Pvt. Doctor Z. Hardin, Co. A, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

27 08 2020

The Patriot also publishes a letter from D. Z. Hardin, a private in Col. Fisher’s regiment, from which we make the following extract:

“Our regiment was led into battle about 12 o’clock. We were in the thickest of the fight, and consequently were considerably cut up. Besides the loss of our respected Colonel, a large number of our men were killed. Our regiment, in rushing to the scene of action, were compelled to go through a dense thicket, in consequence of which we became very much scattered – to which fact our severe loss may be partly attributed. This was, if not a rash move in our Colonel, at least a very desperate one, and against which several leading officers of other regiments endeavored to persuade him; but he hearkened not to their counsels, and at the head of the regiment marched us through this dangerous pass, and as I have already stated into the thickest of the fight, where we remained until we were completely exhausted, when we were ordered to move to another portion of the field, after which all who were not too completely exhausted, again rallied and fought valiantly until the enemy were completely routed. The day after the fight I reviewed the field of battle, and such a scene can much better be imagined than described. Acres and acres of ground were so thickly covered with the dead (of the enemy,) that I could have made the entire circuit on their bodies. The wounded were scattered for miles in every direction. I conversed with a number of the wounded. They spoke freely, and curse Lincoln and his cabinet.”

Fayetteville (NC) Semi-Weekly Observer, 8/5/1861

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Doctor Z. Hardin at Ancestry 

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“Justice,” 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

23 08 2020

[For the State Journal.]

Manassas Junction, Aug. 3, 1861.

Editors of the State Journal, Sirs: – Your attention has no doubt been called to a publication in the Standard, purporting to be an account of all that was done by the Sixth Regiment of North-Carolina State Troops on the memorable 21st ult. That statement does certainly far more than justice to one individual, and, by inference at least, great injustice to others. I do not pretend to reflect on Mr. Holden for publishing, as true, whatever facts were communicated to him from what he regarded as a reliable source; but the most charitable supposition in camp is, that the Standard’s informant, whether he be one of those mentioned in the article or not, was not an eye-witness of the whole affair.

In the article referred to, only the companies of Capt. Freeland and Capt. York are mentioned, and the inference is very palpable, that they alone bore the brunt of the battle. Now, if we are to judge from the list of killed and wounded, (which I enclose in full for publication,) and I know no better criterion by which to judge, it will be seen that, while Capt. Freeland’s company suffered as much, perhaps, as any, Capt. York’s loss in killed and wounded is less than that of any company actively participating in the fight.

The following summary will sustain me in what I have stated:

Co. A. Capt. Kirkland.
Killed, 2
Severely wounded, 2
Slightly wounded, 3
Missing 1
Total 7
Co. B. Lieut. Parish.
Killed, 1
Mortally wounded, [1]
Severely wounded, 2
Slightly wounded, 3
Total 7
Co. C. Capt. Freeland.
Killed, 2
Mortally wounded, 1
Severely wounded 10
Slightly wounded, 2
Total 15
Co. E. Capt. Avery.
Mortally wounded, 1
Severely wounded 4
Slightly wounded 7
Total 12
Co. F. Lieut. Carter.
Killed, 2
Mortally wounded, 1
Severely wounded, 3
Slightly wounded, 1
Total 7
Co. G. Capt. Craig.
Killed, 7
Severely wounded, 2
Slightly wounded, 14
Total, 23
Co. I. Capt. York.
Mortally wounded, 3
Severely wounded, 1
Slightly wounded, 1
Total 5

As unofficial reports have reached the people of N. C. through the press, it is due to the regiment and the friends of the regiment that a fair, full and impartial account of its connection with the fight should be published to the people of our state.

Omitting all the details of our march thither, it is sufficient to say, we reached the Junction soon after daylight on the 21st, and in a half hour were marched off at a pace between quick and double-quick toward Lewis’ house, distant some four miles. When within a mile of the battle field we halted in obedience to orders and the men were drilled an hour in the manual.

The regiment was then led forward to the brow of the hill in front of Lewis’ house for the purpose, it was said, of supporting a battery about to open fire from that point, but, for some reason, the battery was removed, and our regiment led to the left, and formed in line along a road on the margin of the woods.

While resting in that position, we were first enabled to realize that a hard-fought contest was going on before us. The wounded were every moment passing our line with the report that the enemy were advancing, and that the shell from Sherman’s battery were playing sad havoc with our soldiers. Shell whizzing over our line occasionally gave to their statement at least an air of plausibility, one of them wounding Col. Fisher’s horse, and another passing through the centre of Capt. Craig’s company. After a little pause, however, Col. Fisher commanded us to file to the left, and, conducted by a mountain officer, led us through a dense wood for some distance, and then filed us to the right, along a little ravine, with thick woods on our left and an old field on the right. Though concealed from our view by an undergrowth, the battery was throwing shell constantly over us as we advanced, and it was only on rounding a corner of the woods that we came in full view of it, planted on the top of the hill in an old field, and not more than sixty yards from us. It was supported by a body of Marines and Ellsworth’s red-legged Zouaves.

Col. Fisher then filed to the left around the corner of the woods, and the following companies in the order of the names – Capt. Freeland’s, Capt. York’s, Lieut. Carter’s, Capt. Avery’s, Capt. Craig’s, Lieut. Parish’s and Capt. Kirkland’s – came into line, faced to the right and opened fire on the enemy. Our men then advanced, firing at will, until, I suppose, they had fired two rounds or more, and many were then within thirty yards of the battery. All this time a oration of our men were firing at a body of men on our left in a little slip of woods, but at the time I speak of, a mounted officer rode in among our men, with no little danger to himself, and ordered us to cease firing. Our Colonel repeated the command, and when, through the united efforts of our Company officers, the firing was stopped, it was stated that we were firing into our friends on the left, and we immediately concluded that it was the 4th Alabama Regiment which, it was previously understood, would support us on that side.

When the smoke had cleared away we perceived that the horses attached to the battery were all killed and many of the soldiers manning and supporting the guns had fallen while many others had retreated, though the stars and stripes still floated over the battery, and some Federal troops were ranged around.

At this juncture, it was that, after a pause, Capt. Avery took the responsibility of ordering a charge, and it being repeated along the line, more than a hundred of our men did charge, and, the enemy retreating in hot haste, took possession of the battery. When we reached the top of the hill, many of the Zouaves could be seen running a distance of a hundred yards beyond, while some had squatted behind a fence in a lane about fifty yards beyond the battery. Upon these latter our men opened fire from points beyond and around the battery.

About this time a fire was opened upon us from the strip of woods on our left, and many of our number, among them the gallant young Mangum, fell. Our hands were tied. We had been told that they were friends, and to corroborate it, they had given us the sign adopted to distinguish friends that day, and some said had raised the Confederate flag. The solders of the 4th Alabama Regiment deny the charge, but with the facts before them, it is submitted to the public to pass judgment. Situated as we were, receiving a fire and unable to return it, our officers advised a retreat and we did give way.

Upon the conduct of our gallant Colonel, suitable encomiums will be passed by persons much more competent to perform the task than myself. I will content myself with giving a plain statement of facts.

He had been from the first in front of his regiment, and when, after the command to cease firing, a portion of his men were giving back fire for a moment, he came down the hill, called upon them to rally, and as they charged, said to an officer, ”you are right, rally your men, it will never do to give it up.” These were his last words. In a moment he swept on with the men and past them, and soon after it is supposed, fell about thirty yards beyond the battery and to the left of it. No one saw him fall, for no one could see him from behind, even though within a few paces of him. He had gone through a little cluster of pine bushes and at the moment he emerged from the other side fell dead. Besides, Col. Fisher had dismounted, and there was nothing to attract attention to his movement. In justice to those companies in the rear, that did not actively engage in the fight, it must be said that some were in the most trying of situations, receiving a galling fire and unable to return it, especially Capt. Tate’s, which was next in front. Maj. Pickett, who was in command of Sherman’s battery on the 21st, but now a wounded prisoner here, states, that when our regiment was coming up the ravine, he started to depress his pieces and rake our line; but we were too quick for him and our first fire killed all his horses and some of his gunners. With this statement before them, we call upon the citizens of North Carolina to aid us in establishing the fact, that we took Sherman’s battery. I may also state, that up to the time we attacked the battery, the enemy’s line in that direction had been steadily advancing, and our Generals were forming a new line some distance in the rear to fall back upon. When the battery was silenced, however, they instantly gave the command ”forward.” After we had retreated about a hundred and fifty yards to an old field, portions of Capt. Freeland’s, Lieut. Carter’s, Capt. Avery’s, Capt. Craig’s, Lieut. Parish’s and Capt. Kirkland’s companies rallied with all their officers, who were not disabled, and Col. Lightfoot, who had been last to leave the field despite a wound in the leg, then bleeding freely, took command, having the assistance of Maj. Webb and Adjutant Lowrie. Col. L. then reported to Gen. Cock for orders and was commanded to support the flank movement, which he did, moving with the left of our line till the final stampede of the enemy that evening. His command, being attached that night to the Va. 7th, slept on the line and returned to the Junction to rejoin their comrades Monday afternoon. This, Messrs. Editors, is a true statement of al that was done by the 6th Regiment, on the 21st.

I must not be understood to question the truth of any accounts of the heroic adventures or miraculous, hair-breadth escapes of any individual, which may have reached the public. Those feats were performed and those scenes enacted, where there could be no witness, but that one appealed to in the courts of justice. I, of course, cannot testify with regard to them.

JUSTICE.

(Raleigh, NC) Semi-Weekly State Journal, 8/17/1861

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An Eye Witness, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

12 08 2020

Camp Bee, 4 Miles N. E. Manassas
Junction, Va., July 28, 1861

Gentlemen: – I know you would like to hear from us, and as I have a leisure moment now, and a chance to send a letter, (for we have no mails,) I drop you this scroll. We of the Sixth N. C. State Troops, Col. Fisher, were ordered to Gen. Johnson’s command at Winchester, where we arrived in time to join in the celebrated “forced march” across the mountains to Gen. Beauregard’s aid, and which has been spoken of by President Davis as the great military achievement of the age. Yes, sire, we travelled on foot, day and night, without even stopping to eat! We arrived Sunday morning of the memorable 21st., at the Junction, about 8 o’clock, and while Col. Fisher was calling at Headquarters for orders we hear the opening fire. Soon after, Col. F. returned and ordered us to “forward,” and at a rapid pace, we set out for the battle field, without rest, water or food for 36 hours. As we approached, the musketry opened on the enemy (the fire before was that of Artillery) when we quickened our step ‘till within range of the enemy’s guns. Under cover of some timber we formed our line and for a few minutes practiced the men in manner of firing – then loaded and went on.

Owing to the position of the enemy the skirts of timber and the manner of carrying up the Regiment into action by the right flank, three of the extreme rear Companies never could get to “open” on the enemy, although exposed to a heavy cross fire of musketry and rifles all the while. The other seven Companies of the Regiment getting in, had the work to do, and right well did they do it.

In our rear was posted a Regiment of the enemy’s riflemen and in front Michigan Marine, Regular and Zouave Regiments in almost endless number, while to our left on tops of the hill, some 50 paces distant was the Sherman Battery.

On receiving fire from so many directions at the same time our men were thrown into temporary confusion and were ordered to “fall back” into the timber just in the rear and re-form. Col. Fisher again ordered them to “forward” in the direction of the Battery, he leading, some distance in advance. When found, the poor Colonel was dead, 25 yards beyond the Battery. About this time, Lieut. Col. Lightfoot was wounded and an officer mounted came up and ordered the men to “cease firing.” Just here there was great confusion, for there was scarcely any telling friends from foes. Yet the Zouaves with their red breeches could always be distinguished, and they kept pouring in a murderous fire. Capt. Avery saw it would not do to remain there inactive and took the responsibility to order a charge upon the Battery and with a yell the men moved rapidly on and driving the enemy from the guns, took possession – our Mississippi and South Carolina friends could not believe but they were the enemy and opened fire on them compelling the gallant Captain and his brave North Carolinians to abandon the guns – which were afterwards seized by other Southern men. This much is certainly true, that after Capt. Avery took the Battery no enemy ever used it, or was near it, for soon after the Yankees began a retreat which finally ended, as all knows, in a rout.

Many of our North Carolina boys acted heroically, but it would be perhaps better not to name these without explanations, which would be too tedious. It is sufficient to say that the fame of our State will not suffer by reason of bac conduct on the part of the Sixth Regiment State Troops. The loss is killed 16, wounded 64. Total 80. Several of the wounded will prove fatal.

Yours,
AN EYE WITNESS

(Raleigh, NC) Semi-Weekly Standard, 8/3/1861

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Image: Col. Charles F. Fisher, 6th North Carolina Infantry

11 08 2020
Fisher_Charles_Frederick_Archive_org_historyofrowanco00rump_0358

Col. Charles F. Fisher, 6th N. C. Infantry (Source)

Fisher_Charles_Frederick_hat_Museum_of_History

Col. Fisher’s hat worn at First Bull Run, North Carolina Museum of History (Source)





“Tau”, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle, the Death of Col. Fisher, and the Aftermath

11 08 2020

Correspondence of the Raleigh Standard.
—————

Camp Bee, Near Manassa Junction, Va
July 28, 1861.

Mr. Editor: – After incredible toil and hardships, and sleeping on the ground for a week, we have at last received our tents and baggage, and are now snugly quartered. There is no news of much importance; we are simply waiting for another festival on Sunday when the Yankees come to see us again, and when they do come back again, I hope they will come by forced marches so as to tire them, and then stiffen their legs; for certainly they can outrun any race of people that I have ever seen stretch legs over terra firma. It has been said that the yankees will not fight; well, this is a bad mistake, and if any troops come from North-Carolina under the apprehension that they will have no fight, they will be mistaken; for they fought us with a bravery worthy of a better cause for ten hours, and we whipped them by hard fighting. Our men took deliberate aim, and brought them to the ground, and, moreover, we walked right up to them, and did not stand off at half mile distance. Our regiment was led up by the gallant Fisher within 40 yards, and we silenced the battery first fire. The battery was Rickett’s and not Sherman’s. We all thought it was Sherman’s, but Capt. Rickett was wounded and taken prisoner and said it was his battery, and that our first fire killed every horse, and killed or wounded the cannoneers so that he could not fire the pieces. Had it not been cried out that we were “firing on friends,” we would have swept the field.

It was near this battery, and in advance of his men, that the lamented Fisher fell. Our loss of him was a serious and irreparable one. No man ever loved his men more than he, and none labored for them as he. There was nothing that he would not do for his men, even the lowest private in the ranks. While others might pride themselves upon their rank, he felt as a man, though he acted as a soldier. He never was with the Regiment until at Raleigh, and on our way to Virginia his labors were incessant for the soldiers. On the march from Strasburg to Winchester he walked all the way, giving both his horses to sick soldiers, and when we were thrown into line of battle, hungry and thirsty, on foot he went with the men, his hands full of canteens, to show them where the water was – then went back to Winchester, helped to cook our supper himself, and then did the same again at breakfast. These things riveted the affection of the men, and death itself can never eradicate from their hearts the memory of our gallant Colonel, the lamented Fisher. – When we left Winchester on a forced march to join Beauregard, when he read the orders of Gen. Johnson, the welkin rang with cheers, and when he returned from the left wing after reading the orders there, from the whole line, as one man, there went up three cheers for Col. Fisher, that spoke for themselves. His regiment would have followed him anywhere, and did follow him to the cannon’s mouth. Others may have excelled him in the minutiae of tactics; but none excelled him in bravery. Gallant and brave, he almost courted death; but fell in the hour of victory, lamented by his men. He went to the field determined that he would.

“As victor exult, or in death be laid low.”

His last words were “fire on the battery.”

May the sod lie light on his breast; and his memory shall be cherished by his men as one who knew how to die like a soldier.

We are at present engaged only in the usual routine of camp duty, and with but little prospect of a fight, though I certainly should relish one some Sunday soon; but I think they have pills enough to last them awhile.

We have had quite a number of North-Carolinians here for the past few days, visiting their wounded friends, and others to view the battle ground. Already nearly every bullet, bomb, and every thing else have been picked up off the battle field. I visited it yesterday, with some gentlemen from the old North State; but the odor of dead Yankees hand horses was too delicious entirely for me, and I retreated precipitately, as I think every other one will who has good smellers, and better stomachs.

A detachment of Louisiana troops were burying the putrid bodies of the dead Yankees, who had been lying there, ever since the battle, and they told me they buried eighty-two before breakfast; but hundreds of them in the thickets, will furnish food to the black eagles that collect in immense quantities over the putrid carcasses they left to pollute the soil of the South.

Our wounded men are all doing well, and if properly attended, will soon recover. They have all been removed, and I understand the ladies, where they are, are untiring in their exertions to relieve them. If any body upon this earth deserves compassion and attention, it is the wounded soldier, and rich rewards lie waiting in the land of the hereafter for those angels who bound up the haggard wound, and administered to the wants of those who braved the leaden hail storm of Sunday, the 21st. God bless the ladies, we often hear of them out here, and talk about our wives, sweethearts, &c., &c., but we see the agile form of woman, with her angelic smiles, about as often as we do Abraham. But we are coming back to old Wake after a while, and them we will collect the ladies, bring out the champagne, and have a merrier support than Gen. McDowell had at Centreville, and some of us can get as drunk as he. The difference, however will be, he drank before he won his victory, we will drink after.

Some beautiful ladies near Raleigh, gave us a lot of lint before I left. They will be pleased to know that it has been used on the wounds of as brave boys as ever “shouldered arms.”

I should like to see Raleigh again, and many friends, and my humble home in the country with the loved ones there, but –

Tau.

(Raleigh, NC) Semi-Weekly Standard, 8/7/1861

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Charles Fisher at NCPedia 

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Lieut. Benjamin Rush Smith, Co. G, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Battle

3 09 2015

A Letter.

The following letter we copy from the Daily Bulletin, by request, and we think it worthy of a perusal:

Headquarters 6th Regt, N.C.
State Troops, Camp Bulls Run,
July 24th, 1861.

Dear Parents: – Once more I have an opportunity of writing you all, and that after having been exposed for nine hours on a battle field, strongly contested on each side. we achieved a glorious but dear bought victory on last Sunday (July 21st) about 5 miles from the Junction on Bulls Run Creek. Our whole force on the field amounted to near 60,000, while that of the enemy was not less than 80,000, though we only had about 15,000 engaged – the enemy 35,000. The contest began at 6 A. M. and continued with unabated vigor until 4 1/2 P. M., when I saw the enemy flying across the hills with rapid strides. It was the most beautiful sight that one ever beheld to see them retreating with their banners unfurled, and to hear the cheers and huzzas that went up from our ranks. We pursued them for several miles, and that night I slept in the camp that the Yankees occupied Saturday night. Only four Companies in our Regiment were in the chase, (my Company one of them,) the rest being cut off in the early part of the engagement. – We were at Winchester when we received orders to come to Manassas. We arrived here Sunday morning about 6 A. M. I heard the cannonading as soon as I left the cars. A fellow told me that the “Ball” was open, and that we would “get there in time to dance at least one set.” I must say I felt a little queer at first, but fear left me as soon as I got into it. We were immediately marched to the “Ball Room,” and formed into line of battle at 7 1/2 A. M. When we had formed a rifled cannon ball came whistling through my company and passed in between me and the 3rd Serg’t of our company. It was a 12 pounder. We saw it before it got to us and dodged it. You ought to have seen us all squat. It was the first that had been fired at us. I have it now lying by me and will send it home if I can. We were placed in a position where two Regiments had been cut to pieces. The enemy had possession of a hill and we had to advance up a ravine with 2 pieces of Sherman’s battery placed at the mouth of it. We however advanced and silenced the battery in short time. Our Regiment there lost 18 killed and 47 wounded and one prisoner. My company lost of that number 7 killed and 6 wounded, (all privates,) being in the hottest of the fight. After taking possession of it, Col. Fisher advanced beyond the battery some 30 yards, and it was there that he fell pierced with a rifle ball through the head. All the other Officers escaped in our Regiment except Lieut. Mangum, who was wounded; Captain Avery, and Lieut. Col. Lightfoot, slightly. Our Brigadier General (Bee,) was killed. Just before going into battle I put up the most earnest prayer that I ever did, and I know that it was answered, for the balls came by ma as thick as hail stones and the bomb shells bursted all around me, and none but the hand of God could have saved me. I got several trophies off the battle field, and will send some home the first opportunity. It is impossible to give a description of the field after the battle. For 7 miles it was strewed with the dead and dying. You couldn’t advance a step without seeing them; many times I had to step over them. I never thought I could stand such scenes, but it has little effect on me now. I cut a button off a dead Lieutenant (Yankee) Hitchcock’s coat and took his likeness out of his pocket. I got a great many guns but could not carry them. The boy that waits on me got a splendid shot gun and sword off the battle field. This sheet of paper came out of a dead Yankees pocket; it came in very good time as I am almost out. Our cavalry chased them through Centreville and Fairfax also our artillery killing them all the way. I was told this morning that the road from here to Alexandria where they went is lined with those killed on the way, and the wounded and dead they attempted to take from the battle field. Their loss was about 3,000 killed and wounded, and ours was not more than 800. We have taken about 1,500 of them prisoners and they are still coming in. Since I have commenced this letter a Yankee Officer had been brought by, taken this morning a short distance from our camp. We are now encamped on the very spot where we formed our line of battle.

When we left Winchester (July 18th,) we were so hurried that we couldn’t bring our tents, and have been sleeping without them ever since, though last night I had a very good tend made of yankee blankets that they had left on the battle field. Besides the prisoners we took we captured 62 pieces of artillery, 300 wagons, and knapsacks and canteens by the thousand. Our Regiment has the honor of taking two pieces of Shermans battery, the pride of the North. The whole army went to Alexandria with only two pieces of Artillery, the rest being in our possession, and many of the pieces rifled. I think that peace will soon be made now since this important victory. I talked with some of the prisoners, most of them told me that it was not their will to fight against the South; that they had been forced into it, and that they had intended to go home as soon as their time was out. Some said that their time would have been out 1st of August, though I found many who were enlisted for 3 years. We had certainly the flower of the Northern army to contend against; many of them being of the regular U. S. Army, commanded by Generals Scott, McDowell and Patterson. Scott was not on the field himself the day of the battle, but one of the wounded Yankees told me that he reconnoitered the day before, and that he told the soldiers to fight like men and on next Tuesday he would insure them a dinner in Richmond; that he intended to make that place his headquarters. Well he told the truth, for 1,500 will eat there but only as prisoners. We are under orders to march this evening for parts unknown to myself, though I think it very probable it is towards Alexandria.

Jeff Davis now commands the army in person. I saw him the evening after the battle; he made us a short speech.

It was remarked in camp this morning that a flag of truce had been sent by Scott to Davis proposing to treat of peace although it may only be a rumor. I hope it is not for I never want to see such another slaughter as was on last Sunday.

Our Colonel being killed Lieut. Colonel Lightfoot will take his place.

We buried our dead Monday evening on the battle field. The Yankees have been lying there till to day when part of them were buried, though there are now hundreds of them lying where they fell, and a great many horses.

Your affectionate son,

B. Rush Smith

[Charlotte] North Carolina Whig, 8/6/1861

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Contributed by John Hennessy

B. R. Smith in 6th NC Roster

B. R. Smith brief sketch here, and more detail here.





[Raleigh] North Carolina Standard, 7/27/1861: Death of Col. Fisher, 6th North Carolina Infantry

12 08 2015

Death of Col. Fisher.

The rumor we gave in our last of the death of Col. Charles F. Fisher, in the battle of Manassas, is confirmed. He fell at the head of his regiment, gloriously fighting for his native land. We have various accounts of the manner of his death; but our correspondent at Manassas, Capt. York, states that he fell at the head of a ravine, near Sherman’s Battery, while leading, it is presumed, the two right flank companies into the hottest of the fire. He is said to have given his watch and sword to his servant before entering the ravine. He was instantly killed, the ball entering his forehead and coming out at the back of his head. His hat shows the mark of the ball, the rim having been split in front, and the band cut behind. His remains reached this place on Wednesday morning last, via Goldsborough, on their way to Salisbury, his native town. The cars were draped in mourning, and his body was attended by some of the officers of the regiment, and several officers of the Road, who were much attached to him. Capt. Cole’s company, of Col Pettigrew’s regiment, by order of the Governor, accompanied the remains from this place to Salisbury.

Col. Fisher, we suppose, was about 48 years of age. We believe he was for a year or two at West Point, and that he afterwards prepared himself for the practice of the law. He edited for a year or so a paper in Salisbury. He was an able and accomplished writer, and a good speaker. He was a member of the State’s Senate in 1854-’55, and distinguished himself by his earnest advocacy of a liberal system of internal improvements. Soon after, he was called to the Presidency of the North Carolina Railroad, in which capacity he evinced great energy of character and business talents of high order. He resigned this position but a few weeks since to take command of the splendid regiment, which was raised mainly by his own exertions.

His regard for his men, and his efforts to render them comfortable, knew no bounds. Our correspondent – one of his own officers, who writes from Winchester under date of the 18th – speaks in the warmest terms of his devotion to the service, and of his unwearied efforts to provide for his men. Col. Fisher was of ardent temperament, frank in his intercourse with others, unaffected in his manners, modest, and brave. It was natural, therefore, that he should have many friends. He has fallen gloriously in a noble cause. It is believed that he was slain before the victory was fully won, while engaged in sustaining the heavy pressure on the left wing of our army. Cold and still, he was conveyed from the field, and heard not the exulting shouts of his comrades as they pursued the flying foe; but he died at the post of duty, at the head of the men who loved him like a brother, and his sensitive spirit was spared the pain of witnessing the suffering and the wounds of such of them as were stricken in battle. Very dear is his memory to all our people.

” ‘Tis come – his hour of martyrdom
In freedom’s sacred cause has come;
And though his life hath passed away
Like lightning on a stormy day,
Yet shall his death-hour leave a track
Of glory, permanent and bright,
To which the brave of after-times,
The suffering brave, shall long look back
With proud regret, – and by its light,
Watch through the hour of slavery’s night,
For vengeance on the oppressor’s crimes.”

(Raleigh) North Carolina Standard, 7/27/1861.

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Contributed by John Hennessy





Captain Richard Watt York* (2), Co. I, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the March to Manassas and the Battle

11 08 2015

Manassas Junction, Va., July 21, 1861.

To the Editor of the Standard: – In my last I told you it was probable that we would march on Martinsburg. We were ordered to fill up our canteens and haversacks, which we did. We started about four o’clock, leaving our baggage. Anxiously we gazed at te blue mountains where we supposed the enemy lay encamped; but when we took up the line of march and went down into the city, we knew we were not marching on Martinsburg, but where we could not tell. After leaving the city Co. Fisher halted the column and read an order, which stated that Gen. Beauregard had been attacked by overwhelming numbers, and that we were on a forced march to join them. All night we traveled until 3 o’clock, when we slept for a while on the ground. We then rose and marched until 7 o’clock, when we halted and prepared breakfast; after which we again resumed our march and reached Piedmont on the Manassas Gulf Railroad, where we again slept on the ground. On yesterday (Saturday) morning we arrived here, and immediately took up the line of march for the field of battle.

The battle commenced at sunrise by heavy cannonading. About 7 o’clock the battle became general, and terrible indeed was the roar. The determined spirit on both sides exhibited itself in one uninterrupted roar of musketry. Soon our regiment was ordered into position. We were led by Col. Fisher up a rugged ravine, and the two right flank companies under Captains Freeland and York, suddenly came right upon Sherman’s battery, and a Yankee regiment, which poured upon us a galling fire. We immediately faced to the rear, and gave them a raking fire, which piled them up in heaps; by this time, being exposed to a cross fire, we were ordered to fall back. But Col. Fisher having been shot, and there being no one to guide us, some little panic occurred; but we fell back and formed behind another regiment. All did good service. At the head of the ravine Col. Fisher fell, being shot in the forehead. Towards evening, the battle became a running one, and about sunset they abandoned the field and were ridden down by our cavalry.

Our loss is considerable, but not so great as at first supposed. The Yankees were piled up in heaps. We took Sherman’s battery, and indeed all their big guns and wagon loads of small arms. Excuse this hasty scroll. I will send you details in my next.

Y.

(Raleigh) North Carolina Standard, 7/27/1861.

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* While the author is not identified, from this letter of the 18th it is apparent he was a captain in the regiment. The only captain in the regiment at First Bull Run with initial “Y” was R. W. York of Co. I. See here.

R. W. York at Ancestry.com 





Captain Richard Watt York* (1), Co. I, 6th North Carolina Infantry, On the Soldier’s Haven and the March to Winchester

10 08 2015

Winchester, Va., July 18, 1861.

Mr. Editor: – Our Regiment, the 6th Infantry North Carolina State Troops, arrived here on the 16th. After leaving Raleigh we had a very pleasant time, but going through to Petersburg without stopping, and arriving there late at night, jaded us considerably. We arrived there about 12 o’clock at night, very hungry; but the good people of the city had supper ready for us, and we were ready for the supper. Early next morning the regiment was formed and we marched over to the Soldier’s Haven, where an ample breakfast was prepared for us, and after attending to this pleasant duty we expected to embark for Richmond; but cars were wanting, and two companies only, under Lieut. Col. Lightfoot, proceeded with the baggage, the remainder being left at the Soldier’s Haven, under Maj. Webb, to spend the day. After getting a dinner really sumptuous, two more companies proceeded, and late in the evening the remainder left also, and at 12 o’clock at night the last of us was in Richmond. Well, Mr. Editor, probably you are a little curious to know where the Soldier’s Haven is. I will endeavor to tell you, so that if you ever come to Petersburg and do not visit this spot, more dear by far to a soldier than any other turf around the Cockade City, you would do violence to a soldier’s feelings.

The beautiful Appomattox rolls its waters between it and the Cockade City. On its left lies a grassy plain, at whose border rises several beautiful hillocks, and deep ravines between. These hillocks are enclosed, and shaded by beautiful trees which offer a most refreshing shade to the weary soldier, while the heavy grass gives him a couch on which to rest his weary limbs, and gushing rivulets all around afford water in abundance. On the river side stands a long table, groaning from day-break until midnight under the weight of food. This is a place as romantic as the Vale of Tempe, far-famed, and holier than any other spot, with rich memories of the kind friends, and the sweet enchanting smiles and cheering words of the nymphs fabled of old. In my lonely marches, when worn down with fatigue and exhausted with hunger, I imagine I can see the clever faces of the men and angelic forms of the ladies (God bless them) of Petersburg. Some spots of earth may be forgotten, but the Soldier’s Haven, on the banks of the Appomattox can never be obliterated. May she stand eternally There is not another such place in this world.

Wearied and jaded by a six hours ride we got to Richmond about midnight, and at four next morning took up our line of march for the depot of the Virginia Central Railroad, our destination being Winchester. Arriving at the depot after a march of several hours through a heavy rain and muddy streets, judge of our vexation when we found no cars ready for us. Breaking ranks, we put ourselves under shelter as we could, and picked up cakes, pies and other eatables in infinitely small quantities, there being no haven for the soldier in Richmond as there is in Petersburg; but root hog or die was the word. About 2 o’clock it cleared away, and we marched up to capitol square, where President Jefferson Davis reviewed our regiment and made us a short speech, complimenting the old North State very highly. The Band played Hail to the Chief, Old North State, Dixie, and other patriotic airs, after which we marched down to the depot and embarked for Mannassa, where we arrived about 10 o’clock the next day. Mannassas is strongly fortified. The people generally have no idea of the strength of the place. The Yankees never will come through there. It is an utter impossibility. The troops were eager for a fight; but had no idea of getting one, for it is rashness to attack it.

After resting and getting dinner, we embarked at 5 o’clock on the Mannassas Gap Railroad for Strasburg, eighteen miles from Winchester. Long and anxious we sat in our cars waiting for the engines to take us off. The regiments began to hold dress-parade. The sun sank to his couch of fire, and night closed in, but no iron horse drew us off. Tired and weary from our night’s journey before, sleep found us, and many a soldier thought he was bounding over the mountains to join the army at Winchester; but day came and we were still at Mannassas Junction, and at about sunrise, without supper or breakfast, we started to Strasburg, and arrived there in the evening, pitched tents, and got supper – Col. Fisher being indefatigable in his exertions to render us comfortable. Tattoo was beat at 8 o’clock and tap immediately after. This astonished us. Soon the officer of the day came round and informed us that we had received a dispatch from Gen. Johnson to come on immediately, and we were ordered to march at midnight. I was preparing to lie down to take some sleep when the order came for the Captains to form their companies, march to the Quarter Master’s tent, receive their ammunition, and put out to Winchester, twenty miles. Without sleep for three nights, it was rather rough. Twelve o’clock drew on. I had fixed on my pistols and sword, filled my canteen and haversack, and was ready to form my company, when the bugler should give his blasts. Just then the rain commenced falling in torrents, and the order was countermanded until the rain should cease. About 2 o’clock the rain ceased, the bugler gave his blast, and soon the companies were formed, received their cartridges, and put out to Winchester.

After marching 9 miles we halted and got water, when we learned the Gen. Johnson had formed his line of battle, and that a detachment of Gen. Patterson’s troops were trying to turn his flanks and cut off our Regiment. Entirely ignorant of the country, we took up the line of march, and hurried on to effect a junction with Gen. Johnson. On arriving at Winchester we hated a few minutes to get water, and immediately marched through the town to the other side and were immediately placed in line of battle, and rested our weary limbs upon our muskets. Our positions was an excellent one, being posted about 500 yards to the left of the centre, behind a small hillock, which is a natural breastwork. Here we stood, amid the shocks of new mown wheat, awaiting the Yankee vandals, until about 10 o’clock at night, when Col. Fisher announced that after much trouble he had supper for us. We stacked arms, and all then lay down, making our bed by tearing down wheat shocks, and spreading our blankets over us, in which condition we took a heavy rain. We were kept in line of battle until about 2 o’clock yesterday, and our baggage being left behind, and after it arrived being packed away so that we could scarcely get to it, yet Col. Fisher himself, took our negroes, went back to town, had us a good breakfast cooked and brought to us. No man ever lived who thought more of his men that Chas. F. Fisher. No officer ever toiled harder than he to render them comfortable, and to do this, he shrinks from no labor no matter how menial. For be it remembered that a great deal of out breakfast on the morning of the 17th was cooked by the hands of Chas. F. Fisher. It is useless for me to say how our Regiment loves him. At 2 o’clock yesterday the troops were all ordered to their quarters and strong pickets posted in advance. The enemy, after advancing within three miles of us, fell back towards Martinsburg, and we joyfully went to pitching tents. And yet, not withstanding our suffering, not a murmur was heard, but all stood to their arms, and longed to see the foe.

This is a strong position, and the key to the Valley. We are well posted, and defy Old Abe to come down on us, which I do not believe he will do; for whenever he comes down to Winchester we will reddened the valley with their blood. They never can take this place.

We are here in camp in good health, no sickness, and in good spirits, and have but little expectation of a fight, though the enemy is only 12 or 15 miles distant, and may advance at any moment; but when he does come down, he will feel the effects of our heavy batteries and muskets in a way that will not be palatable. More anon.

Y.

P. S. Excuse this hasty epistle, I am worn out and tired. This morning (19th) we march to Martinsburg, I presume; at least we march.

Y.

(Raleigh) North Carolina Standard, 7/27/1861.

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Contributed by John Hennessy

* While the author is not identified, from the narrative it is apparent he was a captain in the regiment. The only captain in the regiment at First Bull Run with initial “Y” was R. W. York of Co. I. See here.

R. W. York at Ancestry.com 





Col. Charles Fisher, 6th North Carolina

8 05 2014

I have a lengthy memoir of Fisher and the 6th, presented at the dedication of a portrait of the Colonel. I found it at UNC’s Wilson Library a few years ago – hope to get it transcribed and posted here eventually.

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