Captain William King, Camp Pickens Battery, On the Battle

22 04 2012

[Naval Batteries at Manassas Junction]

Sunday [7/21/1861]

[To his wife Annie K. Leftwich King]

My dear little Nannie,

I can write only very briefly after the anxiety & interest that has attached to this ever-to-be-remembered-day – To us of the South it has been a real Sun-day for now after the battle smoke has passed away we can more clearly see that we are to be a free independent & prosperous people –

Almost overwhelming numbers of the enemy attacked our forces at four different points on the Bull’s Run Creek in a desperate effort to cross & get possession of our Rail Roads in the rear & thus cut off our supplies; but thanks to Duty and the brave Southern spirits we have been again able to repel them when the odds have been so largely against us –

I stood upon the summit of my Battery & could distinctly see the ‘dense’ smoke & hear the constant loud cannon’s roar when thousands of human beings were being launched into eternity on the four battled battle grounds along the creek the extremes of which were not more than five miles distant from each other – The firing commenced at about 8 o’clock this morning and lasted until about 5 o’clock this evening when the enemy retreated leaving quite a number of prisoners, a goodly number of Artillery pieces in our hands & their dead upon the fields – The celebrated Sherman Battery was captured & he is reported to have been killed – We have lost a good many Officers and a fearful number of soldiers – Whether ours or the enemy’s loss is greatest I cannot say – I have not heard that any Lynchburger was killed or wounded – Sam Garland’s regiment was not engaged – Latham’s Battery lost no men – Clark had special command of one piece & worked it admirably – The Yankees fought well at long range; but at no time stood well in close quarters – Genl Scott was in Command at Centreville – They may come on us again in two or three days if President Davis does not order that they shall be pursued to-morrow to Alexandria which I think is quite likely –

I saw my Brother for a minute or two on his arrival here yesterday – He was in the fight to day & I hope is unhurt –

Remember me kindly to my friends at Richmond –

Very devotedly

Your own


PS I forgot to mention that our Cavalry pursued the enemy this evening –

MSS 6682 Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library, as transcribed at 150 Years Ago Today. Used with permission.

William King in

Captain William King, Camp Pickens Battery, On Blackburn’s Ford

20 04 2012

[Naval Batteries at Manassas Junction] 


[To his wife Annie K. Leftwich King]

My dear little Nannie: 

It is eight o’clock at Night and after standing at the Post Office for nearly an hour awaiting the opening of  detained mail to get a letter from you I learned that it would not be ready for delivery under two hours & determined to come home & write to you at once with nothing to communicate save the fact that about four thousand of our troops were attacked this morning at eight o’clock by a large Yankee force estimated at from 20,000 to 40,000 at Bulls Run which is quite a large fordable Creek three & a half miles from this place – Our men repulsed them three times during the day & now both forces are camped within about a mile & a half of each other – All I can gather is not satisfactorily definite to me but leads me to believe that our loss in killed & wounded does not exceed 75 & it is thought that the loss of the enemy will reach from 150 to 300 men in killed & wounded – We took some 15 or 20 prisoners who with our wounded are in this camp to night. 

Bulls Run is almost a second Saragossa in topography with our troops stationed here & there on this side of it for several miles – I suppose we will have daily engagements for several days & if at last the enemy does crop all that is necessary for their demolition will be for our forces to fall back to this place where we are ready to meet & whip (in my humble opinion) 100,000 of them – The troops were all ordered forward this morning from here except one regiment & the men connected with the Batteries – My men & I were all day in readiness at my Battery that commands the Centreville road, on which the fight occurred & we could distinctly see the flash, & smoke & hear the roar of Artillery – John Williams has volunteered to fight in my detachment & could scarcely be held at his post when the fight was progressing in our view – Our Army here is confident of ultimate complete victory & Richmond ought to be willing to trust it rather than suffer from the consternation that I hear prevails there 

I understand that Col Moon of Richmond is slightly wounded & that one Captain of the New Orleans Artillery was killed – All the Lynchburg boys were present at the fight except Lathams Battery which is stationed with Genl Cocke four or five miles above on Bulls Run – I have not heard that any of them were either killed or wounded – 

Please don’t make statements from this as coming from me for the reason that I have not taken the pains to gather full & correct details – 

Give my love to all my friends & connexions & write as often as you can to my address as of the Naval Batteries at Manassas Junction 

Your own 


MSS 6682, Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library, as transcribed at 150 Years Ago Today. Used with permission.

William King in


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