together with a galling fire from the enemy’s masked batteries and muskets, compelled us to retreat, under a heavy cavalry charge. I was thrown down and trampled on, which induced an hemorrhage of the nose and mouth, but I shall, I trust, be all right again in a few days. Our boys did nobly throughout the fight. The Fire Zouaves, the 69th and 79th did bravely. The Zouaves made charge after charge till very many of them were killed and all much exhausted. It is impossible for me to tell at present how many of our regiment were killed, but our loss must have been heavy, 200 or more, I judge. It is a perfect marvel to me how I escaped being shot. I had made up my mind that I should unquestionably fall; but I resolved to do my duty, live or die. As I think of it now, it seems a miracle that so many balls, coming like a shower of hail around me, could all miss me. My garments were untouched with them, though like a hail storm they whistled the requiem of many a noble fellow by my side. This for the present must suffice. I am stopping for a few days here in Washington with brother Walter, who is doing finely now.

In haste, yours faithfully,

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/27/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* This company transferred to the 3rd NY Cavalry after the battle.

** Records indicate William L. Fleming was First Sergeant of Co. G. His brother Walter M. Fleming enlisted as an Ensign and was commissioned 2nd Lt. 7/4/1861.

13th New York Infantry Roster 

William L. Fleming at Ancestry.com 

William L. Fleming at Fold3 

Lt. Israel H. Putnam, Co. G (1st), 13th New York Infantry*, On the Battle

19 05 2020

What they Endured. – From a letter written home by Lieut. Putnam, of Capt. Lewis’ company, we extract the following:

* * * * * * * *

What have we been through! We were on the march from two o’clock Sunday morning till eight o’clock Monday morning. At noon we were completely victorious. *** The charge was made by the cavalry and Fire Zouaves, and they were cut to pieces. The Zouaves rallied again, and our brigade then made an impetuous charge and the slaughter was immense. Our own (13th) regiment held the most dangerous positions, and I am proud to say that we were the last to leave the field – the others having retreated.

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/27/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* This company transferred to the 3rd NY Cavalry after the battle.

13th New York Infantry Roster

Israel H. Putnam at Ancestry.com 

Israel H. Putnam at Fold3 

Israel H. Putnam at FindAGrave 

Pvt. Daniel A. Sharpe, Co. A, 13th New York Infantry, On the Battle

18 05 2020

Letter from the Standard Bearer of the Thirteenth.

Fort Corcoran, July 23d.

Dear Parents – Knowing how anxious you will be to hear of our safety, I hasten to write you a few lines concerning our terrible and bloody battle. We had one fight on Thursday, and account of which I sent you.

On Sunday morning, at 2 o’clock, we left camp 40,000 strong, and marched eight miles and attacked 100,000 of the enemy. In the woods. The fight lasted from 9 in the morning till five in the evening. Old soldiers say it was the most desperate and bloody conflict that ever took place in the same length of time.

We were forced to retreat thirty miles to this place, where we arrived (or what is left of us) at 8 yesterday morning. The enemy followed us, cutting off the wounded and stragglers. The only one of the killed that you knew was Charles Buckley; he was shot through the neck and arm. We left him at a house near the battle-field; but I heard that his body was to be brought on this morning.

I was in the heat of the action all this time, with the colors; and all were surprised to see me return with them alive. They were shot through twice.

Tell Johnny I am sorry to tell him the revolver is gone; but he has the satisfaction to know it saved my life twice, and killed two of the enemy.

When we retreated from their battery, four of them followed me, and in jumping a fence I fell and dropped it.

Hoping this will find you in good health,

I remain yours, &c.,
Dan. Sharpe

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/27/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

13th New York Infantry Roster 

Daniel A. Sharpe at Ancestry.com 

Daniel A. Sharpe at Fold3 

Daniel A. Sharpe at FindAGrave