Capt. Jerome Rowe, Co. A, 32nd New York Infantry, On the Retreat

9 12 2016

Letters from the Battle-Field.
———-
[Correspondence of the Journal]
———-

Headquarters 32d Regiment,
Alexandria, Va.,
July 27, 1861.

Friend Selkreg: – I cannot help, as one of the many military men engaged in the ill-fated conflict at Bull’s Run, to feel slandered by the public press as regards the operations of that day. It is enough upon the poor soldiers that they were defeated, without making them accountable for the loss of half a million of property, strewn, as wrecks of defeat in the indecent haste with which that great army retired to camp that day; without charging upon the whole army a panic that carried them past Centreville in their rout; that lost that place, Fairfax Court House, and all the territory we had occupied by victorious arms, which is now given back to enemies and is being fortified, and must be retaken perhaps with loss of life.

The withdrawing our forces from the conflict at Bull’s Run, as the fight was then progressing, was doubtless eminently proper. The general rout following is the fault of the Commander, and one of the most infamous things, as it was conducted, in military history. If Gen. McDowell had ordered the army to fall back and form at Centreville, instead of ordering the men promiscuously to run for their lives to their camps, the command would have been well executed, our Government property saved, the territory saved, the moral and credit of the army saved, and neither the world nor our enemies have known that we were defeated. What reason was there for a panic among thirty thousand men, who were formed in divisions remote from the actual conflict, who had not fired a musket all day, who, when they retired from the woods, retired as they would have moved to a fourth of July parade. If all possible panics had been generated among the men in the fight, it would not have affected more than the six or eight regiments actually engaged in it, bating the stupid blunder of moving a train of baggage wagons into the inextricable passes of Bull Run, to be wedged in and block up the rear.

That thirty thousand men would have remained and held Centreville had they been permitted to have done so. So far from the army’s having taken flight, in an uncontrollable panic, I have seen several of the regiments who supposed when ordered to retreat that they were simply changing position for better effect. Ninety-nine out of every hundred of the troops, had they known that they were being withdrawn as defeated, would have refused to have left the woods. Fifteen thousand men, ourselves included, in a selected position natural for defence, were quietly asleep on the grass, and were awakened at 11 o’clock at night to march home. That single fifteen thousand could easily have held Centreville and have recovered all the property and saved the credit of the army. They would have done it if permitted. Re-enforcements would have reached us, and nothing would have pleased them more in the world than to have had Jeff Davis come out from his fastnesses and retreat behind masked batteries in the woods, and have attempted to have driven them from that position. Yet those men are now demoralized by the fright communicated to them by general officers, and by being marched, between 11 o’clock at night and 11 o’clock the next day, thirty miles to avoid some terrible grim-visaged enemy that would hang on their rear and worry and destroy them.

The Colonel of the 32d Regiment, when the enemy appeared and opened a tremendous fire upon our division, (which fire we suppose was simply to divert the attention of the remainder of the army from their own retreat at the place where the battle was, for they ran from our troops faster than our’s from them,) insisted on staying and giving them sturdy battle, and to that end induced some of the artillery, which the regiment protected, to stay after the other pieces had left, and give the enemy a few more rounds of grape and cannister. A young United States officer, a lieutenant of artillery, had just fallen and was carried in rear of our lines, and then retreat was ordered. The bugle, whose notes they must obey, then sounded a peremptory retreat which they obeyed, and left us to our duty to cover that retreat and save their horses and guns from the enemy. We did this, and our regiment came orderly the last out of the woods, with confederate cavalry hanging upon its rear, and audacious enough to show some of their horsemen after we got in line of battle in the open field. The cannon firing late in the day, which the New York papers speak of as a probable diversion, was the artillery of our own Brigade, formed by the side of our regiment, giving these cavalry hollow shot and setting them flying for the woods. When the enemy were at the right of our column, and driven by the artillery were expected to file around to the front and charge upon us at Bull’s Run, and the men stood with pieces cocked to receive them, I passed down the line to see how the men behaved, and my judgement is they would in action give a good account of themselves.

Yours, &c.,

JEROME ROWE, Capt. Co. A.

Ithaca [N. Y.] Journal and Advertiser, 8/7/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

Jerome Rowe at Fold3 

Bio sketch of Judge Jerome Rowe (thanks to reader Chris Van Blargan)





Unknown, 32nd New York Infantry, On the Battle

7 12 2016

The Battle at Bull’s Run.
———-
[Correspondence of the Journal]
———-  

Camp McDougal, near Alexandria, Va.,
Wednesday, July 24, 1861.

Dear Sir: – Yours of the 19th of July has just been received and read with pleasure. Our Regiment reached our old camp at Alexandria the forenoon of Monday last, on our retreat from the battle of Bull’s Run, and Manassas, of the day before. – We had been encamped near Bull’s Run, and within two miles of the masked batteries of the Rebels for the two last days previous, making, as I supposed, every preparation for a great battle and certain victory, and I to-day firmly believe that the victory was as certainly won and that but for the cowardice, knavery or imbecility of our acting Generals the federal troops would to-day occupy those important points instead of being as they are, repulsed, under the disgrace of retreat, and in the camps they occupied a week ago, or further back even in Washington.

We went forth to battle on the morning of the 21st of July. We reposed much confidence in our strength, and we were strong and the day would have been ours, but for the lack of some one to lead or direct our movements, having the necessary skill and qualifications to entitle him to be styled General of the New York State army. But this was not our case. The left of the line where our Brigade was stationed as a support of the batteries planted at that end of the line, our General seemed either crazy, badly scared or drunk, and our regiment (I understand it was so with others) was moving from place to place continually, to what end or for what purpose nobody seemed to know. Our artillery (two batteries on the left) blazed away all day at the enemy or their masked batteries – (those doing such fearful work among our men but a few days before) – without receiving a single shot from the enemy in return during the whole day, newspaper reports to the contrary notwithstanding. The only fight on the left of the line where our regiment was stationed, was the cannonade of our guns unanswered by the rebels, and the occasional exchange of shots between our skirmishers and theirs, whereby less than half a dozen men were killed and wounded, except that just at dark a body of rebel infantry marched from the woods on the left and fired upon the gunners killing one of the Lieutenants and for the time driving them from their guns. They rallied again, however, and poured into the rebels successive doses of shot and shell that sent them flying and enabled our men to take away their guns before they could rally again.

It was at this time that the 32nd Regiment was for the first time called upon to do active duty, although we had been constantly on the field and ready at all times. When the attack was made upon our battery on the left our Regiment was ordered down to resist it and cover the retreat of the artillery. When we reached the ground the artillery was already retreating, having previously poured into the rebels such a volley of grape and canister, that before they could rally the horses had been harnessed to the guns and they were safely drawn from the field, which we then occupied, covering the retreat. The rebels did not again show themselves; we were not fired into, nor did we fire a shot during the day.

We were soon after ordered to fall back to Centreville, where several regiments were forming to resist the imagined attack from thousands of rebel cavalry, supposed to be in pursuit of our now retreating army. As we took our position in line, some acting General, probably drunk or half scared to death, shouted out in a very loud, excited voice: “The cavalry are upon us; we shall all be cut to pieces; for God Almighty’s sake move out here, or we shall all be cut to pieces!” And then addressing himself to the artillerymen he commanded, “Why in h—l don’t you fire?” And they did, and away went the cavalry, which was to cut us all to pieces, and which consisted, as near as I could see, of some few dozen horsemen just emerged from the woods we had left, and certainly were not so formidable as to call out an expression of fear or terror made use of by our acting General, and which, I have no doubt did much towards unnerving many who could not of themselves see that what their General told them was untrue, and added materially to the general confusion that followed in our horrid retreat shortly afterwards. As we were not molested during the evening by the enemy of any sort, we were allowed to lay down on our arms in line of battle, ready to resist an attack at a moment’s warning, on the damp, cold ground (for the dew had commended to fall, and all the nights are quite cold in Virginia,) to rest and sleep. I know not how it was with my comrades, but I never slept more soundly in my life than I did there in the open air upon the battle-field, where our General would have us believe we were liable to be attacked and utterly cut to pieces at any moment. I could not realize that we were in any such great danger; and to-day, after looking the ground all over, I cannot bring myself to believe there was the least danger imagined; and when at eleven o’clock we were aroused up and ordered to fall back to Fairfax Court House, and finally to Alexandria, it seemed to me that orders were being issued by secessionists, who were having the thing all their own way by merely ordering it so, and, I am sorry to say, this belief has not entirely left me yet. Our Regiment reached our old camp ground at noon of the next day, nearly used up from excessive travel, but not a man had received a scratch from the hands of the rebels. Most of the fighting was done at the right of the line and not in our vicinity. A few wounded men, skirmishers, were carried off the field on the left, and but a few; and in addition to these, the first sight that met our eyes, when we went to the relief of the artillery, was the almost lifeless body of a dying lieutenant of the artillery company, who was mortally wounded by a musket ball at the first attack upon the battery.

I must confess that when I again reached camp I felt somewhat rheumatic, as well as a good deal used up. For a whole week we had lived upon the hardest kind of fare, and often too little of that. At night we slept upon the ground, without the least shelter, no matter though the rain fell, as it did occasionally, and lucky was the man who had both his rubber and blanket. As for myself, by chance I had no blanket or overcoat, but as the boys were some of them very kind to me, I managed to get along very well, and in a fe days I shall be ready, under a new leadership, to march again to the scene of action with, I trust, a different result. One of our Generals told me on our return that our probable loss was from four to six thousand, but this is all nonsense; straggling soldiers have not yet ceased coming in, and already the reliable estimated loss is reduced to some six hundred.

I really believe that if we had maintained our ground at Centreville the enemy would have retreated much faster towards Richmond the next morning than we did towards Alexandria. But as it is it may all be for the best.

You will please say to the citizens of Tompkins through our papers, that not a man of our two Ithaca companies as yet has been harmed by a secessionist bullet.

Ever truly yours,

——

Ithaca [N. Y.] Journal and Advertiser, 7/31/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy





Projecting

5 12 2016

I’m getting around to outlining my thoughts on Irvin McDowell’s plan for the campaign on Manassas. If you’ve been following along, you know that I am firmly of the opinion that McDowell’s intentions and expectations for the campaign have been grossly misrepresented over the years, with resulting, understandable effects on the analysis of the failure of his plans (keeping in mind that reasons for the failure of plans and reasons for defeat are two very, very different things). While I think I’m no longer completely alone in that opinion, and may never have been, I’m still pretty sure I’m in a very small minority.

anteffcoverIn the meantime, I’m reading a very interesting book by Bradley Graham, The Antietam Effect. I’ve heard rumblings about this book over the past few years (self published in 2012), but never saw it until stumbling over it in the Fredericksburg Battlefield visitor’s center. This is a collection of essays dealing with various topics of the campaign. It’s wide-ranging, even eclectic. The titles listed in the footnotes may leave you scratching your head at first glance but, trust me, there’s a point to everything (and yes, you have to read the notes). I don’t necessarily agree with all the author’s conclusions, but I love his approach and find it very similar to my own, on a basic level.

One passage I found particularly intriguing, and applicable with some bending to my own experience with the historiography of First Bull Run, can be found on page 175:

To make their views more compelling, some authors enlist the unspoken opinions of key players…They engage in a species of psychological projection – projecting their own internalized impressions onto important historical characters. This cognitive bias tends to shape analysis, and good scholarship devolves into advocacy for the favored view, and the ascription of the author’s opinions onto those who did not espouse them.

It seems to me that, when it comes to McDowell’s intentions and expectations, authors have developed impressions of what they must have been or should have been, and in the absence of confirming evidence projected those impressions as being those of the man himself. The strange thing to me is how consistently this has been done over the years, so that those impressions have become generally accepted. When the legend becomes fact…





Cpl. Joseph S. Sweatt, Co. E, 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Battle (2)

26 11 2016

Letter from the 2d New Hampshire Regiment.

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Washington, D. C. July 25, 1861

Dear Brother: – I yesterday received a letter from you and sister and was very glad to hear from you. I am well, and have helped to fight one of the greatest battles ever fought in this country. I suppose that by this time you have the account of the fight and retreat of the army. We fought hard but in vain. What was the use of 25,000 or 30,000 men against 100,000? We had men enough, but they were not brought in to the field. At every point the enemy had masked batteries, and they would raise the stars and stripes or do anything to deceive out men, and that was one reason so many men were lost. But we did fight the best we could. They were commanded on the right by Johnston, on the left by Beauregard, and at noon Davis came and took command of the center.

I tell you Charley it was an awful day for all of us; men with all kinds of wounds begging for water and to be taken off, but we could do these poor fellows no good, for it was all a man could do to look out for himself. Men were mowed down like grain but we did the best we could as it was. I was under the fence after the regiment left me as you know I told you in Father’s letter, that I gave out and was where the balls came like hail-stones, and the regiment had gone ahead. I was almost asleep, for I was about dead when a cannon ball came and knocked a rail off the fence over my head and sent it across the road; I thought it time to get up; so I got up and went to find my gun; I could not see the regiment and started up the hill but gave out; I got into a wagon and went up the hill; then the retreat commenced. I got a drink of whiskey or I never could have got off the field; for it was men and horses, wagons and cannon rushing all ways, the dead and wounded at every step; It was as much as a man could do to carry his body over 40 miles with nothing to drink or eat; I could have taken a good horse but I thought the forces would not all retreat and the owner might be close by, so I kept on; but I called myself a fool afterwards for not getting a horse, for I never came so near dying as at that time. I had got but three miles, I could neither swallow nor spit; I drank water much blacker than your boots. We had to drink where all above and below were washing their wounds in it, and men going through mud, blood and all. It was good. Every mud hole we came to was at once in a centre of men dying of thirst. But I am alive and that is more than many a poor fellow can say; wounded men and those that gave out were left along the road and were probably killed or taken prisoners. But a man cannot tell much about anything, after a battle, for it is all a whirl, but it did not seem so in battle; I thought I could tell everything, but cannot; I was not scared, but never should have got home if it had not been that life depended on it. I was put among the missing but have returned safe.

J. S. S.*

Concord Independent Democrat, 8/8/1861

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*Likely Cpl. Joseph S. Sweatt, Co. E.

Biographical information provided by reader David Morin

Sweatt, Joseph S. Co. E; b. Boscawen; age 17; res. Boscawen (Fisherville, now Penacook); enl. Apr. 18, ’61, for 3 mos.; not must. in; paid by State; re-enl. May 21, ’61, for 3 yrs.; must. in June 3, ’61, as Corp.; disch. disab. Aug. 1, ’61, Washington, D. C.

Residence Boscawen NH; a 17-year-old Student. Enlisted on 5/21/1861 at Boscawen, NH as a Corporal. On 6/3/1861 he mustered into “E” Co. NH 2nd Infantry. He was discharged for disability on 8/1/1861 at Washington, D.C.

On 9/4/1862 he mustered into “G” Co. RI 7th Infantry. He died of disease on 3/6/1863 at Boscawen, N.H. (Enlisted at Woonsockett, R.I. Died of typhoid fever.) He was listed as:

Wounded 12/13/1862 Fredericksburg, VA

Hospitalized 12/15/1862 Windmill Point, VA

Promotions: 1st Sergt 9/4/1862 (As of Co. G 7th RI Infantry)

Other Information: born 10/28/1843 in Boscawen, NH

(Parents: Ira & Mary S. Sweatt)

Sources; used by Historical Data Systems, Inc.

JOSEPH S. SWEATT.

Sergeant Joseph Sawyer Sweatt, eldest son of Ira and Mary S. Sweatt, was born in the town of Boscawen, N. H., Oct. 28, 1843. He was fitted in the schools of that town and of Fisherville (now Pena cook) for the Tilton (N. H.) Seminary, which he left for the purpose of enlisting in the Second New Hampshire, a three months’ regiment. He was thus present at the First Bull Run. During the retreat he was one of the many who were lost from their regiment and was reported killed, but, at length, he found his way back to his command. Upon his muster out he immediately joined the Second New Hampshire (three years) Volunteers, but soon after was taken sick, discharged, and sent home.

A little later he went to “Woonsocket, R. I., where an uncle resided, the late Enoch Sweatt, railroad contractor, and was by him employed as an assistant civil engineer. When the call came for “three hundred thousand more,” he enlisted as an orderly sergeant in the Seventh Rhode Island. He was wounded at Fredericksburg Dec. 13, 1862, and was taken to Windmill Point Hospital, Md. There his father visited him, and, after fourteen days, was able to remove him to Washington. After a brief rest he took him home to New Hampshire, but he lived only ten days after his arrival. Yet he was very thankful to gaze once more upon familiar scenes, and to die among his friends. His final and fatal illness was typhoid fever, to which he succumbed March 6, 1863. Three older sisters survive.

Source: The Seventh Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers in the Civil War, 1862-1865 by Hopkins, William Palmer, 1845-; Peck, George Bacheler, 1843-1934, ed

A History of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry

Contributed by John Hennessy





C. A. M., Co. B, 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Eve of the Campaign

24 11 2016

Letter of the 2d. New Hampshire Regiment.
———-

Washington, D. C.,
July 4, 1861.*

Messrs. Editors: I will write you a few lines this week, though not much of interest has transpired during the last few days, with, perhaps, the exception of the arrival of a paymaster in our camp, who just at this time is a very welcome visitor. To day the soldiers are being paid off, the idea of which is cheering, for many of us are getting short of change, which comes in handy even here in buying many of the smaller comforts of life with which we have been obliged to dispense with. Paying the soldiers thus promptly, seems to inspire them with new confidence and vigor, and all will fight the better for it.

Sunday the 7th, Mr. Parker** preached to us from the Acts of the Apostles, chapt. 16, verse 28th – “Do thyself no harm.” The application of which he made was that all of us should act in the same spirit to each other as Paul did towards the jailor who drew his sword in despair to slay himself when he saw his prisoners about to escape. Paul had the spirit of goodness in him which he showed even then when smarting under cruelties imposed upon him by those who were his enemies. Now, he said, when far away from the kind influences of home, we should exercise the same spirit towards ourselves. This we could do in abstaining from all the trends to demoralize us, from the many vicious practices to which the most of soldiers were addicted. Take these words, he said, as a rule of life – Do thyself no harm – and a glorious reward would be ours. Now when surrounded by ten thousand temptations, it would tend to develop our strength of character. Then, he said, while he was speaking, if every fathers ear could hear his voice, he would thank him for giving his boy this advice, and every blessed mother and sister left behind, would feel it an honor for any injury that might happen to the son and brother, at the hands of any rebel, if he kept from temptation and did himself no harm. Here lies the danger, It was an excellent discourse, and left an impression on those who hear it that will not soon be forgotten.

Tuesday afternoon, the regiment were favored with a speech from Gen. Wilson*** of California, a noble son of the old Granite State, who said he was proud of being here and seeing faces many of which were familiar to him. He came a son of New Hampshire to speak to New Hampshire soldiers in whom he took a great interest, though sixty-four years had taken away something of his manhood strength, still he meant to follow them in their marches and their battles, that when he returned to their native State he might tell her people how well her sons stood the trial. He had fill confidence in them. He spoke something like an hour, and was listened to with marked attention throughout. He was applauded frequently, and when he spoke of his daughter, who sat near us, as also taking a deep interest in us and of praying for our welfare, the cheers were absolutely deafening. At its close cheer upon sheer arose for the speaker, and the daughter who took such an interest in us. Gen. Wilson often visits our camp and is quite a favorite with both officers and men.

Yesterday was the holy Sabbath, and how sweet to my ears would have been the sound of the village church bell; everything reminds me that I am out of New England, every voice, and face, and sound I hear (except in our own regiment) are strangers. To-day I have been led to think of this more than at any time before. I know not why it is unless it is that I have loved my native hills and voices of those with whom I have been accustomed to associate more than I ought. No this cannot be; I have loved them I hope truly, but not too well. Dear old New New Hampshire; there is no land on the face of the wide earth like her, no hills from which the fresh breezes blow sweeter, no people whose hearts are warmer or who can take the hand with a firmer grasp in token of the kind friendship so peculiar to her, though I have seen hills whose sides were not so steep and rugged, tho’ I many have seen in this southern clime men and women who may be more polished but not more refined, still my heart clings to her; she shall never be disgraced by those she had sent forth in this hour of our country’s peril to fight her battles. We can strike with a truer and firmer stroke at traitor hearts, we can sight with an aim more exact at those who seek to destroy our common country when we think what a kind mother she has been to us. God bless her! I have no doubt is said in his own heart by every one of her two thousand sons who are now in the field ready for the contest this day. We were expecting to march to-day at 1 o’clock, the time has been postponed until to-morrow at 1 when no doubt every man that can go will, for all are anxious. Where we are to go none of us know. Wherever it may be we will try to do our duty, only hoping that we may not be exposed needlessly, and everything be planned in good judgment as no doubt it will be. The whole nation has full confidence in the noble old General at the head of her armies.

Yesterday, Mr. Parker preached to us from Proverbs 18th chapter and 10th verse – “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the nations runneth into it and are safe” – and a good discourse it was too. Mr. Parker is a good man and well liked by the regiment; we hope his labors in our behalf will be productive of good as certainly they deserve to be.

Since I wrote you last we have had a change in our culinary department, Austin Sanger having declined and appointed postmaster for the regiment, and a good appointment too, his place being supplied by Roberts, who understands his business – even now I hear the welcome sound i”fall in for supper”i so I must close for to-night.

Tuesday morning – This morning we are told that it is sure that we are to march at 1 P. M. all are busy in making preparations for departure in rolling up their blankets &c., we are to take four days rations in our haversacks, so we think we are to have something of a march. The whole regiment are all in good spirits, singing and cheering at the prospect of having something to break the monotony of the camp life we have had for the three weeks we have been here. None are in better spirits or more anxious to go than the Goodwin Rifles. It is possible these orders may be countermanded, we hope not. Good bye for this time, you shall hear from me again.

Yours,

C. A. M.****

Concord Independent Democrat, 7/25/1861

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*This appears to be the date that this letter was begun. It appears to end the day on which the movement to Manassas began, July 16, 1861.

**Chaplain Henry E. Parker in A History of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry

***Likely Congressman James Wilson. Sketch of General James Wilson of New Hampshire

****There are four C. A. M.’s listed in the regimental roster who were in the regiment at this time (plus numerous C. M.s, no middle initial). Two were in the Goodwin Rifles, Co. B: Pvt. Charles A. Mace and Sgt. Charles A. Milton .

A History of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry

Contributed by John J. Hennessy





“Corporal Trim,” 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Advance

23 11 2016

Our Army Correspondence – – No. 5.
———-

In Camp, four miles from Centreville,
Twelve miles from Manassas Junction,
Friday, July 19, 1861.

Dear Independent: I am writing under difficulties, first, there is not table or even a board to write on, so I write on the crown of my cap holding it in my lap, as I sit leaning against a stack of guns while the sweat runs down and drops off my beard. We started from Camp Sullivan, Tuesday the 16th inst., about noon, marched to Washington where we united with the Rhode Island Regiments, 1st and 2d, and the New York 71st with several companies of regulars and the U. S. Light Artillery. We began to feel good as we field across the long bridge and came insight of the extensive earth works which cover all the heights on the Virginia side near the bridge or at any point of crossing on the river. The troops at work on the entrenchments gave us cheer after cheer as we passed them and at a quick step and with right good will we pushed on into Old Virginia. About 10 in the evening we went into camp, spread our blankets, and slept sweetly without being disturbed. The next morning we were up at the dawn, and after hard bread and meat again resumed our march. A fight was in prospect at Fairfax, and as we drew near the renowned spot we got our men in order and marched on still and quiet, without music. Soon a long line of earth works came in sight on the brow of a hill, but instead of its belching forth shot and shell upon us as we filed through the narrow valley, all was still, and the grand fortification showed itself no more belligerent than any other big pile of dirt. Soon our men were upon the works, but not a single soldier of the ten or twelve thousand said to have been at this place could be seen, all had left. In a few moments more we found ourselves in Fairfax. That renowned depot of Southern troops looked about as lonesome as the fortifications, for nothing of the human kind could be seen save a few negroes, and now and then a woman or child peaking from the windows. We passed through the grand street of the town, consisting of six or eight buildings, into the Court House yard, where we stacked arms, and the command was given, rest! Thus we found ourselves in possession of Fairfax Court House, and all without firing a gun or shedding any thing but sweat which was poured out pretty freely to be sure. The Colonel and staff took possession of the Court House and our regimental colors were planted upon the roof in the midst of prolonged shouts.

We learned that the Southern troops left about two hours before our arrival. On visiting the deserted camps we found they must be left in the greatest haste, as much valuable property was left, provisions, clothing, blankets, tents, &c. The boys found revolvers and knives, a few matches, some rolls of dimes and quarters where they had been paying off &c. Nearly every one had some sort of trophy. In some places they left their breakfast all ready, table set, and the “hoe cake baked,” in other cases they had only got the dough mixed up ready for baking. – Flour meal, beef, pork, corn and other stores showed that food was abundant with the rebels. The men got so excited in the plunder of the camp that they did not respect private property as they should; where they learned any one was in the Southern interest they went in and helped themselves. As soon as the officers learned what was going on they at once stationed guards and put every man under arrest who was found plundering, and did all they could to prevent any outrage, but enough was done I fear to give us a bad name. The orders now are very strict and the greatest care is taken to have all private property respected.

Thursday, the 18th, we marched from Fairfax to this point, which is about four miles from Centreville, and the same distance from Bulls Run which is the strong position of the rebels for the protection of Manassas Junction. The day we got here three companies of the Massachusetts 1st got into an ambush and were badly cut up. The Boston Fusileers, a company of one hundred and one, had but twenty-one men reported up to noon to-day, and the other two companies suffered but not so severely. There is the greatest excitement among the troops, some 60,000 being encamped within four or five miles, all they ask is orders to go on and clean them out. Old Gen. Scott come out to-day and says he shall not permit a single life to be rashly thrown away, that more lives have been lost now than we needed to take the whole of Bull Run, Manassas Gap and all. Bull Run is a very important point to the Southerners, as they get all their water for the Manassas Gap Railroad and for the use of the troops at that station, from this same Bull Run. The rebel troops are stationed in a large wood and they have batteries erected all about, and the position is very strong to hold for a short time, and cannot well be taken without a risk of considerable loss. The cars from Richmond have been run night and day of late bringing on reinforcements. It is thought that no other stand will be made after Bull Run and Manassas Gap until we get to Richmond. The troops are terribly excited, it is fearful to see men with the tiger fully aroused in them. To-morrow we expect to go in on Bull Run in some way, but nothing can be known previous to orders.

Gen. Wilson (long Jim)* was here today with Hon. T. M. Edwards**. Gen. Wilson seems unable to leave us. God bless his great heart, how much I wish he was in his prime. I reckon he would not leave us as long as the war lasted. I don’t know as he will now. Our men are in good health. The climate is not going to kill us. We are all right in that direction.

Ever yours,

CORPORAL TRIM.***

Concord Independent Democrat, 7/25/1861

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*Likely Congressman James Wilson. Sketch of General James Wilson of New Hampshire

**Likely Congressman Thomas M. Edwards Wikipedia 

***No individual named Trim is listed in the company roster, so this is likely a pseudonym.

A History of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry

Contributed by John J. Hennessy





“Juvenis,” Battery A (Reynolds), 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, On the Battle and Retreat

22 11 2016

Army Correspondence.

Camp near Harper’s Ferry, Aug. 5th, 1861.

Mr. Editor: – I hope you have not thought that, because I have not contributed lately to your paper I was among the fallen at the battle of Bull Run. True, I was in that battle, and in the thickest of the fight for five long hours; but no missile of death was allowed by my Heavenly Father to strike me down. Members of my own company and of my own mess fell at my side, the shells burst at my feet, the spent musket balls struck me, but I am still unscathed, ready for another conflict with my country’s enemies; ready for the life long conflict with the enemy of souls, ready I hope to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to lost men.

It seems strange to me, that even the presence of death has no effect upon the minds of men. One can still hear the same coarse jests, the same profane language, the same taunts at those who speak to them of religion, as before they were surrounded by the dead and dying.

We are now encamped in a lovely place; the mountains of the Blue Ridge are on every side except where the Potomac winds through them. We have taken the 1st R. I. Battery, as their time is up, and our battery with the exception of one piece, was lost at the battle of Bull Run. Perhaps your readers would like to have a short account of that battle, which was one of the bloodiest in American history.

We were encamped between Fairfax and Centerville, and expected to remain there for some time. We had built our huts of branches, our fire places and cranes were ready for use. Sunday morning at on o’clock the bugle sounded, and the battery was harnessed up. We mounted the boxes and silently wound along the road towards Manassas Junction. There was no music, no loud command; our General wished to steal a march on the enemy. We were confident of victory, as we had confidence in our commander. We took a circuitous path through the woods, and without once having halted during the march of twelve miles, we reached the field of battle. The Rhode Island troops had the right of the line, the 2nd regiment in advance, the 1st next in order with our battery between. The first notice we had of the presence of the enemy was the volley of musketry from the woods upon our lines. The 2d regiment charged and drove them from the woods, down the hill. We were instantly ordered into action. We got into battery as quickly as possible and engaged a battery about a third of a mile from us. We soon silenced that and engaged the enemy in other parts of the field. The battle grew hotter and hotter – thicker and thicker flew the bullets, the shot, the shell. Our horses suffered severely, our men at the guns were entirely exhausted, wounded or dead. We were so thirsty that we threw ourselves into the mudy brooks and eagerly swallowed the mud and water. The enemy were retreating on every hand. Already Beauregard had sent a dispatch to Richmond, and even while we were fighting, Jeff Davis was packing up his State papers to send them to a place of safety. Bu all day there had been a constant stream of reinforcements pouring into the woods where the rebels had their head quarters. All at once the celebrated black horse cavalry charged upon us, their fresh infantry poured their volley into our ranks, their masked batteries opened upon our flank; thick as hail the shot flew; four hundred of the Zouaves were cut down. We retreated. We ran before that stream of lead and iron. No man could stand such a fire as that. The retreat became a rout; all were mingled together in dire confusion; the road was crowded with fugitives; the wounded, the wearied all rushed along together. We brought our battery off the field, and dozens of wounded men climbed upon our boxes and pieces, some with broken arms, some with broken legs, some with the blood flowing down their faces, some with their clothes red with blood. We were obliged to leave many a poor wounded, dying man who beseechingly begged us to take him upon our boxes. Those that were free from wounds were panic struck. At the least alarm every man almost would flee for his life, not knowing where he went. Thus we passed slowly along. We came out of those long woods, the dust in the road was so thick that nothing before us could be seen. We began to hope that the enemy would not disturb us, for now we had reached the direct road to Centerville, and our reserve was two or three miles before us. It began to grow dusky, for the thick dust and the woods on either side of the road hid the setting sun; all at once into that dense mass of men, horses and wagons, the enemy from a masked battery poured their shell; the musketry opened upon them; their cavalry charged upon them. What a scene! We were just at the bridge, but upon it was piled the government baggage wagons. We could not pass with our battery; for it was a narrow bridge, and there were deep gullies on each side. Our drivers cut the traces, we left the wounded men to save our own lives, and helter skelter we dashed on towards Centerville. The cavalry of the enemy charged upon us, and many a poor soldier fell before their sabres. We soon met the reserve coming up under Colonel Miles, but still we hurried on through that long dark night; morning dawned, and still we had not halted; Washington and the long bridge hove in sight, and we sank down upon the ground exhausted! for we had eaten nothing since Saturday. We had marched ten or twelve miles to the battle field without halting, we had fought through that hot day, we had marched nearly forty miles from the battle field to Washington. Thus we fought, thus we retreated.

I will not say upon whose head a terrible retribution should be visited. We long for an opportunity to wipe off the disgrace of that day.

O! how much pleasanter we spent the hours of the last Sabbath (the 4th inst.) Though separated from our regiment, we had religious services. We repaired to a huge pile of rocks shaded by tall trees, and there one of our number preached to to us the gospel of Christ. It seemed lik a heaven below.

Juvenis.*

Boston Christian Era, 8/16/1861

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*In Latin, Juvenis is a young man or a youth. The root of juvenile.

The History of Battery A, First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery

Contributed by John J. Hennessy





Surgeon George H. Hubbard, 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, Casualty List for the Regiment

21 11 2016

List of Killed, Wounded, and Missing of the N. H. Second Regiment

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Dr. George H. Hubbard, Surgeon of the Second N. H. Regiment furnishes to the Manchester Mirror the following list of the killed, wounded and missing of that Regiment. He writes under date of July 27th:

Mr. John B. Clark – Dear Sir: – The following is a list of the killed, wounded and missing of the 2d N. H. Regiment, as far as at present ascertained. Some of the missing will very likely turn up alive:

KILLED.

John L. Rice, Co. A; Pat Kearns, Frank A. Eastman, Henry Tebbets, George Langtree, Co. H; Harvey Holt, Henry L. Morse, Co. I.

WOUNDED.

Col. Gilman Marston, right arm broken by a musket ball; Capt. Hiram Rollins, musket ball through top shoulder; Isaac W. Derby lost left arm, Daniel W. Whittein wounded in leg, Co. A; Jos. Ayer wounded in leg, John F. Lord wounded in head, Stephen Deshan, wounded slightly in breast, John O. Hayes wounded slightly in head, James M. Venner wounded slightly in head, Co. D; C. J. Marshall w. in foot (left a prisoner), W. F. Oxford w. in leg do., Oliver F. Allen w. in breast do., Co. K; Wm. H. Quimby, w. in leg and left a prisoner, Lewis N. Relation w. in leg do., Josiah Burleigh w. in arm do., Andrew M. Connell w. in head do., Alfred W. Berhan w. in breast, in Alexandria hospital, F. F. Wetherbee, w. in leg and left a prisoner, Co. C; Andrew J. Straw w. in leg, John Straw wounded in the leg, Hugh Lewis wounded in breast, Thomas Finnegan w. in breast, James B. Silver w. in arm Co. H; Henry M. Gordon w. in hand, Wm. Haley w. in wrist, Jos. C. Meserve w. in hand, W. H. Morrill w. in hand, Wm. H. H. Story w. in hand, Co. E; Charles Buck w. in shoulder (at Alexandria), Geo. S. Chase, w. fingers, Chas. H. Chase w. fatally in thigh and left prisoner, Cyrus W. Merrill do., do., W. H. F. Staples w. in arm, S. R. Tibbetts w. in hand, Co. F; Henry A. Bowman foot shot off and left a prisoner, Nelson Hurd badly wounded and left a prisoner, John Hagan w. in the side, Daniel Aldrich w. in left shoulder, Co. G; Frank K. Wasley w. in fingers, L. P. Hubbard w. in fingers, Chas. F. Lawrence w. in head, Co. I; Chas. Holmes w. in shoulder, Charles Cooper w. in thigh, left prisoner, Co. B.

Co. B – Charles Wilkins wounded in shoulder; Charles Hammond, wounded in hip; Wells C. Haynes, severely wounded in thigh – missing.

MISSING.

George S. Heaton, Dana S. Jaquith, Charles Sebastian, George H. Whitman, John F. Wheeler, of Co. A; Jacob Hall, H. H. Emerson, Alden T. Kidder, A. D. Leathers, Henry West, Christy L. Jones, of Co. D; Charles Ridge, Samuel Adams, Geo. Sawyer, Jr., of Co. K; F. R. Tucker, Kimball Ball, John Davis, Thurlow A. Emerson, John A. Barker, Elbin Lord wounded, Woodbury Lord wounded, Wm. H. Walker wounded, Wm. H. Connor wounded, Heman Allen, Louis G. Barker, Galen A. Grout, Samuel M. Joy, Timothy Saxton, of Co. A; Levi W. Colbath, Simeon M. Heath, Joseph R. Morse, of Co. E; L. W. Brackett, Geo. L. Dow, of Co. F; Alonzo B. Balley, of Co. G; Moses L. Eastman wounded, A. R. Robinson, John Berry, Albert Hall, Reuben F. Stevens of Co. I; Charles H. Perry, Thomas E. Barker, Wyman Holden, Hery Moore, John L. Fitz, George H. Clay, George C. Emerson of Co. B.

Col Marston is doing well – expect to save his arm. We lost all we carried on to the field, except instruments.

Our ambulances were fired on by cannon during the retreat, and we were forced to leave them and run for our lives.

Yours Truly,

Geo. H. Hubbard

Concord Democrat, 8/1/1861

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A History of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry 

George H. Hubbard at Rootsweb

Contributed by John J. Hennessy





Pvt. John. W. Odlin, Co. B, 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Campaign

20 11 2016

Letter from the 2d New Hampshire Regiment.

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Camp Sullivan, July 25, 1861.

Dear Friends: – I am just recovered from my fatigue of yesterday and the few preceding days to write a connected account of what I have done and seen; but if I were to picture the scenes fully and accurately, the recital would fill a volume. We started Tuesday at 1 1/2 o’clock P. M. and marched into the “Old Dominion.” After a walk of about 10 miles we camped upon the ground: and on the next morning receiving orders, we marched about 10 miles more to Fairfax, which had been evacuated about two hours before. We had to clear the road of trees and stones placed to blockade it, and passed some formidable fortifications, also deserted. That night we slept under the shadow of the Court House, from which the flag of our regiment waved in place of a “Secesh” which was pulled down by Capt. Barker of Co. A. Early upon the next morning we started off again and encamped about 1 mile this side of Centreville, where a skirmish had taken place the day before. Here we slept two nights, and upon Sunday morning at 2 o’clock we again proceeded in the direction of the enemy, and after a tedious tramp of 10 or 12 miles outflanked them, and then the battle commenced. I suppose you have seen accounts of it and the unfortunate panic which was the sole cause of our retreat and defeat. We were ordered first into an open field on the right hand, just opposite a battery of the enemy, and a large body of infantry drawn up in line of battle, and without firing a shot were exposed to their galling fire. The cannon balls flew whistling by – shells burst over our heads – and the rifle and musket bullets flew just like hail. Here we did not lose many men, for the shots were mostly too high; and soon Lt. Col. Fiske took up the line of march for the other side of the road which intersected the field of battle, where we were in some measure protected by the guns of the Rhode Island Battery. Here the work of death in our ranks commenced, and a private in Co. H. was the first to fall, struck by a bullet in the temple, causing instantaneous death; and then in quick succession began to fall, the New Hampshire boys. – Our regiment was then marched, with the others composing the brigade, nearer the enemy, when they dealt as good as they received. The Goodwin Rifles and the Abbot Guards of Manchester, Co. I. together went up to within forty rods of a house which stood in the midst of their entrenchments and shot down the Secession flag twice, being all the time exposed to one of the terrible masked batteries, which were the only drawbacks to our victorious progress. Things went on quite favorably to our side till that unfortunate panic took place among our teamsters, (not our regimental ones,) but the army wagoners who commenced to drive pell mell towards this city – in some cases cutting the traces and mounting the horses, and riding as for dear life.

This fright was of course communicated to the soldiers and the retreat commenced in the utmost disorder, wagons, soldiers straggling along, artillery piece by piece, and ambulances filled to their brims with the wounded hurrying along, their inmates making the night hideous with their groans and cries, all conspired to make a scene which I shall never forget. At the bridge over Bull Run where we cut off to flank the enemy, the rear of the retreating column was fired upon by a rifled cannon which killed one or two horses of the R. I. Battery and caused the guns to pile up in an inextricable mass, cutting off some of the wagons and making a confusion altogether beyond the power of words to describe. They made no other attack, at least no organized one, although they may have harrassed our men some with cavalry.

In this way we came to the city, where we arrived all the way from 1 o’clock Monday A. M. till now; and all the men are not here yet. The N. Y. 69th and the Ellsworth Zouaves are the worst cut up, having made several charges upon the batteries of the enemy.

The Zouaves made 3 or 4 charges, which were never equalled in the annals of war. They were attacked by 600 Rebel “Black Horse” Cavalry and they killed or dismounted every one but six, capturing hundreds of splendid army revolvers, which they gave freely to all around them on the retreat; and they took a strong battery of rifled guns by a most splendid movement, but owing to overpowering numbers were obliged to relinquish it.

Our own company was not idle during the engagement, for our rifles told with the most deadly effect upon their ranks, and our boys charged up to the banks near the hill followed by Co. I., which I before mentioned, and from behind the fences picked them off fast.

Our Captain behaved gallantly throughout the whole affair, as did our Lieutenant – the latter taking as he did the place of our lamented Walker, was true to his memory, and acted with a coolness which throws lustre upon his character. Both of our officers proved themselves men, and worthy of the cause in which they are engaged. Col. Marston was wounded in the arm but notwithstanding that, he was again upon the field commanding his men in person.

Our regiment is quite fortunate, only 25 or 30 missing. Some of our Company have not yet come in. Holden of West Concord, Haynes, son of Sheriff Haynes, Fitts and Emerson of Candia, and Clay of the same place. The tree latter are probably only prisoners at the worst. Charley Cooper was wounded in the thigh, not dangerous, who with one or two others, some of whom are mentioned above, are all of our Company injured.

The scene on the field I will not attempt, as imagination can picture it much more like reality. But we are thankful that we are no worse off, and shall soon be ready to tackle them again under better circumstances.

J. W. O.*

Concord Democrat, 8/1/1861

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*The only J. W. O. in the roster is Private John W. Odlin of Co. B. The members of his company named are also in the Goodwin Rifles, Co. B.

John W. Odlin at Fold 3 

A History of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry 

Contributed by John J. Hennessy





Major Josiah Stevens, Jr., 2nd New Hampshire Infantry, On the Battle

19 11 2016

Letter from Maj. Stevens.

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We are permitted to make the following extract from a letter of Maj. Josiah Stevens, Jr., of the Second Regiment, to his father, Col. Josiah Stevens, of this city, dated –

Washington, July 23, 1861.

I am, as you see, once more in Washington, having, as you are aware, seen a battle. We started at 2 A. M., on Sunday morning, from our camp ground, and made a march of 9 miles without anything except hard bread to eat, and at about 10 1-2 o’clock the ball opened. We came upon the enemy upon an eminence that commanded the whole country, with 60,000 men and 150 pieces of cannon. Our force consisted of 18,000 men and 20 pieces of cannon. We fought until 5 P. M., and found it impossible to capture the place.

They showered upon us a complete hailstorm of shot and shell, and wept whole platoons at a time, but our men steadily advanced. Our brigade was the first upon the field, and our regiment the last to leave it. Col. Marston was shot in the right shoulder before we had been fighting twenty minutes. I was within ten feet of him when he fell, and thought him shot dead. – I could not render him any assistance, as I had so much to look after. None of the Concord boys are killed. Charles Cooper was shot through the leg. Sergeant Holmes, of Griffin’s Riflemen, was severely wounded in the shoulder. We have not got the returns made yet, so as to know our exact loss.

We lost our battery and Griffin’s battery was close to us. He continued to fire until he had but one horse left out of 100, and not men enough to move the gun ten feet. Wm. Collier, formerly of Concord, got upon the last horse and rode him off. Bill fired the cannon, and in less than a second a cannon ball struck the hub of the wheel and knocked it into the air. Bill sprang to the limber, unhitched the only living horse, and left. You will see in the papers the reports of the killed and wounded nearer than I can write you now. It was the first time we ever stood under fire, and we had a pretty good chance to try our nerves, as we were exposed for 6 hours. The men stood up to the rack splendidly, and were ready to go into anything. It was a most painful sight to go in the rear of the line and see the dead and wounded, and one which we shall soon not forget. Men were mutilated in every conceivable way. We started from our camp at 2 A. M. on Sunday, marched nine miles, fought six hours and marched back to Washington, a distance of 34 miles, without scarcely anything to eat and miserable water to drink – Statesman.

Manchester Weekly Union, 7/30/1861

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Josiah Stevens, Jr., at Find A Grave.com 

Josiah Stevens, Jr., at Ancestry.com 

A History of the Second Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry 

Contributed by John J. Hennessy