Sgt. John S. King, Co. D, 18th New York Infantry, On the Campaign

13 05 2020

The Part the 18th took in the Fight.
—————

We are permitted to publish the following letter from Sergeant King, of the “Walkill Guards,” showing what part their Regiment had in the fight at Bull Run:

Camp Myers,
Alexandria, Va., July 21, 1861.

Doubtless you are anxious to know what share the 18th had in the fight. I will give you a history of our movements in detail, so that you can judge for yourselves.

We left out Camp on Tuesday morning, with three days’ rations in our haversacks, and with buoyant hearts and spirits, marched for Fairfax C. H. Alas! how soon they were destined to be damped. We marched about eight miles, and then encamped for the night, wrapping our blankets around us, and disposing ourselves to sleep as best we could. We were aroused early in the morning, and were immediately on the march. We found the road greatly obstructed by trees felled across the road, seemingly done the day before. Our march, consequently, was very slow.

Within 5 or 6 miles of Fairfax, a firing was heard ahead, and an engagement was anticipated. We were destined, however, to be disappointed. The Rebels, after firing upon our advance guard, which was composed of two or three companies of the 18th, retreated, but not until the crack of the Enfield rifles had made some of them bite the dust. They were armed with Sharp’s rifles, and but for firing too high, might have done us considerable injury. As it was, however, we had one Lieutenant, one Sergeant, and three privates wounded – one private pretty severely. As we neared Fairfax intrenchments came in vie, and the word passed down the line, ‘Forward up the Eighteenth!’ No sooner heard than the words ‘Forward! Eighteenth, double quick!’ Past the column we went, and into the woods on a double quick, but no enemy was found. The intrenchments were deserted. The march the rest of the was to Fairfax was protected by companies of the 18th acting as skirmishers. Our company took the woods about two miles from Fairfax, to act as skirmishers. We advanced slowly, directed by the Lieut. Col., than whom there was no better officer in the army. Immediately before us, upon the brow of a hill, commanding the road, lay a splendid intrenchment; while immediately before it, and extending down for some distance, were piles of green brush four or five feet deep. We approached from the bottom, through the woods, and as we approached the outskirts the Colonel halted us. This was our Company alone, Company F being up on the other side of the road. We watched behind trees and stumps for about ten minutes, but no sign of an enemy could be seen. (This skulking behind trees and stumps is a part of the skirmisher’s drill.) Then the word forward was given, and we scrambled through the brush and started for the battery, catching up the blackberries as we went along. We reached the intrenchment but found it was deserted. They had left evidently in great haste, as we found warm bread in the ditch, and a knapsack belonging to the Tuscaloosa Volunteers. There were two letters inside which I meant to have sent home, but I have lost them.

We proceeded a short distance farther when firing was heard on the right, and “Rally on the right” immediately following. We at once closed up and prepared to receive a charge of cavalry, which was reported to be approaching down the road. It proved, however, to be our own men who belonged to another brigade, and had entered Fairfax in another direction. We proceeded within about a mile of the village and then encamped. We found a camp of the Fifth Regiment of the Twelve Month Volunteers, of Alabama, which had not been evacuated above an hour. Pistols, Bowie knives, coffee pots, chairs, camp stools, &c., were found scattered about in great confusion, and every volunteer had something or other on the end of his bayonet. We found a flag or banner of some sort belonging to the regiment, which was torn to pieces in a jiffy – a piece of which I enclose as a trophy of war.

We encamped here all night, and early in the morning took the road for Centreville, about 8 miles distant. We arrived there without molestation, and encamped within a mile of the village. We had not been encamped over an hour, when a heavy cannonading was heard to the west, followed by musketry, which lasted about an hour and a half. This was the first battle with masked batteries, the particulars of which you are doubtless better posted on than I am. I saw a great many of the wounded in Centreville the next day, and also some of the dead. I saw them bury a sergeant of the Boston Fusiliers. The grave was about four feet deep, and with a piece of carpet wrapped about him he was buried. The Fire Zouaves arrived the next day, and encamped in the field adjoining us. They are a hardy appearing set, and looked as though they could fight like the “Old Harry,” which was plainly made evident the next day.

At six o’clock we received orders to be in readiness to march at two o’clock, the 18th being assigned the post of honor, the right. We were roused up at two, and at five commenced our march for the enemy, accompanied by Green’s battery, and followed by the 16th and 32d Volunteer Regiments of N. Y. We reached the point where the fight was about 7 o’clock, and the battery opened fire upon the spot where the masked battery was supposed to lie, but no answer was received. We were posted in the rear of the battery, to prevent a flank movement of the enemy to capture the pieces. We were supplanted by the 16th in the course of three hours, and were sent into the woods to head off another anticipated movement of the enemy. Again we were marched a mile or so “double quick” down the road. In fact, we were kept changing around all the whole day. Towards evening we heard firing in the direction where we were stationed in the morning, and an officer rode up and ordered us up to support the battery at a “double quick.” We had got about half way there, when we met them retreating. We ascertained that the battery had been attacked by a thousand riflemen, who had been waiting all day for a chance to capture them. In fact, we were within 600 feet of a masked battery when we were in the woods, but they did not fire upon us, not liking the looks of our rifles. After our withdrawal the attack was made, and our battery opened upon the riflemen as they came out of the woods, scattering them in all directions, the 32d firing one volley and then retreating, and the 16th not firing one. Col. Davis ordered the retreat, and the artillery had to withdraw, but with reluctance. The commander of the battery told Col. Jackson, “My God, Colonel, I which I had had your regiment there.” We received praise from every direction, and were the last regiment to bring p the retreat to Centreville. We were completely fagged out, and when we could get a chance we would drop to the ground. We were posted out of Centreville a ways as a guard, and we rested about an hour, but had to keep awake. We were then called up, and were kept upon a steady quick march until we reached Fairfax. We staid here about an hour, and then started for Alexandria, a distance on the whole of 23 miles. The way was strewn with baggage wagons, which were turned over, run into fences, and their contents strewn along the road. A panic, it seems, had seized the drivers, and they had overturned their wagons and started back helter-skelter. The regiment kept together until we reached Fairfax. After that they commenced to fall behind. The regiment reached Alexandria about 10 o’clock, a. m. – that is, about 200 of them. I did not reach there until about 5 o’clock, stopping along the road to cook some coffee. I could write on for any length of time, relating incidents and so forth, but I am pretty well tired out. By the by, to cap that climax, after we arrived here our whole Company was put on picket guard, and we did not get any sleep then except what we could steal. We suffered greatly for water on our march, drinking anything we could find along the way.

J. S. King

Middletown (NY) Whig Press, 7/31/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

John S. King at Ancestry.com 

John S. King at Fold3 





In Dreams: Romance In the Valley

9 08 2013

I’m still – STILL – reading Voices from Company D. Thankfully though, it is now January of 1865. The other night I came across an entry from Henry Beck, a company member who was on detached duty as a commissary clerk. It’s from December 7, 1864, while Early’s forces were still operating in the Shenandoah Valley. Henry’s duties required him to travel about a good bit behind the lines, and while staying with the Heller family in Harrisonburg he spent his time a-courtin’ and a-sparkin’ young Lucy Heller. Before he left town to rejoin his command, he proposed. The next day, he wrote (bold font provided by me):

After several questions on both sides, I received an answer in the affirmative. With what joy my heart received it, is beyond my power to describe. I felt that I was entering upon a new life, from which I could foresee nothing but happiness. After this interesting interview was ended, I retired, but only to wake & dream. It must have been near two o’clock before I went to sleep, only to dream again of the one whom I have learned to love so devotedly, also of the tobacco bag received in the morning.*

Priorities, Henry. FYI, by 1870 Henry and Lucy had three children and were living in Greensboro, AL.

And here’s a little something on dreams because, well, because who in their right mind can’t use a little Roy Orbison every now and again?

Hubbs, G. Ward, ed., Voices from Company D, p. 330





Returning Fire

18 07 2013

I’m still making my way through Voices from Company D: Diaries by the Greensboro Guards, Fifth Alabama Infantry Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia. I’ve written a little about it before. If you haven’t already read it, you should add this one to your list. It features multiple diaries from members of the same company (they were present at First Bull Run, however they were Company I at the time – I need to change that on the entries I transcribed.) Right now (where I am in the book, April 1863), the daily entries are comprised of entries by two diarists – typically the first tersely describes the day as having no significant occurrence, followed by about 1,000 words from the second. It’s an entry from the second diarist on April 12, 1864 that caught my eye this time. The diarist is Jaimie Pickens (JP), who was not a slave owner – though his family owned about 200, which again proves the fallacy of the “most southern soldiers didn’t own slaves” argument. It caught my eye because it reminded me of a ferryboat ride out to Ft. Sumter about 18 years ago, during which the recorded NPS narrative pointed out the positions from which Confederate batteries “returned fire.”

To-day 3 years ago (Ap’l 12th & 13th 1861) the Yankees fired on Ft. Sumter – the inauguration of the war of invasion of the South & its people.

Yikes! JP happens to have been a very well educated and eloquent young man who had attended the University of Virginia. His entries give valuable insight not only into how he viewed the war historically as it happened, but also his views on the prospects for peace and from whence it was likely to come (right now, he’s hoping for a third party to take power in the North.) I know of no other collection like this. Check it out.





“There are three grown negroes there doing nothing, and wants men to build him a kitchen.”

25 06 2013

I came across a couple of passages today that got me thinking, the way things get you thinking to the point where you can’t read any further until you sort those thoughts out a bit. Do something about them. My current read is the very fine Voices from Company D, a collection of diaries by members of the Greensboro Guards, 5th Alabama Infantry, edited by G. Ward Hubbs. It really is a must read for anyone studying the war. I’ve had it for a long time and am just getting around to actually reading it, as opposed to skimming. Currently I’m in January of 1863, and this entry by John Henry Cowin (who, despite being a doctor and graduate of Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College, served as a private) got me to thinking (p. 138):

January 13, Tuesday…Col. Hall ordered today a detail from the different companies to go to Camp and build him a kitchen. Capt Renfrew refused to send him any man and Capt Williams sent him word that he could not get any more men for such a purpose. There are three grown negroes there doing nothing, and wants men to build him a kitchen.

This got me thinking on two levels (at least), one being that CW armies in many ways were not armies as many of us understand them today, whether that understanding comes from service, study, or simply watching dozens of movies over the years. Many of us tend to think that orders are orders, yet we run across so many instances of orders not necessarily being orders in Civil War armies of independent-minded citizen soldiers. (By the way, Renfro – inconsistent spelling – was arrested the next day, though Williams was not.) The Colonel detailing soldiers for manual labor of a personal nature while more “appropriate” personnel for such duty was available was seen as adding insult to injury. The passage gives the lie to the first line of defense of many who try to downplay the role of slavery as a cause of the war – that only fillintheblank percent of southerners actually owned slaves. As if actual ownership of human chattel was the single criteria for interest in seeing the institution perpetuated. This plays into one of my other on-going interests regarding how slavery as a character-molding fact of life in the south affected the efficiency and capabilities of the Confederate military.

Just three days later, another Cowin entry caught my attention (p. 140):

January 16, Friday…Last night about ten o’clock it began to rain and continued until day light this morning. Six of us were under a fly. (The tent being occupied by Britton’s Servant who is very sick with Typhoid Fever.) Our blankets all got perfectly saturated with the rain, and occasionally a large drop of water would fall in my face rendering all hopes of sleep vain. I could only lay there and amuse myself dodging from the drops of rain and wishing fro day light to come…Britton’s Servant John died today about half past twelve o’clock and was buried this afternoon. No coffin could be procured and he was buried as a soldier, wrapped in his blanket.

This second passage illustrates the complexity of viewing slavery with minds formed in the latter part of the 20th Century. It’s difficult to reconcile the inhuman nature of human bondage with the image of six white men huddled under a tent fly in a rainstorm while a servant, presumably a slave, lies dying as the sole occupant of their nice, dry tent, and with the fact that they  made an effort to procure a coffin for the man before burying him “as a soldier.” What do you think?





Diary 7/22/1861 – Pvt. John Henry Cowin, Co. D, 5th AL

21 11 2009

Arose this morning very tired and sore, scarcely able to walk at first but after breakfast felt better and walked around to see what was to be seen after yesterdays fight.  I was witness to some awful scenes.  Saw the wounded, shot in every portion of their body, head, neck,, body, arms, hands, legs & feet.  Some with their limbs taken completely off.  Some have died since being brought here, others dying.  Wherever I walked the same spectacle presented itself.  Among them all I heard not a word of complaint and scarcely a groan.  From what can be ascertained we lost in killed and wounded between fifteen hundred and two thousand.  Went around to a large pen of prisoners.  There were four or five hundred in the pen I saw, and nearly all of them the lowest class of foreigners.  This afternoon, a portion of the cavalry brought in seventy five more of the wretches.  They were all marched off to the cars and sent to Richmond.  As one squad of thirty passed our tent to the cars one fellow spoke to us, saying “Good bye boys I left home to go to Richmond and by ——- I am going.[“]  We learn to day that the 4th Ala Regt was not so badly cut up as was supposed.  There have not been more than forty or fifty killed.  Col Jones was not killed, but shot through both legs.  Genl Bee died this morning.  The Cavalry captured a large amount of baggage, ammunition &c.  We got one very large gun from them which they familiarly called “Long Tom”.  We got also a very fine ambulance, in which the medical staff were conveyed about.  They had every thing complete.  I suppose it was the best equipped army that ever started on a campaign.  Old Scott is a great fellow for having everything ready before he makes a move.  The small arms captured were the finest minnie muskets, which will be of great service to the army, as we are in need of more arms.  It has rained all day without ceasing, making it very disagreeable here, especially for those who have no tents, and a great many here have none.  The tents of the 4th Ala were left at Winchester.  Capts Porter King and Balls sleep with us tonight, making ten or twelve in a tent, but we can sleep very well, as we are not very particular how we sleep.

Source – G. Ward Hubbs, ed. Voices from Company D, pp 23-24





Diary 7/21/1861 – Pvt. John Henry Cowin, Co. D, 5th AL

20 11 2009

Slept cold last night as I had only a single blanket whi[ch] was too small to sleep upon and cover with at the same time, besides the night was colder than usual.  Arose quite early this morning and found we had orders to prepare to take up our line of march.  We got breakfast as soon as possible, which occupied but little time as we had only to stick a little piece of meat on a stick, hold it over the fire a minute or two and breakfast was ready.  Soon after eating we began to hear the booming of cannon, apparently about two or three miles off, which still continues it now being about 12 o’clock.  There seems to be fighting at two points, on the extreme left and centre.  We soon got ready and the regiment crossed the creek.  We crossed and recrossed several times before we got upon the regular march.  We however got straight after a while and had a forced march of eleven miles to the battle field.  It was indeed a battle and a bloody one.  We passed on in sight of one place where they were fighting but did not stop, as we were going to  the assistance of the 4th Ala Regt. which we heard was being terribly cut up.  On the march we met many wounded returning from the field.  We marched on to avenge the blood of those who had fought so gallantly.  We witnessed sights we had never seen before.  The horrors of a battle field.  As we marched in sight the cowardly villains were retreating, we could see their guns glittering among the bushes as they moved off.  We heard that the 4th Ala was surrounded at one time by the overwhelming forces of the enemy, and cut up terribly.  General Bee was badly wounded.  Heard that Col Jones was killed, Lieut Col Law and Major Scott badly wounded.  Syd May was in the fight but came off unhurt.  It is said that the enemy came up with a Confederate flag, and our men thinking they were friends did not fire upon them, but as soon as they got within an hundred and fifty yards of our troops, turned loose both artillery and musketry, mowing them down like grass before a scythe.  It was the bloodiest battle ever fought on the continent.  We lost a great many in killed and wounded.  Their loss was tremendous.  The enemy were completely routed, losing fifty pieces of artillery, ten thousand stands of arms and a great many prisoners.  The Virginians did excellent fighting.  They charged their famous Shermans battery.  The Cavalry pursued the enemy under the command of President Davis in person.  The number of killed cannot yet be accurately ascertained.  Both sides lost heavily.  It is said that the enemy lost at the lowest calculation between four and five thousand in killed and wounded.  To night we have orders to march back to our bivouack.  Squire Griggs[,] Joe Grigg, and myself came to Manassas Junction to see Father, who is here with the baggage.  We found him well, but very uneasy as he was confident that we were in the fight.

Source – G. Ward Hubbs, ed. Voices from Company D, pp 22-23





Diary 7/20/1861 – Pvt. John Henry Cowin, Co. D, 5th AL

19 11 2009

Slept finely last night although it rained, of which however I was not aware until this morning.  Brother was on guard last night and this morning is a little unwell.  Hard at work this morning throwing up breastworks along the creek bank[.]  Expecting an attack all the while and we are preparing for it. We do not expect to leave here without a fight.  We have orders from Genl Beauregard to prevent a crossing of the enemy at all and every hazard.  He says our stand at Farrs Cross Roads was worth seventy five thousand dollars to our side, for it was a perfect ruse, the enemy thinking we had nothing to fall back upon, and was the cause of our victory.  The weather is quite warm today, but we got along very well with our work, as we are divided into platoons and work alternately, so that it is comparatively easy upon us.  We finished as we thought, about dinner time, and a good work it is, certainly bullet proof, as we have rock and railroad iron in it, we are now ready for the enemy.  After finishing work we fell afoul our fat meat and crackers and eat as none but hungry men do.  Did not enjoy my dinner as much as I wished to, for some thief stole my tin cup, after I had strapped it neatly to my canteen and thought it all safe.  I am sorry to know that there are rogues in our regiment.  After dinner the boys all stretched themselves out upon the ground for a nap, but soon we heard them calling out for the men to fall in to go to work again.  Some were already asleep and when the order came, they got lazily up rubbing their eyes and cursing the yankees and their luck.  There is no use swearing about work for we have it to do, and the sooner we do it the better for us.  We worked till night and made the works doubly as strong as they were before dinner.  Do not think the Yankees could shoot a cannon ball through them now.  The Yankees have been burying their dead all day.  Nine hundred and fifty of them are missing, and a large number wounded.  There are however so many reports in circulation, that it is hard to get the truth of any thing.  It is now reported that we will have to advance upon the enemy tomorrow.  How true it is no one knows but the officers.  I do not mean our officers, for they do not know any more than the privates, some of them not so much.  Capt Hobson is unwell today, and has been lying under the shade of a tree all day.  It is amusing to see us cooking our meals down here on the creek, we however enjoy it as well as if we were in camp. 

Source – G. Ward Hubbs, ed. Voices from Company D, pp 21-22





Diary 7/19/1861 – Pvt. John Henry Cowin, Co. D, 5th AL

18 11 2009

Fortunately for us we had not much rain last night.  Slept very soundly, three of us under one blanket.  The trees kept off the heavy dew.  Four or five of the boys came in this morning.  They broke down on the road and were left behind.  Brother came back from the Junction, where he went yesterday of account of being sick.  He states that father is very unwell, not being able to walk at all.  He was quite uneasy yesterday as he thought we were in the fight.  The enemy sent over a flag of truce this morning asking permission to bury their dead.  They say that they lost fifteen hundred men.  The correct list is however hard to get at.  Our loss is thought to be between fifteen and thirty killed and forty or fifty wounded.  Have not heard a gun today.  The bearer of the flag of truce states that they retired to Centreville and are throwing up breastworks, thinking that we are pursuing them.  We are again placed in the bushes to prevent the enemy from crossing to our side of the creek.  We have orders to charge them should they attempt a crossing.  Col Rodes says he wants to give the Greensboro boys a chance at the enemy the first opportunity and he thinks this the best way to do it.  The glorious news of the repulse of Patterson by Johns[t]on came in this afternoon.  It is said that he has driven him beyond the Potomac, which we hope may be true.  Whether it be true or not Johns[t]on has sent Beauregard four thousand men to reinforce this line.  An attack is expected and all the sick have been removed from the Junction; Among those sent by Johns[t]on to Beauregard is Col Syd Moore’s regiment.  The Yankees have made no advance today.  Guess they do not like southern balls and bayonets.  At Winchester where the engagement took place between Johns[t]on and Patterson, Johns[t]on found he could not dislodge the enemy from their works, he gave the order to storm them.  The South Carolina boys pitched in and ran over their works in short order, completely routing them, capturing their artillery and ammunition and fifty prisoners, who arrived at the Junction yesterday.  Our provisions got pretty short today, but fortunately some were sent down to us, and we pitched in like a pack of hungry wolves.  We have nothing but hard crackers and fat meat.  Our cooking utensils consist of sticks sharpened at one end, upon which we put our meat and hold to the fire until done.  It eats firstrate too especially when a fellow is hungry.  We sleep again tonight under the trees and bushes.

Source – G. Ward Hubbs, ed. Voices from Company D, p 21





Diary 7/18/1861 – Pvt. John Henry Cowin, Co. D, 5th AL

17 11 2009

[Describing fight at Blackburn’s Ford]

Arose early this morning and broiled a piece of meat on the coals for breakfast.  After eating, we were marched off about a half mile to a bridge across Bull Run where we were stationed along the banks of the creek and on the railroad.  We had been here but a short time, when we heard the booming of artillery, in the direction from which we came yesterday.  The firing was kept up all day, ceasing three times only for a few minutes.  When we heard the connonading and occasional volleys of musketry, our company was placed in the bushes to watch for the approach of the enemy.  We remained there all day.  This afternoon Lieut Williams, who was left behind yesterday, came in and reported a great battle fought about three quarters of a mile from where we first went yesterday at a place called Mitchell’s Ford.  The enemy eighteen thousand strong attacked our forces four thousand strong.  The attack was made with both artillery and infantry.  Our forces had the Washington Artillery from New Orleans.  They first attacked the centre and endeavored to take our battery, but were repulsed with heavy loss.  They then attacked the right wing, but were again repulsed.  After this they collected themselves and made another attack on the left and were for the third time repulsed with even greater slaughter than before.  They then retired from the field.  When they attempted to storm the battery, they were allowed to march up to within a short distance of it when our infantry rose up and turned loose a volley into them which completely routed them.  They ran in the utmost confusion.  After going some distance they rallied, when Genl Bonham gave the order to charge them, but before our troops could get near them they broke and ran like sheep before wolves.  Report says that we lost sixteen killed and forty or fifty wounded.  Their loss is estimated at from five hundred to a thousand killed and wounded.  The Yankees made a bold stand for awhile, but could not contend against southern bayonets and the Washington Artillery.  Received two letters today, one from Brother, the other from Aunt Ann.  (Mrs. Cheney) All well at home and the crop good.  He says there is [not?] a danger of Lincoln starving us out.  To night we have every indication of a heavy rain, as we can hear the distant rumbling of the thunder and the clouds are flying overhead.  We have to sleep in the bushes and but few of the men have blankets.  Father sent me a blanket, but I could not find the man he sent it by, so have to do the best I can and take the rain if it comes.

Source – G. Ward Hubbs, ed. Voices from Company D, pp 20-21





Diary 7/17/1861 – Pvt. John Henry Cowin, Co. D, 5th AL

14 11 2009

[Describing withdrawal from Fairfax Court House.]

After all the hustle and stir last night, no yankees came, but on the contrary every thing went on as ever, and I believe more so, for every one kept as still as possible, listening for the expected account.  This morning we heard firing out toward the pickets and all around the country.  about eight o’clock a couple of scouts came in at full speed, one having a yankee behind him captured by the pickets.  The regiment was immediately put in order of battle and marched down to the breastwork.  Tents were struck and the wagons loaded.  Father who was unable to walk, mounted a wagon horse and went off with the baggage.  Where we got to the breastworks Capt. Shelly’s Company was sent out as skirmishers, and soon we heard them open fire upon the enemy.  The firing was kept up for about an hour.  The balls whistling over our heads, I have often heard of balls whistling around a fellows head, but never knew what tune they played until this morning.  They came thick and fast, some falling within a few feet of us.  The pickets were driven in, but they came in orderly, displaying great coolness and bravery.  They fired each three or four rounds.  We remained at the breastworks about an hour and a half.  The pickets killed some ten or fifteen of the enemy.  We had only two men wounded, they very slightly.  One a member of the Warrior Guards (Tarrant) shot through the leg.  The other of Capt. Shelley’s company, having a portion of his ear shot away.  They came upon us with a large force and tried to flank us, and would have succeeded had we not received orders from the commanding general to retreat.  I think Col. Rodes intended to give them a fight, but had to obey the orders to retreat.  We left our breastworks with great reluctance, for there was all our work to be abandoned to the enemy without a fight.  The pickets from our company who were attacked were Jim Locke, Wm. Kennedy, George Nutting, John & Joe Wright.  They all got safely into Camp.  We left the breastworks and marched slowly and in order down the Centreville road.  The day was intensely warm, but we had to march ahead to avoid being flanked, as the enemy were pressing forward with great rapidity.  We marched eleven miles to Bull Run, where we met two Mississippi regiments, one South Carolina regiment and the Washington Artillery.  Here I found Father, who was much rejoiced to see us safe and well.  A good many broke down on the march.  Brother broke down, but managed to get a ride behind some one and came on safely.  I think one could have followed up our retreat and gathered at least two wagon loads of clothing, knapsacks &c, which the boys had thrown away.  A good many have now no clothing at all, not even a blanket.  We only remained at Bull Run about two hours, when we took up our line of march to a place called Union Mills, a distance of three miles.  We arrived there shortly after sunset, stacked arms, made fires, and dried our selves, as we had to ford creeks on the march.  Feel like I can do some sleeping tonight, as I did not have an opportunity last night.

Source – G. Ward Hubbs, ed. Voices from Company D, pp 19-20