“Georgie,” Co. I, 71st New York State Militia, On the Battle and Retreat

26 06 2020

Washington Navy Yard,
July 22, 1861.

Dear Father: – I telegraphed you yesterday that I was back safe and would write shortly. We had a pretty hard fight – carried most of their fortifications – when they were reinforced by twenty thousand of Johnson’s command, (which Gen. Patterson should have intercepted), and were compelled to retire before such an overwhelming force of fresh troops. – In Company I were lost but three men – one killed and two wounded. They must have been captured during our retreat, as we have heard nothing of them since they were sent to the Hospital. Capt. Ellis, of Co. F, (not our Captain,) was wounded by the explosion of a shell; his father, Dr. Ellis, of New York, is now on here attending to him and his other son who was also wounded. They were both carried off the field by their brother, the Colonel, from California, who came on here to lend a hand and see to his brothers. One was shot down along side of him, and the other he found wounded and senseless along the side of the road, and would have been crushed to death by the retreating teams had it not been for the timely assistance of his brother, who, being a remarkably stout and muscular man, carried him also to the place of safety, and they are now doing well under the medical prescription of their father, the Doctor. Our Captain got knocked down by a spent shot, but was not seriously injured. He is now attending to his brothers.

We have lost both our howitzers, but brought them six miles from the field of action, after the order for our retreat, and then the enemy threw a shell among us, upset the ammunition wagon, dismounted one of the howitzers, and we were compelled to abandon them. The fight commenced at 12 o’clock on Sunday, and lasted till four in the afternoon, when we were ordered to retire. We marched till 12 o’clock the next day with scarcely a halt till we got home, and I can tell you I was pretty well used up. – They say it is a distance of fifty-five miles, and I should say it was at least that, from the way I felt when we got back to our old quarters at the Navy Yard. It was the longest tramp I ever took, and I don’t care about taking such another, especially on a retreat. If it were in pursuit of the traitors, I think I could do it over again without even thinking of getting tired, and I am in hopes I shall yet have the opportunity of trying it.

Georgie*

Newburgh (NY) Daily News, 7/26/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* There were at least two men named George in Co. I: Pvt. George Moore, Pvt. George Sterling





Pvt. Samuel Bond, Co. I, 71st New York State Militia, Last Letter

25 06 2020

The Last Letter of Samuel Bond
—————

The following is the last letter written by young Bond, who was killed at the battle of Bull’s Run. It will be read with interest:

Dear Sir: – Your kind letter came duly to hand. As to my desiring another specimen, if it is not repeated I shall feel very much disappointed. To receive a letter from a friend, especially one that is in every way worthy of our friendship, serves in a great measure to lighten our spirits and to inspire us with greater vigor to press on in a cause that is sanctioned by good and true men, and I trust by a God that is the God of Battle as well as of peace. * * * By the time you receive this, perhaps I shall be on my way to Richmond or Manassas Gap. We go to-morrow. I suppose we will act as skirmishers. We will act our part bravely, and try and bring no disgrace to Newburgh. Give my love to all, and keep a share yourself.

From your friend,
Samuel Bond
Co. I, 71st Regt. N. Y. S. M.

Capt. S. T. Harvey

Newburgh (NY) Daily News, 7/26/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

Samuel Bond at Ancestry 

Samuel Bond at Fold3 

Samuel Bond at FindAGrave





Sgt. William H. Garrison, Co. I, 71st New York State Militia, On the Battle and Company Casualties

25 06 2020

Camp Correspondence.
—————

Washington, D. C., July 23.

Dear General: – We have arrived in Washington very much fatigued. We left our encampment at two o’clock on the morning of the 21st, and arrived at Bull’s Run about half past ten o’clock, A. M. – Then the enemy commenced an attack on our division. Our brigade was in charge of Colonel Burnside, of the Rhode Island 1st Regiment. He ordered us to advance to the top of the hill and commence work. The Seventy-first and the two Rhode Island Regiments made the first attack. The enemy cut down many of our brigade before we fired a shot, but when we did commence we made everything tell. Our company had two Dahlgren 12 pound Howitzers, and used cannister shot on the infantry, and shell on the battery. We drove the enemy down in the woods after they suffered a great loss of men. The 71st lost from fifty to a hundred men. Our company lost Samuel Bond, a little fellow who worked nobly, passing shot and shell, until a rifle shot passing right through his heart, killed him instantly. The wounded are James C. Taggart and John W. R. Mould. Taggart is safe. His wound is a flesh wound, and his is getting along as well as can be expected. Wm. McDonald is missing. When the enemy were reinforced we had to retreat very much against our will. We brought our pieces eight miles, when we had to leave them. We arrived at our old encampment at eight o’clock, P. M., very tired and glad to sit down. Capt. Ellis stood by us in the battle, and cheered the boys on. He sighted the pieces at every shot. He was in the heaviest part of the firing, and was unhurt. The papers have our loss very heavy, which is not correct, according to the reports from the different companies this morning. I will tell you some more of the particulars if I ever get home. Remember me to all enquiring friends.

Yours, &c.,
Wm. H. Garrison.

Gen. S C. Parmenter.

Newburgh (NY) Daily News, 7/26/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

William H. Garrison at Ancestry 

William H. Garrison at Fold3 

William H. Garrison at FindAGrave





Cpl. John Fulton, Co. L (Engineers), 14th New York State Militia, On the Campaign

17 06 2020

JACK FULTON GIVES HIS VERSION OF THE BULL RUN FIGHT.

Camp Porter, Arlington Heights, July 25, 1861.

There is no doubt ere this you have heard about the battle at Bull’s Run. I want to give you some idea about our regiment from the time we left Arlington until we returned back again. We left Camp Porter at half-past 3 P. M. on the 16th, and marched 12 miles where we came to halt withing 7 miles of Fairfax, when we laid down and had some rest. Nothing of any note transpired during our march. We took up the line of march at 8 A. M. on the 17th for Fairfax. About three miles on the road the rebels had cut down a large number of trees to obstruct our march, but our division took the fields. We arrived at Fairfax at 1 P. M. The rebels left Fairfax in double quick time two hours before we got there. We passed four intrenchments that they vacated. We remained at Fairfax until 4 P. M. of the 18th, then took up our line of march for Centreville. We passed a number of encampments that they had set on fire. They left all their food and camp utensils, so you can judge the hurry they were in. We had a good dinner of the fresh beef that they left behind. We came to a halt 1 ½ miles from Centreville; you must understand we had no tents since we left our camp, all we had was the clear blue sky above us. Thank God we had good weather, but the dear lord how hot it was, soaking wet all the time, but we stand it like men so far, not a man lagged behind and all feel anxious to meet the enemy. But last night was the hardest of all nights, such firing of muskets by the ‘great man’ I never heard before, we were up and down all night. We have in our Brigade the 8th N. Y. S. M., Mart Owens’ Regt. 27th New York Volunteers, one regiment of regular and 600 marines from the Navy Yard besides the gallant 14th; also Griffin’s West Point Battery and a troop of cavalry under the command of Brig. Gen. Porter; the division under Gen. McDowell. Tell Mart Owen that Abe Beatty was in our camp on the 19th; Babcock is sick yet, he is not with his regiment. On the 20th two regulars were flogged for desertion one got thirty-five lashes the other fifty, and in ten days to be drummed out of camp. Now comes the tug of war; we left camp at 2 ½ A. M., for Bull’s Run. Nothing of any importance transpired for about three miles, until we came to a bridge that the rebels hart partly destroyed; but we soon repaired it enough to cross. Shortly after we got on the other side of the bridge we met Gen. McDowell; he put us in quick time for two and a half miles, then came to a halt for about ten minutes, and sent scouting parties. Here we were within 1 ½ miles of the enemy – that is, on a line – but we were to march about six miles, so as to surround them. Here we heard the first gun about 8 A. M., and we kept scouting until we passed Bull’s Run stream. Here we saw Gen. McDowell again; we were within 2 ½ miles of the enemy. Now comes the hot time; the order was double-quick, which we kept up for some time, until, pretty nearly played out, we came to another stream, that we had to cross knee-deep. Here all hands took a drink and filled their canteens. We could hear the guns firing like the very devil only half a mile from the enemy; then double-quick again until we arrived on the field of battle; here we took everything off except undershirts and pants; while doing this, the balls were dropping around us like hail. Then it was double-quick again, until we were in front of the enemy. All out things that we left on the field are lost. Our regiment was ordered on the left flank of the enemy. Griffin’s, Sherman’s, and the Rhode Island batteries were doing good work. The 27th Regiment, New York Volunteers, were the first to engage the enemy’s infantry, but had to fall back; then came the orders for the gallant 14th; Gen. McDowell calls on us to charge the enemy, which we did, and drove them to the woods, where they had entrenchments for their men; our men followed them up to the woods; here a number of our men got wounded; then came an order to retreat, which we did in handsome style, but could not draw them from the woods. We now had a rest for about 15 minutes. Then came the 71st and 8th (the 8th reserve for the 71st), when they opened fire with their howitzers, two in number, on the woods where the enemy had retreated, and drove them out towards their masked battery; here was a complete slaughter-house. As soon as our regiment opened fire on their infantry, the masked battery opened fire on them; such slaughter I never want to see again; our men had to lay down to load and fire. Just before we got this position, a shell wounded John Smith and Dick Coles. Inform Louis Buckman about Smith; tell him he is wounded in the knee, but not very serious. Poor Music, I am afraid, is dead; he was seen wounded in two places, on the right shoulder and leg; this I got from one of his messmates, now in the hospital, also wounded. Our hospital is full of wounded. But to return to the battle – at the time our regiment were lying down loading and firing, the Marines were ordered to cover our men, but they made a hasty retreat and left our men to be slaughtered; but the 71st came up and gave our men a chance to retreat, which we did in good order. The fire was too strong for the 71st, and they had to retreat. Shortly after this our regiment was fired into, some say by the 71st, others say the 8th, and our boys returned it, and made them come out of the woods mighty quick. All this time we were carrying the wounded off the field, I had just carried a wounded man up to the hospital when there came news that our Colonel was wounded. Burtis, Briss, Connor, Ritchie and myself went and brought him off the field amid showers of bullets, but, thank God, we came off safe. It was at this time that our army began to retreat, and it became general throughout our lines. We carried our Colonel about two miles on a litter, when we became exhausted and had to set him down, and some of our men took him up and carried him to the bridge that we had repaired when the rebels cut off our retreat, and that is the last we saw of him. Drs. Homiston and Swalm were with him at the time, also Lewis Phillips, Charles Phillips’ brother, and that is the last we saw of them. Bob Webb had his rifle shot out of his hand at the same place. Thank God, our regiment did their duty, they were the last of our division to leave the field; they made 7 distinct charges on the batteries. Our regiment has not been represented in the proper light; I understand the Zouaves got all the credit; they made but one charge, and that was when the Black Horse Cavalry charged upon them, and that was the last. Some of their men were in our ranks and some in the 71st, and others in the 8th, all the rest were up to the hospital, and you could not get them on the field again; they said they would not go on account of having no one to lead them; that their officers were not worth a d—n, that was the expression of them all. Those that were with the 71st, it is said, did very well, but I did not see them. I must close this letter, for the mail is about starting for Washington. There are about 140 men that we cannot account for, and 60 or 70 that we can, which makes 210, yet we have some hopes that these figures will be reduced, and I hope they will. I suppose we will remain here some time to recruit.

Yours,
John Fulton.

Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, 7/29/1861

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Clear Copy at Newspapers.com 

Contributed by John Hennessy

84th New York Infantry roster (the 14th NYSM became the 84th New York Volunteer Infantry 

John Fulton at Ancestry 

John Fulton at Fold3





Image: Pvt. Edward P. Doherty, Co. A, 71st New York State Militia

15 06 2020
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Capt. E. P. Doherty, 16th NY Cavalry (Source)

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Capt. E. P. Doherty, 16th NY Cavalry (Source)

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Capt. E. P. Doherty, 16th NY Cavalry (Source)

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Capt. E. P. Doherty and Sgt. Boston Corbett, 16th NY Cavalry, After Pursuit and Capture of John Wilkes Booth (Source)

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Capt. E. P. Doherty, 16th NY Cavalry (Source)





Pvt. Edward P. Doherty, Co. A, 71st New York State Militia, On the Battle, Capture, and Escape – With Casualty List

12 06 2020

THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN.; THE SEVENTY-FIRST NEW-YORK REGIMENT. INTERESTING STATEMENT OF EDWARD P. DOHERTY, COMPANY A, SEVENTY-FIRST REGIMENT, WHO WAS CAPTURED AT BULL RUN, SUNDAY, JULY 21, AND WHO ESCAPED FROM THE ENEMY ON FRIDAY NIGHT FOLLOWING, JULY 26.

The Regiment left the Navy-yard Tuesday, July 16, at 10 o’clock, and marched up the Avenue over the Long Bridge, to their camping grounds, within five miles of Fairfax, where, at 9 P.M., they stacked and bivouacked for the night in the open field, together with Col. BURNSIDE’s Brigade, consisting of the First and Second Rhode Island Infantry, Second Rhode Island Battery, and Second New-Hampshire Volunteers. At 5 A.M., July 17, (Wednesday,) the brigade formed a line of march, and proceeded to Fairfax Court-house, where they arrived at 10 A.M., and found the breastworks of the enemy deserted, as well as the town, of all secession troops. Halted in the town before the Court-house; the flag was hoisted upon the Court-house by the Rhode Island Regiments, the band saluting it with the National airs.

The march was then resumed; the whole Brigade proceeded half a mile beyond Fairfax, and bivouacked on the old camp-ground of the rebels, which they had abandoned that morning between 6 and 9 o’clock. Large quantities of blankets were found burning, having been destroyed by them in this manner in their hasty retreat; also, a store-room of military clothing was found by them, as well as a dozen or more tents, which were immediately put to good use, and a bullock just dressed, which furnished rations for the Seventy-first, as far as it went.

In this encampment the Brigade remained till 7 A.M. Thursday, July 18, the Brigade again marched one mile, and halted by command of Gen. MCDOWELL. Here the Brigade remained till 3 P.M., on an old camp-ground of the enemy, when the march was again taken up, under a scorching sun, till within a mile and a half of Centreville, where we bivouacked once more, the men making pleasant huts of the boughs of trees.

During the night the regiment was called to arms, in consequence of the firing of pickets on our left. Friday and Saturday was passed in this place very pleasantly, the regiments of the brigade having a regimental drill each day, and also being served with good rations of fresh meat and plenty of coffee and sugar.

On Saturday, orders were issued to prepare to march at 1 A.M., Sunday, each man to take two days’ rations of good salt beef, salt pork and crackers in haversack, with positive instructions to fill his canteen with water, and not to use it on the route, as water was scarce. This was done, and the regiment marched with the brigade Sunday morning at 2 A.M., for the battle-field, passing through Centreville just before sunrise.

After proceeding a mile and a half beyond Centreville we were ordered to halt and cap our pieces. We then crossed a bridge, mounted a hill in the vicinity, and to the right of Gen. MCDOWELL’s head-quarters, and then turned to the right into a field, at a double quick, which was kept up about a quarter of an hour, passing through a wood and halting in a field, where we remained about twenty minutes. Gen. MCDOWELL and his Staff came into the field. This was between 6 and 7 o’clock. The march was then resumed by a circuitous route through the woods, passing several dry brooks, until we reached Bull Run, which we waded in great confusion, every one being anxious to get water. Company lines were immediately formed on the other side, and an advance was made up the road at a quick step, firing being heard upon our left.

After a mile’s marching at quick step, we were put upon double-quick up the hill, wheeling to the left, into an old stubble-field, where we halted, and our arrival was announced by a shot from a rifle cannon whistling over our heads. The halt did not last two minutes, when Col. BURNSIDE led the different regiments into their positions on the field. The Second Rhode Island entered the field first, to the extreme right, then the Rhode Island Battery, six pieces, and the two howitzers, of the Seventy-first, and then to the left the Seventy-first, and after it, on its left the First Rhode Island, and then the Second New-Hampshire, all formed in line of battle on the top of the hill. This movement was done at double-quick. We were immediately ordered to fall back and lie down, as the discharge from the enemy’s battery was very severe.

The First and Second Rhode Island Regiments, the Rhode Island Battery, and the two howitzers, opened fire on the enemy. One of the Rhode Island guns was immediately disabled by a shot from the enemy, and was carried off the field. The Seventy-first lay there as ordered, when an Aid from Col. BURNSIDE rode up and asked for the field officers. Col. MARTIN then ordered us forward.

Prior to this some of the Seventy-first had gone over to the First Rhode Island, and were fighting in their ranks. BURROUGHS, Commissary of the Seventy-first, rode up in front of us, dismounted from his horse, and told the boys to go in and fight on their own account, which they did with a will. Just prior to this Capt. HART, of Company A, had been wounded and carried from the field; also Capt. ELLIS, of Company F. Then Lieut. OAKLEY came on. Going forward to the brow of the hill he received a shot in the leg of his pantaloons from one of his own men.

Some time after this the firing ceased upon both sides. MCDOWELL, with his staff, then rode through our lines, receiving a cheer from the Seventy-first, and passed down the hill to the left, within 600 feet of the enemy’s line. After that the brigade fell back into the woods and rested, taking care of the wounded, and removing them to the hospital; some straggling about over the fields without their muskets, looking on at the fight in other parts of the engagement, which they supposed was the end of the battle, thinking the day was ours.

At about 3 o’clock we formed in line again, on the brow of the hill. It was at this time that a shell fell over my left shoulder, and striking the ground behind me, rebounded upon the foot of private WM. N. SMITH, of Brooklyn, tearing it open. He threw his arms around my neck, and I assisted in carrying him to the hospital.

I returned from the hospital towards my regiment, and met other troops retreating, who informed me that my regiment had gone across the fields. I ran back past Sudley Church, then used as the hospital, up the hill, saw a regiment about half a mile ahead, which I supposed was the Seventy-first; took a short cut across the fields, when the cavalry galloped up and arrested me.

They took me back to the hospital, where, during the confusion, I managed to conceal myself under a blanket, which was saturated with blood. Col. BARKER, of the Virginia Cavalry, then galloped up, and ordered all the unwounded prisoners to be driven to the Junction.

I should think there were about 50 prisoners in all at that point. They left me, supposing I was wounded. A guard was left to guard me hospital. I arose to go in quest of Dr. PEUGNET, and him engaged in amputating the arm of HARRY ROCKAFELLOW, of S.-street, Philadelphia, of Company F, Seventy-first Regiment. Dr. PEUGNET requested me to assist him, and he having completed his operation, then amputated the arm at the shoulder-joint of a Sergeant of a Maine or a New-Hampshire Regiment, who had a brother, about 17 years of age, who had remained behind to take care of him. This man died under the operation. The next operation was that my friend WM. SMITH, of Brooklyn, whom I had conveyed to the hospital. His foot was amputated.

During this time Drs. FOSTER, SWIFT and WINSTON, of the Eighth New-York; Dr. DE GRANT, Dr. GRISWOLD, Dr. BUXTON, and the doctor of the Fourth Maine.; Dr. STEWART, of Minnesota; HARRIS, of Rhode Island, and four others whose names I did not learn, one of whom, I believe, was the surgeon of the West Point Battery, were attending in the wounded of their respective regiments. Private TYLER, of the West Point Battery, had his thigh wounded and died that night. Cornelius, Col. MARTIN’s servant, who was wounded while assisting the Colonel to dismount, also died. MULLEN, Second Rhode Island, and two of the Seventy-first, whose names I do not know, were found dead next morning.

Gen. BEAUREGARD and Col. BARKER came up about 7 1/2 o’clock that evening with 150 prisoners of different regiments, most of whom were Fire Zouaves. He stopped and inquired how our wounded were getting along, while the prisoners were driven towards the Junction by the cavalry. During the night a number of prisoners were brought in, and on Monday morning 30 were sent on, their hands tied together in front with Manila rope; among them was the lad of 17, from Maine, who plead bitterly to be left to see his brother buried, but was refined.

During the forenoon an order was issued by Gen. JOHNSTON for every one to be removed from Sudley Church to Richmond, via the Junction. All who were not wounded were taken under a tree and tied, as an attack was anticipated. Our doctors strongly remonstrated against this order, as the greater part of our wounded, 280 in number, had not received any attention. Capt. PATRICK, of Virginia Cavalry, stated these were his instructions, and he meant to carry them out. We were accordingly all seized, hands bound, except the doctors who were in ambulances. It was then raining in torrents, and some 80 of the wounded were laying in the vicinity of the church and black-smith shop without any shelter excepting a blanket. The doctors were hurriedly taken away, we being told that our wounded would be cared for by themselves.

Here we waited till 12 o’clock at night in the rain, awaiting orders, when I requested Capt. PATRICK to allow me to go down to the hospital to see a relative who was badly wounded, telling him it would be better to shoot our wounded at once than to allow them to die off by inches; they were all calling for water, and no one there to give it to them. He then said, “Well, my man, choose another man with you and go down.” I chose SMITH, of Company H, Seventy-first Regiment. Capt. PATRICK, then inquired if there were any more men who had brothers or relatives among the wounded. A general rush took place among the prisoners — they all stepping forward. He then allowed ATWOOD CROSBY, of Maine, to take care of his brother, who was wounded in the back, and five others: TOMPKINS, Company C, Seventy-first; JOHN HAND, of Massachusetts; a young boy of the Second Rhode Island, about 17 years old; DEEGAN, of the Twenty-seventh, and another, an assistant to a Maine surgeon, and his servant, who cooked for the prisoners, under the direction of TOMPKINS. The rest were kept out in the rain all night, and the following morning were sent to Richmond.

During Monday night a man from Wisconsin died, calling for his mother. He had a daguerreotype of his wife and two children. He called me to give him some water, which I did very frequently. He called for his “Dear mother” — these were his last words. He was a man about 5 feet 6 inches, with a light moustache, and was wounded in the groin. A boy about 18 years old, dressed in the uniform of the Eighth Regiment, about 5 feet 10 inches in height, sandy complexion, shot in the head; had $21 in his pocket-book, and a white silk badge, marked “Parker Guard,” died Monday night. Lieut. DEVERS, of Ellsworth Zouaves, wounded in the arm. He laid down to rest, and in the morning, when I went to bandage his arm, I found him dead. Also, a man from Rockland, Me., named FLETCHER.

On Tuesday, ALLEN, of Company C, Seventy-first, died. He was wounded in the abdomen. BUTLER, of Company C, Seventy-first. Elizabethtown, N.J., also died; wounded in legs. Doctors were not there to amputate. GEORGE SAYNE and JOHN P. MORRISSEY, both of the Seventy-first, also died Wednesday morning, within one hour of each other, lying side by side. MEAD, of Massachusetts, a wealthy shoe manufacturer, died while having his thigh amputated. Several others died, whose names I could not learn, numbering in all 32.

On Tuesday evening, six of the Doctors came back on parole — Drs. PEUGNET, SWIFT, WINSTON, DE GRAW, BUXTON and STEWART — and immediately commenced attending to the wounded. Their exertions were unremitting; their time day and night was given to the wounded until all the wounds were properly dressed and all cared for.

On Wednesday morning, Dr. PEUGNET put me in charge of the hospital, and allowed me to choose 20 from the prisoners and wounded, who were able to take care of the wounded, to assist me.

The same morning a lady of the neighborhood brought us a bottle of wine and two dozen eggs, and we bought at noon twelve dozen of eggs from a sutler. Thursday morning a number of secession doctors made their appearance, bringing with them some luxuries which they gave to our doctors. Some time during the day NOBLE, of Company F, and GILLETTE, of the Engineer Corps, both of the Seventy-first, were brought in as prisoners, and were retained as assistants at the hospital. They were not wounded. This day a number of ladies and farmers of the surrounding country visited our hospitals, bringing with them milk, soup and cakes.

On Friday, they commenced removing the prisoners and wounded, amongst them Capt. GORDON, of the Eleventh Massachusetts; Lieut. HAMLIN, Scott Life Guard, and all the Non-Commissioned Officers, leaving instructions with us to be prepared to follow the ambulances containing the wounded, who had undergone operations, on Saturday. In the meantime, Capt. ALLEN, of the Eleventh Massachusetts, disguised as a private and wounded prisoner, a Wisconsin boy, named WORLDORF, and myself, planted an escape, which was successfully accomplished between 5 and 10 P.M. Friday night. We ran the guard, and crawled on our hands and feet out of hearing distance of the sentinels; proceeded in a northeast direction until 3 1/2 A.M.; met two pickets of the enemy in a small tent on the main road, which we had to cross to accomplish our escape; the pickets cowed at our appearance, and hid behind a tree, and we backed some one hundred feet with sticks pointed in the direction of the pickets, and then turned and ran about two miles, keeping a little to the north.

At 2 P.M., not knowing where we were, we determined to approach a house and inquire. We met two women at the gate, and told them we belonged to the Fourth Alabama Regiment. They asked for Messrs. GREY of that regiment — if we knew them — and a number of others, all of whom we told them were shot at Bull Run. They asked where we came from, and where were our arms. These questions we evaded, and asked them to show us the way to Centreville, which they did. We took an opposite direction, and at 4 P.M. halted at another house, where an old man came out and asked if we were soldiers. We replied in the affirmative, and added that we belonged to the Fourth Alabama Regiment, and had been picking blackberries and strayed away from our camp. He then said, “Are you the regiment that is waiting for artillery?” I replied, the same. “Then, boys,” said he, “you are stationed at Ball’s Mill, three miles from here, (pointing in the direction of Leesburgh,) half way from here to Leesburgh.” He then said, “Were you in the fight Sunday?” “Yes.” “I am glad, boys, you escaped from the slaughter. These d — d Yankees, I would like to see every man of them strung up. I never could bear them. I will send EDWARD to show you the way to the main road.” We thanked him and left.

At 5 P.M., came to a railroad. I saw a little boy and girl, and asked them what road it was. They replied they did not know, but if we would go to the house, JEFF. would tell us. After some further inquiries, without getting any information, we crossed the track and took to the woods, and continued our march until 6 P.M., when we saw a house standing alone in the bushes. We determined to go there, and get something to eat. Arriving at the gate, we inquired if they had something to sell us. They said they had, and we lost no time in investing in 50 cents’ worth of hoe-cake and milk.

While we were devouring these (to us) luxuries, a horseman galloped up to the door, and the lady of the house called the man with whom we were conversing, “Cousin GEORGE,” (his name is EDWARDS.) We suspected something wrong, and took a precipitate leave down the hill, and continued our march. Half an hour after leaving this house, we crossed the main road, and crossed the field, in order to reach a wood which we supposed was a forest, but which turned out to be nothing but a small thicket. Soon after crossing the thicket, we espied eight mounted troopers at full speed, passing along the road, some fifteen yards ahead; not supposing they were in search of us, we continued on our way, when, upon looking round, we found they had halted at the foot of the hill, and were looking in all directions; at last they saw us, and commanded us to hall and come back. This we had no desire to do, and knowing the fence along the road to be impassable on horseback, we thought our chances of escape were good. We accordingly ran, and they fired, one or two of them dismounting simultaneously with the discharge of the others’ guns, to let the rails of the fence down in order that they might pursue us into the woods.

In the meantime we had gained the wood and found another fence surrounding it. This fence was equally as wide as the first one. They galloped off to the edge of the woods where we should have to pass to make our escape, and surrounded the woods. Here they dismounted, took down the rails and entered the bushes, and commenced their search, in the meantime we had run back to where we entered the bush and hid under two large elm trees, Capt. ALLEN clipping the branches in order that we might pull them down over us with more facility; it was perhaps five minutes before they reached this portion of the thicket, and these trees being so much exposed, they concluded no person was there, and went away to the other end of the woods, but soon returned, and on passing one of these trees, one of the horses, ridden by one of our pursuers grazed my right leg with his hoof, and so close were they upon us that we overheard all their conversation.

During this time, some twelve or fifteen of the inhabitants of Milford turned out with their guns and pistols to assist the troopers to find the Yankees; and an order was given, by an old man in citizen’s dress, for the horsemen to follow up in the next woods, with orders to the men who had come together, to look in all the bushes and to turn over all the old legs, and leave nothing undone which they might suppose would tend to our capture. Here one of them reckoned the Yankee — had got away; another said that if they were in those woods, they would give us a right warming, and they commenced discharging their guns in the bushes in every direction, but happily, did not aim in the direction of our tree.

In about an hour the old man returned, and ordered a boy about 18 years of age to remain beside us on a log, with instructions to fire at us the moment he saw as — “Even,” said he, “if you do miss them.” It was now 9 P.M., and the long prayed-for darkness came to our rescue, and helped to cover our retreat. For nearly another hour the old wretch kept prowling about the woods, and finally went away. At about 11 o’clock we were so exhausted that we fell asleep, and rested until 12, when ALLEN crawled over to me and said, “They haven’t got us yet.”

I had dreamt, during my short slumber, that I was a captive, and he had some difficulty in persuading me to the contrary. Being reassured, I arose from my retreat, and, as we emerged from beneath the branches which had just saved our lives, we beheld the youth who, two hours before, had been placed to watch for us; he was in a deep slumber, and had his gun grasped between his folded arms, in a horizontal position. I drew my knife to dispatch him, but Capt. ALLEN prevented me.

We then retraced our steps for nearly a mile and a half, and struck over for the Potomac, which we reached at 4 1/2 o’clock Sunday morning, having kept up a quick and double-quick step all along the road.

Having reached the Potomac, we sat down to rest; but we were hardly seated before we saw a man on horseback approaching us by the road. He walked his horse past us as though he was unaware of our presence, until he reached the corner of a fence surrounding a corn-field, when he put spurs to his horse and went up the hill at full speed. We suspected something in this movement, and looking for shallow water, but finding none, we immediately plunged into the stream and swam the river. When within twenty feet of opposite shore we heard firing and cries of “Come back,” and on turning round we saw ten or fifteen men, in their shirt sleeves, ordering us back, and firing several shots at us. Of course we did not obey this command, but started off at a good pace into what we supposed was Maryland. We had not gone far before we came to another stream, which we waded.

We afterwards ascertained that we had crossed Edward’s Island about 17-miles from Washington. Before losing eight of our pursuers, Capt. ALLEN showed his pistol, and shook it in defiance of them. This was the only weapon, with the exception of the knife, we had among us. This was about half-past five Sunday morning. Finding ourselves among friends, we walked five miles to Great Falls, where we laid down and rested till noon. On waking we resumed our march, and reached the arsenal at nine at night, where we found our picket-guard of Second Vermont Regiment. They received us kindly, provided us with supper, and furnished us with a bed. The next morning we all hurried on to Washington, and telegraphed our safe arrival to our friends.

I may here state that on Wednesday I visited the field of battle on horseback, in company with Capt. WHITE, of the Virginia Cavalry. I saw there numbers of our comrades, unburied, principally in the uniform of the Fourteenth Brooklyn and ELLSWORTH’s Zouaves. I asked the reason; the reply was they had not yet reached them. The smell was very offensive. I galloped up to count their numbers, but was obliged to turn back on this account. I counted 14 of the Fourteenth Regiment in one spot. We were uniformly treated with kindness by both soldiers and people. There remained in hospitals and tents, which were erected for the wounded, at the time of my leaving about 246, all doing very well, and are, I presume, by this time removed to Richmond.

Of those taken prisoners, who afterwards died of their wounds in the hospital at Sudley Church, were the following:
John P. Morrissey, Seventy-first Regiment.
George Sayre, Seventy-first Regiment.
C.A. Allen, Seventy-first Regiment.
— Butler, Company C, Seventy-first Regiment, (Elizabethtown, New-Jersey.)
— Series, drummer boy.
— Cornelius, Col. Martin’s servant.
Lieut. Divver, Fire Zouaves.
— Fletcher, Rockland, Maine.
— Mullen, Second Rhode Island.
— Mead, Massachusetts, shoe manufacturer.
— Tyler, United States Artillery.
— Seargeant, Vermont Regiment, had a brother, seventeen years old, with him.
Three of Seventy-first Regiment were dead, whose names I did not get.
WOUNDED.
Sergeant Wooster, Co. B, Seventy-first Regiment, wounded in the arm; doing well.
Harry Rockafellow, Co. F, Seventy-first Regiment, left arm amputated; doing well.
George Green, Co. F, Seventy-first Regiment, shot in both arms; doing well.
J.H. Sands, Co. F, Seventy-first Regiment, wounded in arm; doing well.
Nickerson, Co. F, Seventy-first Regiment, shot through left lung; severe wound.
Demorest, Co. F, Seventy-first Regiment, shot in arm; doing well.
Stambler, Co. F, Seventy-first Regiment, finger shot off; doing well.
Burroughs, Co. F. Seventy-first Regiment, (Adams’ Express,) shot in leg; doing well.
A.A. Hyde, Co. A, Seventy-first Regiment, shot through left shouldeer; doing well.
W. Smith, Co. A. Seventy-first Regiment, foot amputated; doing well.
Mould, Co. I, Seventy-first Regiment, spent cannon ball struck left thigh; doing well.
Vaughan, Co. D. Seventy-first Regiment, wounded in face; doing well.
Dravy, Co. F, Seventy-first Regiment, not badly wounded; doing well.
–, Co. G, Seventy-first Regiment, wounded ingroin; lives at No. 27 Henry-street, New-York.
Hand, Massachusetts, slightly wounded.
Head, standard bearer Fourteenth Regiment, slightly wounded.
Richmond, Fourteenth Regiment, slightly wounded.
Middleton, Fourteenth, slightly wounded.
Capt. McQuade, Scott Life Guard, wounded in thigh.
Lieut. Hamblin, Scott Life Guard, wounded in leg — doing well.
A.G. Straw, Oxford, Wasker, Shaw, Second Maine, I think, doing well.
Gracie, of Maine, doing well.
Graham, Seventy-ninth Regiment, doing well.
Colligan, Seventy-ninth Regiment, doing well.
Sullivan, Seventy-ninth Regiment, doing well.
Torry, front Maine, old man about 60, slightly wounded.
Wheeler, slightly wounded.
Bowman, Twenty-seventh New-York, leg amputated below knee; doing well.
Welsh, (carriage-maker, near Rochester,) shot in mouth.
Sergeant of the Twenty-seventh; name something like Stollman; shot in leg; doing well.
Capt. Gordon, Eleventh Massachusetts, spent cannon ball in side.
Dugan, Twenty-seventh New-York, slightly wounded; doing well.
Crosby, from China, Me., shot in the body; his brother, Atwood Crosby, unhurt, unending on him.
PRISONER UNHURT.
Tompkins, Co. C, Seventy-first.
Smith, Co. H, Seventy-first.
Noble, Co. F, Seventy-first.
Gillette, Engineer Corps.
Dr. Peugnet, Surgeon, Seventy-first.
Dr. Winston, Surgeon, Eighth.
Dr. Swift, Surgeon, Eighth.
Dr. Buxton, Surgeon, Maine Regiment.
Dr. Stewart, Surgeon, Minnesota Regiment.
Dr. Griswold.
Dr. Swalm.
Dr. De Graw.
Dr. Harris.
Surgeon of Third West Point Battery.
Surgeon of a Maine regiment, his servant and assistant, whom we called Dr. John.
Ryan, of Rhode Island, musician.
Kelly and Thompson, wounded slightly, to what regiment I don’t know.
In all there were 283, of whom 32 died, a portion of whose names I have given; the rest were living, and most of them doing well, when I left.
E.P. DOHERTY.

New York (NY) Times, 8/6/1861

Contributed and transcribed by John Hennessy

Edward P. Doherty at Wikipedia 

Edward P. Doherty at Ancestry.com 

Edward P. Doherty at Fold3 

Edward P. Doherty at FindAGrave 

Edward P. Doherty at Arlington National Cemetery 





71st New York Infantry Returns to the Field 27 Years Later

24 04 2020

SOLDIER’S BONES
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A Grave at Bull Run Desecrated by Veterans.
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THEY WANTED SOUVENIRS
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Members of the Seventy-first Regiment Unearth a Skeleton on a Relic Hunting Expedition – It May Have Been a Comrade.
——————–

New York, July 26 – The Evening World Says: Apparently there’s trouble ahead for the Seventy-first regiment. The bones of a soldier have been removed from their resting place in the battle ground at Bull Run by members of this regiment, and what the consequences will be no one knows just now.

The regiment went to Bull Run last Friday night to celebrate the twenty-seventh anniversary of that famous battle. The members reached Fredericksburg on Saturday and Bull Run on Sunday. They were handsomely entertained by their hosts and enjoyed themselves immensely.

They roamed over the battlefield and discussed the positions and engagements of their regiment on that memorable occasion, and compared notes with their Confederate hosts until Sunday night, when they started home, stopping at Washington on the way. They arrived in New York Tuesday morning. The boys searched over the battlefield for souvenirs, and finding a skeleton of a soldier, sever thought a few of its bones would be more desirable as reminders of that occasion than battered bullets and rusty sabers, so they brought them home.

Surgeon E. T. T. Marsh told a reported about it as follows: About eighteen or twenty members of Company B were walking over the battlefield in search of souvenirs. They came to a little gully about six feet deep which had been washed out by water. On the side of this gully was a little mound which attracted the attention of one of the company. It looked like a grave, and when one of the boys stirred up its surface a skeleton was revealed. The men and knives they opened the grave as best they could.

“The soil is clay and pretty hard, so the men soon gave up trying to take the skeleton out whole. They discovered a piece of blue cloth and a button which proved that the dead man was a Union soldier.

“The men told about their discovery when they joined the rest of the regiment and it was talked over freely. Some thought the poor soldier was one of those of our regiment who was never accounted for.

“Private M. C. O’Brien, a physician, was one of the party that unearthed the skeleton, but I do not know any others. I am certain that the whole skeleton was not taken, but I should not wonder if some of the long bones – those of the arm and the thigh – were carried away. I suppose if I had been there I would have taken a bone, too. I did not see any of the bones, but I heard the boys talk about them.”

Sergt. Bonestiel, of Company K, who is at present on duty at the armory, professed to know nothing about the matter.

When he was told about it he laughed and thought it was a grand joke if the boys secured the bones for trophies.

It was rumored that Governor Lee, of Virginia, had communicated with Governor Hill on the subject, but reporters were unable to see either Governor Hill or his secretary at Albany.

Wilkes-Barre (PA) News, 7/27/1888

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Contributed by John Banks





Pvt. William Barrett, U. S. Marine Battalion, On the Battle

24 09 2018

Letter from a Marine who was at Bull’s Run

I was in the fight at Manassas Gap or Bull’s Run, as it may be called. The place has two names but I think Bull’s Run is the right one, by the way they treated us there. Out of our band of 320 marines that entered the field we only brought about 150 home with us. We were the first called to assist the Sixty-ninth. We faced them on the left of the battery, and when about fifty yards from it our men fell like hail stones. I had only fired three shots when my musket received a ball right at the lock, which put me back about three feet. As soon as I came to my ground again two men were shot down on my right and one on my left; about this time I began to look very warlike. As for my part I thought I would lose all presence of mind in such a place, but it was quite different; I was as cool as a cucumber. Then we got orders to retreat and the Sixty-ninth and Ellsworth Zouaves played on them again. This was the time they suffered; they only stood a few minutes when they retreated without orders. Then we were again called on to face the enemy, fifty thousand strong, while we had only about 200. This time we got the Seventy-First to relieve us, but to no purpose; we had to retreat. Then it was a general retreat all round; every one looked out for himself, but they took the short road and caught us again. If you had seen us swimming across Bull’s Run, you would have thought there was something after us then. We had to come to Washington, a distance of forty five miles, in our wet clothes, which were badly used up.

The route we took in going to Manassas Gap was by Arlington Heights and thence by Fairfax Court House, where several batteries had been erected. This was the first time we knew we had to fight; they never told us where we were going till then. When we were about a mile from the place they got us to load our muskets. We were the first up to the battery, where we were drawn up in line of battle, when we found that the rebels had fled to Manassas. Then the cavalry were sent in hot pursuit of the enemy, but failed to overtake them. We camped in Fairfax that night, and the boys enjoyed themselves by burning down the houses of the secessionists. Next morning we took the march again, and went to Centreville by night; here we encamped two days.

On Monday morning at three o’clock we marched to the field, and as well as I can mind it was ten or eleven o’clock when we got there. It then looked very hot. The Seventy-first was the only regiment then at them. When we arrived, just as we got out of the woods in the rear of the battery, we lost three men by cannon balls. I could not describe to you what the battle field looked like. At the time of the retreat we ran over the dead and wounded for a mile from the battery and to hear the wounded crying for help would have made the heart of stone ache. All along the road we had men, only wounded a little, who, when the long march came, had to give out and lie down to die. For ten miles this side of the field they could be seen lying here and there on the road-side.

Only four or five of the Pittsburgh boys, that I know of, were killed. One young fellow, named Frank Harris, who joined the Irish volunteers in Pittsburgh, was my right hand man; going up to the battery he did not fire a single shot; he was one of the first to fall.

There were but few of the marines who were not wounded. I believe there are not thirty in the barracks who are not wounded more or less. I think they intended to fix me when they hit the lock of my musket. You could hear the ball playing “Yankee Doodle” around your ears, but could not move . It was about as hot a place as I ever want to be in. I saw a horse’s head taken off by a cannon ball at the time of our retreat; but he kept on ten or twelve yards before he found out that he was dead, then dropped and the poor fellow that was on his back had to take the hard road for it.

I cannot tell you any more about the battle at present, as I am very tired, have not slept any for forty-eight hours and marched from forty to fifty miles, fighting our way. I wish you would send me a Pittsburgh paper with an account of the battle, that I can see the difference in it.

W.B.

Pittsburgh Daily Post, 7/31/1861

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Contributed and transcribed by Damian Shiels

See more on this letter here

Source of identification of Barrett as the letter writer here and here.

William Barrett USMC muster sheets 1861-1864 here.

 





Corp. Samuel J. English, Co. D, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, On the Advance, Battle, and Retreat

7 02 2017

Camp Clark, July 24th/61
Washington, D. C.

Dear Mother

I rec’d your letter of the 21st shortly after our return to camp and take the earliest opportunity of writing. Yes, we have been & gone and done it. Last Thursday the 16th our brigade consisting of the two Rhode Island regiments, the New York 71st and the New Hampshire 2nd took up our line of march for Fairfax Court House. We crossed Long Bridge about 3 o’clock and continued on for six miles where we bivouacked for the night. Nothing occurred of importance to disturb our slumbers except the passing of troops bound on the same expedition. We commenced our march early in the morning, the 2nd R. I. regiment taking the lead and acting as skirmishers, Co. A taking the advance on the right; Co. D acting as flankers; Co. F acting as rear advance on the right of the column, Co. K[?] acting as advance on the left. Co. C as flankers and Co. G as rear guard. I cannot state exactly the strength of our forces at the time, but should judge there were seven or eight thousand, including 1500 cavalry and two Batteries of artillery with two howitzers belonging to the New York 71st Regt. When within half a mile of the village of Fairfax, word was sent that the rebels’ battery was directly in our line of march. Our artillery was immediately ordered to the front and fired three shots into it, making the sand fly, and showing pretty conclusively that the birds had flown. All the time this was taking place your humble servant was skirting around in the woods as a skirmisher and arrived in the village ahead of the main column. As our company arrived the streets presented the scene of the wildest confusion: old negroes running around, some laughing, some crying and some swearing at a fearful rate. The streets were strewn with the knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, blankets, shirts and most every article pertaining to camp life. The houses were deserted and in some places the tables were set for dinner and coffee warm on the stove. After strolling around a short time we quartered ourselves in the park of G. Lee and made ourselves as comfortable as circumstances would permit. The cavalry in the meantime pursuing the retreating rebels and capturing 30 of their men. What particularly pleased me was that the company that lost the mess was the Palmetto Guards and Brooks Guards of South Carolina, having lost all of their camp equipage and barely escaped with their lives. But to continue, the next day our colors started for Manassas but halted and camped three miles this side of Centreville, waiting for our troops and reinforcements to come up; the second regiment being somewhat in advance of the main army; we stay here for about three days and Sunday the 21st about 2 o’clock the drums beat the assembly and in ten minutes we were on our march for Bull Run having heard the enemy were waiting to receive us, our troops then numbering 25 or 30 thousand which were divided into three columns ours under Col Hunter taking the right through a thick woods. About eleven o’clock as our pickets were advancing through the woods a volley was poured in upon them from behind a fence thickly covered with brush; the pickets after returning the shots returned to our regiment and we advanced double quick time yelling like so many devils. On our arrival into the open field I saw I should judge three or four thousand rebels retreating for a dense woods, firing as they retreated, while from another part of the woods a perfect hail storm of bullets, round shot and shell was poured upon us, tearing through our ranks and scattering death and confusion everywhere; but with a yell and a roar we charged upon them driving them again into the woods with fearful loss. In the mean time our battery came up to our support and commenced hurling destruction among the rebels. Next orders were given for us to fall back and protect our battery as the enemy were charging upon it from another quarter, and then we saw with dismay that the second R. I. regiment were the only troops in the fight; the others having lagged so far behind that we had to stand the fight alone for 30 minutes; 1100 against 7 or 8 thousand. It was afterwards ascertained from a prisoner that the rebels thought we numbered 20 or 30 thousand from the noise made by us while making the charge. While preparing to make our final effort to keep our battery out of their hands, the 1st R. I. regiment then came filing over the fence and poured a volley out to them that drove them under cover again; they were followed by the New York 71st and the New Hampshire 2nd regiments; with 2,000 regulars bringing up the rear who pitched into the “Sechers” most beautifully. Our regiments were then ordered off the field and formed a line for a support to rally on in case the rebels over powered our troops. When the line had formed again I started off for the scene of action to see how the fight was progressing. As I emerged from the woods I saw a bomb shell strike a man in the breast and literally tear him to pieces. I passed the farm house which had been appropriated for a hospital and the groans of the wounded and dying were horrible. I then descended the hill to the woods which had been occupied by the rebels at the place where the Elsworth zouaves made their charge; the bodies of the dead and dying were actually three and four deep, while in the woods where the desperate struggle had taken place between the U.S. Marines and the Louisiana zouaves, the trees were spattered with blood and the ground strewn with dead bodies. The shots flying pretty lively round me I thought best to join my regiment; as I gained the top of the hill I heard the shot and shell of our batteries had given out, not having but 130 [?] shots for each gun during the whole engagement. As we had nothing but infantry to fight against their batteries, the command was given to retreat; our cavalry not being of much use, because the rebels would not come out of the woods. The R.I. regiments, the New York 71st and the New Hampshire 2nd were drawn into a line to cover the retreat, but an officer galloped wildly into the column crying the enemy is upon us, and off they started like a flock of sheep every man for himself and the devil take the hindermost; while the rebels’ shot and shell fell like rain among our exhausted troops. As we gained the cover of the woods the stampede became even more frightful, for the baggage wagons and ambulances became entangled with the artillery and rendered the scene even more dreadful than the battle, while the plunging of the horses broke the lines of our infantry, and prevented any successful formation out of the question. The rebels being so badly cut up supposed we had gone beyond the woods to form for a fresh attack and shelled the woods for full two hours, supposing we were there, thus saving the greater part of our forces, for if they had begun an immediate attack, nothing in heaven’s name could have saved us. As we neared the bridge the rebels opened a very destructive fire upon us, mowing down our men like grass, and caused even greater confusion than before. Our artillery and baggage wagons became fouled with each other, completely blocking the bridge, while the bomb shells bursting on the bridge made it “rather unhealthy” to be around. As I crossed on my hands and knees, Capt. Smith who was crossing by my side at the same time was struck by a round shot at the same time and completely cut in two. After I crossed I started up the hill as fast as my legs could carry and passed through Centreville and continued on to Fairfax where we arrived about 10 o’clock halting about 15 minutes, then kept on to Washington where we arrived about 2 o’clock Monday noon more dead than alive, having been on our feet 36 hours without a mouthful to eat, and traveled a distance of 60 miles without twenty minutes halt. The last five miles of that march was perfect misery, none of us having scarcely strength to put one foot before the other, but I tell you the cheers we rec’d going through the streets of Washington seemed to put new life into the men for they rallied and marched to our camps and every man dropped on the ground and in one moment the greater part of them were asleep. Our loss is estimated at 1,000, but I think it greater, the rebels lost from three to five thousand.

Rhodes, Robert Hunt, All For the Union: The Civil War Diary and Letters of Elisha Hunt Rhodes, pp. 32-35

Samuel J. English at Find-A-Grave 

Samuel J. English at Ancestry.com 

Samuel J. English at Fold3 





Unknown, 71st New York State Militia, On the Battle

28 11 2016

Letters from the Army and Navy.

The Bull Run Battle.

The following letter was written by a gentleman, a member of the 71st Regiment, N. Y. S. M., who took an active part in the great battle at Bull Run on the 21st inst., to a relative in this village, and handed us for publication:

Washington, Navy Yard, July 23, 1861

I have no doubt you have heard of my safe arrival from the battle; it was a terrible one, one of the greatest ever fought in this country. After we had marched between 9 and 10 hours, starting 1 o’clock A. M. Sunday, and a good part of the distance was made in a double quick, we arrived on the battle ground. We were immediately drawn up in line of battle and marched up to within fifty rods of the enemy, in as good order as we ever did on a parade. All the time the enemy was firing into us, but doing little damage. The enemy was just over a hill and we had to march up to the top in order to get at them. As fast as we advanced the enemy retreated. We gained the top of the hill before they reached the woods and made sad havoc among them, killing about 100. After they reached the woods, they stood and kept up a brisk fire, most of the time their shots going over our heads. After we stood up at the top of the hill firing very sharp, the rebels raised an American flag; our officers gave us word to cease firing, saying we were fighting with our own men. We ceased, but the enemy did not; we raised our flag, and at that moment a whole volley was sent at us, riddling our flag terribly. Our men, without orders, blazed at them fiercely, completely driving them out of the woods, and as they went out they were exposed to us; we again opened on them and you could see dozens fall at a time. The 1st and 2d Rhode Island regiments and the 71st ‘New York were the first to open the battle. After we had driven them away from those woods we were ordered to fall back from the top of the hill, all the time their batteries were playing upon us. We could hear their balls pass our heads, it seemed as if it was hailing only there was more noise. While I was in the act of capping my musket a shell struck it and shattered it in a thousand pieces, one piece killing a man a few feet from me. I immediately ran and picked up his piece and fired with that the balance of the time. My haversack was also cut off my back, and strange to say I never received a wound. We were intended to be the reserve, but instead of that we were the advance, and opened the fire. We were upon a masked battery before we knew it and they opened upon us killing and wounding about eight. We fired on them silencing it and killed all in it, about 30 or 40 in all. If we had a re-enforcement in time we would have carried everything before us. We were doing so until the rebels were re-enforced by about forty or fifty thousand men, that number being too great for ours (about 20,000). The enemy’s whole force was upwards of ninety thousand strong.

Long Island Farmer & Queens Co. Advertiser, 7/30/1861

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History of the 71st Regiment, N. G, N. Y., American Guards

Contributed by John Hennessy