A. [?.] C., Co. A, 13th New York Infantry, On the Battle and Retreat

15 06 2020

Fort Bennett, Va. July 22, 1861.

Friend C. – Yesterday (Sunday) was a day that will long be remembered. At 2 o’clock we were called up by the bugle notes of our brigade, to march. About 7 o’clock Sherman’s battery and a thirty two pounder opened fire upon the rebels, who were first found sneaking in and around the woods, near where we were formed in battle order. A few men of the 13th were permitted to get water, and while filling their canteens were fired upon by the enemy, but none of them were hurt. Almost immediately, the first division of the 13th (Capt. Putnam’s and Smith’s Companies*) were ordered on to the hill as scouts, and quite a number of shots were exchanged. Presently, a large number of rebels were seen flying over the hills in all directions – a few shells from our battery helping them along. S. P. Allen was with us, busily engaged with the glass, giving decisive information, and discovered a large body of troops advancing, who were supposed to be Col. Hunter’s column, who shortly engaged the rebels with a very warm and destructive fire.

The 69th, 13th, 79th and 2d Wisconsin, were then ordered to the scene of action – about two miles to the left of us. On went these four regiments. The 13th stripped off all their blankets, &c, and marched on [?] double quick, through the woods and fields of grain, till we came to the stream called Bull’s Run – a nasty, filthy creek at the foot of a very steep and rocky hill, about 95 feet wide and 3 feet deep. Here the 69th were detained somewhat, notwithstanding the exhortations of officers to dash through it. The 13th went through it with a hop, skip and jump movement. Here came the cry that the rebels were running! On, on went our men, with the Stars and Stripes over our heads. Arriving upon the hill, the 69th opened a tremendous fire upon the enemy, as they were flying in all directions, and the 13th did great execution with their rifles. The enemy, of course, took to the woods where their damnable masked batteries were.

Our forces were immediately drawn up in order, and marched up to the work like veterans, under a tremendous cross-fire from the enemy’s batteries, grape, balls, canisters and shell falling like hail stones among us; but down the hill we advanced – double quick – and drove them off into the woods again. The enemy then rallied with renewed vigor, and succeeded in scattering our forces terribly. Just then the 13th advanced, and held the hill against a tremendous fire, for some time. Thank God we were the very last to leave, retreating gradually – after being ordered the second time – loading and firing as we did so. At this point the 13th suffered considerable loss. Our officers – God bless them – were true and brave.

The whole of our army was finally driven off, completely routed and broken up, amid the greatest confusion; and was followed as far back as Centerville, and I don’t know but further. – Just before we reached Centerville, the enemy opened one of their masked batteries upon the wounded, who were being conveyed in carriages to the Centerville hospital. Here one of the most wicked and heart-rending scenes took place, I think, that was ever known. No living man can describe it. We had no cannon to return the fire, and our rifles and muskets were of no use. The only thing we could do was to run. – The horses attached to the wagons, which were loaded with wounded, became frightened, and ran like so many deer through the woods, smashing the carriages, and dashing the wounded against the stones, stumps and trees. Oh, how the heart cried for revenge.

After getting out of the woods, and into another road, I found a small flag, which I seized, and gaining a position on an open hill, (supposing the enemy were following us,) I called out aloud to the soldiers to stand, and fight till the last breath of life was gone, rather than out wounded should be butchered by such devils. – They rallied! Yes, they stood, and we got about one hundred and fifty men together, and with our little flag we marched on till we found we were safe, and then we parted, each to find his own regiment.

Chas. C. Buckley, of Company A, who had been my right hand man ever since the company was organized, was wounded. He was shot twice – in the neck and arm – at the time the 13th advanced up the hill, where the enemy’s fire was so severe. His friends got him a horse, upon which he was conveyed, under a guard, to the Centreville Hospital. His wounds were dressed, and he is not considered dangerously wounded.

There are a great many of the 13th missing, but I don’t think there are many killed, compared to some other regiments. In Company A, I think none were killed. After leaving the battle field, I saw only a few of the 13th, as they, like all the rest, were scattered along the roads during the entire retreat back to Washington, which was ordered, as an attack upon the Capital was anticipated by the Generals in command.

This was a hard day’s work, I assure you; but there was no grumbling. We were obliged to march all night, arriving in camp about 7 or 8 o’clock the next morning, and immediately packed up our traps and started for Fort Bennett, which lies just back of Georgetown, and a little to the left of Fort Corcoran. It is the same that the 13th worked upon.

The 13th lost none of its officers, that I know of. As regards myself, I am all right, only a little sore and stiff. There were a great many officers of different companies, killed – the work of the enemy’s sharpshooters.

There are various reports in circulation – Some say that Mr. Allen was killed, but it is not generally believed.

A. [?.] C. **

Rochester (NY) Democrat and American, 7/27/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

* Companies A and F

** Possibly Albert G. Cooper of Company A (the only A. C. found in the roster). The letter writer is assumed a member of Company A due to the mention of Chas. Buckley of that company.

13th New York Infantry roster https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/rosters/Infantry/13th_Infantry_CW_Roster.pdf





Hospital Steward Daniel W. Bosley, Co. E, 27th New York Infantry, On the Battle

12 06 2020

From the Twenty-Seventh.
———-

Mr. Daniel W. Bosley, of the 27th Regiment, Company E, who was employed assisting the Surgeons during the engagement between Bull’s Run and Manassas, writes to a friend as follows:

Washington, July 25th, 1861.

I received your welcome letter on Tuesday, the second day after the battle of Bull’s Run, which, I suppose, you have already heard of. – Sunday and Monday were two of the hardest days I ever experienced. We left our camp at 4 o’clock, Sunday morning, and marched fourteen miles to the battle ground. I did not have to fight. I remained in the back ground with the Doctor. The enemy was situated on a hill, behind masked batteries. Our troops took position on another hill, with a fine valley between them, the batteries playing from each hill. The federal troops behaved nobly; but for want of proper officers, (not outs,) ammunition, and besides that the boys were so tired that they could hardly walk, they were compelled to retreat. The battle lasted from 12 till 4 o’clock, when we retreated from the field, and marched to Washington, a distance of 40 miles. We carried some provisions with us, but the men threw all encumbrances away as they went into battle; therefore we had to march from Sunday morning to Monday morning, without resting over five minutes at a time, and without any sleep or anything to eat, going nearly sixty miles, and drank water that you would not wash your hands in.

I felt very stiff for one or two days afterwards, but now I feel first rate, and am anxious to go back, for the rest of the boys are willing to go. We will clean them out yet.

Only four of Wanzer’s company are missing; John Clague – Instantly killed. W. H. Merrill – wounded. Taken to the hospital, and the hospital was afterward burned by the rebels – Hamlin – foot shot off. Left to the tender mercies of the foe, and McGettrick – “sun struck.” I helped him a mile, when the cavalry charged on us, and I had to leave him.

I had to dodge cannon balls right and left, when from curiosity I ventured too near the fight. I captured a “secesh musket,” and the other boys took some swords, muskets and revolvers.

From your affectionate friend,
Daniel W. Bosley.

Rochester (NY) Democrat and American, 7/29/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

27th New York Infantry roster 

Daniel W. Bosley at Ancestry.com 

Daniel W. Bosley at Fold3 

Daniel W. Bosley at FindAGrave 





G. H. Price*, 14th New York State Militia, On the Campaign

10 06 2020

[Letter from a son to his parents.]

Camp Porter, Alexandria, Va.,
Tuesday, July 23rd, 1861.

We have fought a great battle and lost it, and thank God I am but slightly injured in the side, under the left arm, from a shell that exploded at our feet. On Tuesday last we left this place at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and marched until 11 or 12 at night; we then rested in the open field till daylight, and then started forward again to three entrenchments of the enemy which they had deserted. At about 3 o’clock on Wednesday P. M. we marched into Fairfax, the enemy having retreated on our approach. We marched through the little village of Fairfax, which hardly deserved the name, there being only the Court House and half a dozen huts. In the afternoon of the next day we started on again, and marched about six miles to a place this side of Centreville, where we encamped until 2 o’clock Saturday morning, where we again started – this time to fight. We marched at a pretty quick time to Bull’s Run, a distance of sixteen miles. We halted for a few minutes, and we could see the enemy firing from his battery. We then had orders to march double quick time to the other side of the run, which was about two miles. We had our blankets, which, with two days’ rations, we threw away as we ran. We no sooner got there, all panting and blowing, than we were ordered to charge up a hill and at an enemy we could not see, they being behind their masked battery. We then made a charge and fell back to reload. We were drawn into a ditch to draw the enemy’s fire from our artillery. We went up a road and were fired upon by some of our own men, whether the 71st, 27th, or 8th regiment I do not know. We all fell on our faces till they had done firing, when we, of course not knowing who they were, stood up and fired at them. All this took place in less time than you can read of it. We went in the ditch were we were ordered and lay there to be shot at for almost a quarter of an hour, we then made three distinct charges at the enemy who fired at us with buckshot and bullets which mowed us down like grass. In the third charge within ten feet of the enemy’s guns a shell exploded among our company and some ten or twelve fell, I among them. I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder or rather behind it. I put my hand there and found a piece of my jacket and shirt gone, there was a cut big enough to lay your finger in. I turned round and saw our captain fall**. I ran to him and a sergeant and I carried him off the field. He is wounded in the left breast by a ball. It is not extracted yet. We were ordered to retreat to Washington the enemy having a reinforcement of some forty thousand men as near as Gen. McDowell could tell. Our poor Colonel was shot in the hip after his horse was shot under him. How we travelled almost sixty miles in twenty-eight hours, and how we ever reached the camp I do not know. When we got in I fell down and went to sleep. I cannot write any more at present.

G. H. Price*,

P. S. – I hear the 14th was cut off; that the enemy fired into our ambulances and killed all the wounded, our Colonel among them. Whether it is true I can’t tell.

Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, 7/25/1861

Clipping Image

Also on web 

Contributed by John Hennessy

14th New York State Militia (84th New York Infantry) roster 

* The only Price found in the regimental roster is James Price of Co. C.

** Capt. R. B. Jordan of Co. A, and Capt. C. F. Baldwin, Co. D, were reported wounded in the battle.





Pvt. Joseph Sands, Co. A, 14th New York State Militia, On the Battle

9 06 2020

Arlington Heights, July 23.

I write you these few lines to let you know that I am safe, but scarcely able to stir from the effects of our marching and our exertions in the battle. Pretty much all of our men are in the same condition. That is, all that is left of us. I am very sorry to tell you we lost the battle, but I hope you and your friends won’t blame us, for God knows that we did our best to win, and particularly the New York troops; they fought manfully; and Brooklyn need not be ashamed of the 14th Regiment, for they did what no others dare do. It was when the Fire Zouaves were in the advance and laying for the rascals to come out, that we charged right upon the battery – in the very cannon’s mouth – and gave them volley after volley, and all of a sudden they opened their guns upon us, and plowed us down with grape and canister. Not only this but their cavalry charged upon us, when we were compelled to retreat. As we were retreating I saw my compatriots fall thick and fast around me, but I hadn’t any chance to help the wounded on the gory field. As we were going over, one of the Generals stepped up and said, “14th are you tired?” We told him no. Said he, “you have done your part.” He shouts out for the other troops to rally. For our part we could not rally without support, and all our officers were shot. We stood firm, and we saw even the regulars retreating. The general shouts out “Give one more rally.” They would not. Said he [illegible] musket, and shot him off his horse. As soon as he fell one of the Fire Zouaves jumped on the horse and galloped away; when, all of a sudden, the fellows turned and fled as fast as they could go. This, you may think, is flattery, but it is not, it is a correct statement as far as I can remember. They have taken an immense number of prisoners, and the wounded they kill, as far as I can understand. They have 150,000 men stationed there. There was 90,000 men there first, and reinforcements coming in all the time, and if we had staid much longer they would most likely have surrounded us and taken us all prisoners. We lost our Colonel and a good many of our officers; our regiment is pretty well cut up. They are talking of sending us home to recruit again. They are going to give us new uniforms, for we are in need of them; mine was bad enough before the battle, but after the battle I notice they were pretty well riddled up. The bayonet belonging to my musket was knocked clean off with a shot.

Joseph Sands, Co. A, 14th Regt.

Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, 7/25/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

14th New York State Militia (84th New York Infantry) roster 

Joseph Sands at Ancestry.com 

Joseph Sands at Fold3 

Joseph Sands at FindAGrave 





2nd Lieut. Charles E. Palmer, Co. F, 2nd Connecticut Infantry, On the Advance and Blackburn’s Ford

2 06 2020

OUR CORRESPONDENCE.
—————
From the Volunteers.
—————

Centreville, Va., near
Manassas Junction, July 19, 1861.

“Forward to Richmond!” seems at last to be the motto of Gen. Scott, and the movement has commenced. I wrote you a few weeks ago that the only sight we should get of the enemy at Fairfax, would be their coat-tails. Those who were fortunate enough to be in front of the line with telescopes, did, I believe, have that privilege, but the main column marched on in utter ignorance of that fact. But here we are, within seven miles of the far-famed Manassas Gap Junction, and two from the main body of the enemy at Bull’s Creek, who are strongly entrenched in a position which they evidently intended should become a second Thermopylae.

But to commence at the beginning. On Monday night last, at our evening parade, the order was given for each company to put three days’ rations in their haversacks, roll their blankets, and be ready to march at 3, P. M., next day. For once there was n countermand, and at the appointed time the Second Connecticut filed out into the road. The First fell into their rear, and in a few moments we were on the march toward Vienna, at the head of a division of ten thousand men. We went on without reconnoitering some two or three miles, when the Connecticut Brigade threw themselves off to the right and left as skirmishers, and we dashed on through the bushes and fields, without interruption till evening, when the column halted at Vienna, and we bivouacked for the night. Augmented during the night to twenty thousand, about sunrise we moved toward Fairfax. We took our position no the right as skirmishers, and for the first time evidences of the recent occupation by the enemy met our eyes. Temporary booths for pickets, haversacks and canteens, were occasionally found, while now and then the road was obstructed by fallen trees and other articles to impede our progress. By and by, a shout was occasionally heard along the line of our skirmishers, as they blazed away at some flying picket, and now and then a prisoner was carried back to the main body. These incidents grew more frequent, till a halt was sounded, just as the head of the column arrived at the top of a hill, commanding at a distance of a few miles, a view of Fairfax Courthouse. A battery of artillery was sent to the front, and we cautiously advanced till within about a mile, when our brigade was drawn up in line of battle, the cannon posted near a school-house on a little elevation , and a shell or two thrown over into the midst of the enemy. Then commenced a stampede. Baggage wagons could be seen moving rapidly forward, and the glitter of the arms of the enemy as they moved at a double quick out on the road toward Manassas Gao, showed that our first fight was not to be at Fairfax. Our column then obliqued to the right down the Germantown road, where the enemy were said to have entrenchments, and were determined to make a stand. But here again we were disappointed. After carefully feeling our way a few hundred yards, their pickets again came in sight, running in such haste as to leave their blankets, and in some cases their uncooked breakfasts on the fires at their posts. We passed several places where there had been masked batteries, and on emerging from a piece of woods, saw before us a long line of breastworks, in the rear of which was located a secession camp. There was no evidence of life around it except the flying pickets, who could still be seen at a distance, making off. – But understanding their ways, and not being inclined to fall into any trap by advancing our forces and suddenly finding a dozen cannon blazing at us, the skirmishers were ordered by Col. Keyes to halt till the artillery came up, who fired a couple of shots into it. This effected nothing, and a few men advanced cautiously and looked over, and soon our whole line was again in motion. There were evidences of a force having been at work during the morning at this entrenchment, which they had left in such haste as to leave their shovels, picks, and all their tools behind them. On advancing to their camp, we found camp equipage in such abundance that picking it up was out of the question with our limited supply of baggage wagons, and it was stored away to be taken care of at some future time. We pushed on to Germantown, (two houses, one pig-sty, and a pump.) planted the Stars and Stripes on a flag-staff, where once had floated the stars and bars; captured a baggage wagon full of army stores, with two horses attached; found lots of blankets, knapsacks, haversacks and canteens, which had been thrown away by the over-burdened John Gilpins. We halted at night at a point some ten miles from our position in the morning. The next day we moved on to our present position, where we arrived about 10 o’clock, A. M. The Connecticut regiments were relieved from skirmishing duty today, by the 2d Michigan and 12th New York, and we took a position near the center of the column. Scarcely had we came to a halt, when a report of artillery at the head of Col. Heintzelman’s division, which had been moving parallel with ours on a road about a mile to our left, showed us that we had engaged the enemy. This report was followed by another and another, till word was sent back along the line that the head of both columns had come up – to a strong position of the rebels at Bull’s Creek, and were now having a desperate conflict. Our brigade was filed into the woods as a reserve, and the rest of the division push-on to the scene. For three or four hours the booming of cannon was incessant, and we lay on our arms in line, expecting to be called on to march at any time, reports meanwhile coming back to us of the progress of the battle. Sometimes these were encouraging, but enough was learned to leave no doubt that the loss on our side was fearful, and that the enemy had not been dislodged from their position. The firing at length gradually ceased, and we were told that neither side had gained any advantage, but that both had lost a great number of men.

THURSDAY’S SKIRMISH AT BULL’S RUN.

The skirmishers at the head of our division were pushing into the woods – a dense pine growth – when they discovered a battery and retreated to rally on the reserve. For some reason this reserve was nearer than usual, and by the time they had reached it, were just pushing into the same place. At this moment the battery opened on them, throwing shell and shot with great execution. Our men retreated with as much regularity as possible, but another volley took effect, and made many a poor fellow bite the dust ere they were out of reach. Sherman’s battery of rifled cannon was then brought up and opened a fire of shell and canister into the place where the battery was located. No answer was returned, and a cloud of dust being seen rising in the rear, it was supposed by Gen. Tyler that the enemy had retreated, and he ordered the 2d Massachusetts to charge into the same place. They advanced, and the conflict commenced. The life-long hatred between these two States now had an opportunity of venting itself, and both sides seemed to feel that in them lay the issue. – South Carolina had the advantage, however, and Massachusetts was obliged to retreat, but only after repeated volleys from the battery. – The humanity of our enemy was shown by a Carolinian rushing out from his cover with fixed bayonet, and pinning a wounded man to the earth, who was attempting to crawl away. A lieutenant was seen to swing his sword and exclaim – “That’s it; kill every one of the d—-d Yankees!” Those were his last words, – the next moment he threw up his arms and fell a corpse.

The position of the enemy was such that but two regiments could be engaged at a time, and as it was deemed useless to throw more lives away, Gen. Tyler withdrew his forces to the woods and the firing on both sides ceased. The enemy attempted to cross a creek near by, but were driven back at the point of the bayonet by the New York 69th.

OUR LOSS.

I have made careful inquiry – not from officers who would have a motive in concealing the true number – but from sergeants and privates in the regiments engaged, who have the knowledge from the roll call of their different corps, and find the loss on our side to be from forty to forty-five killed, and about twice that number wounded. The regiments that suffered the most were the New York 12th, Massachusetts 2d, and Michigan 2d. Two were killed from Sherman’s battery. As the firing was mostly shell and grape, the proportion of the wounded was less than usual in engagements.

Heavy artillery seems to be what is wanted to dislodge the enemy from their position, and yesterday there arrived two large siege pieces – one a 64 pounder, drawn by fifteen horses – the other a 26, with bombs and tar-balls, the latter being intended to burn the rebels out from their present retreat. The attack cannot be postponed more than a day or two at most, and I have not much doubt they will be driven back to Manassas. It will be necessary to wait a few days, when they will be obliged from necessity, to fall further back, as the only water they have is obtained from their present position. Their force is reported as amounting to 40,000, and there may be a Water-loo here before the affair is ended.

Our present position is on the brow of a hill, where Beauregard evidently intended at one time to make a stand, as there is an earthwork here, pierced for several guns, which commands the main approach for two r three miles, and which could not be easily flanked. This is a splendid position for defense, and their deserting it for another is good evidence that they will not be easily dislodged.

Centreville is an old Virginia country town, – a place of some importance in the days of stage-coaches and toll-gates, but now run to dilapidation. I do not see a building which appears to have been built since the Revolution, and none have been repaired since their erection. Most of them have been deserted by their owners, and are now used for hospitals for our wounded.

At the old camp of the enemy here, there were many articles left which were siezed upon by our men as relics. I have been favored by the sight of several letters which were picked up. The following shows that they are not above the wants of us poor mortals in the Federal ranks: Sister Maria to her “Dear Chet,” invokes Heaven’s curses on those awful Yankees, and then says that she thinks it a shame that President Davis does not give them better food.

Here is a letter entire:

Centreville, Va., July 3d, 1861.

Dear Father – Send me at once a gallon of best whiskey. I have not time to write more.

Yours truly, —- —-.

Another from a lady to her brother requests him to “bring her home a Yankee captain so she can see what he looks like.” All either begin or end with curses on the Yankee Abolitionists. An order was found from the Adjutant General commanding every male citizen capable of bearing arms to report himself to General Beauregard, with such weapons as he could procure, within a week from July 11th. Their case is a desperate one.

The time of the First Connecticut Regiment expired to-day. They were called together this morning to see how many were willing to remain a few days to see the issue of the present operations. About fifty of the regiment were willing to stay, and they go home in a day or two. I understand that several regiments will follow them in a few days. Our (2d regt.) is out the 5th of August, and by that time I trust the immediate need for our presence will be through. We are now cooking three days’ rations, and are ordered to be ready to move by 5 o’clock this afternoon.

C. E. P.

Winsted (CT) Herald, 7/26/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

For the identity of C. E. P. see this post.

2nd Connecticut Infantry Roster

Charles E. Palmer at Ancestry.com

Charles E. Palmer at Fold3

Charles E. Palmer at Find-a-Grave





Surgeon Norman S. Barnes, 27th New York Infantry, On the Retreat

28 05 2020

War Correspondence
—————

[Our special dispatches of yesterday, 4 P. M., announced that Norman S. Barnes, of this city, Surgeon of the 27th regiment, was among the “wounded and missing.” At a later hour the following communication was received by Mrs. Barnes, from which we are permitted to make the following extracts. It will be seen that Surgeon B., although wounded, effected his escape, and is now in safety.]

Extracts from a Private Letter from Surgeon Barnes of 27th Regiment.

Camp Anderson
Washington, July 23d, 1861.

I am only slightly wounded, not so bad that I can sit up and attend to or superintend the care of the wounded.

Indeed, we have had a most terrific battle; the details of it you will get in the papers. The N. Y. Times’ reporter was near the scene of action, and retreated with us. Their papers will be a more reliable one on that account.

It was impossible to keep out of the way of danger. Cannon balls, grape, cannister and musket balls flew thick and fast about us; men and horses were killed all around me.

One horse was killed under me; I lost my coat, belt, sash, sword, &c; all my instruments and medicines. I amputated twenty five limbs. But the poor fellows were afterwards shoot, or bayoneted, or had their throats cut. ‘Twas a sorry sight.

As soon as I found that no respect was to be paid to Surgeons or to their wounded, I made up my mind to take care of myself. Up to this time I had not fired a shot; m revolver now did its duty. After that I took from a rebel soldier, somewhat against his will, a minie rifle – this served me better.

As I now had become a fighting man, I was compelled to join the ”rear guard” of the now rapidly retiring army. My horse Prince, that had been careering over the battle field on his own account, having broken away from the man in whose charge I left him, was no where to be seen; and with balls flying thick around me, and the rebels at our heels, I thought that on your account as well as my own, I’d take to the woods. Fourteen miles we – tired, hungry and thirsty fellows, fifteen or twenty thousand – pushed our way through the woods on foot.

We had not ne mouthful to eat or drink, except from mud-puddles. About fourteen miles from the battle-filed, my horse came along on a full run, with two men on him, fleeing for dear life. They dismounted, and I had it somewhat easier, but with a tired horse, bleeding at his sides, covered with foam and almost exhausted. After getting on him, and proceeding four or five miles, we were charged in the rear, where I still was, by a numerous body of the rebels, a large number on horse, and also by their flying artillery. About three hundred were killed, as nearly as we can calculate, from recent inspection.

A bridge which was just before us was blown to pieces, while I was fording the stream. Dr. Morse kept close to my side, and how we were saved I do not know, except it be through God. One thing, I do not remember that I once felt the least frightened, but made my calculations without confusion.

We left out camp, about forty miles from Washington, at 2 o’clock Sunday morning; overtook the enemy, strongly entrenched, about 18 miles distant; commenced action at 1:00; and after six hours hard fighting against more than twice our number; retreated to Washington, 58 miles. During all this time our men had been without food. We reached here yesterday morning at 8 o’clock. Since then a few stragglers have come in.

I’ve written in haste, surrounded by wounded soldiers, and giving directions to my assistants, unless in some important cases.

N. S. B.

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/27/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

27th New York Infantry Roster 

Norman S. Barnes at Ancestry.com 

Norman S. Barnes at Fold3 

Norman S. Barnes at FindAGrave 





Byron, 13th New York Infantry, On Blackburn’s Ford

17 05 2020

War Correspondence.
—————
The Battle of Thursday.

Ontario, July 21, 1860

Eds. Evening Express, Rochester: – Gents.:
Do me the favor to publish the enclosed letter from my son in the 13th Regiment Volunteers from Rochester. I am a reader of the Express, although no a subscriber at the office, but will be, for you paper is in the hearts of the soldiers and the people.

Very Respectfully yours,
G.

—————

Centreville, July 20, 1861.

Father: – We left Camp Union on the 16th at 2 o’clock, P. M., marching as far as Vienna, which the rebels had left but a few hours before. Early the next morning we took up our line of march, driving the enemy before us but a short distance. We stopped over night of the 17th at Camp Mason from which rebels had left rather hastily to all appearances. In the vicinity there were between three or four thousand rebels. We came the next day to Centreville reaching here about noon, while here a part of the division about noon, while here a part of the division passed us, when they had gone two miles they came upon a masked battery battery which allowed them to approach within a few feet before opening. The Michigan 1st and the New York 12th were the regiments engaged them first, discovered the rebels commenced retreating and cheering, and our troops advancing until within a few feet of the battery, when they rose up out of their entrenchments – sueli vollies of musketry perfectly terrific – opening the battery at the same time cutting down about 40 of our troops – they still advancing, and when within nearly bayonet reach, were ordered to retreat.

At this time we were on the way to the scene of action, meeting troops, some retreating, some wounded and lying aside the road. We asked them how they made out. Their reply was, “we had to back up.” About this time more artillery reached the spot, and began to fire, the rebels returning the fire promptly. We were flanked off one side of the road in the woods – in the din of battle, we being under cover of the woods moved forward, the shot from the enemy’s rifled cannon whistling over our heads rather lively. – We were soon commanded to halt, as we expected they were advancing upon us. We all dropped on our knees, and when a discharge was heard, we listened for the messengers that could soon be heard tearing through the timber, when we would fall on our faces; one ball struck right before us, and bounded over our heads, and struck behind us, we could see; it being a spent ball, one of the boys picked it up.

One poor fellow belonging to one of the regiments engaged, who was lying back of us in the woods, had the top part of his head blown completely off, a horrid sight. Our cannon ceased firing, the enemy being under cover, and fell back, waiting for mortars to come and shell them out. Yesterday there was no movement at all. Last night the guns came up, so to-day there will be awful work. They are going to throw out tar in shells, and burn them out. There are now three batteries within three miles of here. The division under Gen. Tyler is about 40,000 strong.

We are but six miles from Manassas Junction, after the battle we could hear the cars running all night, bringing troops from Manassas, so they must have a large force here. We shall certainly have a fight to-day, and many a poor fellow will never see the rising of to-morrows sun, but as they saying is, “We’re all in the same boat,” and must stand it. I never expect to see home again, but gloomy as the prospect is, I am not at all disheartened. I shall stand to the rack, fodder or no fodder. They say when our troops fell back, leaving the wounded, they came out of the trenches, and bayoneted the wounded. If this be true, we can expect no quarter, if we fall into their hands. This is the most God forsaken country I ever saw; the land is not worth a dollar per acre. Our pickets were firing all night long last night. The mail is about ready to leave, and I must close. My kindest regards to all the folks, and tell them to write. Direct to Washington, and it will come.

Respectfully yours,
Byron

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/26/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy





T. H. C., On the 2nd Vermont Infantry In the Battle

14 05 2020

Correspondence of the Journal
The Second Vermont Regiment.

“T. H. C.” writing from Washington, July 24, to the Burlington Times, furnishes additional particulars respecting the Vermont Regiment, from which it will be seen that they were not furnished with the new Enfield guns which were promised, but went into the battle with their old “smooth bores.” Some luck regiment undoubtedly had the nice rifled guns which we understand were offered to Vermont by parties in Canada, but refused. – The War Department had given no authority to purchase them, and of course it could not be done! We give the principal portion of the letter as follows:

Our men, wearied and fatigued by the long march in the sun, without breakfast and water, and being attacked at once upon their arrival, it will be seen they fought at great disadvantages. In fact it seems almost incredible that they could have endured it half the time they did. – The Vermont regiment was the first in the brigade, as I am informed, to commence the action, and were kept in the hottest of the battle most of the time, and were the last to leave the field, and never during the whole engagement did they exhibit any dissatisfaction, until the order came to retreat. With this they were very much displeased.

The enemy used the best rifled cannon, mostly, bringing their infantry and cavalry into action only when necessary to make a charge. It must be evident to every one that under these circumstances, armed as our regiment was with the poorest arms, they could not do great execution against an enemy thus protected, however brave and determined they might be. I have seen every captain and officer of our regiment since the engagement, and received from each their statement as to their particular commands, and the wonder is that they were not completely annihilated, and I have yet to see the first soldier who was not cool and fearless during the whole time, and who is not dissatisfied that they were called away. – The Battleboro Company, Captain Todd, being the Company carrying the flag, received the most injury, their captain receiving a ball through the throat in the early part of the action and was carried from the field.

While some companies were in worse positions than others and of course were called upon to do more, still there were none of them but what fought desperately and until the last moment.

Probably the Bennington Company, Capt. Walbridge, did more execution than the others, from the fact that they were the only company to have Minnie muskets or rifles. In every instance, Capt. W. told me, whenever he came into fair action with a company of rebels, he silenced them after four rounds. The other companies fought at a great disadvantage, their muskets being a poor weapon to contend with the rifles of the enemy. – Every Captain gives his men much credit for their obedience to orders and bravery during the whole action, and our whole regiment came from the field to Centreville in perfect order. Lieut. Col. Stannard, (although not well when he came on to the field) and Major Joyce behaved most nobly, gallantly and bravely – being at their posts in the midst of a perfect shower of balls and shot, rallying their men, and issuing their orders with coolness and dispatch. The men are universal in their expressions of praise and admiration of the conduct of these officers, as well as that of Adjutant Ladd, who passed from company to company in the midst of the thickest fight. Assistant Surgeon Carpenter remained at the Hospital, some two miles from the battle field to take care of the sick and wounded as they were brought in, and so remained in active discharge of his duties until the general rout, when the hospital was fired into by the rebels and destroyed – the sick escaping in every possible way they could – Surgeon Carpenter was the last to leave it, and not until every man was away. No man upon the field was more cool in the performance of his duties than Surgeon Ballou. He took upon himself the duty of going upon the field with the ambulances, to pick up the wounded and take them to the hospital, which proved to be the most dangerous part of all.

The enemy firing on the ambulances, in a short time every one which Dr. Ballou had was shot to pieces, with the wounded in them, he narrowly escaping many times, and finally, when he came in with the last one, it was struck by a ball, separating it from the horses, and about the same time a charge was made by the Black Horse cavalry, of Alexandria, which created a stampede, when the Doctor, mounting one of the horses, left the field. – This was after the whole army was in retreat, and there was general consternation. He soon found a wounded soldier, whom he put on the horse, and being separated from the regiment, made his way back to Alexandria walking through the woods 30 miles.

I regret to say that there is dissatisfaction with Col. Whiting, whether justly or unjustly in not for me to say. If all reports are correct it is due to him, and to the brave sons of Vermont who have fought so gallantly, that the matter should be investigated. Every soldier who survived is ready and anxious to march to the battle-field again; but under their present impression respecting the Col. they will enter a battle with little confidence.

Col. Bowdish, Wm. G. Shaw, John B. Page, F. Chaffee and myself spent Friday and Saturday last with the army at Centreville, and left about six hours before they were ordered to prepare for battle. Yesterday Col. B. and myself spent at Alexandria, gathering a list of the missing, which as near as we can ascertain up to the hour of writing, is as follows:

Company A, Capt. Walbridge, Bennington.

Andrew J. Noyes – Flesh wound below hip, was in ambulance coming from the field.
Wm. E. Murphy – Left on the field to take care of Noyes.
Thomas Morissey – Sick before the battle and supposed to be a prisoner.

Company B, Capt. Hope, Castleton.

Warren Gifford, Danby – Wounded in the hand, left camp at Centreville.
Jeremiah Bolton, Hydeville – Flesh wound in thigh, last seen at hospital near field.
H. L. Breckensaid, Rutland – Killed.

Company C, Capt. Todd, Brattleboro’.

This is the only company which we have not full returns. The Capt. is at the National Hotel in this city and will soon be out. He says that about a dozen of his company are missing.

iCo. D, Capt. Dillingham, Waterbury.i

P. F. Flaherty – gave out on the field.
John Gwoing – wounded in the foot – last seen on the field.
John H. Murray, Duxbury, seen on field.
Dan. K. Stickey, Berling, seen on field.
These are supposed to be prisoners.

Co. E, Capt. Smith, Tunbridge.

Harrison Dewey, Royalton – last seen at Centreville, weary.
S. L. D. Goodale – last seen on retreat.
Edson Wiggins, Chelsea – last seen on retreat.
George A. Martin fell out before reaching the field.
A. Waldo, Royalton – left in the hospital at Centreville sick.

Co. F, Capt. Randall, Montpelier.

Victory Goodrich, Roxbury – Killed.
Benj. Taylor, Montpelier – last seen on the field.

Co. G, Capt. Drew, Burlington.

Capt. J.T. Drew was sick Saturday and when they were ordered to march insisted on going, and was last seen by Sergeant Bliss of Bennington Co. about 2 miles from the field at the hospital, probably prisoner.
Sergeant Geo. W. Woodward, Westford – last seen on retreat before the cavalry attack.
H. W. Conroe, South Hero – last seen on retreat before the cavalry attack.
Benj. Martin, South Hero – last seen on retreat before the cavalry attack.
John Redmond – last seen on field.
L. M. Wilson stopped at his fathers in Fairfax and probably Woodward may be with him.

Co. H, Capt. Burham, Fletcher.

Sergeant Woodbury, arm shot off and amputated, left the hospital near the field.
Geo. Streeter, Milton – wounded below knee pan in both legs, in Stone Church at Centreville.
Jehiel S. Bailey, Bakersfield – last seen on the field.
N. B. Lathrop, Cambridge – last seen on the field.
A. Paris, Fairfax – last seen on the field.
Eugene C. Sleeper, Fairfax – last seen on the field.

Co. I, Capt. Fullam, Ludlow.

John A. Leonard, Shrewsbury – wounded I the arm, last seen o the field.
Geo. H. Lewis, fifer, not seen since he went into the field.

Co. K, Capt. Eaton, Vergennes.

Henry Huntly, seen on retreat.

From this it will be seen there are but about 46 missing and but 8 known to be dead. Soldiers are constantly coming in, and as it is about 30 miles from the Potomac to the field of battle, and the country intervening being covered more or less with woods it will take some time for them to come in. I have no doubt the missing will be reduced to 20. I may ot be correct in all my account but have given from the best authority I could get.

Walton’s Daily Journal (Montpelier, VT), 7/29/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy





Sgt. Abraham Ford, Co. H, 2nd Vermont Infantry, On the Battle

12 05 2020

From the Second Vermont Regiment.

Alexandria, Va., July 23, 1861.

Dear Sir – * * * * When the head of our column came up to theirs, they opened on us with their artillery. We had then marched fifteen miles, were all out of breath, had no breakfast except hard crackers which we eat on the march, had drank nothing but muddy water, and the last two miles of our march we had made on the “double-quick;” but notwithstanding all that, we went into them, and drove them back to their stronghold. There they drew on us and gave us the best whipping an army ever had. But we fought until we were ordered to retreat, and then came bitter disappointment to crown a day of severe fighting, hard labor and dreadful misery. – They followed us up with artillery and cavalry in the rear, while they sent a force around to cut off our retreat where we had to cross a bridge; but they did not cut us up very badly there, for we took to the woods. We could not return fire, for we had no ammunition.

The number of killed and wounded is not known, for we had to leave them all, poor fellows. Only two of them, in a shed that I stopped in on our retreat, had their wounds dressed. I think there must have been fifty in that shed, and they were only a small portion of what were on the field. – Our Orderly Sergeant [of the Fletcher Company] had his arm shot through. I took him off the field and helped our surgeon perform the amputation; and just as we had got through and got it done’up the order came to retreat to our old quarter; but when we got there we found no place would be safe for us short of Alexandria, and so we kept on; and a longer road, for one that had no more miles in it, I think I never saw. We arrived here about 11 o’clock on Monday forenoon, making about thirty-six hours that we were under arms, marching in the time at least fifty miles, and fighting severely about half an hour. When I say this, I mean the Vermont regiment; you will see by the papers how long the fight lasted, from 7 A. M. to 4 P. M., I think.

When we arrived here we were tired, hungry and wet; our feet were blistered and bleeding. – All the wounded came on that were able. To-day we are all sore and lame; not a man of us can walk without limping.

We expect the wounded that we left are all murdered; for we showed a flag of truce on the field, and they fired into it. I nailed a white flag on the door of the shed where some of the wounded were, and left with our orderly two canteens of water, a filter to drink through and some hard crackers – all I had. Then I had to leave or be taken prisoner. The poor fellow begged of me to get a team and take him along, but that was impossible. I had to leave him to the mercy of a southern chivalry. I have heard since that the building was blown to pieces by their artillery and the wounded all killed.

Our Surgeon lost all his instruments and had to run for dear life. I could write a whole week of incidents which came under my observation, but I am tired and weak, and must close. More anon.

Yours Truly,
Abraham Ford.

The above letter inclosed a photograph of Col. Ellsworth, which the author found near the body of a fire Zouave who had been killed in the battle. It was taken in New York, by J. Gurney & Son, as their card is on the back of it.

Walton’s Daily Journal (Montpelier, VT), 7/23/1861

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

Abraham Ford at Ancestry.com 

Abraham Ford at Fold3 





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

24 04 2020

SOLDIER’S BONES
——————–
A Grave at Bull Run Desecrated by Veterans.
——————–
THEY WANTED SOUVENIRS
——————–
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

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Banks