Musician/Band Director Timothy Dwight Nutting, 13th Mississippi Infantry, On the Battle, Casualties, and Aftermath

7 12 2022

We publish below a very full and interesting letter descriptive of the battle of Manassas, from the pen of one of our townsmen, Prof. Nutting, Director of the Brass Band attached to the 13th Mississippi Regiment. The letter was addressed to his lady, who has kindly placed it at our disposal.

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Manassas Junction, July 23rd, 1861.

—————, If you have received my last letter (from Lynchburg,) you will be prepared to hear from me here. My head is so confused with the scenes of the last 48 hours, that it seems like moving a mountain, grain by grain, to attempt to give an account of it all. I will write away however, as ideas present themselves, and as long as I can to-day, as I do not know at what moment we may be ordered forward. Sunday morning at 2 o’clock we landed from the cars, having been cooped up in them for 11 days and nights, on our way from Union City, we spread our tents on the ground and laid down on them with nothing over us but the skies and our blankets, at daylight we were summoned to eat breakfast, (after cooking the same,) and holding ourselves in readiness for any orders from Gen. Beauregard. At 7 the Regiment was formed, and we were ordered to a point 4 miles nearly east, where a division of several thousand men was located under Gen. Longstreet, and an attack was expected from the “Yankees” at any moment. Before we had fairly started, the booming guns of the batteries announced that the services had commenced, and upon the way the smoke from their guns was plainly visible. – Our guide took us through a route that exposed us less to the fire of their guns, which they pointed at every moving mass of men or horses that they could discover. Much of the time we were walking in thickets of small pines, which made it very difficult to proceed at all. We finally, after 3 hours marching, took our position as reserve corps, not being in any condition to fight unless required by urgent necessity, being stationed on the south side of a deep ravine calle “Bull’s Run,” upon very high ground, but masked by a skirt of pine trees about 1/2 of a mile through. The batteries of the enemy were constantly playing upon the position which Gen. Longstreet’s troops occupied, and although we were only about 1/2 of a mile from them, (Longstreet’s men,) we had seen none of them, as thickets intervened. The enemy’s batteries now occupied a position nearly 1 1/2 miles north of us on the heights across Bull’s Run and were supported by a very strong force of infantry that had advanced from Centreville and Fairfax Court House, and were intending to take possession of Manassas before night, and proceed directly on to Richmond. By means of a traitor who is taken, they learned perfectly our position and force, and the best route of march to attack, which was to send an immense force west, about 5 miles down the Run, and take Stone Bridge, and march immediately here from the north west. It was for a diversion from this plan that the attack was commenced above and to the eastward, and we were not long halted in the place I have named, before a very strong attack was made at the Stone Bridge, which was sustained by our men at an odds of ten to one until reinforcements could be sent from Manassas consisting of Regiments from several States. Gen. Beauregard saw into the plan immediately, and ordered almost the entire force of artillery, cavalry and infantry, from the eastern wing to the scene of action. Our 13th Regiment was stripped of every thing, knapsacks, blankets, and all but muskets, and ordered to “double quick march” for 5 miles. In such a movement our field music was useless, and Col. Barksdale told us who had no muskets, to fall back and look after our baggage, tents, &c. In returning we passed over a height where we saw distinctly the battle raging about 3 miles to the north west, and a more sublime sight was never witnessed in America. The cannonading was terrific. Sherman’s battery of ten pieces of flying artillery being but a small part of the artillery opposed to our men. The fight lasted till 5 o’clock, which was 9 hours and over, after the attack commenced, and without any cessation of the roar of cannon and rattle of musketry, except for a moment or two, while some flank movements were being made. I cannot stop now to give you many details. the force of the enemy was by their own confession, about 70,000, against which we had at no time, over 35,000, and many of the reinforcements came too late for anything but to join in chasing them in retreat. Our cavalry and artillery followed them back to Fairfax C. H., and made sad havoc among them. They left muskets, rifles, knapsack and blankets on the road and made the best of their way, leaving all their dead and wounded behind on the battle field. Yesterday morning, day after the fight, I saw 500 of the prisoners put on a train for Richmond, who were taken in the battle without being wounded at all. The entire number of prisoners taken so far in this battle, is not less than 1500. Our Regiment and 5 others, went into action in time to make some bayonet charges, which caused the precipitate retreat. – Just at the moment this commenced, Jeff. Dabis arrived from Richmond, jumped on a horse and ordered the cavalry in pursuit, leading them for some time in person. He then returned in season to congratulate the troops on their brilliant victory, which produced the greatest joy and excitement. Now comes the sad part of the tale. Within a long shed not a stones throw from the spot where I am writing, are not less than 800 dead, dying and wounded men. Just before I began my letter, I walked through it, and spent an hour or more, in trying to alleviate suffering – all mingled together, are Southerners and Northerners, brought in from the field in wagons, which have been busy ever since Sunday night in moving those who could not walk. O, and what an idea, that men should be brought to face each other in such plight, who were ready to cut each others throats two days ago! Some would ask imploringly for water. Some to move a limb that was shot and mangled to pieces, others for a Surgeon to dress wounds already filled with living insects. I saw one poor fellow from Minasota with a musket ball wound through his left breast above the back which was swarming so thick with them, that he was trying to dip them out with the end of a large straw. These have all to wait for attention, until our men are attended to, and are in this plight because their men did not stop to take care of them, and all day yesterday, they lay on the battle field in a drenching could rain, till they were picked up by our wagons, and brought to our camps. This is only one of some half dozen places within a half hours walk, each one filled with the same. Twenty wagon loads of the enemy’s dead were taken off the field yesterday, and scarcely a perceptible difference was made in the number on the field., which extends over a distance of about seven miles along the Run, east and west. Our wounded men are sent to Culpeper for attention, so that most that are here now, are of the enemy, who are to be sent to Richmond as fast as possible. It is impossible to compute the number killed and wounded on each side, but it is immense, and I trust will be the last battle needed to bring our enemies to their senses. I have talked with more than twenty of them, and find the same account from them all. They say they came to Washington to defend the Capitol, and they have been ordered over here contrary to the terms of their enlistment. Most of these in this battle enlisted for three months, which expired on Saturday the 20th, their officers told them they should go into it or be branded as deserters, and the first one who grumbled would be shot down. They all say they will never be coaxed ot compelled to fight again.

Their expectations and the promises of their officers were that they would have possession of Manassas junction on Sunday and proceed to Richmond immediately and use up our Rebel organization in a hurry – all these things ae from such men as Dr. Powell of New York City, as good a Surgeon as is in their army, whom I saw and heard express these sentiments and many more like them. He was taken prisoner in the retreat Sunday night, with five assistants in his wagon, with the most splendid assortment of surgical instruments to be found anywhere. Not less than 30 officers of high rank were taken, all of them have paid their respects to Davis and Beauregard and gone to Richmond with a free pass. Sheran’s Battery was taken entire, and most of the men were killed and wounded, and nearly 50 pieces of artillery and 200 horses were taken and brought to this place yesterday morning. Ellsworth’s Zouaves, and the famous 69th New York Rigiment (Col. Corcoran’s Irish Regiment were Court Martialed for not honoring the Prince of Wales by ordering our his command.) were engaged and large numbers of Regulars and Marines all of their best forces from Maine to Minnisota in fact. I cannot stop to particularize further and will only say that the news has just come in that our men, Gen. Johnston’s command, 19,000 strong, are already on the march to Alexandria and we shall all follow to-morrow. We also hear that there is great disaffection existing in Washington and the troops are reported to be fighting among themselves. However this may be, we shall not rest until all of them are driven off our soil. The belief of all the prisoners is that Scott cannot organize and army to invade the Southern soil again, which is pretty near the truth in my opinion. At any rate I believe the question will be settled in less than two months, and we can be allowed to go to our homes once more in peace. God grant that no more blood shall be required to satisfy the craving appetite of Lincoln and Scott. We cannot be taken here by any force that can be brought against us. We have been reinforced by thousands upon thousands since the fight, who will be brought into the field in case of necessity. I suppose it will be best to direct your letters to Manassas Junction as it will be our head quarters for the present. Remember me kindly to all my friends and do not forget us in your prayers to our Heavenly Father.

Your ever affectionate husband,
T. D. Nutting.

The (Jackson, MS) Weekly Mississippian, 8/14/1861

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Timothy Dwight Nutting at Ancestry.com

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W.W.D., On the Dress of the Zouaves

5 12 2022

THE DRESS OF THE ZOUAVES.

Brooklyn, July 24, 1861.

To the Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle.

In your issue of to-night you say a great deal of praise given the Zouaves is due the 14th Regt. – the similarity of uniform causing them to be confounded. If I mistake not, the Zouaves have a blueish grey with a narrow trimming of red and black; the 14th have red pants and dark blue jackets. There may be a striking resemblance, but I for one “can’t see it.”

W. W. D.

Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, 7/25/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy





Capt. Nathaniel H. R. Dawson, Co. C, 4th Alabama Infantry, On the Battle and Aftermath

29 11 2022

Near Manassas, July 25, 1861

I have written you three times since the late battle, my own dear Elodie, but it seems that for the first time today I am in a sufficiently quiet state of mind to commune with you. I feel like one who had accomplished a great work and was resting from his labors, and my first impulses after this are to lie down by your side and rest in the knowledge that your heart pulsates to every throb of mine. I come to pay tribute to you whom I love beyond all human beings and to whisper into your ear things that I dare not breathe to others, to tell you of the strength of that love which I bear you, and to seek comfort and peace in your sympathy. It is at such hours as this, when we rest from our labors, that man needs the comforting solace of woman, and I would give all that I have to be with you and to feel the influence of your kindness. How much I want you to be near me and to receive from your own lips the assurance of your love, I leave you to imagine.

Durin the fight when the bullets fell like hail, I thought of you as far away, at a church, on your knees, praying for my safety, and I was nerved and strengthened to do my duty. It seems a miracle that I was not killed as several of my men were shot down at my side. I attribute all to the providence of God, and I trust that I will endeavor to appreciate his mercy.

I went over the field yesterday. The scene was awful. The dead Yankees were still lying unburied in many places. I saw as many as one hundred in the space of an acre. They belong to Ellsworth’s Zouaves who were reduced from 1,100 to 200 men. God seems specially to have marked them for vengeance. They wore blue pants and red shirts and are fierce looking fellows. They fought well.

To give you an idea of the extent of the forces, I will merely mention that our line of battle extended ten miles, but we were only attacked on a line of about three miles. The roar of artillery was incessant from 8 o’clock until 3 in the evening. The air resounded with the whistling balls and hissing shells. Trees as large as my body were cut down in the forests by the rifle cannon balls. I have gathered up some bullets on the field and will keep them for you.

Our regiment is in a state of disorganization. Capt. Goldsby being the senior captain is acting as Col. He has been absent since the battle, and I now have the command. I do not desire to retain it however as I am anxious that a U. States officer should be placed in charge. We have suffered greatly for want of competent field officers, and I will not permit any selfishness to interfere with the welfare of the regiment.

We are encamped on the battlefield, surrounded by all the evidences of the sanguinary contest – broken gun carriages, dead men, dead horses, and the graves of the dead. Every house in the neighborhood is a hospital for the wounded of the army. Our own have been sent to Culpeper and Charlottesville. The dead Yankees will all be buried today. Judge Walker arrived this morning to take the remains of Lieut. Simpson, his brother-in-law, home. He will mail this letter in Richmond as there is some difficulty about sending letters off here. I telegraphed the Reporter to let you know I was safe as I knew you would be very uneasy until you heard.

We have been sleeping in the open air without tents since we left Winchester, and it seems we are to do without them for the balance of the season. We are indeed fast becoming used to all sorts of hardships. I am bearing them well and hope to pass thro them safely. It is now three months since I bid you goodbye, but it seems a long year. I cannot tell you how anxious I am to see you again. It will be one of the happiest days of my life when I meet you again safely. You are indeed, my dear Elodie, the star that I worship, and all the breadth of my love seems insufficient to repay you for yours. When I think how much this has cost me in the sacrifice of being absent from you, I almost wish it had not been commenced, but we are battling for our rights, and the feelings of an individual should not be allowed to interfere with our duties. But still I hope, and hope most earnestly, that I will be allowed to be reunited again to you. Our movements are uncertain. We will remain now on this line of operations and may go on to Alexandria, but we will hardly attempt to take the place by storm. The campaign will end in November on this line of operations, when the war may be transferred to the south.

You will write to me at Manassas Junction and your letters will be forwarded in case of our removal. I have not heard from you since the 11th of July. I hope to receive letters forwarded from Winchester today or tomorrow as I have sent a gentleman over there to see about our baggage. You can’t imagine how much pleasure a letter from you will give me now. It will be so soothing to read your affectionate letters. I will continue to write you as often as I have an opportunity, but you must not expect to hear as regularly as you have heretofore done. I will always embrace any opportunity of advising you of my movements.

I have now to attend a meeting of our officers and must bid you adieu. Farewell, my dear Elodie. Pray for me and may God bless and preserve you always.

Ever and affectionately yours,
N. H. R. Dawson

I have attempted no rhetorical account of the battle and its incidents. You will see this from better hands. Besides I have no time and no power to do so. You will see in the Charleston Mercury a full account from Mr. Sprate, who is a friend of mine. Our regiment did great credit to itself.

From Practical Strangers: The Courtship Correspondence pf Nathaniel Dawson and Elodie Todd, Sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. pp. 143-145

Nathaniel H. R. Dawson at Ancestry.com

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Pvt. Hans J. Gladney and Corp. William F. Wilson, Co. F, 11th New York Infantry, An Incident of the Battle

20 11 2022

At the battle of Bull’s Run, William Wilson, of New York, was carrying a wounded comrade, Hantz Gladden[*], from the field, when Gladden implored Wilson to leave him. “I shall die at any rate,” said he, “and the rebels may overtake and kill you; they will not hurt me when they see that I am wounded.” So he left him on the ground, and looking back when the rebels came up, he saw one of them take out his knife and deliberately cut Gladden’s throat from ear to ear, almost severing his head from his body. Wilson and Gladden were members of the Fire Zouaves Regiment.[**]

Wheeling (WV) Daily Intelligencer, 7/30/1861

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*Likely Hans J. Gladney (no Gladden found in regimental roster).

**Hans Gladney does not show as captured at First Bull Run. William Wilson does show as captured. It is possible that the news item flips the identities, and that Gladney (Gladden) was reporting on his last view of Wilson. Neither man shows as wounded in the roster. Both mustered out with the regiment on 6/2/1862.

Hans J. Gladney at Ancestry.com

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William F. Wilson at Ancestry.com

William F. Wilson at Fold3

William F. Wilson at FindAGrave





Pvt. Walter Chambers, 1st Company Washington Artillery, On the Campaign

4 11 2022

[The following interesting letter was written by a nephew of Rev. P. Stout to his little brother, a member of brother Stout’s family. The writer is a member of the New Orleans Washington Artillery. Though written for the eyes of friends alone, it is so descriptive we do well to give it to the public:}

Camp Lou’a., near Manassas Junction,
July 30th, 1861.

My dear Frank: your letter of the 1st inst, was received and should have been answered ere this, but we have been moving about so much for the last few weeks that we have scarcely had time to cook our victuals, much less write letters. You have seen in the papers accounts of our battles of the 18th and 21st. Hugh and I were in the hottest part of both of them. Charlies was in the first, but was not with us on the 21st. Our Battalion of 13 pieces was split up and stationed at different points, and only five pieces were at the “Stone Bridge.” We went on the field about 10 o’clock, and Hugh’s and my pieces (rifled cannon) were ordered immediately to a position about 1500 yards from the famed “Sherman’s Battery” which was playing on 3 pieces of our “Staunton Artillery.” As soon as we shewed ourselves on the brow of the hill, the whole of the enemy’s fire was directed on us. We unlimbered and came into Battery as quick as possible, and in a few minutes had the satisfaction of seeing our shot strike one of their pieces, killing 3 horses and disabling the piece; the next moment a Battery of 4 more pieces was seen coming down the hill, their horses at a full gallop, they approached 300 or 400 yards neared than the first an commenced throwing shell at us, the other Battery had fired only round shot, and although they struck in front and around us none of our men or horses had been hurt. The “Staunton” on our left had not fared so well, for they lost 3 men and 5 horses. About this time we heard firing on our right, and saw our Infantry who had been stationed in a thick wood to protect us, falling back cut to pieces, and the next moment a tremendous column of the enemy filed down the hillside on the left to outflank us. (The battle ground was a large, narrow wheat field, and we could see each others movements distinctly.) I began to think that we were gone, but at that moment orders came for us to retreat, and if ever you saw fellows limber up and put over the hill, quickly, we did; when we got over the other side and were protected from the enemy, we halted and there saw about 6,000 of our men lying on their faces on the ground, protected by the hill from the shot that had been fired at us; – as soon as we halted the order was given them to “Forward double quick,” and then such a yell arose as you never heard before. They rushed through the woods, and then the battle began in earnest; we could hear the firing, but could see nothing; – in a few moments they began to bring in the wounded, and as the poor fellows were carried past to the hospital (a large framed house about three-fourths of a mile off,) it made us feel very sad. – About 2 o’clock a remnant of a Virginia Regiment passed us in perfect disorder, and reported our men cut to pieces and the enemy advancing. Our hearts sank, for we knew that their cavalry would soon be upon us, and there would be no chance to escape; each man examined his pistol, resolving to die on our posts around the pieces. Then I felt glad that Charlie was not with us. At this moment our gallant General Beauregard rode up and said, “Artillery, if you can hold a position on that hill (near where we were in the morning,) for an hour, the day is ours.” Then it was our turn to shout, – our horses were rested, and up the hill we went as fast as they could run, the shot and shell falling like hail around us. I can hardly recollect what happened after that, much less describe it. The roar of our 5 guns and 3 of another battery on our right, soon made us so deaf that our commands had to be given by signs. General Beauregard had his horse shot under him by my side, and took the horse of my Seargent. After firing some time, one of our drivers who was mounted and could see down the hill side, called out to the gunner of the piece on the extreme left, that the Infantry were coming up the hill, and the next moment a shower of minnie balls rained around us, cutting the leaves from the trees and killing one of our men, the only one we lost; the gunner immediately depressed his range, loaded with canister and gave them three rounds which caused them to fall back, and immediately our Infantry charged and drove them off the field, capturing the whole Battery and completely routing the whole army. The Regiment that charged us was the “New York Fire Zouaves”: they had been held in reserve all day for the express purpose, and their orders (so we learn from the prisoners) were to take the “Washington Artillery, and give no quarters.” Out of 900 men they marched against us, only 230 left the field. – After this we went up to a high hill in front of the hospital, about two miles from, and overlooking the Centreville road, along which they were retreating, and with one of our rifled guns gave them a shot whenever they appeared in sufficiently large numbers to afford an aim; with our glasses we could see them at every fire throw down their arms and scatter like black birds. Our cavalry pursued them that night, killing and taking prisoners.

We slept that night near the battle field in a hard rain and without supper, having had nothing since the night before but a hard biscuit and a little piece of fried shoulder. Next morning we went over the battle field and human eyes never witnessed a more awful sight. During the night our wounded men had been brought in, but the dead of both sides, and the wounded of the enemy were still there. It was distressing to hear the poor wretches beg for water. I soon emptied my canteen and then had to turn a deaf ear to their cries. The ground where the Zouaves charged us was most thickly covered and their bright red uniform made their bodies very conspicuous. Here, too, I saw the most awful sights – men wounded by cannon shot, heads completely cut off, one with his face only left. During the time of their retreat, we found the baggage of the whole army thrown away; our men furnished themselves with all they wanted. I got a splendid blanket, india rubber coat, haversack, &c. They were, without doubt, the best equipped troops that ever went into the field, – every thing they had was of the very best, and in their haversacks were more provisions than we had eaten for a week; each man had a little bag of ground coffee, and sugar, things, the taste of which we had almost forgotten. It poured down rain all that day.

We expected the enemy to send in a flag of truce to bury their dead, but none came, so we had to begin the work ourselves. We worked for two days and at the end of that time had to move our camp, there begin so many unburied and the smell making it impossible for us to do more. Every form house in the neighborhood is converted into a hospital, and a large church is used for the same purpose. We have several of their own surgeons attending them.

When the retreat began they threw the wounded who were in their wagons out by the road side so as to go faster. I cannot tell their loss or ours: before this reaches you, you will have seen the official report. We took 73 of their cannon, among them Gov. Sprague’s Rhode Island Battery, the finest in the world.

After the fight, Gen. Beauregard and President Davis made us little speeches. Gen’l. B. rode up to our Major saying: “Major, give me both of your hands; – I cannot thank you for the service you have done to-day.”

On the 28th, after being scattered about for two or three weeks, we were reunited at this camp, our tents were given to us again and we are now resting after our hardships of the last 20 days.

I have given you no account of our fight on the 18th at Blackburn’s Ford, for the reason that we saw nothing but tree tops. We were in a hollow between two hills, and the enemy above us concealed from sight by the bushes; we had to aim by the smoke of their fires, and notwithstanding their advantage of numbers and position, we whipped them badly. We had seven guns, but one of them became disabled early in the fight, so we were actually 6 against 13. We lost one killed and six wounded. One man was wounded on my piece. I was handing him a ball and just as he reached out his hands a shell bursted at our side and struck him in the mouth. I was sure that he was dead from the way he fell, but I could not stop to see; he lay on the ground until we stopped firing, and then we carried him off the field and sent him to Richmond where he is now recovering and will soon be well, though very much disfigured. In that fight there was a little fellow, who was in the office with me in New Orleans. Poor boy, he was wounded early in the fight. I saw him after the battle; he knew his wound was mortal; but said all he minded was, not being able to fire a single shot. He was not in the Artillery, but was under command of the Col. who we were assigned to that day. It will be a severe blow to his family; he was only 18 years old, and they thought him too young to go, but he insisted, and our employers told him that his situation should be kept open and his salary paid, so he came [*].

Your affectionate brother,
Walter ——–.

(Tuskegee, AL) South Western Baptist, 8/22/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

Walter Chambers at Ancestry.com

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*Likely Pvt. John Stacker Brooks, Co. H, 7th Louisiana, who was not yet 18 years old and in the employ of Messrs. W. M. Perkins & Co. See here.





Lt. Nathaniel Rollins, Co. H, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry, On the Battle

26 10 2022

THE WISCONSIN SECOND IN THE BATTLE

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A FULL AND GRAPHIC ACCOUNT

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(Correspondence of the State Journal)

Arlington Heights, Va.,
Near Washington, July 15, 1861.

I have just received your paper of the 22d, and do not feel justified in allowing the grossly false accounts of the battle of Bull’s Run, given in your telegraphic dispatches, to go uncontradicted. I wish to give a sufficient explanation of the battle to let our friends know that it was not cowardice of the men that caused the defeat.

We left camp near this place, on Tuesday afternoon, and proceeded by way of Vienna and Germantown to Centreville, the rebels retreating before us. About one mile beyond Centreville we encamped in an open field, without tents; and while in this vicinity we had the battle of Thursday, in which a few were killed, and of which your readers have doubtless heard. On Saturday we received orders to march at 6 P. M., but near evening this order was changed to march at 2:30 A. M., on Sunday. The next morning, at 2 o’clock, we got up, prepared in light marching order, formed a column, and advanced towards Bull’s Run, directly west, marching left in front. Our column was under Maj. Gen. Tyler. To the north of us advanced a column under Gen. Hunter; to the south of us advanced a column under Col. Richardson, and another under Gen. Schenck, all moving westerly, to attack the rebels at different points. We proceeded about three miles, when our column filed to the north, into the woods, made a turn in the woods, and came back to the road, so that our left rested on the east and west road, and our line extended north. The other regiments were formed at different points, covering batteries. – Carlisle’s battery was placed in front of us, and the 32 pound rifled cannon, of which we had one, instead of eight, as stated in your report, was stationed in the road. These movements were all made very quietly. At precisely 6 o’clock the performance was opened by a shot from the 32 pounder. It was instantly answered by a gun from the north-west, probably from Hunter. Again all was quiet as a Sabbath morning in a country village. By dressing our line forward, we advanced by the front through the woods, near to the open fields, where we found our batteries had been placed ready for action. Here we halted and sat down in line. The regiment was behind a rise of ground and about fifteen rods from our battery. We shortly heard from Richardson’s guns at the south of us, near where the battle of Thursday had been fought. Very soon our guns opened fire across the open field in front of us. The field here is about one hundred rods wide, skirted on the west by thick bushes and farther on and up the next hills by heavy woods. The firing continued from this position for about one or two hours. A few shots were returned but they fell short. Many of our officers went up near the guns to see the sport which we watched with much interest. After the fire had continued perhaps an hour we saw the line of Hunter’s column moving rapidly forward on the road north of us, and bending to the south, evidently coming in to the rear of the rebels. He was discovered by them shortly after he was by us, and they at once began to change the direction of their forces to meet him. His column soon emerged from the woods on to a large elevated plain, where they encountered the rebel army in considerable force. This plain is about one and one half mile from the position occupied by us and across Bull’s Run. The fighting that ensued there was of the sharpest kind. In a few minutes that field was covered by a dense cloud of smoke, through which we could see the blaze of Hunter’s cannon as he advanced and drove the rebels into the woods to the south west of the plain. They soon appeared to be reinforced and rushed from the woods and renewed the fight. But Hunter was too much for them still and again drove them back. This much of the fighting had been in plain sight of our position. Still the heavy cannonading continued at the south of us, near the battle ground of Thursday. Hunter’s condition becoming critical by the continued reinforcements of the enemy, our brigade was ordered across Bull’s Run to reinforce Hunter. We flanked to the right and moved rapidly off to his assistance. We passed round over a high ridge of land to the north west of our former position and before descending the hill to cross the run, we halted and relieved the men of their blankets and then proceeded at double quick time down the hill, then about one half mile to the run. Here we were halted and filed on the right into line of battle along the north-east bank of the Run. Sherman’s Battery came down, but being unable to cross the Run there, returned up the hill. When they returned our Brigade flanked to the right and filed across the Run and up the rugged bank on the opposite side and hastened on to the high ground. When we reached the upper plain several regiments were already there and the rebels had retreated. On the north-west side of this plain is timber from which Hunter emerged. On the south-west side is the timber in which the rebels first retreated. This high plain contains several large farms. To the east the ground descends about one hundred and sixty rods. The high ridge extends around to the south in a circle forming a basin of about one mile in diameter with an outlet to the north-east toward Bull Run. We now occupied the high ground on the west side of the basin. The rebels occupied the east side, where they had a strong battery or fort that had already opened a fire upon us of cannon balls and shells. Our batteries of flying artillery now began to come up the hill. Several regiments of infantry were now formed fronting the enemy’s battery, and we began to move down the hill to the east. Some regiments were in advance of us and some following. The plain in the rear of us showed signs of hard fighting. Many dead and wounded men were lying on the ground, although most of them had been carried into the edge of the woods. This battery of the rebels with several others near it, was masked by thick woods, and from our position we could see nothing of it except the smoke from their guns. As we moved down the hill the balls and shells plowed up the ground all around us, frequently throwing dirt all over the men. The bottom of the ravine is not smooth, but the water from the high land around had cut it into numerous smaller ravines. When we had got to the foot of the western slope of the basin, we were ordered to halt and lie down. Here we laid for some minutes. The most of our line by lying close to the ground were a foot or two below the range of their sot, which flew over us thick and fast. While lying here, some things occurred worthy of note.

Our 32 pounder had been brought across the run and planted at our left on the high ground, and opened a sharp fire on the enemy’s battery on the hill. Most of our other batteries had been brought across and planted on the high ground in our rear, when all (six batteries, I think) commenced fire on the same battery of the rebels. This firing continued from one to two hours with perfect fury. While lying here I was a regiment coming down the hill behind us in column of companies. A cannon ball aimed at the column hit their color bearer, cut his head off, and broke the flag staff. The colors were caught by one of the color guard before it struck the ground, was raised to its place. The companies closed in, and in less than a minute the column was moving on again at quick time as if nothing had happened.

During this cannonading one battery after another of ours was silenced by the guns of the rebels. Still the enemy’s fire was as fierce and effective as ever. The air seemed to be full of balls and bursting shells. During the firing, we got up, flanked to the left, and filed over the hill side down further into the ravine, and immediately to the bottom of the hill on which the enemy’s large battery was located. Before we left our first position, the fire from our batteries had nearly ceased, and while lying there (which was by order of the General) we saw the New York Fire Zouaves, Ellsworth’s regiment, charge on the hill. They were repulsed and driven back after a terrible resistance, by a large body of infantry and cavalry. The fight between the Zouaves and the rebels became so hot that all lines and forms were broken up, and they were entirely overpowered by numbers; their retreat was of course a confused mass. We afterwards learned that this was the point at which the rebels had just been reinforced by twenty thousand fresh troops under Johnston. When the rebel cavalry charged on the Zouaves, they turned on the rebels and swept their men and horses like chaff. By this time all our cannon except one or two were silenced, and the enemy’s battery appeared to work as briskly as at first. As the Zouaves began to fall back, the battery opened on them such a fire of grape shot and bullets as we have never seen before. Under this fire it was absolutely impossible for men to form and rally, but before they had got fairly to retreating down the hill, another regiment of infantry was ordered to charge in the same place. Our cannon was now silent, demolished, ruined. We were ordered forward. We had come from our first position to the foot of the last hill, during the charge of the Zouaves and two or three other regiments. A narrow road is cut into the hill on the south side leading up to near the battery. On the North side of the road, next to the battery the bank is some three to five feet high. On this side of the road the water had cut a ditch one or two feet deep. Here the road, and especially the ditch was crowded full of dead and wounded men. By getting close to the bank they were partially protected from the enemy’s fire, and here the poor fellows had crowded in, and crawled one upon another, filling the ditch in some places three or four deep. I will not sicken your readers by a description of this road. By this time the ground on the lower side of the road was covered with men from different regiments, who had charged up to that battery and been overpowered by the superior numbers, and fallen back. – They were already in such a confused mass that they could not be reorganized without much trouble, even if they had not been exposed to a fire, much less could they do it when the air was literally full of grape shot and rifle bullets. Under these circumstances the 2d Wisconsin Regiment were moved forward along this road and halted. The smoke prevented us from seeing the length of our line, and the noise from hearing commands, even if any were given. By a sort of mutual consent we rushed over the dead men, climbed up the bank, over the fence, and up the hill to the rebels’ guns. Here the rebels displayed a Union flag, when a part of our officers cried out, “They are friends, don’t fire.” By means of this delusion they gained an advantage over us, when down went the Union flag, and up went the emblem of treason. This piratical warfare is a favorite game of theirs. We had rushed up too near to be much effected by cannon, when our men commenced the wickedest kind of a fire ever known. The woods in front of us was full of men firing on us. The fort now plainly seen was full of men, and its embankments lined with the fire of musketry aimed at us. Under this fire they stood some minutes returning it steadily but with terrible effect, when they fell back three or four rods toward the road, firing all the time, here they stopped retreating and rallying again rushed back to the rebels and poured three or four rounds into them. On their side ten guns were fired to our one. The bullets whistled all kinds of tunes, but mostly in quick time. As we fell back a little toward the road again, the New York 69th, about which there has been so much gas, fired a full volley into us from the rear. Our men after standing such a fire from the rebels, and then a rear fire from a set of fools from our own side, retreated to the road, and there got mixed with other regiments, and as was an inevitable consequence retreated down the hill in confusion. The 69th after firing one or two rounds broke and ran in perfect confusion. As we went down the hill they opened a terrible cross fire from the woods on our left, at the same time the fort in our rear kept up a constant fire of grape shot and shell after the retreating regiments. The regiments had been sent up one at a time, not near enough to render each other any assistance, and still so near as to be in each others way when they were forced back. As the men retreated there were no officers of high rank to stop them and rally them again. No reserve had been prepared to cover our retreat in case of defeat. We went into the battle with not more than thirty thousand to the outside. The rebels had full sixty thousand in the morning and were largely reinforced during the day. Their artillery was better and heavier than ours. They were at home, acquainted with the country, and had been fortifying these hills for months. The result is before the world. The retreat was bad enough, Heaven knows, but I deny positively, that it was through any fault or cowardice of the men. Through the battle Lt. Col. Peck led his regiment as became a soldier. The fault on the field was higher up than the rank of Colonel. But it commenced with certain parties at the North, such as the editors of the New York Tribune, in urging this battle before the army was ready. There is no doubt it was fought, at this time, very much against the wish of Gen. Scott. Northern impatience wanted a battle and they have had it. But let the proper parties father the imp and not charge it upon the men who fought like tigers against every odds and disadvantage. – During the engagement Col. Coon acted as aid to Col. Sherman, (acting Brigadier General.) and did his duty bravely and well. I have made this letter much longer than I had intended. We all hope your next news from us will be more cheering.

N. R.

Wisconsin Daily State Journal, 7/30/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

Nathaniel Rollins at Ancestry.com

Nathaniel Rollins at Fold3

Nathaniel Rollins at FindAGrave

More on Nathaniel Rollins here and here and here.





Unit History – 11th New York Infantry

12 07 2022

Cols., E. Elmer Ellsworth, Noah L. Farnham, Charles McK. Loeser; Lieut.-Cols., Noah L. Farnham, John A. Cregier, Spencer H. Stafford, Joseph E. McFarland; Majs., John A. Cregier, Charles McK. Loeser, Alexander McC. Stetson. This regiment, the 1st Fire Zouaves, was recruited in New York city and left for Washington, 1,200 strong, April 29, 1861. At Washington it was mustered into the U. S. service on May 7, for a two years’ term and was quartered at the capitol until May 9, when it was sent to Camp Lincoln. On May 24, it was ordered to Camp Ellsworth, Alexandria, Va., where it became a part of Gen. Willcox’s brigade. At the battle of Bull Run, July 21, it was with the 2nd brigade, 2nd division, Army of Northeastern Virginia, and engaged with severe loss. In September, it returned to New York for the purpose of reorganization; performed guard duty at Bedloe’s island and returned to Fortress Monroe the same month, going into camp at Newport News. Efforts to reorganize the regiment proved futile and it returned to New York May 7, 1862, and was there mustered out on June 2. Other succeeding attempts to reorganize were likewise unsuccessful and the men enlisted for that purpose were assigned to the 17th N. Y. During its term of service the regiment suffered the loss of 51 members by death from wounds and 15 from accident or disease.

From The Union Army, Vol. 2, p. 56





Lt. George W. Cooney, Co. D*, 38th New York Infantry, On the Battle

1 03 2022

The Scott Life Guard

The following letter, from an officer of this regiment – the Thirty -eight New-York Volunteers – contains an interesting account of their participation in the battle at Bull’s Run. This regiment was one of the first in the field, and last out of it. They suffered as much as any engaged, yet they were scarcely credited or mentioned in connection with the affair:

Camp Scott, near Alexandria,
Thursday, July 25, 1861.

My Dear Father: I suppose you are desirous to hear from me in regard to our glorious attack and inglorious retreat. We moved on Bull’s Run at 6 A. M. on Sunday morning, and arrived at 11 ½ A. M., after two miles of “double-quick,” when, without one moment’s rest, we were ordered to cross to the left of Arnold’s Battery and support him. This was after we had moved up the side-hill and given the enemy one round. In the meantime the New-York Zouaves moved over to the right of Arnold, and lay under cover of a fence, whilst our regiment passed on to the left. Arnold’s Battery was no more planted when the enemy opened their heavy artillery on him., and after one shot got his range completely, knocking two of his guns off their carriages, and killing or wounding almost every man in his command. Those who survived the volley ran away. Upon their running, a party of horsemen, some 90 or 100 strong, dashed up for the purpose, I suppose, of capturing the guns, but the Zouaves rose up from behind the fence and completely emptied their saddles. I do not believe there were ten out of the company, said to be command by Ben McCulloch, who is himself killed. After their destruction the Zouaves fell back for the purpose of reloading, when a regiment of infantry dashed out at a charge bayonets from the bushes, for the purpose of following the Firemen, thinking I suppose, they had run; we then rose and gave them a volley; the Zouaves then dashed back from the road to our relief, and passing us moved right down into the hollow, where Col War immediately ordered us to follow. This was the bloodiest part of the battle; here we were exposed to both infantry, riflemen and occasional charges of cavalry, besides the continual and rapid fire of their whole artillery. Here we were for three hours, some of us now charging with parties of Zouaves, and now with some of our own men; five times I came within sight of their masked batteries, and in this hot place were the Zouaves and our regiment kept, without one company of any other regiment coming to our support. Once and once only the gallant Fourteenth of Brooklyn endeavored to come to our assistance, but they could not get through the terrible fire between us, and were obliged to fall back. For all this, with our Major wounded and missing, Capt. McQuade killed, young Tom Hamblin, First Lieutenant, wounded and prisoner, Lieut. Brady wounded, Capt. McGrath wounded, and no less than 250 men killed and wounded, the New-York papers never gave one word about the Scott Life Guard.

The retreat was the most awful sight the eye of man ever looked upon. The troops had had no sleep for forty-eight hours, and traveled ten miles out to Bull’s Run. The retreat was made from that place to Washington, a distance of thirty-six miles. Next day I read of the death of my dear brother, James, which added keenly to the gloom of our defeat.

Yours,
GEO. W. CLOONEY

The New York Times, 7/29/1861

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  • The status of George W. Cooney in the regiment is uncertain. See below roster for the official history of Cooney’s service. His account indicates he was with the regiment, regardless.

38th New York Infantry roster

George W. Cooney at Ancestry

George W. Cooney at Fold3





Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman, Diary Entries

21 02 2022

Alex. Mon. July 15, 1861

I got a telegraph to go to Wash. to meet Gen. McDowell & bring Col. Miles. Margaret & I went up with him in the 9 a.m. boat. We met Gen. McDowell & he changed for Col. Miles to go up the Little River Turnpike & my division on the Old Fairfax Road south of the railroad as far as Sangster’s & then probably cross the Occoquan at Wolf Shoals & so on to Brentsville & cut the rail road which communicates with Va.

I went to see Gen. Mansfield but did not find him in. I had dinner at one & came down at 3 p.m. I met Lt. Charles Norton of the Navy. He was on the Seminole & is detached. Matilda is better but not well. Margaret is coming down in the morning to see me start.

After I got down the order to march came. Col. Miles had to start at 3 p.m. We will have to start at 10 a.m. to make our distance to Bone Mill on the Accotink. I was busy till night, have been since 11 p.m. with the brigade commanders arranging the details of the march tomorrow. I believe that we have now done all we can do [in] the short time left us to prepare. The day after tomorrow we will probably meet the enemy. It has been rather cool today.

Five men who escaped a call in mass arrived in town late this afternoon & now after 11 p.m. eleven more. A large portion of the population wont be impressed to serve against the U. S.

Alex. Tues. July 16, 1861

I did not get to bed before midnight. There was an alarm of an attack on our pickets at Springfield. It did not amount to much. Margaret came down in the 8 a.m. boat. I telegraphed for a carpet bag & some things but she did not get it. The first Brigade commenced the march at 10 a.m. Some regts. will be delayed by the misconduct in Lt. Symonds in referring to some provisions at night. We expect to get off about 3 p.m. Mr. Durn of Indiana sent word by Margaret that he wants to go with me. I telegraphed for him to come. We have a pleasant day, though it threatens rain. No instructions have come yet.

Sangsters. Va. on rail road Thurs. July 18, 1861

My written instructions did not arrive on Tuesday till about one p.m. & no horses for the guides although I telegraphed in every direction. A heavy rifled gun was also still behind.

Towards 5 p.m. Gen. McDowell arrived & soon after the gun with jaded horses. It came from Arlington. I also learned that I could get no horses for the guides, so ordered six from the A. Q. M. at Alexandria. As soon as we got part of them we started. In the night some of our guides joined us & reported that only three horses were sent. Capt. Tyler is one of the most inefficient Qr. Ms. I have had to deal with.

We soon overtook the rear of the column & took our opportunities to push ahead.

Before we left Gen. McDowell recommended to go on to the Pohick, about two miles further. I got there before sundown & found most of the First Brigade, Col. Franklin there. It is fortunate that we went on, as we would have found it almost impossible to encamp on the Accotink, it is so hilly & woody.

We bivouacked on a high hill, with the troops around us. The 11th Mass. was detained so late by the neglect of Capt. Symonds to furnish them rations, that the[y] got behind everything & did not get in till 3 a.m. & we were up & ready to march at daylight. We did not however start till 5 a.m. as I had sent back horses for the big gun, as it had stalled on a high & difficult hill at the Accotink on this side. I finally started & left a guard for it. I had sent back some horses from the Artillery wagons to help up the hill & had to wait a little for their return.

We at last got started, but had a continual succession of delays. The road is very narrow & lined with thick wood almost all the way & was crowded with troops. I sent forward several times to hurry them, but Col. Franklin said it was impossible for the skirmishers to advance any faster & as we were told to consider an ambuscade unpardonable I could not hurry them any more.

When the advance reached Elzy’s where the road to Sangsters & the one to Fairfax Station fork they sent me word that they had surprised a picket & the men had fled, that there were two entrenchments on the road to Sangsters & one on that to Fairfax Sta. with the roads obstructed. I passed forward to the advance & got there about 11 a.m.

Col. Franklin took a road to turn his entrenchments & whilst he was clearing the road I sent & had Col. Wilcox take the road to the Station.

In the meantime I had sent three companies of the Zouaves to try & disperse 80 men I heard were at Brinstone Mill on our left. They went & found that 11 foot & 2 cav drafted men had left in the morning for Manassas.

In the meantime the troops filed by & when Col. Howard’s brigade arrived I posted it at Elsy’s with one advanced towards Wolf Run shoals. He reported the gun at hand & it soon arrived.

In an hour Wilcox sent a note that he had possession of Fairfax Station, that 1000 men ran up the r. r. & 1000 towards the Court House. I sent this note to Franklin with orders to push ahead. I also ordered the troops to be ready to march at 3 p.m. & join Franklin at SangstersXHoward’s Brigade. I went forward with Lowe’s Cavalry. As we took the road they turned the place said to have the entrenchments we saw them to the right & went to visit them. They are two lines a little camped, poorly made, for Infy & will hold about 500 men. Nearby we saw their campXGordon, burning. They fled after our troops reached Elys & set fire to their store houses of corn & provisions. We found 11 barrels of flour & a pile of cornXmarked Confederate States. Also many of their mens shirts & some fresh beef & bacon.

We reached here about 5 p.m. & found Col. Franklin in possession. He reported that the retreat commenced at 5 p.m. the day we started. The last train passed not a great while before he got here & men on foot. The last bridge in sight was just set on fire. At Elsy’s we saw several smokes & people reported some firing of musketry & cannon.

We encamped here last night & the Hd. Qrs. put up their tents. We got supper in the poor house of the county & poor enough it was. Coffee & salt & shad & poor, very poor biscuit. This morning we had a cup of coffee made by our men with sardines & bread. I was so tired I did not report to Gen. McDowell as I was under the impression he would be on his way here to make a flank march on this side. As I was writing a report this morning I got a note from Capt. Fry that they did not know where I was & that they were marching on Centreville. I left Wilcox at the Station which is but a couple of miles from here.

Mr. Dunn has gone back, whether to return to Washington or remain with the Army if we advance. I sent a note to Margaret. I also since wrote another & sent it to Alexandria by an officer going in. I am very much annoyed at not having sent forward a report last night, but I was so strongly impressed with the idea that we would proceed by the left flank that I might neglect it.

Near Centreville Va. Fri. July 19, 1861

About 11 a.m. yesterday Gen. McDowell & staff arrived. There was not much of an engagement as our troops advanced. Col. Miles had two men wounded. Our troops burned Germantown & I believe Fairfax Court House.

When the General came most of the troops were near this place, that is in striking distance. I had sent out to look for our supply train, which should have been in & towards Wolf Run Shoals & out the r. road to Bull Run. From the latter place a battery was reported on the r. r. & the bridge burned. I sent again, but I could not get any positive information. I am satisfied the battery is beyond the rear & the bridge burned.

Our position & prospects were discussed & the plan changed. We were ordered to be here by daylight with two days rations in haversacks. We waited till late in the afternoon & I was satisfied no train would arrive so we marched & the head of the column arrived at a creek half a mile from here. As Wilcox was here & water good I came here with Franklin’s brigade & left Howards at the run.

As far as I can learn all the Army is here but Hunters column. I presume they are not far off.

At Sangsters heavy firing of cannon was heard near the direction of this place.

On our arrival we learned that Gen. Tyler had attached a battery, first with Infy. 3 regts. & then with Arty & was repulsed with loss. It was without orders & against the advice of the Engineer & other officers.

Col. Richardson’s Bri. was engaged & the 12 N. Y. Vols. ran awayXnot Col. Butterfields. Our loss instead of being 60 killed & a piece of Arty is but 3 killed, 2 probably mortally wounded & but 30 wounded. It is a disgraceful affair & Gen. Tyler is not excusable.

Our provision trains have arrived & our men are cooking & killing beef. I last night ordered a lot of cattle seized for my Division fearing the train would not arrive. I have just learned that it started for Occoquan.

We had a thunder shower last evening before our baggage arrived but a deserted town afforded us shelter till our tents came.

The coffee kept me awake most of the night. Our pickets were firing at intervals all night. This morning there was firing for hours, so that it was really dangerous to be about. With these long range muskets & raw Vols. it is really dangerous to be near them.

We got some pork meat this morning, the first since we started. No orders yet.

Our loss I find is much greater than I stated before, though no one knows yet as the Vols. have not called their rolls yet. I heard Capt. Alexander of the Eng. & Brackett of the cavalry give an account of the affair. There must have been a large number of troops & the firing was very heavy.

Mr. Dunn was here this morning. He witnessed the battle yesterday. I also saw Mr. Hoard. He was also present. Quite a number of citizens have been about the camps.

I also met Col. Porter & Major Barry. The latter has been appointed Chief of the Arty. I also saw Major Parker of the cavalry.

Camp near Centreville Va. Sat. July 20, 1861

This has been a tolerably warm day. I have not felt very well, but am much better this evening.

Sec. Cameron was in camp & a number of members of Congress. Mr. Dunn & Mr. Hoard called & then Mr. Brady.

I rode up to Centreville to look at the earth works. They are very indifferent & have embrasure for five guns.

We got orders to be ready to march at six p.m. When near the hour it was put off till 2 a.m. tomorrow.

At Fairfax Station in the earth works Col. Wilcox’s men found the secession flag of the Tensaw Rifles. It was presented to me & I sent it to Gen. McDowell. I have made out my report of the march from Alexandria.

Washington Sun. Sept. 1st, 1861

It is six weeks today since the battle of Bull Run, in which I was wounded. I was hit on the right arm, a little below the elbow by a minie ball, nearly spent & it was cut out on the field by Dr. King. It hit me about two inches below the elbow, on the outside & struck the bone & I fear fractured it slightly. I was on horseback & the Doctor he commenced cutting the ball out, but found it difficult & he got off.

On the afternoon before the battle the general officers got orders to appear at Gen. McDowell’s Hd. Qrs. to receive instructions. I went & did not get home till 11 p.m. We found a number of citizens there, many members of Congress amongst them.

The plans were detailed, but no opinions asked. I asked a few questions to understand what I had to do.

Gen. Tyler was to go up the turnpike & attack with artillery the battery protecting the stone bridge across Bull Run. I was to follow Gen. Hunter who was to take a side road to Sudley’s Church, or spring, or millsXwhere it crosses Bull Run. About half way there was a ford I was to stop at & when Hunter turned it cross & we together follow down to the Stone Bridge & then I take position on Hunter’s left. The road for me to turn off did not exist & I had to follow on to Sudley’s Mills where I arrived at 11 a.m. Before we got there Tyler’s heavy guns were heard & the smoke seen at two points. I could also see two heavy clouds of dust indicating reinforcements approaching from Manassas.

Whilst waiting for the last brigade of Col. Hunter’s division to cross I heard his advance attack the enemy in his front. We could hear our men driving the enemy back. Before we could cross Gen. McDowell sent Capt. Wright of the engineers & Major McDowell, the Gen’s brother, to me for reinforcements to prevent the enemy’s out flanking them. I had stopped the first Brigade to fill their canteens, but now ordered the Minnesota Regt. to go with Capt. Wright & follow more to the right, with 5th Mass. having orders for the second brigade to follow, but leaving Arnold’s battery & the 11 Mass. to take post as reserve on the right bank of Bull Run.

In a mile we got on the battlefield & I did not find any one to give orders. Gen. McDowell & his staff had passed up about a mile from Sudley’s Springs. We found the enemy had been driven back & I stopped a few moments to see what was going on & to make inquiries. In the meantime I met the General. He ordered some of the batteries forward, nearer the enemy & me to push the 5th Mass. forward from a position they took on a side hill, where they were lying down.

I went but seeing I could do nothing there that the key of the position was on the enemy’s left I ordered up two regts to try & take the battery covering it. I went up in that direction to wait for the Zouaves & when they came up lead them towards some old fields with scattered pines. As I approached the crest of the ridge I saw a line drawn up in good order at a shoulder & in citizen’s dress. I checked my horse for an instant & surveyed them. I then turned to the Zouaves & said there are the Secession troops, charge them. They rushed forward & in a few steps both parties came in sight of each other & fired & the Zouaves ran & I believe the enemy also. I tried to rally the Zouaves but failed. At the instant the Zouaves fired a party of 30 or 40 Secession cavalry charged them & were fired upon & broke & ran, leaving some half dozen men & three dead horses on the ground. As they fled Capt. Colby’s regular cavalry gave them a volley, killing a few more. It is said this was the famous Black Horse Cavalry.

I next led up the Minnesota regt., Col. Gorman. They got close on a Mississippi regt. & were repulsed & some 150 of their men ran away.

Washington Thursday Sept. 5, 1861

I next brought up the 1st Mich. They also were repulsed. These two regts. went into the woods on the right & did good service. The Zouaves joined some other regt. & did service as skirmishers.

The 14th Brooklin [sic] Regt. came up. I joined it, but at the first fire they broke & ran. Here I was wounded. Ricketts’ & Griffin’s batteries we retook three times, but they were lost at last.

I retreated with the troops till I met Col. Howard with his Brigade. They were engaged with the enemy. I left them after a while & got my arm dressed. I then tried to rally some of the Regts. but not one would form, or advance. We finally had to retreat across the Run, but there they would not form.

I stopped a moment at the Hospital & tried to get off some of the wounded, but most of them were captured by the enemy.

When I got across Bull Run I found that not a Regt. could be rallied nor even a company. I had Capt. Arnold with a section of Artillery & five companies of regular cavalry & with them covered the retreat of the troops on our road of retreat. A few secession cavalry followed us, but a discharge of canister sent them scampering away & they did not molest us any more.

It was about sundown when we got to where the country road we were on joined the turnpike as we approached it, we met a battery of rifle cannon. Here Arnold lost his battery, but we took through the woods & fields & came on the turnpike beyond the range of the guns. We reached Centreville after it was quite dark. Such a rout I never saw before.

I was helped off my horse, but having been on him since 11 a.m., I was so benumbed in my feet I could not stand for a moment.

I got a good drink of Whiskey & took a sleep of half an hour. In the mean time our Doctor was arranging for me to continue on to Washington.

We soon got orders for the Army to retreat to Washington. We got a cup of coffee & had our horses fed & were soon off. We found the road full of fugitives & wagons, but not a regt. in good or any order. I had Capt. Low’s company of 2 Cav. with me, all the way. Some other companies also joined us.

It commenced to rain a little before we got in. At the other end of the Long Bridge was the Buffalo 21 Regt. Some of them knew me. Major Rogers gave me a tumbler of whiskey, helped me to get home. There were orders not to let us pass but as I was wounded they let me & my staff pass. I got to my door at 6 a.m. on Monday. Capt. Wright & Lt. Farquhar helped me off my horse & as soon as I got to my room, Margaret sent for Dr. Abadie.

Washington Fri. Sept. 6, 1861

Dr. Abadie soon came & dressed my arm. He made me stay in bed & required me to keep the elbow wet with cold water. This I continued for some three weeks or more. The wound healed in a few weeks without suppuration. My arm is till a little stiff & I cannot turn my wrist sufficiently. It was six weeks before I could write anymore than sign my name.

I had a great many visitors, the first day & since.

Capt. McKeever was soon relieved from my staff & then put on McDowell’s. From there he was sent to Gen. Fremont’s. I sent the officers to Alexandria to try & reorganize the Division, but they could not do much & in a few days they were all relieved. I dictated my report & Lt. Farquhar wrote it out for me. It was arranged on the 31 July & written out & sent in on the 1st of Aug.

In the mean time Gen. McClellan arrived & assumed command of both sides of the river. I was relieved from duty on the other side & ordered to report to him. On the 2 Aug. reported to him & am to have a Brigade. On the 5 Aug. was made a Brig. Gen. of Vols. on recommendation of Penn. Delegation in Congress.

I rode to the Capitol same day & met a great many Senators. Next day Congress adjourned.

On the 6th Aug. Lt. Col. Day & 3 cos. of 2 inf. arrived & are posted near here. I called on Day, the next day & the day after they went to Georgetown.

Mr. Jewett left for Buffalo [on the] 6th. He took us over to Arlington & the Buffalo regt. the day before.

On the 12 Aug. Dr. Tripler arrived & called. He is the Chief Med. Off. on Gen. McClellan’s staff.

On the 13th I got my commission as Brig. Gen. Vols. & accepted same day. I would have declined but the Penn. Delegation had recommended me. It adds but little to my pay as I get so many longevities.

On the 14th got news of the death of Gen. Lyon near Springfield, Mo. A gallant officer sacrificed from having an inferior force.

Had a photograph taken for Harpers Weekly at Mr. Leavin’s regiment.

On the 15th went to Alexandria to see Col. Davies about my Brigade & Staff. I have the 5th Maine & the 16, 26 & 27 N. Y. We are posted on the left of Ellsworth.

On the 16th Dr. Tripler examined my arm & says the head of the bone is fractured.

Capt. Griffin’s battery is from the other side & encamped near us. He belongs to Gen. Porter’s Brigade. The latter is Provost Marshall & has been for some time. He has cleared the city of straggling officers & soldiers. The disorganization after the battle was frightful. For seven days after I feared for the safety of the city. I believe that the Confederates could have taken the works on the other side if they had attacked us. We lost the 3 mos. men & the panic was great. The chance soon passed. The truth is the enemy suffered so greatly they could not pursue us with rigor & some of their regts were as badly disorganized as ours. On the 20th we had quite a stampede in town about an attack on the city. On the 24th the mayor of Wash. & some women secessionists were arrested. Mr. Phillips & Mrs. Greenhow.

On the 26th Mr. G. W. Eddy arrived. Wants to be a pay master. Has not got it yet & I fear wont.

Stamped[e] & constant alarm on other side.

I was down town & saw Mr. G. H. Penfield make bread & bake it in 30 minutes by Prof. Horsford’s method. It is the great desideratum of the age. Now bread making is reduced to a science. Any child can succeed in making good bread. The bran takes out some of the nutritive qualities & what makes the bread size. This is prepared in the shape of a powder of phosphates of or phosphoric acid & bicarbonate of soda. These are mixed with water & or rather dry mixed with the flour & then mixed with water & baked at once. He is trying to introduce it in the army.

Sept. 1st Heard of the success of the expedition to Hat[t]eras Inlet of Com. Stringham & Gen. Butler. This I hope inaugurates a new era is in our operations. It should have been done 3 mos. before.

The first week or ten days after the battle the weather was cool & then about as many very warm. Since then much rain. It must have been same in the Confederates & we learn they have much sickness.

A few nights ago Griffin’s battery with a Brigade (King’s) went & crossed the Chain bridge & established batteries on the other side. The night before more troops went out. We met them, as we returned from Mr. Young’s when we had been to eat fruit & met Col. & Mrs. Paulding.

I got letters almost every day from some one for my influence to get an office. Jacob Stauffer formerly of Manheim has called. Jno. Bastruff who lives near here & I have had letters from Dyer & Mayer of Manheim.

I got a letter from Andreas Heintzelman in Kansas who inquires whether we are relatives. I have a number of letters of congratulations on my escape from the battle & promotion.

I have been several times to see Gen. McClellan, but he is hard to see & two weeks ago I thought he stood on his dignity, so I have not been to see him since. I must try & go to duty next week.

It cleared off today & has been pleasant. I walked down town with Capt. Lathrop. He got a commission as Capt. in the 17 Infy. & draw my pay of Major McClure for Aug.X$330.63X12 days as Col. & 19 as Brig. General. We went to Express office & got a keg of crackers some one sent Margaret & a box of ointment sent me from western N. Y. for my arm.

———-

Samuel P. Heintzelman’s Diary resides at the Library of Congress

This transcription was made by and presented with the permission of Dr. Jerry D. Thompson, author of Civil War to the Bloody End: The Life and Times of Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman

Contributed by Daniel Winfield

Samuel P. Heintzelman at Wikipedia

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Sgt. Arthur T. Pickett, Co. I, 38th New York Infantry, On the Battle

19 02 2022

THE THIRTY-EIGHTH NEW YORK REGIMENT

Editor Star: In perusing the journals, I barely see notice of the Thirty-eighth New York Regiment as being engaged on Sunday in defense of my country’s flag. Allow me, Mr. Editor, to say that I was there, being hurt seriously in the right leg and left hand and head. I think that I for one was in the action, and if credit is awarded, the Thirty-eighth are worthy of it. We covered Sherman’s battery bravely, and also covered the gallant firemen of New York when the Black Horse Cavalry charged upon them. Company I was three times driven from a battery, and I saw the secession flag lying in the dust. We marched on the field with 64 men, and we now number 30. Our officers led their men gallantly, and many a poor fellow lies dead on Virginia’s soil. While our regiment was advancing on the enemy our eyes were greeted by the glorious flag of our county, and we supposed that they were some of our own men. We marched at double quick to make a charge on a battery that was pouring a deadly fire upon us; but to our cost we found that the stars and stripes were used as a decoy, and under cover they mowed us down. We retreated, and laid down and loaded our pieces, and sir, our boys marched right ahead, and we avenged the deaths of our comrades. My humble opinion is, that if we had been then reinforced we could have whipped them and sent their black hearts to h—l! I hear it denied that the enemy butchered our wounded, and I beg leave to say that I saw the enemy deliberately bayonet our poor men, and they asking for mercy. Such cruelties are not on record, and my wish and prayer is that my wounds will speedily heal, and the remnant of the Thirty-eighth are ready for the field. We bore the regiment banner of the honored old chieftain, Gen. Winfield Scott, and the regiment did not disgrace the colors they bore. Please insert this in your paper, and you will oblige a type and a soldier.

Very respectfully,
Arthur T. Pickett
2d Sergt. Co. I, 38th regt. Scott Life Guard.

N. B. – Our flag shall wave. Boys of New York will always be ready.

(Washington, DC) Evening Star, 7/24/1861

Clipping Image

38th NYVI Roster

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