“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





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