July 26th, 1861.
I would write you a line. I am tolerable well although I have not got over our tramp to Bloody or Bull Run. I feel weak and lazy.
We had a pretty hard time on Sunday last but did not lose as many men as at first thought. There is some seven killed & missing. Among the killed, is our captain. He was killed by about the first shot of the rebels. He fell on his post encouraging his company & doing his best to make them successful. Jonathan Goodrich & several others bore him off the field & placed him beneath a large oak in the shade. His sash & sword were brought with us to Washington & will be sent to his family.
Lieutenant Messick will take his place in the Company. Messick is a brave soldier. He fought well & stuck with his men to the last. He was not hurt. Asa Miller our flag bearer was killed. He was one of the best soldiers we had. He volunteered to carry the flag. Wm. Potter was badly wounded and supposed to be killed at first but has been heard from. Mr. A. G. Strickland was badly wounded, a ball passed through his elbow. It will most likely make his arm stiff. The loss of this regiment in killed is some 46. There may be more but these we are pretty certain of. There are several missing in the Reg. Tey may have been taken prisoners & may be on their way to No. It is very difficult to travel far here without a pass as he country is under martial law. There was not a ball hit me but they came very close. I have forgotten John Rhoer. He was wounded and is at the hospital.
I have not received a letter from home since the 10th. There is not a thing that looks better than a good long letter from home. Write all the particulars.
The troops are continually comeing in from all quarters. Send them as now is the time if there be any more send them on. We will have a quick job of it when we begin. We are resting now & will be ready to give them some of our best. Tell the girls that we are all comeing back to see them before long. It is now nearly sundown & as calm & quiet as you could wish.
Lieutenant Messick is in good health. We like him first rate. Well I must close so Good Bye
From Your Brother
E. H. Bassett
Direct to Washington as before for the country is under Martial law & it would be the safest.
Excuse such a long letter but if you would read it you will do well & if you answer it you will do better.
P.S. There was two balloons sent up in Alexandria today. One was to go over Fairfax & the other I do not know where. My best respects to all the folks.
When we were on the march we run short of provisions & the boys got their guns & went out into the field & shot sheep, hogs, calves & caught every chicken that they could lay their hands upon & when at camp at Centreville they drove up a lot of fat oxen that belonged to the government & got the Colonel out & made him give them permission, then they knocked them down right in the cornfield & dressed them. We took the meat & roasted it by the fire & ate it without salt. I had some pepper along & used it. This was pretty hard fare but our provision train had not come up. When it came we had enough and were treated well when we came into Washington. The citizens brought out hot coffee, bread, meat &c. We are going to draw some clothing today & will receive our money in a few days so they say. We need it if every anybody did for we are entirely out,
There has one more of our boys just came in. His name is Martin Healy from Waseca Co. We supposed that he was killed. He laid in the woods within a few rods of the battle ground. He said that the d—d black scamps burnt the house where our wounded were placed. If this is the case they have most likely killed all the prisoners that they took. our two surgeons are supposed to be killed as they were with the wounded. They were excellent men both of them & understood their business. Write, write, write, write often.
From your brother
E. H. Bassett
Krom, Richard G., The 1st MN: Second to None – A Historical Narrative Including the 218 Unpublished Letters of Edward H. Bassett, Rochester, MN, 2010, pp. 47-49
Used with permission.