Capt. Obed P. Miller, Co. E* (Old Dominion Guards), 1st Special Louisiana Battalion, On the Battle

27 04 2020

The Great Battle.
Letter From an Officer of Major Wheat’s Battalion

Manassas, July 22, 1861

Ed. Crescent – Ere this reaches its destination, I presume you will have received full details of the greatest battle that was ever fought, and most glorious victory ever achieved by a people contending for their rights and liberty.

Yesterday was the day that caused Yankee-land to weep for the “sons of her daughters.”

I am now confined to my bed with a broken leg, and in no condition to write at length; therefore shall confine myself to what I actually experienced up to an hour after being wounded, giving only a report of the company which I had the honor of leading, including the names of disabled officers of the battalion to which I was attached.

The enemy opened the cannonade across the “Stone Bridge” about sun-rise, in order to attract our forces to that particular point, intending to flank us on the left with their right wing. This, however, was anticipated, when our gallant major was ordered to check their advance.

We engaged them bout half-past 10 o’clock, A. M., with out limited force of some 400 men, they numbering, from all accounts, 8,000 regulars, with three pieces artillery, and the most desperate fire ever witnessed. They fairly poured into and over our ranks a perfect hail-storm of grape, cannon, musket and rifle balls, which we returned for near an hour, repulsing them four different times, they as often rallying. Finally, we retreated under cover some two hundred yards, when the gallant sons of dear old Mississippi, with Virginia, South Carolina and Alabama, reinforced us and another desperate charge was made. During this engagement I regret to advise that our Major, C. R. Wheat, was seriously, if not dangerously wounded, and a more brave and noble soul never existed. Lieut, Adrian of the Tiger Rifles, shot through the thigh; Lieut. Dickinson, acting Adjutant of my company, shot through the thigh, and Lieut. Carey, acting Second Lieutenant in my company, also seriously wounded – both of whom were a pride to our army.

I marched on the field eight non-commissioned officers and forty-eight privates, and give you my report a far as heard from this morning:

Wounded, Captain (self,) 2 Lieutenants, 1 Corporal and 12 privates; killed or missing, 5 privates. For the satisfaction of their friends, here are the names:

Wounded – Capt. O. P. Miller, 2nd Lieut Allan C. Dickinson, Junior 2d Lieut. Henry S. Carey, 2d Corporal Danl. Ross, Privates Samuel Barfield, Frederick Bossey, Jas. Connor, Patrick Connerty, Jas. Carroll, Thos. Ford, J. H. Hutchinson, Jas. McDermot, Jno. Raynor, Cornelius Reily, David Vance, Jno. Walker.

Killed or missing – Privates Thos. Flinn, Geo. B. Hamilton, Augustin Johnston, John Shine, John Ward.

Every man, with few exceptions, deported themselves like men. Lieutenants Foley, Dickinson, and Carey I am proud to command, each of whom behaved well on the field.

I am suffering much from much from the effects of a broken bone in the right leg below the knee, but hope to resume command of what remains of my noble little company within a few days.

To-morrow the battalion will be marched back to resume our old position, which we have held five days, near the “Bridge” under the command of R. A. Harris, senior Captain, where, if desired, the followers of Abraham can have the dose repeated.

The fight was opened at 10 ½ o’clock A. M., and lasted until dark, with the enemy in fill retreat, pursued for miles by our cavalry.

President Davis arrived on the field after the action had commenced.

Thousands, [?] said, lie dead on the field. All the while prisoners and wounded are coming in. The wounded of the enemy receive like attention as friends.

Prior to engaging the enemy our little battalion received a raking fire from three regiments of fiends; notwithstanding, they rallied and promptly “faced the music.”

Yours, very truly,

O. P. Miller.
Captain of Old Dominion Guards,
First Special Battalion La. Volunteers.

P. S. – David O’Keefe proved his friendship for the South, and is promoted corporal. My servant, Frederick Johnson, while following me on the field with water and provisions, was “nabbed” by the enemy, and carried back several miles, but finally escaped, well supplied with Yankee clothing, and is now nursing me like a friend.

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

Clipping Image

Contributed by John Hennessy

* Most records show first muster in of Obed Miller to Co. D of this unit, however this site notes: “The company was mustered in state service for the war at Camp Davis, New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, under the command of Captain C R Wheat, on 25 April, 1861, and First Lieutenant O P Miller, Old Dominion Guards, was appointed captain, Old Dominion Guards, on 23 May, 1861. Captain C R Wheat, Old Dominion Guards, was appointed major, 1st Louisiana Special Battalion Infantry, on 25 May, 1861, and the company was designated the 1st Louisiana Special Battalion Infantry, Company D (2nd), on 1 November, 1861. The company was disbanded at Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia, on 15 August, 1862.” So it would appear that the company letter designation is post battle.

Obed P. Miller at 

Obed P. Miller at Fold3