Pvt. Matthew S. Ramsey, Co. D, 5th Alabama Infantry, Before the Battle

17 01 2022

From the Seat of War.

For the Beacon.

Farr’s X Roads,
Near Fairfax C. H., Va.,
July 15, 1861.

Col. Harvey – Dear Sir: – I guess you think our correspondence is about to cease entirely. We are not allowed to furnish any news now for publication. Orders to this effect are continually being read before the Regiments of the Brigade. We are on the advance line of General Beauregard’s army. Our station is fifteen miles from Manassas Junction. We do not know when an engagement will take place here. I am altogether in doubt as to that now. Our Regiment is filled now by a fine looking Company from Barbour county, Ala., Capt. Blackfort. The Flying Artillery Company has not been released from Pensacola. We are now very anxious to have them here.

The ”Greensboro Guards,” who are here, are now very healthy. – We learn that Messers. Miller and Bulger, at Culpepper C. H., are yet pretty sick. These are the only serious cases we have had. – come good men and soldiers will have to be discharged from the service in consequence of prolonged indisposition. I think Messrs. C. T. Briggs and James A. Loster have already been discharged.

On Friday last a scouting party composed of a Captain, a Lieutenant and 15 privates, marched nearly into the enemy’s camp unconsciously. They were immediately nearly surrounded by the enemy in pretty large numbers, who attempted to out-flank and cut them off. The Captain, knowing there was no use in making any resistance, ordered his men to make their escape as quickly as possible. They have all come into camp except three, viz: Robt. Paulding, of the “Greensboro Guards,” Fiquet, of the “Warrior Guards,“ and Walker, of the “Pickensville Blues.”* This is Monday, and we have heard nothing from them. – Paulding, who is the son of Major Paulding, of Marengo county, was one of the best soldiers in our Company. He was brave and daring. He always did his duty cheerfully, and never missed a drill on account of sickness. He was liked by all the members of the Regiment who knew him.

I have no time to write more now. We have received the Beacon pretty regularly since we came here.

Yours truly,
M. S. R

P. S. Judge Moore’s Regiment is ordered and gone to Winchester. Captain Van de Graff’s Company from Gainesvillle is at Manassas Junction. Mrs. Gen. Kerr is at Culpepper attending our sick. She will long be remembered by the “Greensboro Guards.” She is acting nobly. I would like to tell you more about our position, &c., but if any one communicates this, he would lay himself liable to be court-martialed; besides, it would do no good for our friends to know the circumstances by which we are surrounded.

M. S. R.

*A letter dated the 16th, from a member of the 5th Ala. Regiment, has been received here, which states that the tree missing members of this scouting party had been taken prisoners. – Ed.

(Greensboro) Alabama Beacon, 7/26/1861

Clipping Image

Roster of 5th Alabama Infantry

Matthew S. Ramsey at Ancestry

Matthew S. Ramsey at Fold3





Pvt. Matthew S. Ramsey, Co. D, 5th Alabama Infantry, On the Retreat to Bull Run and the Battle

13 01 2022

From the Seat of War.

For the Beacon.

Union Mills, Va., July 30, 1861.

Col Harvey – Dear Sir: – I guess you have heard all about the conflicts between the two armies in Virginia. – You have also learned, perhaps, that the 5th Regiment of Alabama “opened the ball” at Farr’s X Roads, near Fairfax Court House. Our pickets engaged their advance guard on the 17th of July, four miles in advance of our camp. The Regiment soon marched to our breast-works, not yet finished, expecting to meet them every moment. Company E, scouting under the gallant Capt. Shelly, was sent to the aid of the guards. These parties exchanged many fires with the Vandals, and retreated behind our fortifications, having suffered little injury. We were already ordered to retreat, and finding the troops who supported us, right and left, had gone, the order was executed. We marched in quick time down the Braddock Road, in the direction of Centreville, and reached McLane’s Ford, on the Bull’s Run Creek, about 3 o’clock P. M. Pretty hard march. We removed that night to this place, where we all slept that night without tents, and many of us without blankets. Uon this march, Colonel Rodes promoted Mr. W. L. Kennedy of the “Greensboro Guards,” to a position in the “Color-bearers staff,” for having performed some deed of bravery – killing, I think, as many as two Yankees. On Thursday we were holding our position near this place, and could hear the sharp fighting in the “little fight” at Mitchell’s Ford. On Sunday, the 21st July, we marched upon the field just as the enemy was in full retreat. We were first ordered to flank them, but some mistake made in issuing the orders, caused us to proceed rapidly to the scene of action. If Gen. Ewell’s Brigade had been permitted to open a heavy fire upon the disordered columns of the flying enemy, the route would have been complete. We will not regret this, however, as our brave army had gained glory enough for one day.

The 4th Alabama suffered severely in the contest; yet they acted nobly, fighting after the field officers had been all killed or wounded. I learn that Col. Jones has died since the battle. Maj. Scott is not seriously injured. In the language of President Davis, “This was a glorious but dear-bought victory.” Many noble sons of the South fell on the 21st of July – a day long remembered in the Southern Confederacy.

Thus you see the Fifth Regiment, or, as the Yankees call us, the “Bloody Fifth,” has been for the last two weeks subject to advance and retreat without ever yet being brought into actual service. We have learned, since our retreat, that Lincoln’s troops boast of having whipped the 5th Ala. Regiment with the loss of twenty-seven men, – Glorious victory, that!

The “Greensboro Guards” are pretty well at present. Mrs. Gen. Kerr, who has shown us so many favors, has just arrived in camp. She is from Culpepper Court House, where she attends our sick.

Yours truly,
M. S. Ramsey

(Greensboro) Alabama Beacon, 8/16/1861

Clipping Image

Roster of 5th Alabama Infantry

Matthew S. Ramsey at Ancestry

Matthew S. Ramsey at Fold3