Unit History – 3rd Connecticut Infantry

10 03 2022

Cols., John Arnold, John Chatfield; Lieut. -Col., Allen G. Brady; Maj., Alexander Warner. Recruiting for the 3d regiment began simultaneously with that of the other two three months’ regiments, its ranks being soon filled under the enthusiasm of the first few weeks of the war, and the men rendezvoused at the fair grounds, Hartford, May 9. Here they were mustered into the U. S. service on the 14th, and after receiving its colors from the hands of Gov. Buckingham, the regiment left for New Haven on the 23d, whence it sailed for Washington on the steamer Cahawba. On its arrival it went into camp at Glenwood and was temporarily brigaded with the other two Connecticut regiments under the command of Brig. -Gen. Tyler. Col. Arnold having resigned, Lieut.-Col. Chatfield of the 1st regiment was appointed colonel. He was experienced militia officer and a fine disciplinarian. Lieut.- Col. Brady, angered at the appointment of Col. Chatfield over his head, was deprived of his sword for insubordination, but was honorably mustered out with the regiment and afterwards achieved distinction in the 17th Conn. infantry and veteran reserve corps. On June 24 the 3d crossed the long bridge into Virginia and moved to Falls Church, where it became a part of the 1st brigade, 1st division, Gen. Mc Dowell’s Army of the Potomac. It was brought to a high state of discipline and efficiency under Col. Chatfield and with its brigade led the advance of the army on Manassas, July 16. Meanwhile, Gen. Tyler was appointed to command the 1st division and Col. E. D. Keyes, an experienced West Point graduate, was commissioned to command the brigade. The report of Col. Keyes on the battle of Bull Run says “The gallantry with which the 2nd regiment of Maine and the 3d regiment of Connecticut volunteers charged up the hill upon the enemy’s artillery and infantry was never in my judgment surpassed .” The command retired from the field in obedience to orders late in the afternoon, retreating in good order and maintaining its regimental formation. During the night it bivouacked on the ground it had left on the morning of the battle, then continued to Falls Church, where it, together with the other Connecticut troops, was kept busy for two days in packing, loading and saving the camp and garrison stores abandoned there by other troops. On the expiration of its term of service, it returned to Hartford , where it was mustered out on Aug. 12, 1861. A large proportion of its officers and men reënlisted in the three years’ organizations, where their previous military experience proved especially valuable. The total casualty list of the 3d was 46, made up of 4 killed, 1 missing, 10 wounded, 17 captured, and 14 discharged for disability.

From The Union Army, Vol. 1, p. 276

Unknown Pvt., 3rd Connecticut Infantry, On the Battle and Retreat

3 06 2020

The Third Regiment, C. V.
The following from the New York World, is deservedly complimentary of the gallant Third:
Story of a Gallant Regiment.

We are slowly arriving at the truth, as to the sequel of the battle, and the manner in which our rear guard, from the field to Centreville, performed its duty. It is not too late to give honor to whom honor is due. Yesterday the Third Connecticut Regiment deposited its arms at the arsenal, the term of enlistment having expired, and will probably start for the North to-day. This corps was the last to leave the field of Bull Run, and, by hard fighting, had to defend itself and to protect our scattered thousands for several miles of the retreat.

Blenker’s Brigade, in reserve, of course fulfilled its duty, and has been lauded for so doing. But let me briefly give the day’s story of this Third Connecticut corps – a regiment actually engaged in the battle, which retreated grimly and dangerously repelling the advancing foe. The only regiment really menaced by the enemy, it was almost the only one which did not share in the panic. About 11 A. M., when Tyler ordered up the last of his brigades, under Col. Keyes, the Third Connecticut advanced with the rest by the right, skirting along the edge of the woods until it overtook Hunter’s division and the heat of the battle. The last mile and a half was done at double quick, and by the time the Connecticut boys came under their fire they were already half incapacitated for fighting by fatigue and thirst. But the brave Colonel Chatfield led them forward, under orders, until they charged, as I have before recorded, the rebels posted on the slope so visible from all portions of the field. The enemy retired before them, retreating into some woods beyond a farm house. At this moment some of the Connecticut men thought they discerned a Union flag, and that they were attacking their own friends. Col. Chatfield accordingly ordered the stars and stripes to be displayed, and the color-captain mounted a fence by the farmhouse and unrolled the standard. In an instant a terrific tempest of shot and shell burst from a hidden battery not more than a hundred yards ahead. This afterwards proved to be the heaviest battery served by the rebels during the day. The Third were unable to maintain their ground; many dropped, dead or wounded, and the line fell back to a road, where they lay protected by the side-bank while balls passed close over their heads. A charge of the enemy’s cavalry would have effectually routed them at this moment, but ere long they reached a safer place, where they remained until an order came to retire across the Run. It was between 3 and 4 P. M. when the command was executed in perfect order, our boys wading through the stream to their waists. They say it seemed a river of Paradise so fearfully were they suffering from the thirst and heat; but on they moved, through the woods, to a point in the rear of the commencement of the battle – near the building on the Centreville road used as a hospital for our wounded.

Up to this moment they had supposed the victory decided for the loyal cause, and had not the least suspicion that they were the last regiment in a disastrous retreat from the field. But now a horseman rode in, shouting that the enemy’s cavalry were in the road below, and that our day was lost. On this Col. Chatfield ordered his men, broken by the woods and almost dead with exhaustion, to form in such order as they could and cover the retreat. General Tyler and Colonel Keyes – both in the thickest of the fight throughout that eventful day – had joined them, and were thus the last to leave the spot. So they emerged on the road, saw it strewn with the wreck of the panic, finding wagons, gun-carriages, caissons, and what not left in wanton confusion. Two brass rifled pieces were lying dismounted, They took horses from army wagons, yoked them to caissons, strapped the guns with chains underneath the latter, and so saved them from falling into the enemy’s hands. The majority of the regiment were now moving toward Centreville in some confusion, too worn out to do anything else; but Tyler and Keyes, with Col. Chatfield, Captains Harland and Lewis, and a few other company officers whose names I have not learned, formed a line of fifty or seventy-five men, in the extreme rear, to resist the enemy’s cavalry, which now swept down the road to harass them.

Five or six times the rebel horse charged upon that handful of brave men, and each time were repulsed by a determined fire, which emptied many a saddle. And this is the way in which our retreat from the battlefield was covered.

The last charge was sustained at the Cub Creek bridge, a mile from Centreville, and the Third then toiled on their way unmolested, fully expecting to pass the night in the village. How easily our 35,000 men might have so halted! They could have held Centreville, and all the territory gained in the preceding week, till reinforcements of 50,000 men had made the advance a surety. But it is too late for regrets. The labors of the Third Connecticut did not end here. Though so wearied that one officer of the regiment says that $10,000 and a colonelcy at Vienna would not have induced him to march there for it, they were pushed right along by orders, and reached their old camp at Falls Church after daylight on Monday morning. Here they found the Ohio camps, at which the First and Second Ohio had refused to pause in their retreat. Tents, stores and munitions were here all abandoned – property amounting in value to $200,000 – and Col. Chatfield ordered his men to take hold and save it. Sending to Alexandria for a special train, they worked all day loading it with the deserted Ohio property, sent it off, and marched away themselves, just in time to escape the vanguard of the pursuing enemy, and reached Arlington that evening.

Such is the record of the regiment now disbanding. I should be proud to have been a private of the Connecticut Third.

Hartford (CT) Daily Courant, 8/10/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

Image: Pvt. Agustus E. Bronson, Co. I, 3rd Connecticut Infantry

1 06 2020


Augustus E. Bronson, as a member of the 17th CT Infantry, right. Captured at First Bull Run, MWIA at Gettysburg. (Source)

Pvt. George Coles Brown, Co. A, 3rd Connecticut Infantry, On the Battle

1 05 2020

July 31, 1861

Dear Mother,

I received your letter last night and it is the greatest pleasure that I hasten to answer it. You can guess I was glad to hear from home again.

I am feeling a little better today. I have been pretty bad off for the last week. The water I drank up at Bulls Run was what made me sick. That was the hardest day’s work that I ever did—walking 52 miles and fighting 6 hours without eating nothing but 3 pieces of hard bread.

We started at half past one o’clock in the morning and did not stop till 7 o’clock the following morning. It was the hardest road to walk on that I ever saw. The road was covered with these cobble stones and they did cut a fellow’s feet to the word go. There is no more feeling in my feet now as though they were froze. You say the 3rd has some praise there. We have none here. The other regiments have the praise for what we done. We saved two pieces of cannon that the rebels had hold of and all of the baggage wagons. I saw a team of 4 horses—the two leaders were shot dead. I cut them out alone and unloaded the wagon and brought the wagon about a mile to where the road was so blocked up with wagons that I could not get any further so I unhitched the horses and got a poor fellow that his foot shot off on one and rode the other myself. I never had any praise for that. I could tell you of a great many things I saw that the 3rd Regiment has nothing to be ashamed of.

Fred Glazier was taken very sick last night. Tell his brother that he is safe and sound. Please tell Miss Carter that Henry and Horace Carter are safe and sound and that she need not worry about them a bit. I suppose you have heard of the two boys that ran away from there and joined our company. One of them is missing. I think he is killed. He and one of our men by the name of Blue is the only men missing out of our company. It is the greatest wonder that every one was not killed. I had 3 shells burst not 3 feet from me. It took 3 or 4 pieces out of one of my hands. It was nothing that amounted to anything.

I could tell you some things that would make your eyes stick out. There was three of our men that showed the white feather but they can’t say your George did. I never expected that I should be so cool. I felt as cool as though I was shooting crows.

I can’t tell when we start for home but I guess it will be before long. I would like some of your John White pears. Save me a few. I thank you for the kind words you sent in your letter. Please write a few lines as soon as you get this if you have a mind too. The report is that we start Sunday for home.

I had a letter from Charley the day before the battle. He was in Fort Schuyler, N. Y.

From your dear son, — George C. Brown

My love to all.

Letter Image p.1, p.2, p.3

Contributed by via Aaron Webster Facebook page Civil War Letters 

Transcribed by William Griffing at Spared & Shared 

George Coles Brown at Ancestry.com 

George Coles Brown at Fold 3 

Image: Surgeon John McGregor, 3rd Connecticut Infantry

15 11 2016



Dr. John McGregor, courtesy of Ron Coddington’s Faces of War blog

Life and Deeds of Dr. John McGregor

More on Dr. John McGregor at Ron Coddington’s blog here.

Pvt. Augustus E. Bronson, Co. I, 3rd Connecticut Infantry, On the Advance and Blackburn’s Ford

10 11 2016

War News.


From the manuscript of our valuable and attentive correspondent, we should judge it was written while capturing one of the batteries at the battle of Bull’s Run. We hope he survives, and will continue to dot the incidents of the war.

Near Centreville, Va.,

July 18th, 1861.

We left “Camp Tyler” at 3 P. M. on Tuesday, with provisions for three days, and no other baggage but one pair of socks. The First, Second, and Third Connecticut Regiments Connecticut Volunteers, with the Second Regiment Maine Volunteers, constituted the advance. We marched by a circuitous route to Vienna, near which we camped for the night in an open field. Soon after we halted, the other brigades began to come in, and kept coming until the fields in all directions were covered with infantry, horsemen, and artillery. At about 5 o’clock A. M., on Wednesday, we again took up the line of march, in the direction of Fairfax. After marching about a mile we came to a road which had been obstructed by having trees felled across it. Removing the obstructions we continued our march, and when nearly in sight of Fairfax our scouts reported the enemy in sight. We formed and marched in double quick time across the fields, and came into line in time to see the rebels going off at the same pace. A brass band consisting of six pieces, belonging to the New York 8th, gave them a note or two of Yankee music, which increased their speed to a full run, and then struck into the woods and scoured them as far as Germantown, where we learned that the rebels had been in full retreat past there all day. They had a masked battery near Germantown, but had deserted it. Their baggage was scattered all along the road. I believe that some buildings in the place, and to belong to “seceshers,” accidentally caught fire soon after the Ellsworth Zouaves had passed. (I am sorry, but accidents will happen.) We again bivouaced in the fields on Wednesday night, about 3 miles from Germantown, towards Manassas. This A. M., at about 3 o’clock, we were aroused by the sound of the bugle, and were speedily in line, expecting an attack, but it did not come. At about 6:30 A. M., the army was again in motion, and as our brigade had formed the advance for two days, we were allowed to take the rear to-day. It was a grand sight, as regiment after regiment moved, until I should judge that at least 40,000 troops must have been in motion. It was an hour and a half after the march commenced, before it became our turn to move. We continued to see blankets, coats, etc., which in their haste the seceshers had thrown away.

We are now halted in the woods near Centreville, which I believe is eight miles from Manassas. There was a very strong battery near here, but the rebels ran about an hour before our advance came up. We have taken a few prisoners, but have had no fighting as yet. Our cavalry have just brought in a few prisoners, and report the enemy coming back. It is supposed Gen. Patterson is on the other side, driving them back, so we may have a fight to-day, yet.

3 o’clock P. M. There is a report now that our boys are getting the worst of it, and reinforcements are arriving amid the roar of cannon and the rattle of muskets.

4 o’clock P. M. Our men have carried their entrenchments, and the seceshers have fallen back into the woods. It is said that the 69th went at double quick time and stormed the battery without stopping. Bully for the 69th. One report is 4000 prisoners taken, but I don’t believe it. Another report is that Sherman’s battery was taken; but nobody believes that. Another report is that there was a masked battery in front of an open battery. Sherman’s battery silenced the open battery, and the N. Y. 12th then charged, when the masked battery opened upon them, and our men retreated.

5 o’clock P. M. A report has just reached us that our troops have the enemy surrounded in the woods. The last report is that both armies occupy the same positions they did at the commencement of the engagement. The action will be resumed in the morning, if the rebels do not retreat during the night. – About 50 of our men are killed, Sherman’s battery played into a train of cars filled by rebel troops, but how many were killed I do not know.

I have written down the reports, a few of them, as they came in, that you might see how much we can depend on reports in the midst of battle. The long and short of it is that our men were defeated.

6 o’clock, A. M., Friday. – Troops have been pouring in here all night. Gen. Tyler had command of our troops yesterday. The Fire Zouaves have taken eleven prisoners. One of the number was one who had taken the oath of allegiance at Fall’s Church. – When our roll call was handed in at the close of the first day’s march, not one of the 3rd was missing.

7:30 A. M. They are now hanging the man who was taken prisoner after having taken the oath.

A. E. Bronson

The Danbury Times, 7/25/1861

Clipping image

Letters of Augustus E. Bronson as a member of the 17th CT 

Augustus E. Bronson at Fold 3 

Augusts E. Bronson at Findagrave.com 

Augustus E. Bronson at Ancestry.com 

Bronson was captured on July 21, 1861. After he was exchanged 9 months later, he enlisted in Co. C. of the 17th CT. He was mortally wounded at Gettysburg and died on July 5, 1863.

Contributed by John J. Hennessy

Major Alexander Warner, 3rd Connecticut Infantry, On Dr. John McGregor at the Battle

15 09 2016

Camp Keyes, Washington

August 1st, 1861.

Mr. J. McGregor:

Dear Sir,

Your letter came to hand last evening, and I hasten to give you the information you desire. Your son, Dr. McGregor, was surgeon of our regiment. The morning of July 21st, he went with his regiment to the battle field, and there stopped at a house which was to be used as a hospital for our wounded. He remained there through the day, faithfully attending his duties. When the retreat was ordered, I rode up to the hospital. The doctor came to the door, all besmeared with blood. I told him that a retreat was ordered, and, for his own safety, he had better leave at once. He asked me if there was any preparation for removing the wounded men. I told him there was not. He then turned and went into the hospital. As he turned, he said, ‘Major, I cannot leave the wounded men, and I shall stay with them, and let the result follow.’ That was the last time I saw him, and I did not know what had become of him until, a day or two ago, a prisoner, belonging to the fourth Maine regiment, made his escape from Manassas; and he saw the doctor there, attending to our wounded men. I have no doubt but that, in due time, the doctor will return to us. I am very happy to be able to give you the above information as to the whereabouts of your son: and anything I can do for you in relation to him, I shall be most happy to do. We miss the doctor very much, as he was highly respected by all of our regiment. I shall see the doctor’s wife as soon as I get home, and give her all the particulars. If there is anything I can do for you, in any way, please let me know.

Yours very truly,

Alexander Warner,

Major of the third Connecticut regiment

Part of this letter posted to Manassas National Battlefield Park Facebook Page, 9/15/2016

Biographical Sketch of Dr. John McGregor

Life and Deeds of Dr. John McGregorthis full letter is transcribed on pp. 39-40

A First Bull Run Connection with Battery Wagner

19 07 2013

chatfield2.jpgAs we are in the midst of the sesquicentennial of the assault on Battery/Fort Wagner outside Charleston, SC, you can find a lot of new articles, posts, and opinions on the web right about now. Some of them are even concerned with what actually happened there. For a good example of this, see this post from Craig Swain. If you’re a true First Bull Run geek (I’m not sure there are more than two of us, though) you’ll see a link to our little battle in Craig’s post: the name John Chatfield. This is the same John Lyman Chatfield (at left, from Hunt, Colonels in Blue: The New England States) who was the colonel of the 3rd CT in Erasmus Keyes’s brigade of John Tyler’s Division. At the assault on Wagner, he was in command of the 6th CT of George Strong’s brigade, and was mortally wounded, as was Strong. You can read more on Seymour’s death in Colonel Chatfield’s Courage, or A Share of “Glory” .

Capt. Frederick Frye, Infantry Co. D, 3rd Connecticut Infantry, On the Battle and Retreat

26 04 2013

Washington, D. C., July 30, 1861.

On Sunday morning at two o’clock, the long roll (the battle signal) beat, and up we started, with gun and blanket, and three days’ provisions, and fell into line. We were then about four miles from the battle-ground. We took up the march ahead, as were in the advance; and after going, under a most beautifully-bright moon, for about three miles half the time up hill, stony, rough, and at double-quick, we were halted, and let the “Grand Army” file past us. It was such a splendid sight! – artillery parks, a few cavalry, and then regiment after regiment of infantry, until some thirty thousand had passed, when we again fell in.

About ten o’clock the cannonading commenced, and we could see regiment after regiment fall back, but, at the same time, we steadily advanced and drove back the enemy; and about half-past eleven we were called upon to advance, still under a load of blankets and provisions. We were the reserve of the brigade and know it meant something. They took us a mile at least, through fields, over fences, through the broiling sun, heavily loaded, at the double-quick. Our men now and then fell down exhausted. If there were any cowards, they had a good excuse. Suddenly we faced the enemy – then, laid aside only our blankets, formed in line of battle, and then the Second Maine (with whose officers I was well acquainted) and Third Connecticut went in together. The First and Second formed further off to our right. We advanced, again up hill, firing at the retreating army. Some of our regiment dropped back; not many – two or three of our company. Presently we were staggered just on the brow of the hill, by a thundering discharge of musketry from two houses. We rushed on, up the lane, my company directly in front of it, but all circling around it. The enemy left it and fell back. We gained the houses and were rushing in, when we saw the American flag hoisted by what we supposed the enemy. The cry ran along: “Cease firing; you’re killing our men!” There was a slack on our part; we hoisted our American flag and Connecticut Third Regiment colors on the house; and, “honor to whom honor is due,” Major Warner and Capt. Jack Nelson did it (so let it be recorded), when instantly there was the most terrific fire of grape, canister, shell, and rifled cannon, from what we afterward found to be a masked battery of sixteen guns (ten in front and six on the flank.) We charged at the point of the bayonet; a shell burst within six feet of me; cannon-balls, musketry, fire, flame, smoke, and noise; something struck me on the side; I fell heels over head forward, and lay bewildered for a minute, then up again. There lay some ten or twelve men all cut up to pieces, John H. Sellick shot through both legs; Thomas Winton, through one leg; the others (not of my company) mangled here and there. Another rifled shot came through the house, tearing everything, and it passed within four feet of where I stood in the opening, cutting down eight or ten men. Another shell struck the roof of the house, tearing it all to pieces; and then the order was given to fall back. We did so, under the brow of the hill, under a terrific discharge of shot, which cut us fearfully, so that when I mustered my company in again, thirty were missing. As I left the field, I picked up a very pretty sword, which I gave to one of my men to carry, but which he finally threw away. We brought off Sellick and Winton, badly shot. Just as we were lying down flat to avoid the shot, which were flying around (and I lay flat on my face, panting like a dog – no water, and wet through with perspiration), I saw an officer gallop across the field, I started up (at first supposing, from the gray uniform, that it was one of my Maine friends). He said: “Where’s the rest of ’em?” Says I: “What regiment do you belong to?” Said he: Oh, yours. Hallo! where did you get that sword?” Says I: “Why that’s mine.” That made me smell a mice; and, at the same time, I saw S. C. with  a palmetto tree on his buttons. I seized him by the collar and jerked him off his horse, and said: “You’re my prisoner!” and brought him, horse and all, in. He was the aide-de-camp of Gen. Johnston, coming to give us orders, supposing, from the position which we held, that we were rebels. I delivered him up to head-quarters. His sword I still carry. Presently up dashed another horseman from our rear, who also mistook us for a Georgia regiment. We took him prisoner. We saw then that we (the Third Connecticut Regiment alone) were surrounded and unsupported. We fell back, as we all supposed, to recruit our energies, and go in again; but suddenly a panic seemed to take hold of the troops (not ours); they scattered, an d started in all directions. The fight became general; the enemy followed up; our reserves were not there to cover our retreat; every opening or road we crossed we were fired at with shell and grape, and men fell back exhausted, and were cut off by cavalry. I came along and found poor Winton abandoned; he called on me to save him. Curtis and I took him in our arms and bore him along; we each handed our sword to one of our men to carry; we have not seen them since, and never will. The men ran away and abandoned us, and lost our swords; but we got Winton along to a horse, and he is safe. Poor Sellick! I have not seen since; we carried him under a tree and left him. We got, of course, behind, and separated. I got separated from Curtis, and lost in the woods.

I found two of my men, and some eight or ten of other regiments. We went along together; and just as we emerged into a road, alongside of a stream (Bull Run), some twenty feet wide, and about three feet deep, down dashed a large body of rebel cavalry. Of course, there was nothing to be done but to leap into the stream, which we did, from the bank, some eight or ten feet high. They fired a few shots as they went by, and one of our party fell dead in the water. Poor fellow! I thought for a few moments, “Have we been spared thus far to fall in such a miserable hole as this?” I went up to my waist, and waded through, dragging my canteen as I went along to get a little water in it, as I was almost gone with exhaustion. We got on to the opposite bank, and along about five hundred yards, and there we found Lieutenant Gray (honor to him for it) had made a stand, with what he could find of my company and some others. We stood the charge of cavalry, and drove them back; they charged again with three cannon. Gray led the boys, and took one of the cannon and brought it into camp; and the cavalry fled, with considerable loss of life. We finally came along, leaving the baggage-wagons, etc., and got into our fields at Centreville, where we lay down to rest without anything to eat; nothing under us, nothing over us, having lost all our blankets. We lay down at about 8 P. M. At 10 P. M. we were ordered up, fell in, and were marched to Falls Church, twenty miles, the way we took – via Vienna – without a halt of one hour, all told, during the entire route, and most of it double-quick.

Twenty-eight hours steady fighting; double-quick marching; nothing to eat; mud to drink – for I was glad to get a little moisture from where the horses drank – and the men tramped through, and we arrived at Falls Church a little after 6 A. M., put up our tents, which we had left there, in a heavy rain, and I lay down to sleep.

In two hours we were ordered to strike our tents and be ready to march. We did so. The cars to take our baggage to Alexandria got off the track, and we waited, in a pelting rain, until dark. We then marched, leaving a guard to look after the baggage, etc., and went along about three miles, through mud up to our knees – without exaggeration – when we turned into the Ohio camp, which they had abandoned. I lay down wet through, as I went into a stream up to my knees to wash off the mud, this being the eighth night I had lain on the ground in the open air without taking off my clothes or boots.

About 6 A. M. the colonel called the captains, and said it would be necessary to send back to Falls Church to bring our baggage; the guard left there had been frightened away by the enemy, and all would be lost. I jumped out and told him I would go back; Gray also. We got thirty-five privates (volunteers), all told, out of the Third Regiment. And we went back, through mud and mire, got to the camp, loaded up our (Third) baggage, then the Second Maine’s, and then the First and Second Connecticut’s, and brought back everything off all right. Of these thirty-five men, twenty were from my own company; twelve from Capt. Brook’s; two from Capt. Moore’s; one from Capt. Cook’s. So let it be recorded.

Our few Union friends treated us very kindly; but, at the same time, packed up and abandoned everything they couldn’t carry. It was melancholy.

When we came into Washington yesterday, amid here and there a cheer – though I held my head up, and my company came along proudly in good order, for they did their duty – I felt sad at the result.

Well, we got back to our regiment safely; immediately took up the line of march (though we had been six miles without a halt) and again at double-quick. I kept my company in order and steadily in rank.

We got to Arlington, through mud, soaked through, and again had to lie out on the wet ground with no covering, or walk all night; and the dew which came down was like a rain.

Yesterday, about five P.M., we again started, and marching (still double-quick) about eight miles, arrived at Washington, where we turned in, weary and hungry, into tents vacated by the New York Twenty-sixth. At about 11 P.M., our colonel (Chatfield) took the responsibility of giving each company crackers and cheese and a gallon of whisky – the first that had been dealt to us since we left Hartford – and if ever men needed it, it was after that battle. We stayed here last night, and now to-day we are pitching our own tents close by, and are moving in; but how long to stay, or what to do, we cannot tell.

I do not ask to take more credit to my company than they deserve; but they certainly had the thickest of that fight, as they went up a lane where they were most exposed. But I do say that the Third, together with the Second Maine, stood the brunt.

Speidel performed feats of valor; he was attacked by three horsemen, and had his sword knocked out of his hand, but he jumped from his horse. At the same time a foot soldier shot one of the horsemen. Speidel seized the dead horseman’s sword, killed the second man, and the third ran away.

Our friend Singer (and a better soldier never lived) is gone. He was wounded, and put into a wagon; but they fired into the wagon and killed him.

Our surgeon and the Second Maine surgeon were taken prisoners while attending the wounded.

Frederick Frye, Captain, Third Connecticut Regiment

New York Sunday Mercury, 8/11/1861

William B. Styple, ed., Writing and Fighting the Civil War: Soldier Correspondence to the New York Sunday Mercury, pp. 39-41

Bio of Frederick Frye

New York Times article on the presentation of a sword to Frye prior to the battle

Chaplain Junius M. Willey, 3rd Connecticut Volunteers, On the Battle

11 11 2012

Third Connecticut Regiment —- A reliable Statement from Rev. J. M. Willey, its Chaplain

We visited the encampment of the 2d and 3d Connecticut Regiments, and witnessed their dress parade on Thursday afternoon last, and were gratified at their general good appearance. The Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Welles, Senator Dixon, and chief clerk Faxon, were present to witness the parade, and to show their interest in the volunteers from this State. We heard an excellent report of Mr. Willey, the chaplain of the 3d Regiment. He has been untiring in his efforts for the welfare of the men, and will ever be held in grateful remembrance by them.

Mr. Willey is disposed to forgive the rebels for stealing several of his manuscript sermons at Bull Run, provided they will read and profit by them; still they are such a rebellious people, that he has but little hopes of their salvation, with any weapon short of shot and shell. The following addressed by him to the Waterbury American, will be read with interest. We give it at his request.

I don’t think that I should now intrude upon you, except to ask you to put little reliance upon the newspaper reports of the great battle of the 21st. The accounts of “hair-breadth escapes and wonderful exploits” are most ridiculous and absurd. So far as my observation aids me, the reporters have obtained many of their startling particulars from those who were first to run away from the fight – whose lightness of foot enabled them to present full reports of the battle as much in advance of Government dispatches as they were in advance of men of courage in their stampede to Washington. On my arrival at Willard’s Hotel, on Tuesday morning, I heard men recounting their own daring achievements, whom, with my own eyes, I saw practicing the “double quick” from the battle field before it was known through the army that a retreat was ordered. Regiments are praised for their bravery, who were not ordered to fire a gun, and encomiums are bestowed upon officers for rallying their regiments, when for hours the Regiments had not the slightest idea where their officers were.

For the sake of common honesty, I must insist that the 3d Connecticut Regiment, which was the only Connecticut Regiment who made on charge on that memorable day, should not be entirely ignored for the simple reason that none of its officers ran away to “post up” reporters as to its daring deeds.

About half-past two, p. m., the 3d Connecticut and 2d Maine were ordered to charge upon a battery of rebels. The Colonel of the 3d did not send but led his Regiment to one of the most perilous labors of the day. Amid a shower of bullets and grape shot that sounded like the humming of bees, the work was done; the enemy was driven back and the possession of the place obtained. Our officers were determined to mark the place as our own, and Major Warner called for the Regimental Flag. The Stars and Stripes were advanced. “Not that one,” shouted the Major, “give me the Connecticut Flag!” and I tell you, Mr. Senior Editor, that your old blood would have coursed in quicker currents could you have seen the Major and Color Sergeant erecting on that spot, amid a leaden storm, the “Qui Trans. Sust.” of old Connecticut.

This was not all. When at length the column was ordered to retire from the field, it became necessary for some Regiment to cover the retreat. Col. Chatfield was ordered to do it. Had he and his Regiment been on their way to Washington, this laborious and dangerous duty might have been avoided, but the 3d Connecticut happened to be on the field and their confidence in the coolness and discretion of a Colonel who could walk down the lines with a smile upon his face, as he informed them how he should lead them in a charge that must end in the bloody death of some for whom he felt a brother’s solicitude, inspired them with courage to which some of the Regiments were strangers.

One of our officers seemed ubiquitous. I mean Adjutant Duryee. In any part of the regiment where he was needed he always appeared. Before the battle he had secured the love of the Regiment – after the battle the mention of his courage and bravery was on every lip. He rendered incalculable service to the Colonel in keeping the lines in order.

The field and staff lost most of their baggage. – The officers had laid aside their dress uniforms and everything that could encumber them. The Col. retains his sword and horse; all else is gone, but in exchange he has secured a military reputation of which Waterbury may be justly proud.

Very truly yours,

J. M. W.

Hartford Daily Courant,8/7/1861

Clipping Image

Junius M. Willey at Ancestry.com

Contributed by John Hennessy