Unit History – 11th (21st) North Carolina Infantry

22 04 2022

Was a twelve month company command organized in Danville, Virginia, in June, 1861. Men of this unit were recruited in Davidson, Surry, Forsyth, Stokes, Rockingham, and Guilford counties. It was assigned to General Trimble’s, Hoke’s, Godwin’s, and W. G. Lewis’ Brigade. After taking part in the Battle of Manassas and Jackson’s Valley operations, the 21st participated in many conflicts of the army from Seven Days’ Battles to Bristoe. It was then involved in the engagements at Plymouth, Drewry’s Bluff, and Cold Harbor, marched with Early to the Shenandoah Valley, and saw action around Appomattox. The unit sustained 80 casualties at First Winchester, 13 at Cross Keys and Port Republic, 45 during the Seven Days’ Battles, 51 at Groveton, 18 at Sharpsburg, and 24 at Fredericksburg. It lost 78 at Chancellorsville, twenty-eight percent of the 436 at Gettysburg, and 52 at Plymouth. In April, 1865, it surrendered with 6 officers and 117 men of which 40 were armed. The field officers were Colonels Robert F. Hoke and William W. Kirkland; Lieutenant Colonels Saunders Fulton, B. Y. Graves, James M. Leach, Rufus K. Pepper, William S. Rankin, and William L. Scott; and Majors James F. Beall, Alex. Miller, W. J. Pfohl, and J. M. Richardson.

From Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army, pp. 224-225

Image: Capt. Alfred Horatio Belo, Co. D, 11th North Carolina Infantry

5 08 2021
Alfred Horatio Belo (from FindAGrave)

Capt. Alfred Horatio Belo, Co. D, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

5 08 2021

Battle Ground 4 miles north of Manassas
Junction, Va. July 21 [sic], 1861.

Dear Carrie;

Your very welcome note, together with Mollie’s interesting letter came very opportunely to hand this morning. We have just received our tents and put them up. We commenced receiving our baggage yesterday evening, but it was Company’s time to go on picket guard, therefore after going out and posting the pickets, I returned to camp, and with a few men left, succeeded in pitching all our tents last evening and this morning, and now as everything is going on quietly I have seated myself for the purpose off having a nice quiet chat with you.

It is unnecessary to say anything about our departure from Danville, as I noticed an article in the last Press giving the particulars. Our stay in Richmond was not long; we arrived here on Saturday about 10 o’clock P.M. and left on the following Tuesday at 6 o’c P.M. I suppose you have seen an account of the collision of that night. I was in the rear car, asleep at the time, but was waked by the jar. The troops were all on one train, and the baggage on another following behind. Between 11 & 12 o’clock the baggage train ran into our train, but strange to say the rear car was injured very slightly, while one or two next to it were smashed up considerably, wounding several of Capt. Connally’s men, and breaking and bending a number of guns. To look at the wreck afterwards impressed everyone with the thought that nothing else but the divine interpolation of God saved the lives of many of our Regiment on that night. The next morning we proceeded on our way and without anything unusual occurring, arrived at Manassas Junction about sundown. We were under order to report ourselves at Winchester, but learning here that a large force of the enemy was advancing, and in all probability a battle would ensue on the following day, we concluded to wait until Gen’l Beauregard returned, and if he thought our services would be more needed here than at Winchester, remain and go to W afterwards.

On the return of Gen’l Beauregard we were ordered to remain, and between 1 and 2 o’clock A.M. on Thursday the 18th inst. were commanded to wake up the men (who were still in the cars) and have them ready to march by 4 o’clock. Shortly after daylight we took up our line of march, and after marching four miles were halted and placed in the reserves. I will not attempt a description of our feelings and thoughts on that march, but leave you to imagine them. I will only say that events crowded each other so rapidly that we did not find much time for reflection, and marching to a battle field is not near so serious a thing as represented by some. The battle commenced about 12 o’clock and about 10 o’clock were ordered to take our position on the left flank, where we remained during he remainder of the engagement. The fight was chiefly confined to the right front and center, and we did not become generally engaged, altho’ occasionally a cannon ball or bomb shell would whistle past and strike before us to keep us on the alert, and be ready for an attack at any moment. Our men were all remarkably cool during the whole day, and when it was announced that the enemy had retreated seemed to be disappointed that they had not had an opportunity to try their muskets on some Yankee targets. I have often, when reading of battles wished that I could be placed in some position to see one, but then had no idea that wishes would be so soon realized. Carrie, I assure you that it is magnificently grand to hear the continued rattle of musketry, the clash of bayonets, the shouts of exultation rending the air when any point is attained, mingled with the booming of the field pieces, and no one can adequately realize it, unless by actual experience. After the battle we marched and took our position on the center (where we have been ever since). On Friday and Saturday we were busily engaged in strengthening our entrenchments, and were kept on the alert both night and day by constant alarms of the approach of the enemy. We were within sight, and by means of glasses could see the Yankees passing to and fro. On Saturday night, the same night you wrote, we slept in the trenches on our arms, but were not alarmed until about daybreak when we commenced preparations for the coming struggle. We breakfasted as early as possible. It was a beautiful, bright, sunny Sabbath morn, and Dame Nature seemed to have donned her best attire to witness the signal defeat of our enemies.

The first shot was fired about 6 o’clock and a brisk cannonading was kept up. Between 9 and 10 o’clock the enemy made an attack upon our left flank, and a bloody contest ensued lasting for several hours. The evident design was to attack both flanks, and then make a combined effort on the center, but they met with such stout resistance at those two places and had to reinforce so much that they had very few left to make the attack on the center. I heard it remarked yesterday that one of the Yankee prisoners said that they (the Yankees) had taken one of our pickets prisoner a day or two before the battle and had extorted from him the facts that the center was stronger than any other part, and the North Carolina men were in the center, whereupon they said ‘they would not encounter N.C. troops at all, but if they were compelled they would pit off to the last.’ Be that as it may, they did not advance upon us but kept up a constant cannonade upon us, which of course we could not resist, but had to keep well concealed behind our entrenchments. The battle was very bloody, and the victory dear as we lost some very good men, but our loss is not near so heavy as that of the enemy. The regulars and Zouaves are the men who did the hard fighting against us, and they are the ones who suffered the most. I am told that almost all of Ellsworth’s petlambs were left on the field. This was undoubtedly intended as a decisive battle on the part of the enemy. We are informed that a great many ladies and gentlemen, among them Congressmen with their wives and daughters accompanied the army as far as Centerville (three miles north of this), with the intention of going on to Richmond with the army, but in the evening of that great day suddenly concluded to postpone their visit to that city for the present. But I am digressing.

The battle continued with unabated fury until about 4 o’clock P.M. when the firing ceased and shortly afterwards we were told that the enemy were in full retreat, and were ordered to follow immediately. It was very gratifying to see the promptness with which our men leaped from their places, and in a few moments were in hot pursuit and with glistening bayonets and shouts of triumph rending the air. We passed right through the enemy’s camp and saw vast quantities of knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, blankets, uniforms, bread, beef, guns &c, that they had left behind in their haste, and continued the pursuit for several miles, when night came on us and we returned to our camp.

It is impossible for me to say anything correctly about the loss on either side. I know the whole of the next day was occupied in bringing in the booty and prisoners. We took a large number of baggage wagons and fine horses, all of Sherman’s battery besides a good many guns and other articles of war. On the day after the battle some five or six hundred prisoners were sent on to Richmond, including 30 or 40 officers, and there were, and are now a great many more to go on. It was decidedly the most signal victory that has ever been achieved on the American continent and several more lessons of the same sort will I hope have a good effect on Lincoln and his cohorts. But I declare, here comes the end of the paper and I must stop.

Write soon to Your cousin,

Direct 11th Regt. N.C. Volunteers Manassas Junction. Va.

You doubtless heard of the death of Col. Charles Fisher. His remains were sent home.


Contributed by Charles R. Knight

Transcription from North Carolina Museum of History

Original letter at State Archives of NC

Alfred Horatio Belo at Ancestry

Alfred Horatio Belo at Fold3

Alfred Horatio Belo at FindAGrave

Alfred Horatio Belo at Wikipedia

Brig. Gen. Samuel Cooper to Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, Authorizing him to Appropriate the 11th [?] North Carolina Infantry

31 12 2020



O. R. – Series I – VOLUME 2 [S #2] CHAPTER IX, p. 980

Richmond, July 17, 1861.

General G. T. Beauregard, Manassas Junction, Va.:

You are authorized to appropriate the North Carolina regiment on its route to General Johnston. If possible, send to General Johnston to say he has been informed, via Staunton, that you were attacked, and that he will join you if practicable with his effective force, sending his sick and baggage to Culpeper Court-House by rail or through Warrenton.

Adjutant and Inspector General.

Image: Lt. Col. James Madison Leach, 11th North Carolina Infantry

3 09 2020
Lt. Col. James Madison Leach, 11th North Carolina Infantry, as U. S. Congressman post-war (source)

Lt. Col. James Madison Leach, 11th North Carolina Infantry, Defends His Conduct In the Battle

3 09 2020

Camp Rhett, (Near Manassa,)
Aug. 15th, 1861.

Mr. Editor: – I feel it my duty to notice, in this public way, a vile calumny against me, the report of which has been reaching me for the last three days, as talked of in Raleigh and various places in the State. It is to the effect that in the battles of Bull Run and Manassas, or Stone Bridge, I not only behaved ungallantly, but showed a want of bravery, fled from the field, was arrested and tried for cowardice, &c.

In both battles I endeavored to do my whole duty, as an officer and a North Carolinian.

I was often on horseback, riding up and down the lines, speaking words of cheer to the brave soldiers, and while this in the saddle was exposed to the heavy cannonading and shelling of the enemy, and was again and again urged by officers and privates to dismount and take my place in the entrenchments, which I sometimes did while the balls were flying over our heads, and often piercing the frail embankments, our brave men standing coolly awaiting the enemy. I take no credit to myself for this, I only did my duty, but mention it to refute the lying calumny of my slanderers; and take leave to say that every man did his duty, well and bravely, on those memorable days.

In the evening of the 21st, at least one hour after the last gun had been fired at our Regiment, and when the thrilling, glorious news first reached us, that the Yankees had been finally repulsed on the right wing, a distance from us of from three to five miles, and were fleeing, and while the whole line was wild with joy, I galloped off to the right, in common with many officers of other Regiments, not actually in the main fight, fell in with the Lynchburg Cavalry, as I understood, and pursued the enemy to Bull Run, and there hearing and believing they were routed, and hoping they would be pursued thus making the route complete, I returned across the field of the dead and dying, and back at half speed to our entrenchments, where I learned our Regiment had left some 20 minutes or more, though they were still in hearing, and I pressed on to the farther edge of the old field beyond Bull Run where I overtook the several Brigades that had been ordered to pursue and was a few minutes in finding our Regiment and getting through the mighty throng to them, where we remained about an hour and a half, and then marched back to our entrenchments, sleeping all night upon our arms.

It is strange news to every soldier of our Regiment that I showed any want of bravery; and is treated with that indignation and contempt that it deserves; while on the other hand it is said and repeated by officers and privates, that I acted rashly, and exposed myself unnecessarily.

I herewith append the statement in my defence, refuting the base falsehoods, made by 45 of the 48 commissioned officers of the regiment, two of them being absent when the statement was carried round, and the other, Lieut. Smith, being on sick leave at Charlottesville.

Thus it will be seen that every statement I have made is shown to be true by the brave officers of the regiment who have known me long, and who, in my military capacity, know me best; and I am proud to know that in their expressions of confidence and esteem they reflect the sentiments of the privates of the regiment.

It is regarded here as singular that I should have been singled our to be thus made the subject of such hellish persecution; while it is gratifying to me to learn, that both friends and enemies, whether political or personal, who have any character, are pronouncing the report to be a miserable lie.

It were flattery to call such slanderers liars, cowards, and scoundrels, though I do pronounce him, or them, and shall so regard any who may hereafter circulate the report with a view to my injury.

Lt. Col. 11th Reg’t N. C. V.


Camp Rhett, (near Manassas Junction,)
August 10, 1861.

As commissioned officers of the 11th Regiment N. C. Volunteers, it affords us great pleasure to contradict the report now in circulation in North Carolina, that Lt. Col. Leach, of our regiment, behaved ungallantly and showed a want of bravery in the battles of Bull Run and Stone Bridge, of Thursday and Sunday, the 18th and 21st ult., and to testify that it is wholly, out-and-out, a fabrication. But that on the other hand, he on both days, bore himself bravely and gallantly, often exposing himself to the cannonading and shelling of the enemy, by riding up and down the entrenchments and peaking words of cheer and encouragement to the brave soldiers.

After firing had ceased in the Centre, where our regiment was posted, at a late hour in the evening, when the first news reached us that the enemy were repulsed on the left, he galloped off in that direction, with officers as we have learned, from other regiments; and after we were ordered to pursue the enemy on the right wing, he overtook and joined us at the edge of the old field, one mile and a half from Mitchell’s Ford, where we were stationed. Ant it is utterly false that he was arrested for want of bravery. We likewise take pleasure in stating that Lt. Col. Leach has discharged his duty as a gallant officer, and is generally beloved by the Regiment.

[This is signed by the officers of the regiment as described by Lt. Col. Leach, and can be seen in the clipping attached below.]

(Raleigh, NC) Semi-Weekly Standard, 8/21/1861

Clipping Image

James Madison Leach at Wikipedia 

James Madison Leach at NCPedia 

James Madison Leach at Ancestry 

James Madison Leach at Fold3 

James Madison Leach at FindAGrave 

A. C., Co. H, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Campaign

2 09 2020

Head Quarters Army of the Potomac,
Manassa, July 31st, 1861.

Dear Spirit: – Since we left Danville, we have gone through some degrees of a soldier’s life. We were hurried from D. to Richmond, remained there two days, and were then ordered to Winchester, but arrived at Manassa the evening before the battle at Bull Run on Thursday the 18th. We were ordered to Bull Run in order to take part in the fight. The Regiment, numbering eleven hundred and sixty, had to sleep in one train of freight cats (Wednesday night) on hard benches and the floor – about forty or fifty in a car. I suppose it was necessary to harden us a little before taking us to the field of action. We were up bright and early next morning, and Col. Kirkland soon had us in line and marched us to Bull Run, about four miles from Manassa. We were sent up the creek about a mile to keep the yankees from coming over on our side. The enemy’s cannon commenced firing, the balls were whizzing over, but without effect. The Colonel told us to stoop down behind the fence; we were soon down upon our knees with our guns through the cracks of the fence. We were close to a wooded swamp which was in our front, and were commanded to keep a sharp lookout for the yankees, and if one made his appearance, to pull trigger on him. Sometimes the boys would hear something in the woods or see a horse pass by, and there was a general clattering along the line, springing their locks ready for a fire. Unfortunately, a young man belonging to the third South Carolina Regiment went across to hunt a horse and came in the way we were looking for the[…] in the thick woods and three or four of them fired on him, but as he was rather protected by the trees, only two shot took effect, and they passed through the fleshy part of his arm without breaking the bone. The enemy did not get close enough to us to fire upon them – the advanced part of the army whipped them in a few hours.

We were ordered late in the evening to march down the creek about a mile and get behind the batteries – the batteries were not completed, but the several Captains soon had spades and mattocks and put us to work. – We worked night and day until we threw up splendid embankments, and were well protected by the morning of the 21st, at which time the great battle commenced – a battle that will be long remembered by both sections of the American Continent. That beautiful Sabbath day (before its close) told to the yankees that they had intruded upon the Lord’s day and an inoffensive people, and perhaps by this time they have learned that the Southern boys will not be so easily subjugated as they at first anticipated. We were placed about the centre of the line; the fight, was on the left wing. There was a battery of heavy artillery placed in front of us, about two miles off; they fired on us nearly all day with heavy slugs and bombshells, but we were so well fortified that they could do us no harm. Late in the evening we were ordered to pursue the enemy, which we did in “double quick,” for about three miles; but the yankees got so far the start on us, and were so badly scared, that we never caught up with them.

Our Regiment is stationed at Bull Run yet. A few of them are sick but not seriously so. As a general thing we are a healthy set of boys and I hope we well all do our duty, and be ready at all times to stand up in defence of our country. I believe our field officers are a brave, patriotic and competent set of men, and only require a chance to prove themselves worthy of promotion. Fin looking Regiments are coming in nearly every day. – There is a large body of fine looking troops here now.

May the God of battles soon send the time when we may be able to proclaim to each other, and to our friends whom we have left behind, that victory is ours, and peace and prosperity once more prevail in our land.

Prayer is still kept up in the “Mountain Tiger Camp,” and we are glad to inform our friends that in point of morals we are not retrograding.

A. C.,
Of the Mountain Tigers,
11th Reg. N. C. Vols.

(Raleigh, NC) The Spirit of the Age, 8/10/1861

Clipping Image

Capt. William L. Scott, Co. M, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Pursuit

1 09 2020

A letter from Capt. Scott of Greensboro, to his brother, is published in the Patriot. At the close, after stating that his company joined in the pursuit at Manassas, he says, –

“We had the pleasure of running the yankees, and of hallooing and shouting at them, cheering them on their way. We also overtook and captured several live privates. They scattered al sorts of things along their way and destroyed all they could. All along the road were crackers, blankets, knapsacks, guns, cards, books, clothing, &c. We got supper last night about one o’clock. The Federalists fought bravely. No man need say now that they will not fight. They fought like tigers. I have no ink – I write on my knee in the rain, in my entrenchment. We have no tents. I have been sleeping on the ground, in the rain, and nothing over me but a blanket and the sky.”

Fayetteville (NC) Semi-Weekly Observer, 8/5/1861

Clipping Image

William L. Scott at Ancestry 

William L. Scott at Fold3 

Unknown, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Campaign

31 08 2020


Manassas Gap, Va., July 23, 1861.

On last Thursday we met the enemy at a place called “Bull’s Run,” about four miles from Manassas, and repulsed them three times with a loss to ourselves of only six killed and nine wounded, while the enemy confess to a loss of about eight hundred killed & wounded. They sent a flag of truce to us and asked leave to bury their dead, which was granted, and it took them all the next day – Friday – to finish the task. But the greatest news is yet to come. The enemy fell back on Friday to Centreville about eight miles from Manassas, and on Saturday were reinforced by 30,000 men under Gen. Patters. This made their force about 90,000 altogether. We were reinforced about the same time by 15,000 men under Ben. Johnston, and afterwards by Jackson’s brigade of 5,000. Jeff. Davis came up from Richmond also with some 15,000 or 20,000 men, thus making our force about 65,000. On Sunday morning, just as I received your letter, the pickets came galloping in, announcing that the Yankees were advancing from Centreville to attack us, and in about ten minutes afterward we heard the heavy thunders of their batteries about five miles on our left wing. Our line was stretched about 15 miles from Manassas to the north-west. Our regiment was placed immediately in the centre; it being the post of honor, and was given to us in order to compliment North Carolina for the bravery of her sons at Bethel Church. We had splendid entrenchments, and had a field battery of 6 cannon to support us where our company was placed as that was the spot where it was thought the enemy would tug and break through. Along the line of our regiment, other than where the Rifles were place, where were about twelve or fifteen other pieces, loaded with canister, ready to belch forth death to the foe at every discharge. We had not waited long after firing commenced before we saw the enemy marching in front of us at a distance of two and a half or three miles, arranging their line of battle. Their design was to attack our right, left, and centre simultaneously, with 20,000 men at each point, keeping 30,000 reserve. We had about 5,000 on our right, 5,000 on our centre, and some 15,000 on our left, as it was shrewdly suspected by General Beauregard that the grand blow would be made upon our left, that being the point most weakly defended by breastworks. The remainder of our troops were kept in reserve. About 9 o’clock the batteries in front of us were opened and the Yankees bombarded and cannonaded us till noon without cessation. The shells burst over us and all around us. Our entrenchments were struck by no less than 132 bombs and balls. The air was kept full of them flying in every direction, but not a single man of our regiment was hurt. During all this time the enemy were too far distant for us to do any thing with our muskets, and our cannon were not large enough to compete with the heavy Armstrong guns, and rifled cannon of the enemy; so we kept ourselves snug in our trenches watching the effect of the shells and balls, and getting so used to them that we could only laugh when one came too near, and declare that it was but a chance shot.

About noon, the grand assault was made up on the left, and then commenced the slaughter. The Yankees advanced in a solid body, and our troops held their fire until the enemy were within 100 yards and then they let fly. From this time on the thunders of cannon and musketry were incessant, and the battle became general. – The sky was clouded with smoke. Cavalry was galloping in every direction, and infantry from the reserve kept filing in double quick as fast as they could go. This continued until four o’clock in the afternoon, when suddenly the Major of our Regiment galloped along our lines, and taking off his hat, he waved it, shouting “The Yankees are flying, and our men have captured all their batteries.”

Cheer after cheer burst from the North Carolina boys, who were wild with delight. It was true enough! The enemy had been repulsed at all points, and were routed, horse, foot and dragoons, leaving 30,000 killed and wounded upon the field. The order was next given for us to form into line, and pursue them. We did so with fixed bayonets, and at double quick. Three thousand of our Cavalry first galloped after them, and then our whole army of infantry and artillery rushed after the Cavalry. We could see the Yankees clipping it at 2.40 speed about a mile ahead of us. They threw away their guns, knapsacks, blankets, cartridge boxes, and oil cloths. They left their baggage wagons and horses. All their provisions were cast along side the road and they themselves scattered like frightened sheep. It was the grandest sight in the world to see 60,000 men flying before 40,000 all going it as hard as they could clip. We followed them two miles beyond Centreville, and our men then broke down with running, and we had to return. We reached our entrenchment about 9 o’clock at night, and then wrapped ourselves in our blankets to catch a few hours rest, after the excitements of the day. The next morning we were made aware of the of our victory – 30,000 of the enemy killed and wounded on the field, and left for us to bury and take care of; 6,000 of our men killed and wounded. The Sixth N. C. Regiment of State troops were nearly cut to pieces, and its Colonel, Chas. F. Fisher, shot through the brain, dead. Two South Carolina Regiments, two Virginia Regiments, one Mississippi and one Alabama Regiment, were also shot to pieces. One Regiment lost every officer from the rank of Captain up to Colonel, some of the South Carolina companies had only six men living when the battle was over.

The enemy was completely defeated. We captured all their cannon, 66 pieces including Sherman’s famous rifled battery; 108 baggage wagons, hundreds of horses, all their provisions and ammunition. We took about 1,500 prisoners among whom were 36 field officers that we know of. Such was the great battle of Manassas. It will be a day long to be remembered in history.

A portion of our army is now pursuing the enemy towards Alexandria, and out Regiment moves to night for the same place. There will no doubt, be another battle there, as it is the key to Washington City; but we will be the conquerors as our boys are inspirited by victory, and the Yankees are disheartened by their bitter and overwhelming defeat. I wish I had room to tell you all the incidents of the battle, but I must, per force, reserve the narrative till I return. It would take a god sized volume to tell the half I could tell.

(Winston-Salem, NC) The People’s Press, 8/2/1861

Clipping Image

Unknown Officer, 11th North Carolina Infantry, On the Campaign

30 08 2020


Bull’s Run, July 23, 1861.

Dear Father: –

I received your letter, with that of mother’s on last Sunday morning. I would have written as soon as I got back from Richmond, but have been so busy ever since, that I can’t possibly write as often as I would like.

We left Danville, for Richmond, the Saturday after we were there. I had a tolerably hard time at it too. I was officer of the baggage guard, and did not get a bit of sleep or rest from Friday morning till Sunday morning about one o’clock. We then staid in the old Fair Grounds at Richmond till Tuesday evening about sundown, when we took the train for Winchester. The first train under command of Lieut. Col. Leach and the Major, started about half past six, and the second about an hour afterwards. I stayed with the Colonel; he asked me to stay and go with him and some other officers in a passenger car, attached to the second train. We travelled pretty well till about 10 o’clock, then the car I was on stopped with a sudden jerk that nearly knocked us down. I started out and found the whole road lined with soldiers. At first I thought we were attacked, but our train had run into the train before us, and smashed to of the cars loaded with Capt. Connelly’s, Scott’s, and Gilmer’s Companies. We had some 7 or 8 hurt but not seriously. We had to stay here till after eight o’clock next morning, and reached Manassas about sundown the next day. When we arrived there we found the women and children from Fairfax Court House, passing by in crowds, running from the enemy. The camp was deserted with the exception of one New Orleans regiment left there to guard the baggage. We were to change cars here for Winchester, but Col. Kirkland concluded to offer our services to Gen. Beauregard, instead of going on to Johnston. Beauregard got back to the Junction about 9 o’clock, when he accepted us and promised to give us “a chance at them.” We were up all night preparing, giving out cartridge and instructing the men how to load, till 4 o’clock, when we formed in columns and commenced our march for Bull’s Run, a small stream about 4 miles from the Junction, where our forces had thrown up earth works the night before. We were first employed as skirmishers in a pine thicket on the left, for about an hour, when some of our scouts came in and reported the enemy about 40,000 strong, advancing directly on our centre. We were then called in and held as a reserve, on top of a hill about a mile from the ford. We were all resting after our march, when we heard the roll of the kettle drum calling the men unto the trenches. We were then ordered on to the extreme left. As we were marching through an old field about three miles from the enemy they opened a battery of rifled cannon on us, but no one was hurt, although several of the men got suddenly sick about that time. We went across the field about a quarter of a mile, double quick, until we came to the creek, when we took up our position on a long rail fence. It was not long before the firing grew warm on our right, and occasionally some one of out men would fire at a Yankee, but we were not sure of killing any. The musketry was very heavy for a while, but our men gave them a bayonet charge which settled them for a time. The artillery went at it then and fought for about an hour, when the enemy sent in a flag of truce and got permission to bury their dead. The loss of our men inn that fight was about 50 or 60 killed, wounded and missing; that of the enemy was 905 according to their own reports. We were ordered to shift to the centre which was considered the most dangerous position on the whole line. We slept on our arms all night without interuption. The next morning we all went to work, with all the spades, shovels, and picks we could find, and by night felt tolerably secure. About 8 o’clock the pickets commenced firing and retreating, and every man had to run to his post. We were called to arms about a dozen times that night, but were not attacked after all. Everything was quiet on Saturday. Our men were burying the dead Yankees by hundreds; after they had got permission to bury their dead they would not do it. We all slept well on Saturday night, but on Sunday morning, about half past 6 o’clock, they opened on our centre, where companies from Forsyth and Stokes were entrenched. The shells burst all around us without doing any injury to any of us. A regiment of Alabamians was stationed just behind us in the woods, and one of the balls from the rifled battery passed directly over our heads and killed one of those then wounded another. One passed within a foot of our flag staff which was planted on our breast-work; another struck our works, but we had made them so strong that it could not pass through. There was a very heavy column of the enemy directly in front of us all day, but did not advance close enough for us to fire into them. They kept up a continual fire of musketry on both our wings, but the principal attack was made on our left. Old Scott was there himself. The Yankees fought well but could not drive our men back. At about 4 o’clock we heard the men cheering on our left and Gen. Bonham with his staff came galloping up the line throwing up their hats and telling us that the Yankees were in full retreat. We no sooner heard it than our Colonel came dashing down the lines and ordered us in pursuit. We pitched out and formed a column, and pursued them about three miles, but they had the start of us too far for the 11th to overtake them. The Yankees left their baggage, gun wagons, and everything else in their retreat. The road was literally strewn with clothing, knapsacks, canteens and blankets and our cavalry were taking prisoners in every direction. Their loss was very heavy and it can not be less the 8,000, while ours, though large, was comparatively small.

I was at the Junction yesterday and saw about six hundred prisoners on their way to Richmond. Capt. Wharton’s company is out on picket guard and have just sent in two Yankees. – Corporal Hunter, the same who clerked for Mr. E. Belo, commanded the guard that brought them in.

We took all the enemy’s artillery and about all their baggage wagons and horses. They brought in 108 horses yesterday.

I guess we are the dirtiest set you ever saw in your life. I have not changed my clothes since I left Richmond, on week ago to-day. We have to sleep in the trenches with only a blanket on a board, if we can get it, if not, on the naked ground. It has rained three times since we have been here and you may know how we look. A well digger is not sight to what we are. I must close now, as we will have to march to Centreville this afternoon; it is about 5 or 6 miles from here, and the mud is about a foot deep.

P. S. – We do not march till tomorrow.

(Winston-Salem, NC) The People’s Press, 8/2/1861

Clipping Image