Ed, 12th New York Infantry, on Blackburn’s Ford

11 06 2020

The Onondaga Regiment in the Action of the 18th.

The following is an abstract from a private letter written by a young man of this city, who is attached to the 12th (Onondaga) Regiment. It gives an account of the part taken by the 12th in the Bull Run affair on the 18th last:

(Three miles from Manassas, in the woods, waiting for an order to advance on the enemy.)

July 19th, 1861.

Dear Father: – Yesterday we advance at the head of the brigade, which was the advance brigade of the column consisting of 40,000 troops. We can upon the enemy entrenched in thick woods. Our skirmishers were sent in and driven out three time, with great loss, when out Regiment was ordered in to attack them. The boys all went in well on the jump. Well, we reached a ravine a rod wide, and cleared, on the other side of which was a deep wood. When Our whole Regiment was on the edge, just where they wanted us, we received a terrible volley of musketry from concealed foes whom we had not seen. Our company dropped immediately on our backs, and commenced firing and loading in that position, which we kept p for 25 or 30 minutes; company J, and part of company E, keeping with us. The rest of the Regiment retreated on the first volley. We stood our ground until we found that we were not supported, and they had ceased firing, when we retreated slowly, and in good order, coming out of the woods in line. Our retreat was followed by showers of grape and canister. When we got out of the woods, our Regiment was not in sight, and we found them halted about two miles on the backward track. Our loss this morning in the Regiment is 120 killed, wounded and missing. The Massachusetts 2d went in right after us, and retreated in disorder, without firing a volley. There were probably from 5,000 to 10,000 men in ambush, where they sent one regiment to dislodge them. What folly! Gen. Tyler blamed the Colonel for the Regiment’s retreat, but said the two companies that stood, were brave, and did well. I have a chance to send this to Washington by a reporter. Many particulars I can give you another time. The enemy retreated before us but a few hours at Vienna, Fairfax, Germantown and Centreville. We have about 40,000 troops here, and will have to outflank the enemy to dislodge them. Can wrote many particulars at another time.

Ed.

Rochester (NY) Democrat and American, 7/25/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

12th New York Infantry roster





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

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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





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

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Contributed by John Hennessy





Vivandiere, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle (2)

8 05 2020

Vivandiere, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle (2)

From the Seat of War in Virginia.
—————

Special to the New Orleans Crescent

Headquarters Seventh Regiment La. Vols.
2 ½ Miles from Centreville, VA, August 3.

Mr. Editor – My multitudinous duties of a military character have kept me so constantly employed for the past few days as to cause me, unwillingly, to delay the “continuation” of my letter of the 23rd ult., relative to the great battles of Bull Run and Stone Bridge, or “Manassas.” Of the full particulars of both these memorable battles, you are, ere this, fully informed through other correspondents, and the official returns published in the Richmond papers and the Northern press. Even the interesting episodes of which such tragic scenes are always so prolific have been ere this served upon the public platter, as food for the insatiable appetite, proceeding from the “animal which is in man,” and hashed and re-hashed until they have become insipid and tasteless.

A few incidents which either occurred under my own observation, or for the truthfulness whereof I will vouch, have thus far however escaped other argus-eyed correspondents for the press, and I will claim for the Crescent the honor of being fist in the field with them. Of one of these, the historian should make note, as a link forever binding the name of Beauregard to that of all that is truly great and honorable.

It was not until late in the afternoon of the eventful 21st that President Davis arrived on the battle-field, and Beauregard had from an elevated stand-point seen the last gallant horseman of our pursuing cavalry disappear in the distance after the retreating Federalists ere he was informed of the President’s coming. I was near him, as his staff and the field-officers of the day approached to congratulate him on his safety and his victory. He was thus occupied when one of his aids approached at the top of his horse’s speed and announced the fact of the President’s arrival and request to have the pleasure of seeing him immediately. The reply of Beauregard was firm and unimpassioned: “I cannot wait upon the President himself till I have first seen and attended to the wants of my wounded!” This saying he turned his horse in the direction of the most fatal portion of the bloody field. Such a man is our Beauregard.

In conversation with many apparently intelligent Yankee prisoners, and from letters picked up on the field of battle, we gain a much better idea of public sentiment at the North than is discoverable from the perusal of the hireling papers of that section. When asked why they had taken up arms against us and invaded our soil, many of the prisoners would reply that they had enlisted for three months with a view of protecting the “National Capital” against a “Southern mob,” and had been marched, against their wills and wishes, into Southern territory, and would prefer to remain prisoners at Richmond until the suspension of hostilities than to rejoin the “grand army” of Northern aggression and invasion. I was engaged, at Manassas Junction, a day or two after the battle of the 21st, in conversation with a prisoner, a Sergeant in a Connecticut regiment, when a large and good natured looking darkie, belonging to an officer from South Carolina, came in, having in charge two live Yankee prisoners, whom he had surprised, disarmed, and captured, unaided. The negro was much pleased with his exploit, and became the lion of the hour. My Connecticut sergeant appeared somewhat astonished that the negroes – the downtrodden, bechained, bestrapped, misused, maltreated and crushed – should thus turn upon their liberators and friends (?). Your correspondent “took occasion” to read Connecticut a homily, with the above mentioned circumstance for a text, and felt sufficiently repaid for my efforts, in my first lesson, in the assurance on the parted Nutmeg, that there had “no doubt been considerable fault on both sides.”

The regiment to which I am attached, the Seventh of Louisiana, under Col. Hays, is now encamped on the battle-field of Bull Run, abut two hundred yards from Blackburn’s Ford, across which the enemy attempted to force a passage – and did’nt. The Sixth, of Louisiana, (Col. Seymour’s,) is quartered to our left a few hundred yards, and the Washington Artillery about a mile farther up the Run. The Ninth is at Manassas Junction. All the Louisiana troops in this section have been formed into a Brigade, under command of Senior Colonel Seymour, which arrangement appears to be generally satisfactory to all.

I have just had placed in my hands the monthly reports of the several companies of the Seventh Regiment, from which I collate the following of the killed and wounded in the late battles:

Continental Guards, Capt. Geo. Clark – Killed, Wm. Maylau on the 18th ult., and Thos. R. Clay on the 21st. Wounded, Sergeant [?], and Privates Jno. Flynn and J. W. Kelly, all on the 21st.

Crescent Rifles, Company B, Capt H. T. Jett – Killed, Jno. S. Brooks, on the 18th ult. Wounded, Corporal Chas. V. Fisher, on the 21st, doing well.

American Rifles, Capt. Wm. D. Rickarby – Wounded, Wm. Stanton, slightly, in the battle of the 21st.

Irish volunteers, of Lafourche, Capt. W. B. Ratliff – Killed [?] Murphy, 21st; Wounded on the 21st. Corporal Fallan lost an arm, James Hammond, Jas. McCarty, Francis Manley and Timothy Noon.

Baton Rouge Fencibles – Wounded, 21st, J. T. [?] and W. H. Banks.

Virginia Blues, Capt. D. A Wilson, Jr. – Killed, Miles Smythe, July 18; Wounded, Patrick Cane and Jno. McMahan. Total killed, 5; wounded, 14.

Of the loss of the Eighth Regiment, I see you are already informed, and also relative to the cutting up of Wheat’s Battalion.

Our boys are in the best of spirits, and eager for more fighting.

I enclose you a discourse delivered by our Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Howard of New Orleans, on the Sunday succeeding the great battle of Stone Bridge, on the very spot where the battle raged the hottest on the ever memorable 21st of July. It was entirely extemporaneous, and written out afterwards from recollection. I send it to you by urgent request of nearly all our officers, and very many others who were present on the occasion of its delivery. It will well repay perusal. More anon.

Vivandiere

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/6/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

*The writer’s enlistment in the 7th Louisiana is assumed, but not certain.





A Louisianan, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On the Regiment’s (and the State’s) Role at Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle

6 05 2020

Letter from Camp Pickens, Va.
—————

Camp Pickens, Manassas Junction, July 26, 1861.

Mr. Editor –  No doubt by this time you are well acquainted with the particulars of the battles of the 18th and 19th instant. Virginians claim for themselves the honor of having gained both of them. I am a Louisianan. And as Louisiana was well represented on the field on both occasions, I wish to see given them the honor which is their just due. The Richmond papers give the first honors to their own citizens, of course, but to Louisiana, they have as yet barely mentioned her name. I am willing that Virginia should have the honor due them, but I am unwilling that Louisianans should be defrauded of their honors. They have come a long way to fight the battles of their country, and ought to be, at least, treated with due respect. In some statements of the battles, Louisiana receives no credit whatever, not even the presence of her sons being mentioned. They have given to the Washington Artillery and Major Wheat’s Battalion, a portion of their dues; but to the Louisiana Seventh they have rendered nothing, besides several independent Louisiana companies, which were in the thickest of the fight. Among them was the Crescent Blues.

On the 18th the Louisiana Seventh was in the hottest part of the battle, and was acknowledged to the best fighting regiment on the ground, by all but Virginians.

You have heard how the Tiger Rifles charged Ellsworth’s Zouaves with bowie-knives; you have heard how bravely the Washington Artillery fought; but have you seen any mention made of the Louisiana Seventh? If you have, I have not. No Virginia paper has spoken in any manner of the achievements of this regiment. They spoke of the Eighth, and gave that regiment credit for several brave and resolute charges, which I know were not made by it or any other regiment.

In this, as in everything else, Virginia is allowed first honors; but if you give her an inch, she wants an ell; so, she must needs claim all the honor, and leave her sister States go a begging. Although she does not deserve first honors, I am willing she should enjoy them; but I am still not willing that our State, old Louisiana, should lose her dues in this. While we were in Lynchburg, Va., I was conversing with a Virginian about the number of troops sent by the different States. He said that, after Virginia, Louisiana was the most prompt in sending troops. Said I, “Sir, I consider Louisiana second to no State, not even Virginia.” He was then willing to acknowledge that Louisiana was equal to Virginia.

I am one of those who like to see every one “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s;” so, you must excuse my egotism. I have not given Louisiana half she deserves. I only wish that Louisianans should know how she is honored in Virginia by Virginians.

Yours respectfully,

A Louisianan

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/6/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

*The writer’s enlistment in the 7th Louisiana is assumed, but not certain.





Vivandiere, 7th Louisiana Infantry*, On Blackburn’s Ford and the Battle (1)

4 05 2020

From the Seat of War in Virginia
—————
Special to the New Orleans Crescent

Manassas Junction, July 21, 1861.

Mr. Editor – A few hours having elapsed since the smoke of the two late desperate conflicts between despotism and liberty cleared away, I will endeavor to disrobe wild rumor of its exaggerations and give your readers as correct and intelligible a report of the past few days in Eastern Virginia as it is possible at present to communicate. On Tuesday, the 16th inst., the entire corps d’armie, constituting the column under the command of Brigadier-General McDowell, left Arlington Heights, with the intention of forcing its way through to Richmond, via Fairfax and Manassas. The advance was made by four different routes leading towards Fairfax Court-house, and directly to Centreville.

The right wing, composed of the first division, four brigades under Gen. Tyler of Connecticut, approached by the [?]town turnpike. The center, composed of the second division, two brigades, Col Hunter, U.S.A., came by the Leesburg or Centreville road. The left wing was composed of the third division, three brigades, Col. Heintzelman, U.S.A., and the fifth division, two brigades, under Col. Miles, U.S.A. The latter approached by the “Old Braddock road,” and the third by the “Little River turnpike.” The fourth division, under Gen. Runyon, of New Jersey, constituted the reserve. In the whole column there were sixty-two regiments, about 55,000 men.

Meeting with but little resistance, these several divisions were concentrated at Fairfax Court-house where there was but about three thousand men under Gen. Bonham, of South Carolina. This position was surrendered by Gen. Bonham’s command, which fell back towards Centreville and Blackburn’s Ford on a small creek called Bull’s Run, about four and a half miles north-west from Manassas Junction. On Thursday, the 18th inst., the center of this imposing army, composed of the second division, numbering upwards of 12,000 men, under the immediate command of [?], were reported approaching Blackburn’s Ford. This ford is about twenty-five feet in width, and is approached by an irregular ravine made by the spongy nature of the soil. The northern bank is a perpendicular bluff about thirty feet high, with sides of a precipitate character. The southern bank is low and subject o overflow at high water.

Gen. Beauregard, hearing of the approach of McDowell to this ford, was on the alert and in a few hours had concentrated about 3,000 infantry and three pieces of artillery (Major Walton’s) at the ford. McDowell opened the ball with a [?] from a portion of Sherman’s celebrated battery, consisting of six or seven assorted pieces, including the famous eighteen pounder. The first few shots from the battery were directed at temporary headquarters of Gen. Beauregard, situated about half a mile to the rear of the ford, and the aim of the heaviest gun was directed at our hospital, from the top of which, in plain sight, a yellow flag was flying. The Washington Artillery, taking a position to draw the fire of the enemy from the hospital, responded, and soon had the six pieces of the enemy’s battery in full play upon their own guns. On the fourth or fifth fire, our six-pounder disabled the great eighteen-ponder of Boston, and soon after the music of the enemy was less deafening. Gen Beauregard, who commanded in person, now ordered the Seventh Regiment of Louisiana, under Colonel Harry T. Hays, and the First, Eleventh and Twenty-fourth Regiments of Virginia, to take position at the extreme southern flank of the ford, and prepare to give a warm reception to the enemy, who were seen approaching the opposite bank with their whole force of infantry. Gen. Bonham, meanwhile, had stationed his command of brave South Carolinians, consisting of several thousand gallant troops, and two batteries, a few miles above the ford, but did not come into action. The “bully Seventh of Louisiana,” under the inspiring command of ‘our Harry,’ charged the narrow border of timber that skirted the run at the ford, and with two of the three Virginia regiments above mentioned in close order beside them opened a most murderous fire on the thickets upon the opposite bank. “Our Seventh” in this, its first engagement, proved an honor to the State which sent it forth to battle for Southern independence.

Hitherto untried and inexperienced in the arts of war, both officers and men proved their mettle and efficiency. Col. Hays was not only theoretically but practically the head and front of his command, rushing with heroic coolness and bravery into the thick though narrow chaparral of undergrowth which skirted the banks of the stream, closely followed by his entire command. The Virginia regiments, coming in about the same time, drew a raking fire from the enemy on the [?], almost directly over our heads, the aim, however, being too high for effect. The Virginia Blues, under command of Capt. D. A. Wilson, Jr., of New Orleans, following their gallant leader, who, sword in hand, led his scarcely less heroic company down to the very brink of the stream, occupied the southern bank of the ford, being, in the absence of Capt. Terry’s Livingston Rifles, on the extreme left of the regiment. The conduct of Capt. Wilson and Lieuts. H. C. Thompson and C. E. Bellenger of the same company, is worthy of all praise; but being desirous of mentioning other names in connection with heroism on this memorable day, I am compelled to omit any detailed description of their acts. Under one of the most pouring showers of [?] [?] ever witnessed, the Virginia Blues followed the lead of the officers mentioned, almost to the water’s edge, the other companies of the regiment following obliquely to the right. The First Virginia Regiment having been the first to enter the woods, about a quarter mile above the ford, was under a most murderous fire, when the Seventh Louisiana entered. Encouraged by the reinforcement of the latter, who went into the thicket with a war-whoop which would have one credit to a band of Comanches, the Third, which was being slowly forced back from the water’s edge, returned to the charge with renewed vigor, and, sustained by the Third and Eleventh of Virginia in the rear, the First of Virginia and the Seventh of Louisiana stood their ground without flinching, receiving and returning the fire of the enemy for eight or ten rounds, when the Yankees retreated from the ford and scattered up and down the run.

Our own forces were also somewhat distributed, the Seventh and First Regiments still holding their position at the ford. Sherman’s Battery now opened with renewed vigor, and the fight lasted for two or three hours, when the little battery of Capt. Eschelman, of the Washington Artillery, proving too strong for the enemy, the latter retired, and the hard-fought day was ours. Of the conduct of our officers, too much cannot be said in their praise. From prisoners captured yesterday at the battle of Stone Bridge, I learn that the Seventh Regiment of Louisiana come in for more than its mere numerical proportion of credit in bringing about the result, among the enemy. The idea obtained that the “Seventh” was composed of New Orleans thugs, murderers and jail birds, a la Billy Wilson’s “Zous,” and was known among the Federalists as the “ragged Seventh.” Even this rather exceptional character is preferable to the treatment the Seventh received at the hands of the telegraphic reporter, at this point, for the Richmond press, who, in his dispatches, I perceive entirely ignored the fact of the presence of the regiment on the battle-field.

I do not wish to appear partial or invidious, but cannot forbear mentioning a few of the names of the officers of the Seventh whose opportunities for the exhibition of valorous conduct were perhaps better than their brothers-in-arms. Of the conduct of Capt. D. A. Wilson, Jr., and Lieutenants Bellenger and Thompson, I have already spoken. Capt. Wilson, when the order to charge was given, drew his sword, and waving it above his head, shouted at the top of his voice, “Come on, blue birds! follow me!” And they did, through a shower of balls thicker than hail-stones, followed by the remaining companies of the regiment at irregular intervals, but a short distance behind. Capt. S. H. Gilman, of the Crescent Rifles, Company C, ably and bravely supported by Lieutenants Driver and Dawson, was also conspicuous in the fight. Capt. W. B. Ratliff, of the Irish Volunteers, was remarkable for his close attention to duty and his cool courage. Lieutenants Hewitt and Kernington, of the same company, also distinguished themselves. Of Lieut. W. P. Harper, of the Crescent Rifles Company B, who, owing to the illness of Capt. Jett, took command of the company, I have only space to say that he is every inch a man, and a leader of coolness, bravery and efficiency. He was well sustained by Lieutenants A. E. Knox and H. Grimshaw, of the same company. Of Col. Harry T. Hays, it would not be necessary for me to say more than that he was present in the fray, for those who know him to feel assured, that he did his duty valiantly, and came out with additional laurels. To others, let me say should his life be spared, which may the Lord of Battle grant, his name will be remembered as one of the best military commanders of the war.

Our Lieutenant-Colonel, Chas. D. Choiseul, proved himself in this battle an officer whose native element is war; while in regard to Major Davidson Penn, I have but time to say that his action on the field of battle contributed in no small degree to the success of our regiment in the fight. Of our adjutant, Lieut. A. M. Merriam, his native coolness and excellent military ability did not desert him when under fire; while, in relation to the Sergeant Major, Redwood, who, with rifle I hand, entered with spirit into the hottest of the fight, allow me to remark that the regiment made and auspicious selection when it placed him in the position he occupies.

I have been thus minute in recording the part taken by our “crack Seventh” in the battle of the 18th, from the fact that the very existence, or at least the presence of the regiment in Virginia, has been almost, if not entirely, overlooked by the Virginia press. While the telegraph has been made to give other regiments the glory which should attach to its proud banner, President Davis and Generals Beauregard and Johnson have not been slow to perceive and acknowledge the prominent position which the Seventh of Louisiana had held in both engagements on Bull Runn, and will all in good time contribute their testimony in favor of the gallant and indispensable services rendered by it on both occasions. Meanwhile the friends of the members of the regiment will be pleased to learn that “Our Harry” and his command have not been idle spectators during the exciting events of the past few days.

Of the battle on Sunday, the 21st, at Stone Bridge, I will not attempt a reportorial description, as the telegraph ad official accounts have reached you before this can appear in your columns. I wish, however, to correct one or two blunders of the telegraphic agent, and again claim a little need of credit for our favorite “Seventh.” In the first really intelligible account of the fight you received over the wires, you were informed that at about 3 o’clock P.M. of the eventful 21st, when our heroic Spartan force of but 15,000 men, after a most valiant and desperate struggle of four hours, against 35,000 of the enemy, were being slowly forced from their position near the Stone Bridge, that Gen. Kirby Smith arrived with his brigade, on the railroad from Winchester to Manassas Junction; and that when within two miles of the bridge, seeing the violence of the contest there, he stopped the cars, dismounted his men, and, without orders, marched to, and arrived at, the scene of the action just in season to prevent the loss of our position and to change the tide of the battle in our favor.

Now, without wishing to deduct one iota from the importance of this fortunate and providential movement of Gen. Smith, I beg to submit that Louisiana, represented by her gallant Seventh, played an important part at this most critical juncture of the battle. The position of the Seventh of Louisiana having been in the center division of the defense during the early part of the day, (where, without coming into actual contact with the center of the enemy, it had been kept marching, on double-quick time, from one station to another, for several hours) was, about 12 o’clock, ordered suddenly to march in company with the Thirteenth Regiment of Mississippi, under Col. Barksdale, to the Stone Bridge, seven miles above. These two regiments were immediately on their way, and arrived on the field at about 2 o’clock, just in time to reinforce and relieve the tired and almost fainting troops already in the fight. Fatigued and almost ready to sink from exhaustion and the influence of a broiling sun, Col. Hays and his ever-ready staff immediately proffered their services to jump to the rescue, and, together with Col. Barksdale of the Mississippi Thirteenth, under Col. Early in command of the brigade, started on double-quick across the field to encounter the foe, then drawn up about three-fourths of a mile distant, and in the midst of a most murderous fire of shot, shell and bullets, Col. Hays, seeing at a glance the urgent necessity for prompt action, formed his own men on the march, Major Penn taking a position in the front, at which point Co. Hays joined him as soon as possible. After receiving two or three volleys of minie balls from a large body of regulars and volunteers, an order from Col. Early to charge this body, was communicated by an aid to Col. Hays, who gave it to his command with such vim as to occasion a spontaneous and unflinching response from the entire regiment. The boys sent up a shout which was heard above the roar of the artillery and the incessant firing of infantry, and which struck terror to the very heart of the volunteers, who beat a precipitate retreat, but who were soon rallied by the sterner regulars.

The Thirteenth of Mississippi and our Seventh were now within about a quarter of a mile of the enemy, when an order from Col. Early to halt, placed both regiments at the mercy of the fire of the enemy. The order was founded on the mistaken belief of Col. Early that the body on whom the charge was being made were friends. Several sharp volleys from their ranks soon put all doubts to rest as to the character of the body, and a fresh order to charge, accompanied by a perfect war-whoop from both regiments, struck terror to the souls of both regulars and volunteers, ad a quick retreat of the enemy, however, in excellent order, was made. Gen. Smith now came up in line, and a general charge was made, when the entire force of the Federalists brake and fled precipitately in the direction of Centreville, followed closely by about three thousand fresh cavalry, Gen. Johnston’s division bringing up the rear, in hot pursuit. This is the truth, the whole truth, and simply the truth. And when the history of the never-to-be-forgotten battle is written by hands guided by cool and stubborn facts, it will be seen that Louisiana contributed not only her Beauregard but other brave officers and men, to aid materially in the accomplishment of the grand result.

In this engagement the following officers of the Seventh are said to have distinguished themselves in various ways: Capt. Geo. D. Clark, Lieuts. McFarland and Davis of the Continental Guards, of New Orleans; Capt. Ratcliff, and Lieuts. Hewitt and Kernington, of the Irish Volunteers of LaFourche; Capt. T. Moore Wilson, and Lieut T. Gibbs Morgan, of the Sarsfield Rangers; and Lieuts. Harper, Knox, and Grimshaw, of Crescent Rifles, Company B. Lieut. Harper, on the 18th, led this fine company into the field; Lieut. Saml. Flower led the American Rifles into the field and was active and efficient. Lieut. Driver, of Company C, Crescent Rifles, did the state good service on this memorable day. In the Virginia Blues, Capt. C. A. Wilson, Jr., and Lieuts. Thompson and Bellenger, and, indeed, the entire company present on the field, numbering some 76 privates, were highly applauded for their gallant and soldierly bearing. A private in the ranks of the Continental Guards, Mr. Antony Offergeld, was also highly complimented by his Colonel. The Seventh Regiment, Washington Artillery, and Major Wheat’s Battalion, were the only Louisiana troops engaged in that part of the fight which took place at Stone Bridge.

Vivandiere

P. S. Our loss in killed and wounded will not exceed 1300. About 1000 prisoners have passed through this place for Richmond, up to this writing.

New Orleans (LA) Daily Crescent, 8/1/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

*The writer’s enlistment in the 7th Louisiana is assumed, but not certain.





Unknown, On Why Congressman Ely Went to the Battlefield

15 04 2020

Before the Battle – Reasons why Mr. Ely went to the Battle Field.
[Extract from a Private Letter.]

Washington, July 21st, 1861.

A member of the 13th came to the city yesterday and said that he had been in a battle, in which the whole regiment was employed, and had taken a masked battery, with the loss of thirteen, and a large number wounded. The man was somewhat intoxicated, but told a very plausible story, which was generally believed. It created a great deal of excitement, especially among the large delegation from Rochester. Mr. Ely had concluded to telegraph to Rochester such facts as he could glean from critical examination of the man, and had prepared a dispatch, when a Judge somebody came from the field, and contradicted the story in toto.

Mr. Ely knowing what an excitement his dispatch would create, and not wishing to frighten those who have friends in the 13th, did not send it, but made arrangements for personally ascertaining what truth there was in the report. He left this A. M. at 4 o’clock for the encampment at Bull’s Run. Mr. Ely’s friends tried to persuade him not to go, as it was a very dangerous undertaking, the road being infested with rebel scouts, but he replied it was a duty he owed to those of his friends in the 13th, and to those surviving in the ranks, and he would go.

Rochester (NY) Evening Express, 7/25/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy





Capt. Adolph Nolte, Co. C, 13th New York Infantry, On the March and Blackburn’s Ford

18 03 2019

WAR CORRESPONDENCE.
———-
The March from Camp Union, and the Battle of Thursday

Camp near Centreville,
July 20, 1861.

I wrote in my last that we left Camp Union on the 16th. The columns started at 2 P.M., during the greatest heat, and marched through a dense forest, that was interrupted only by a few farms, towards Vienna, where, as is well known, Gen. Schenck attacked a masked battery with a locomotive.

We encamped with our tents in a swampy meadow ground, and at 6 o’clock next morning started again. Our march was a very difficult and tiring one. Artillery, baggage, cavalry and infantry crowded each other in a miserably narrow and rough forest road, which was seldom wide enough for two wagons to pass each other. Every moment the column halted. They had to stop and start again on a trot, stop again, and then march for miles in the greatest heat of the sun without a drop of water. The march was executed without the least regard for the men. Where there was water, we passed by. – Where there was none, we halted for hours in the most burning heat. If a well or spring was found at a little distance from the road, they said there was no time to bring water, and when (???) an hour in the burning heat.

During the march we were informed that Fairfax Court House had been evacuated, and accordingly our column passed along more to the right on the direct road to Manassas Junction. – In the afternoon we passed a rebel intrenchment which had been abandoned. The wood was blocked up at several places, with fallen trees, and their removal took considerable time. Towards evening we passed a place of about 20 houses, from which all the inhabitants had left. Only a few negroes remained. It seems as if the inhabitants had left in the greatest haste, and detachments of the 79th regiment began knocking to pieces everything left, and finally set fire to a house, which burned down.

On the approach of night, we came to a place where, on the very same day, the rebel troops had been encamped. We found their fires still burning. That day we had gone at least 16 miles. In the greatest heat and heavily loaded, and we threw ourselves, completely tired, upon the ground. In the same night we were twice started up by false alarms. The next morning we marched upon Centreville, which is situated about seven miles from Manassas Junction. Before Centreville we found some intrenchments abandoned by the rebels. Most of the inhabitants had left the place, and nothing was to be got there. Even the pump handles had been removed from the pumps.

At the head of the column marched a Wisconsin and the 12th Syracuse regiments. The latter came out from the forest about a mile and a half from Centreville upon a plateau, which formed a hill towards the opposite forest. It as suddenly saluted with a hail of canister and musket balls, which, from a masked battery and position, fell suddenly upon them. In spite of the experience of Bethel and Vienna, our Syracuse friends had unheedingly fallen upon the enemy’s cannons and muskets. The command was given to advance in battle order. The regiment formed with difficulty and advance, but when it had come to within fifty paces of the enemy’s position it was received with such a shower of canister and musket balls that it dispersed in all directions. They scattered through the whole forest, and five hours later, when we met with the rest of the regiment, there were not 200 men together.

One will ask now, why was not this attack supported? The answer is, because the brigades which followed were nearly three miles be[hind?].

After the Syracuse regiment had been repulsed a light battery was pushed forward to disperse the enemy’s artillery.

Our regiment, with the rest of those that constituted the brigade, lay about three miles behind the scene of action. We heard the cannon fire for nearly two hours until about 2 o’clock we received orders to advance. We advanced by way of Centreville and then we marched in quick and double quick time for two miles upon a narrow path through the dense forest. The heat was horrible and the dust was so that we nearly suffocated. I washed my mouth several times with a draught from my canteen, and from the pap that I spit out, one might have baked together a whole German Principality. When we arrived at the border of the forest, before which our guns operated, our regiment was placed to right and left of the road in the wood to await further orders. We were about 20 paces from the border of the forest. The cannonading was redoubled and ball from 6 and 12 pounders and cannister, whizzed like hail over our heads and struck the ground a few paces behind us. The cannonading kept up about an hour, more or less. Take it all in all, our men behaved well under their first baptism of fire. – We lay flat on the ground. When the first balls struck the branches and trees above our heads, it is true that several polite bows were made to these coarse fellows. Once when a charge of cannister whizzed over the heads of the middle division, about half a dozen tried to fall back in the rear. But half a score [?] brought them back immediately into line. Several of the men made curious faces behind the trees, but most made fun of it; and more quietness and indifference was shown than could be expected from green troops. In this position, in which we received all the balls that were intended for our artillery, which was placed on the border of the forest, we remained for more than an hour. In vain we hoped for an order to advance and try our Remington Rifles. Toward four o’clock, the artillery fire on our part was stopped, ostensibly because our guns could find no position to fire with advantage upon those of the enemy.

At last we found our column again, and went slowly back through the forest without having lost a man. On the way we found the dead and wounded of the Syracuse Regiment, 15 or 20 in number. With those of other regiments, the Ohio and Wis. There may have been thirty. One of the Syracuse regiment had one half of his head torn away sideways by a 6 pounder, so that upwards from the under jaw, there was nothing to be seen but a mass of raw flesh, blood and crushed bones. Another had his abdomen torn by a piece of shell, in a most horrible manner. The poor fellow begged for a drink of brandy, which I gave to him, as the surgeon told me he could not live for another hour. Others had musket balls in their breast or shoulders, and some had their feet crushed.

We went back to Centreville and from there a mile in advance towards the right flank of the enemy, where we took up our position. We spent here the 19th of July under hits or bushes – and to-day the 20th, we are not likely to go further. Since yesterday considerable regiments have come from Washington, so that the army will be 60,000 or 70,000 strong. Some heavy howitzers have also arrived to enable us to fire upon the enemy’s batteries from a greater distance. Our regiment lies to-day at the extreme advance post of the right flank, and when we move will be the vanguard. We shall then see whether we shall fare any better than the Syracusans.

Manassas is about 7 miles from here, and the entrenchments of the enemy are not a mile from us. We do not expect any movement to-day, but tomorrow (Sunday) we shall have a horrible sacred concert in spite of the ordinances of his Honor the Mayor of Rochester. Until then, good bye.

Rochester Evening Express, 7/25/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

13th New York Infantry Roster

Adolph Nolte at Ancestry.com

Adolph Nolte at Fold3

Adolph Nolte at FindAGrave 





W. B. P.*, 12th New York Infantry, On Blackburn’s Ford

13 02 2019

Letter from a Volunteer.
———-

[The following private letter from a volunteer from Salina who acted as one of the skirmishers at the engagement at Bull’s Run has been kindly furnished by his friends for publication. It does not contain any later news than has already been published but it corroborates the statements of other writers and we therefore give it to our readers.]

Arlington Heights, July 23, 1861.

Dear Brother – I am alive and well, although I have been in two engagements. We had a great battle on Thursday. I was among the skirmishers. We were in advance, and had to scour the woods to find the position of the enemy. We went into the woods and the first thing we knew we were fired into by platoons from right and left – a regular cross fire – but we stood our ground manfully and returned their fire to the best advantage. The whole brigade thought by the firing that we were all cut to pieces but we knew out business and skulked behind trees, and every time a rebel showed his face he was picked off. – We went right into their nest three times on Thursday, and we had but about 40 killed and wounded, while the enemy had from 800 to 1000 killed and wounded.

The battle was in a piece of woods about four miles long, with masked batteries every two or three rods. The rebels fight like devils. They were over two to one and had the advantage, and drove us back; but, thank God, we have another day at them.

The officers acted very poorly – that is, the officers in our brigade, not the officers in our regiment, for they stood right up to the rack.

I bid your farewell, for I may never see you if we have to go into the hornets nest again. I am willing for one to go.

The bullets whistled around us like hail stones, but they were aimed too high. There is a report that the 12th ran, but that is no so. They were the only one that stood their ground. Our brigade officers are all Michigan and Massachusetts men, and they try to screen their troops and leave it all to New Yorkers.

I thought I never could stand and see the sights that I saw the day of the battle. I saw men with their heads shot off, and others with arms and legs shot off. It an was awful sight, but it was all war.

Your ever true brother.

W. B. P.

Syracuse Daily Standard, 7/29/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

12th New York Infantry Roster

A review of the 12th New York roster indicates five possible identities for the letter writer with the initials W. P., and two specifically with the middle initial B (the other three not showing middle initials at all.) Only one, Corporal William B. Patterson of Co. A, joined the regiment in Salina.

William B. Patterson at Ancestry.com

William B. Patterson at Fold3

Pvt. Wallace B. Page Co. G Chittenango Falls
Cpl. William B. Patterson, Co.A Salina
Pvt. William Pelton, Co. F Liverpool
Pvt. William Peters, Co. G Canastota
Pvt. William Prindle, Co. F Syracuse





Capt. Milo W. Locke, Co. F, 12th New York Infantry, On the March and Blackburn’s Ford

5 02 2019

WAR CORRESPONDENCE.
———-
Letter from Capt. Locke.
———-

Washington, D. C. July 24

Friend Schmers: – I have a little time to write and will give you a few facts in relation to our regiment on the 18th inst. You have very likely seen several articles in the different papers in regard to our running. I will tell you the truth as near as I can get at it.

When we arrived on the hill in sight of Bull’s Run our batteries opened on the enemy and drove them in the woods in a very short time. After this was done the skirmishers were sent in the woods on the right and made a most desperate fight of ten or fifteen rounds, when they were obliged to retreat a short distance. Next two of Sherman’s howitzers well manned were sent to the right at the same place where the skirmishers were, supported by the skirmishers, and us on the reserve, but a short distance from the field of action. The battery fired two rounds of canister shot and were obliged to retire. When they got clear we were ordered by Gen. Tyler to fall in line of battle, double quick, which was done without a man flinching or asking any question as to where they were going. We had nobody to support us either on the right or left, but we marched up like heroes.

The battle field, where the skirmish took place, was open woods on the right wing and a dense thicket on the left, where your honorable servant happened to be. (It is well enough here to state that the right wing consisted of the companies of Capts. 1st, Church; 2d, Barnum; 3d, Bower; 4th, Root; 5th, Cole; The left wing, 6th, Capt. Brand; 7th, Locke; 8th, Driscoll; 9th, Irish; 10th, Stone.) The different companies continued and marched up in double quick time through this dense thicket which was almost impossible to make our way through, until the masked battery opened on us with a most terrific fire. I gave the command for my men to fire, which was done well, and then gave the command to fall on the ground and load, which they did and fired again. Then thinking that another fire would kill half or more of my men, I gave the command to retreat, which was given I believe, to all the companies on the left and part of the right wing.

In getting out of this thicket on a retreat the men got very much scattered, and when we got to the open field it was almost impossible to find half our men, as part of the men ran considerable farther than I felt like doing at that time.

There is no doubt but that we have cowards in our regiment, but we have any quantity of men that are of the best metal. There are a good many with different diseases. Some want to resign, and others want their discharge. I say let them go by all means, we want no such men to fight such battles as we must fight.

Our companies on the left wing got to within twenty feet of this Hell Hole and I could not see a man at that distance through this thicket.

Col Walrath has been much censured for this retreat. I say Col Walrath acted the part of a soldier and a brave officer. He was nearer the scence of action than his post required him to be, and remained there during the most intense fire I ever listened to, and when the companies were on the retreat, he did all any officer could do to rally the companies. He shouted, “stop these colors or I will take them myself,” and did stop them, and several of the companies, but afterwards they were obliged to retreat to give the batteries a chance for a fire, which was kept up for nearly three hours, when our ammunition gave out, and we all retreated to Centerville, a distance of about two miles, and remained there all night, and again re-took our position in the morning and kept it until a general retreat.

I think there was 10,000 men in and around this masked battery, against our brigade of 4,000. The men all done as well as could be expected of them.

We are now encamped in Virginia near the Long Bridge, where we expect to remain for a few days to get rested and repair damages.

If our sick men don’t get better soon you will hear from me again. I have considerable interest in their health.

“He who fights and runs away,
Will live to run another day.”

I don’t think I shall return to Syracuse until this war is at an end. I had one man killed, Julius O. Westgate, and three others missing who are not known to our people in Syracuse or county.

Capt. Locke
Company F, 12th Regiment N. Y. V.

Syracuse Daily Standard, 7/27/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

Milo W. Locke at Ancestry.com

Milo W. Locke at Fold3

Milo W. Locke obituary in New York Times