Pvt. George Tannehill Jones Anderson*, Co. I, 4th Alabama Infantry, From Huntsville to Manassas

31 01 2023



April 29. – Left home with a company of volunteers, bid farewell to home, parents and friends, and departed on a twelve months tour, for the defence of my country; hated to leave most awfully, but our country being in danger and on one to defend her did not suit us.

April 30. – Arrived at Chattanooga before daylight, and had to lay over eight hours; never was so bored by a place in my life; was very glad to leave it at two o’clock for Dalton, Georgia; we were boxed up in freight cars to travel over a long railway, through a poor pine country; arrived in Dalton before night, and found other companies there; laid over two days and a half, during which time we organized a regiment, and elected E. J. Jones, of Huntsville, Colonel, and E. M. Law, Lieutenant Colonel; we received our arms at Dalton, smooth bored muskets, at which the boys grunted.

May 3. – Left Dalton for Lynchburg, Virginia, in old box cars, forty-one in a car; travelled over some rich, some poor and some beautiful county; crossed two large rivers; the Tennessee is the most beautiful river at this point that I ever say, and afforded the most beautiful views from the bridge that our country furnishes, About sunset we stopped and packed a quantity of hay from a rick near by to sleep on. Slept all night in the cars, such sleeping as it was.

May 4. – Woke up in Jonesborough, Tennessee, about sunrise; saw lots of beautiful women; received a bouquet from a very nice girl, with a soul stirring inscription fastened to it. Left there for Bristol, in the land of Virginia; arrived about ten o’clock, and was delayed until four; left with and advance guard of our company and several other companies for Lynchburg; slept all night in the rail car.

Sunday, May 5. – Woke up in the early morning eight miles from Lynchburg; took breakfast at Liberty, where, as usual, the ladies turned out to do us honor; reached Lynchburg about ten, and were marched out to our camp, two miles from the depot and on a hill, with two springs at the foot of it. It rained all night, and I and to stand guard from eleven to one.

May 6. – It rained all day; had to stand guard again at night, but missed standing on picket guard for some time by it.

May 7. – Wrote home for the seventh or eighth time, and was mustered into the service of the Confederate states; felt homesick, because I could not hear from home;

May 8. – Drilled half the day.

May 9. – Was excused from drill on account of a felon[1] on my thumb; sent two letters home by Mr. Murphy, of Huntsville.

May 10. – Excused from drill; was glad to see Uncle Washington[2], who is now our Quartermaster; got leave to go to town to-morrow with a pass; intend to look around and see the place; wrote part of a letter to a young friend at home; have never heard from home yet; getting very anxious to hear from home; answered a tattoo; went to bed after; and slept soundly until midnight, when we were aroused by an order to march for Harper’s Ferry at five o’clock, and have to cook rations for two days; we have to foot it eighteen miles, in order to shun Washington; don’t like it a bit; we are all willing to go; expect a fight with the Northerners there; but few of us ever expect to get back; did not get off at five; we were delayed until ten, and probably longer; got mad as thunderation at First Lieutenant for refusing to let us have flour; we have to make our for two days on bread and meat that a dog would refuse; it seems that the whole North has turned against us; but we can whip them; if we get to Harper’s Ferry safely without an encounter with the Yankees we can whip as many of them as they can send against us; Old Abe is the greatest fool that I ever heard of; if he had good sense he would see that the South can not be coerced; we are united as one man, and can whip any lot of Yankees [on equal terms; it is useless for them to wage war on us, for we can defy the world if they invade us; I am very sleepy from being awaked at midnight, and then to be disappointed; I am getting very tired of this camp and suspense; I had rather go on and pelt it right through; we are waiting here very impatiently for orders to leave, and cannot get them; one of the companies will not go without ammunition, and I do not blame them; all of the regiments ought to do the same; we cannot get rifles, and I, for one, am not willing to fight with those old muskets; I had rather have a pair of good pistols; why on earth can’t a fellow hear from home? They seem to have forgotten that we are in the world; I have notion not to write any more until I receive a letter from home; formed a line and marched to the depot; the clouds had been lowering for some time; they now turned loose on us with a vengeance; we however got on board of the cars, or tumbled pell-mell into a lot of stock cars, crowded together like so many hogs, and travelled all night for the third night in the cars, slept on the floor and got cold as thunder; waked up half froze to death, trravelled half the day, and was delayed waiting on another train at a place called Manassas station; one regiment of Virginia troops are stationed here, one company of artillery and one of cavalry; they are got in this place to keep Lincoln’s troops from passing through the direct route to Washington; some dread that he will attempt to take this place; all the Harper’s Ferry machinery is here. I fear that we will do badly so far as eating is concerned; I dispose of the fat meat that they give us, and do not intend to eat it if I can keep from it; we fare rather badly I think, and have an old tyrant for a colonel; he is an aristocrat – dog him.

Sunday, May 12. – Pitched off for Strasburg about four; passed another miserable night in the cars; arrived Strasburg at daybreak.

May 13. – Ate a hasty breakfast, and took up the line of march for Winchester, eighteen miles distant, over a hard turnpike and beneath a pelting sun; people gave us refreshments all along the route; gave us our dinner, and a first rate one; arrived at Winchester about six, in a hard rain; marched through the town in the rain and got wringing wet; just as we got through the depot the rain stopped and we ate supper, crowded aboard the cars, our feet sore, tired, weary and sick at heart; arrived at Harper’s Ferry about two o’clock, completely exhausted, and took up our quarters in a vacated store, very dirty and a foul atmosphere; changed clothing and slept in each others arms until seven o’clock on the 14th; roused up and went out on the Potomac, took a wash and a view of the far famed river; went back to a hotel, ate a tolerable breakfast, and sallied out to see the sights; took a close look at the work done by old “Brown,” and wondered at the old fool as well as at the citizens; he, through cowardice, took a secure but out of the way position, and they, through fear, let him imprison them and hold the town in subjection; saw the bullet holes made un a house by him and his men, and one that went through the corner of a house and killed a man named Beckhammer; passed this day in writing, reading the Testament, and viewing the gun works; they are making guns in a hurry – sixty a day; took up a Yankee spy, as we supposed, but we were mistaken, for he was a good Southern man; a few of our boys went out a fishing, but came back directly, run out of breath, and reported they heard the cannon of the enemy; but they were fooled, for it was the sound of some men who were trying arms.

May 15. – Rested all day; nothing new happened except a change of quarters from a stinking hole to a very nice house; also climbed on Jefferson’s rock, and took a view of the grandest and most sublime scenery in the State; where the great statesman stood and admired it as a large shelving rock supported by pillars, and has a great many names cut in it; left the initials of my brother’s and my name with the others; slept very well all night; woke up feeling a little sick; drilled six hours, which we are to do every day; I am very anxious to hear from home; in fact we both are.

May 17. – Drilled all day, nothing new happened, no letter from home yet; I can’t see why on earth we don’t hear from home; I am sure that the letters are miscarried; very cold mornings, and days not warm by any means; hope I will get a letter to-morrow.

May 18. – The long looked for letter comes at last, and oh! how much joy it gives me; all well at home, and we feared otherwise, and all miss us at home and want to see us, but not worse than we want to see them; we are satisfied now; we moved to our encampment; this eve, on a hill overlooking the Potomac, cut pine tops for our bed, cooked our supper, cooked the beef splendidly for the first; I hope that we will remain here for some time, on account of home; we both cried over the letter, and I know that we will both cry over Pauline’s when we get it, which I hope will be soon; we are better satisfied than we have ever been since we left home.

Sunday, May 19. – What a cold day for the 19th of May; everybody is acting as if it were Monday, all firing guns, cooking, playing cards, &c.; had a dress parade; Colonel Jackson inspected us; he is a large, fat old fellow, looks very much like an old Virginia farmer; returned to camp, prepared and ate a canty dinner; had Episcopal service, and then a good old fashioned service from our paster Chadick[3]; Oh how I loved to listen to him; wrote a letter home; had another dress parade in the evening; rained all night.

May 20. – Still raining a very cold rain; have just finished cleaning up through and around our tent, and we are now waiting very impatiently for our rations, for we are undoubtedly very hungry; I will now finish the last chapter of the Acts, and begin at the Romans, and finish to-day when the day closes; did nothing to-day but look out and read the Testament; received a letter from a friend at Fort Pickens; got some straw to sleep on; slept soundly until daylight.

May 21. – Got up, made the fire and cooked some bread and ate a scanty breakfast of burnt bread and butter; afterwards read several chapters in the Testament; hope to hear from home again to-day; we are both a little homesick; received two letters from sister Pauline, and I was glad, indeed, to get them; drilled six hours under Colonel O. E. Humphreys, who won’t let us rest at all; one of our company died last night at Strasburg, which created no little sorrow in the company.

May 22. – Started to reply to the letters from sister Pauline[*]; had started on the fifth page when I was ordered to the mountain to get wood for the regiment; it is rather hard work, but we rest often enough; I will finish my letters as soon as possible; three trains of troops have just arrived (ten o’clock), but as they are on the opposite side of the river, I can’t find out where they are from; from all indications, I look for hot work soon; troops are coming in every day, and they surely are not coming here just to be coming; everything here has a martial appearance; I guess that we may look for a fight within three weeks, and if I fall, I hope that God will pardon my sins; I want to pray and be saved, but I am too much of a sinner – I fear that I never will; it is horrible to think of dying, leaving a world of sorrow and going straight to a worse – yes, a thousandfold worse. From such a fate, O God, in mercy save me; do, O Lord, deliver me from sin and temptation; I know that I am unworthy, but thou, O God, art merciful. This is real hard work; we have to pitch the wood as far as we can down the mountain, and then climb down to it and pitch it again, and continue thus to the foot of the mountain, where it is loaded into a wagon and hauled to the camp; the streets here stink worse than carrion; I can smell it across the river when the breeze comes from the direction of the town; I have just finished a hearty dinner of cold beef and light bread (the latter several days old0, and I will now take to my Testament until we have to go to work again; finished the day’s work and returned to camp; wrote away on a letter until night; slept soundly all night; woke up at daybreak.

May 23. – Feeling bad and unwell. Stephen[*] is out on picket guard for twenty-four hours; very warm day in the sun, but cool in the shade, and very cool nights; Virginia votes on the ordinance of secession to-day; I expect to hear of great excitement and a good many mobs in the State to-day; received a letter from home to-day, and felt a good deal better on account of it; I wrote at every interval until one o’clock, 24th; slept very well at night, considering I was alone and had a bad cold.

May 24. – Warm but pleasant; drilled four hours until two o’clock; Stephen got in about nine, and he is now engaged in writing home; I wrote three sheets myself; will send it in a short time; drilled all day; heard bad news from the war outside of us; if the reports are true, we are completely surrounded; awoke up at daylight feeling anything but comfortable on account of eating too much supper last night, and partly on account of the bad news; looks very much like rain this morning.

May 25. – Rained very hard for an hour or so; had a general holiday, and took a bath in the Potomac. We are now quartered in the same tent with the Quartermaster of this regiment; very well fixed, but nearly out of money.

Sunday, May 26. – A weary day; drilled two hours and a half; heard a splendid sermon from the text: – “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth,” &c., from W. D. Chadwick, who is now the chaplain of our regiment. Don’t like to drill on Sunday one bit; Stephen is sick; I fear that he will have the measles; we are expecting a fight in a short time; the North has invaded us and we will drive back the ruthless vagabonds.

May 27. – The most pleasant and beautiful morning that the sun ever rose on, or about as pleasant. It commenced raining about eight o’clock; the wind commenced blowing, and scattered the tents far and wide, causing great merriment in the company; turned cold towards twelve, and disappointed me as to a contemplated bath; rather a cold night; Stephen still complaining; slept on uncle’s cot, and slept finely until morning.

May 28. – Woke up and found the weather had moderated; gave our bed up to a lady from Huntsville; I drilled all day’ Stephen still sick and growing worse; I suppose that he has got the measles at last; I have just wrapped him up with blankets warm, for a good night’s sleep, while I wait for roll call; I am now going to prepare for old “Venable” to sleep in here; slept well all night.

May 29. – I woke up and found it raining; Stephen has fever; cold day; drilled on hour, and am now waiting for my breakfast; Stephen took the measles to-day; I moved him to a private house and stayed with him at night; ate my supper with Mrs. Jordan; I intend to eat there all the time that she stays, if possible. Two companies of Virginians ordered off this evening for a fight somewhere.

May 30. – Stephen broke out with the measles, thick as hops; wants to see home; still eating with Mrs. Jordan, and, I suppose, permanently, though D. C. Humphreys objects, on account of the measles; received two letters from home, with good enough news in them; very warm day; Uncle Wash is very kind, and everyone else is kind to us.

May 31. – Sent four letters home, per J. J. Venable; Stephen is recovering, but I fear, through imprudence, will get worse as he recovers; I drilled until twelve o’clock, and was seized with a severe pain in my right chest – strong symptoms of pneumonia. If I take that, I have no other idea but it will end my life; I was cupped for it, and rubbed my side with turpentine; I hope to be well and hearty by Monday next; this is the last day of May, 1861, and a beautiful day; we are one thousand miles from home; one of us (Stephen) laid up with measles, and as fretful as a sore-headed kitten; I am afraid of pneumonia; truly we are in an unenviable situation; we often think of home, and our hearts yearn to be with them, but our country and duty says not – the latter we will cheerfully obey. I would like to see the home folks about now; I am confident that peace will be made in a few short weeks, maybe months, and we will then return to repose our weary and careworn bodies at a loved home; I hope so, and pray God that it may be so.

June 1. – A beautiful day; the scouts brought intelligence that the enemy was near at hand, only fifteen miles off; Stephen is more pettish than a sore-headed kitten; grumbles more that a sore-headed bull; does nothing but grumble and quarrel, and curse the measles; I am a good deal better, and ready for a fight; sent Stephen off to Winchester, in anticipation of a fight; I fear that it will make him worse; it rained soon after he started, but I suppose that he was on the cars; took tea with Mr. Geo. Crowles, and had a splendid supper; slept very well, but took cold; I guess I will have to stand picket to-day.

Sunday, June 2. – Missed the parade; took a bath; heard a sermon from the xiv. Psalm, 1st and 2d verses. Very warm day; cloudy and threatening; towards night commenced raining; about dark procured a room and bed for three of us.

June 3. – All right excepting a night sweat and a wet shirt; a very pleasant morning; stood picket guard twenty-four hours, from eight o’clock Monday; rained part of the time; slept on the ground during the day and part of the night; slept about one hour in the old “Brown” house.

June 4. – Commenced raining early, and rained all day; received a letter from Jno. Edwards, and wrote one to him and one to sis; slept in a bed last night finely; waked up in the 5th with a rheumatism in my shoulders, and found it cold and raining; answered to reveille, read the last twelve chapters of Luke, and am now waiting for my breakfast; it was a very disagreeable day indeed, cold rain all day. Received a letter from Pauline, a good one, too; slept in a house near the camp.

June 6. – We waked up and found it still cold, wet and misty; drilled half of the day; turned warm; had a big dance in camp.

June 7. – Warm and cloudy; drilled up to twelve o’clock, and am at present engaged in getting dinner; was severely reprimanded by the Captain[4] for an act that I was innocent of; I was mad enough to have killed him for it; drilled regularly until night.

June 8. – Woke up with a sick headache, and was excused from drill; went in a washing; put on clean clothes and felt all right; Stephen returned to day well and hearty; was glad to see him; received orders to strike tents and be ready to march in a short time, as a fight was on hand, which was obeyed with alacrity, as every man seemed anxious for a fight and reported ready; in fifteen minutes a heavy rain came upon us, and the order was countermanded, to the great indignation of all.

Sunday June 9. – Moved one and a half miles into an old wheatfield, in a very rough, rocky place, and pitched tent; missed preaching to-day.

June 10. – Laid up with the diarrhea; very hot; I would as lief fight as not. This morning would like to hear from home; wrote a letter home.

June 11. – Very warm; drilled two and a half hours before noon; sent off extra baggage to Winchester preparatory to a march, fight or something else; drilled and sweated like thunder.

June 12. – Very pleasant morning; pleasant breeze stirring. I have to stand guard to-day and night; very well pleased; expecting a battle daily, whether here or elsewhere I know not, but we will have a fight certainly, and that shortly.

June 13. – Started to write home; was stopped by an order to strike tents; did so, and sent this off with the expectation of marching right away; had to stay in our old encampment, beneath the deep blue vault of heaven; rather cold.

June 14. – We are going to evacuate this place, and leave for Winchester, on foot; blowed up the bridges; and burned up the public property; going to leave for a place where we can get a fight.

June 15. – Finished the work of destruction, and left about ten o’clock; marched thirteen miles over a very hard and dusty road, and through a very fertile country; the best and most wheat that I ever say, and clover in abundance; camped in a wood three and a half miles from Charlestown; cooked and ate; slept on the ground, with no protection from the weather; the ladies of Charlestown treated us very well, and hurrahed for old Jeff.

Sunday, June 16. – Expected a rest to-day, but disappointed, as usual; had to march thirteen miles in quest of the enemy, through a beautiful and fertile valley; camped on each side of a small creek; not near so warm as the night before.

June 17. – We roused up before day, and got ready to march; heard of the Yankees moving South; took a counter march to intercept them in their march on Winchester; they burned Martinsburg to-day, if rumor is true; marched eight and a half miles over a hard turnpike, and camped three and a half miles from Winchester in a wood, which reminds me of a woodman’s home – very much like it; expect to fight in a few days; in fact we expected it this morning; was sure of a fight; extra cartridges were served out, all the wagons started back, and our captain made a speech to encourage us; very cool weather; came near freezing last night; cool but pleasant this morning.

June 18. – Waiting orders; may stay here two or three days; received three letters from home; responded to them; the boys caught five or six squirrels and two hares; sleep on the ground finely.

June 19. – Received a box of cake and a pistol from home, with more letters; glad to get them at any time; beautiful morning; warm day, cool night; it looks like rain this morning; we expect to move to-day nearer Winchester; glad of it; I would like to see some of the ladies of Winchester the best kind.

June 20. – Moved our camp within a mile of Winchester, and got our tents; have got them pitched and prepared for comfortable soldier living. Received another letter from home; all well. Not much idea of a fight for a while.

June 21. – Very pleasant day; feel sick; excused from drill, and taking a general rest. Wrote home and to several acquaintances. A funeral sermon is being preached in sight of the camp; one of the soldiers died yesterday – a member of the light infantry. The ladies will be out here this evening to see us. I intend to try and fix up a little. Expect to remain here until July, when we know what we have to do.

June 22. – Drilled half of the day; went to town and bought some clothing; Dined at the Taylor Hotel; very common fare. Rested in the evening. Received orders about ten o’clock to cook provisions and prepare for marching.

Sunday June 23. – Beautiful morning; rather cool. Waiting orders to march on the Yankees; did not march. Heard two sermons from the Rev. W. D. Chadick; very good ones. H. C. Worthun starts for home tomorrow; he has the consumption. I have a few letters to send by him. Don’t I wish that I could go for a few days, to eat watermellons, apples, peaches, &c.? It would be glorious! Rained in the night; turned cool.

June 24. – Cool and clear. A beautiful morning; no prospect of leaving here yet. I think we will stay one or two weeks longer. It is only ten days until Congress meets, and that decides what we will have to do. Stood guard from eight to eight.

June 25. – Went to town and took a bath; came back at twelve, and slept until late, then proceeded to write a letter to Matt, and one to Pauline. Stephen is on Guard to-day, and comes off at one o’clock to-morrow.

June 26. – Pleasant, but cloudy morning. Evening, moved our camp to one of the hottest places in the country. Took a very severe cold and violent headache; sick as a horse. It rained, as usual, about the time some of us got our tents struck.

June 27. – Wake up feeling very badly; warm and sultry. Went up to the —- camp, and found several old acquaintances; head aches awfully; still a very bad cold. Strange we don’t get any letters; there is certainly a flaw in the postal arrangements. Received a letter from Pauline. Felt sick all day; slept soundly all night.

June 28. – Wake up in the morning feeling considerably better. Went out on drill, and returned feeling worse. Felt very sick; would as soon go home with C. W. as not. Very hot day; a little breeze stirring. Moved our camp to a beautiful grove, and had a very nice encampment; hope we will stay here as long as possible, at least until we can take an active part in the war movements.

June 29. – Just two months since we left home; hope to be there before two months more; very sick with the asthma, and have a bad cough yet.

Sunday, June 30. – Nothing new.

July 1. – Very cool; rained in the morning and at night.

July 2. – Really cold; received orders to march in a hurry, for the fight was now close at hand; marched all the evening at a quick step; met some prisoners on the route – sad looking cases, 45 in number; stopped a little after dark, and slept until half-past one o’clock; was roused up and ordered to march, which was not very cheerfully obeyed, owing to sleepiness; Colonel Howlett and Doctor Patton, of Huntsville, came in the morning before we started, bringing our letters; when the order was received, Col. H. seized a gun and marched with us; Dr. P. procured a horse and was along as surgeon.

July 3. – We marched all night until daylight, and stopped to get breakfast; we are now in the woods, seven miles from Manassas, the reported headquarters of the army; large reinforcements have come up, and we expect to give them a good fight; in fact we will be sure to whip them; I think, I hope so; would like to send some letters home, if possible. I was very glad to hear from home by one who had seen the folks, and glad that they are all well. A man, one of our regiment, was shot and will die, by the careless handling of a pistol; we left, as we thought, for Manassas Junction, about twelve o’clock, Colonel H. in the ranks as a private, and marched about three miles; filed to the left and stopped behind a stone wall and rested in the wood all day; was roused up in the night, and moved about three hundred yards, to another stone wall, and slept until day, expecting a fight all the time, but the enemy seemed inclined to stay where he is, and so do we.

July 4. – The memorable day of all days for the American people; we could hear the sound of the enemy’s guns, I suppose in celebration of the day; we did not celebrate it; slept a good part of the day; would like to know how the home folks spent it; I would like to know what we are going to do; we slept about in the woods all day, and went to sleep at night expecting to be roused for a battle before morning; was aroused about three o’clock, and expected a fight right away, but never moved out of the camp; we will probably fight to-day, July 5, as old P.[5] seems anxious to fight us; lay secreted in the woods all day; nothing new, went on guard at 7 o’clock P. M.; stood four hours during the night; rained this morning, and looks as though it would rain hard before night; would like to see Old Abe’s message[6]; do not know when we will fight; can hear very little from which to draw an opinion; news came that the enemy was advancing; we were again drawn up in battle array, and waited impatiently two hours, but nary [?], Mick Davis, Clint Davis and Mr. Erskine came in from Huntsville, and took their places in our ranks as privates, also Col. Hewlett and Capt. Beard; we had ninety men ready and willing for a fight; I am beginning to believe that we will not have any, I have been fooled so often.

Sunday, July 7. – We were ordered to fall back to our old position near Winchester; some of the men thought it was a retreat, and began to grumble; the General ordered a note to be read to his command, in explanation of his conduct; we started in an awful hot day; I fell out of the ranks, went off the road some distance, and got a splendid dinner from an old lady and two young ones – splendid milk, butter, and bread, and I did ample justice to it; she upbraided us for leaving her to the mercy of the Yankees; I straggled into camp about sunset, completely exhausted, and went off to bed without supper.

July 8. – A beautiful morning; rested all day, with the exception of dress parade; wrote part of a letter home.

July 9. – Spent the morning writing and drilling; it rained in the evening, affording ample time for writing, and a great deal of it was done.

July 10. – Received a letter from home, all well; have struck our tents, and are lying around here waiting for orders; don’t know what it means; a huge columnbiad came up a few moments since to be planted upon this hill; that looks as if we are going to fight here; the militia and prisoners are engaged in throwing up breastworks and planting cannon for the defence of this place; the Yankees are advancing and seem determined at least to make an effort to drive us out from here, but I think they will fail; they outnumber us, but can’t outfight us; received orders to strike tents this evening, which we did, but a rain coming up, we pitched them again for shelter; expected all day for the enemy to advance on us.

July 11. – Struck tents again this morning at daylight, I suppose to deceive the enemy as to our force, &c.; drilled two and a half hours on battalion drill.

July 12. – Frilled four hours; received a letter from home; rained in the evening, and very hard all night.

July 13. – Cleared off finely, and a beautiful morning; very cool weather for July; went to town in the forenoon and made the ice cream and cakes fly; several citizens of Huntsville arrived and brought us our letters; slept very cool in the night.

Sunday, July 14. – Ready twenty psalms; helped draw provisions; cleaned my pistol, loaded it and looked over a newspaper; have now just completed writing a letter for home; I wonder why “Chadick” did not preach.

July 15. – Cool and clear – had a brigade drill in the morning; went through some of the evolutions badly; our regiment was sharply reproved by the Colonel; received orders to cook up all provisions on our return from drill; have nothing to cook; report says that the Yankees are coming on us; I do not believe it; I think that we will have to march on them if we want to fight them.

July 16. – Had another brigade drill; went through it better; Colonel Stewart’s[7] cavalry went to sleep, and suffered themselves to be surrounded, and came galloping in without hats, saddles, pistols, guns, &c., raised the alarm and had us drawn up in battle array to wait the enemy; we slept on our arms all night.

July 17. – Warm but pleasant; we are lying around our guns, looking out for the Yankees over our breastworks; I feel confident that we will whip them when they come; I am beginning to believe they are not coming.


July 18. – Received orders to strike tents and cook two days’ provisions preparatory to a march; this was done, and we lay around until evening before receiving orders; received them at last and went through Winchester; stop in the town until late, and bid farewell, I suppose for the last time, to Winchester, about five o’clock; marched nearly all night; slept about two hours; found ourselves on the road at daylight, the 19th, weary indeed; rested a while and then marched to the Shenandoah; rested there about five hours, waded the steam and pitched out again to the relief of Beauregard, who they said was pressed by overwhelming odds; arrived at Piedmont station about one hour after dark, completely worn out; went to sleep, but was aroused by a rain, in a few minutes, crept under a shelter of wheat, but got wet, having left my coat in the wagon; dried myself, procured a shawl from Uncle Washington, and slept until after midnight; was roused up by orders to “fall in,” did so and crowded on board the cars from Manassas, where we arrived about ten o’clock A. M. of the 20th; rested a while, bought some butter and prepared to eat, having done without for two days; received orders to march again, and said we were going right into the fight; heard a good deal of bragging about the fight of the 17th, thought it was not much of a fight; moved about two miles and bivouacked in the woods, where some bread and meat soon reached us, and we walked right into it, like starved hounds eat, now and then all day; slept a little and slept well into the night; got up a little after sundrise on the 21st, broiled my meat and ate it with old crackers full of bugs; expecting orders to march every moment, will get them, I think, for it is Sunday; we will fight, I suppose, before another week.

This closed the diary, and a few hours later the writer lay a corpse upon the battle field. The following names which appeared on the inside of the cover, are supposed to be those of some of his comrades: – James R. McMullen, G. A. McMullen, H. B. Roper[8].

The New York (NY) Herald 7/29/1861

Clipping image

Contributed by John Hennessy

[*] Likely George T. Anderson, of Co. I, enlisted 4/26/1861 at Huntsville, killed at First Bull Run. Stephen J. Anderson also enlisted in Co. I on 4/26/1861. He was discharged as underage on 7/31/1861. Per 4th Alabama Roster draft by Richard M. Allen. Per FindAGrave, the two were brothers and had a sister, Pauline.
[1] – an infection
[2] – George Washington Jones, Regimental Quartermaster
[3] – William D. Chadick, Regimental Chaplain
[4] – Capt. Edward D. Tracy
[5] – Union Brig. Gen. Robert Patterson
[6] – President Abraham Lincoln’s 7/4/1861 address to Congress.
[7] – Col J. E. B. Stewart
[8] – Pvt. Henry B. Roper, Co. I

This transcription with additional annotations was found after completing the above.

George Anderson at Ancestry.com

George Anderson at Fold3

George Anderson at FindAGrave

Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Heintzelman, Diary Entries

21 02 2022

Alex. Mon. July 15, 1861

I got a telegraph to go to Wash. to meet Gen. McDowell & bring Col. Miles. Margaret & I went up with him in the 9 a.m. boat. We met Gen. McDowell & he changed for Col. Miles to go up the Little River Turnpike & my division on the Old Fairfax Road south of the railroad as far as Sangster’s & then probably cross the Occoquan at Wolf Shoals & so on to Brentsville & cut the rail road which communicates with Va.

I went to see Gen. Mansfield but did not find him in. I had dinner at one & came down at 3 p.m. I met Lt. Charles Norton of the Navy. He was on the Seminole & is detached. Matilda is better but not well. Margaret is coming down in the morning to see me start.

After I got down the order to march came. Col. Miles had to start at 3 p.m. We will have to start at 10 a.m. to make our distance to Bone Mill on the Accotink. I was busy till night, have been since 11 p.m. with the brigade commanders arranging the details of the march tomorrow. I believe that we have now done all we can do [in] the short time left us to prepare. The day after tomorrow we will probably meet the enemy. It has been rather cool today.

Five men who escaped a call in mass arrived in town late this afternoon & now after 11 p.m. eleven more. A large portion of the population wont be impressed to serve against the U. S.

Alex. Tues. July 16, 1861

I did not get to bed before midnight. There was an alarm of an attack on our pickets at Springfield. It did not amount to much. Margaret came down in the 8 a.m. boat. I telegraphed for a carpet bag & some things but she did not get it. The first Brigade commenced the march at 10 a.m. Some regts. will be delayed by the misconduct in Lt. Symonds in referring to some provisions at night. We expect to get off about 3 p.m. Mr. Durn of Indiana sent word by Margaret that he wants to go with me. I telegraphed for him to come. We have a pleasant day, though it threatens rain. No instructions have come yet.

Sangsters. Va. on rail road Thurs. July 18, 1861

My written instructions did not arrive on Tuesday till about one p.m. & no horses for the guides although I telegraphed in every direction. A heavy rifled gun was also still behind.

Towards 5 p.m. Gen. McDowell arrived & soon after the gun with jaded horses. It came from Arlington. I also learned that I could get no horses for the guides, so ordered six from the A. Q. M. at Alexandria. As soon as we got part of them we started. In the night some of our guides joined us & reported that only three horses were sent. Capt. Tyler is one of the most inefficient Qr. Ms. I have had to deal with.

We soon overtook the rear of the column & took our opportunities to push ahead.

Before we left Gen. McDowell recommended to go on to the Pohick, about two miles further. I got there before sundown & found most of the First Brigade, Col. Franklin there. It is fortunate that we went on, as we would have found it almost impossible to encamp on the Accotink, it is so hilly & woody.

We bivouacked on a high hill, with the troops around us. The 11th Mass. was detained so late by the neglect of Capt. Symonds to furnish them rations, that the[y] got behind everything & did not get in till 3 a.m. & we were up & ready to march at daylight. We did not however start till 5 a.m. as I had sent back horses for the big gun, as it had stalled on a high & difficult hill at the Accotink on this side. I finally started & left a guard for it. I had sent back some horses from the Artillery wagons to help up the hill & had to wait a little for their return.

We at last got started, but had a continual succession of delays. The road is very narrow & lined with thick wood almost all the way & was crowded with troops. I sent forward several times to hurry them, but Col. Franklin said it was impossible for the skirmishers to advance any faster & as we were told to consider an ambuscade unpardonable I could not hurry them any more.

When the advance reached Elzy’s where the road to Sangsters & the one to Fairfax Station fork they sent me word that they had surprised a picket & the men had fled, that there were two entrenchments on the road to Sangsters & one on that to Fairfax Sta. with the roads obstructed. I passed forward to the advance & got there about 11 a.m.

Col. Franklin took a road to turn his entrenchments & whilst he was clearing the road I sent & had Col. Wilcox take the road to the Station.

In the meantime I had sent three companies of the Zouaves to try & disperse 80 men I heard were at Brinstone Mill on our left. They went & found that 11 foot & 2 cav drafted men had left in the morning for Manassas.

In the meantime the troops filed by & when Col. Howard’s brigade arrived I posted it at Elsy’s with one advanced towards Wolf Run shoals. He reported the gun at hand & it soon arrived.

In an hour Wilcox sent a note that he had possession of Fairfax Station, that 1000 men ran up the r. r. & 1000 towards the Court House. I sent this note to Franklin with orders to push ahead. I also ordered the troops to be ready to march at 3 p.m. & join Franklin at SangstersXHoward’s Brigade. I went forward with Lowe’s Cavalry. As we took the road they turned the place said to have the entrenchments we saw them to the right & went to visit them. They are two lines a little camped, poorly made, for Infy & will hold about 500 men. Nearby we saw their campXGordon, burning. They fled after our troops reached Elys & set fire to their store houses of corn & provisions. We found 11 barrels of flour & a pile of cornXmarked Confederate States. Also many of their mens shirts & some fresh beef & bacon.

We reached here about 5 p.m. & found Col. Franklin in possession. He reported that the retreat commenced at 5 p.m. the day we started. The last train passed not a great while before he got here & men on foot. The last bridge in sight was just set on fire. At Elsy’s we saw several smokes & people reported some firing of musketry & cannon.

We encamped here last night & the Hd. Qrs. put up their tents. We got supper in the poor house of the county & poor enough it was. Coffee & salt & shad & poor, very poor biscuit. This morning we had a cup of coffee made by our men with sardines & bread. I was so tired I did not report to Gen. McDowell as I was under the impression he would be on his way here to make a flank march on this side. As I was writing a report this morning I got a note from Capt. Fry that they did not know where I was & that they were marching on Centreville. I left Wilcox at the Station which is but a couple of miles from here.

Mr. Dunn has gone back, whether to return to Washington or remain with the Army if we advance. I sent a note to Margaret. I also since wrote another & sent it to Alexandria by an officer going in. I am very much annoyed at not having sent forward a report last night, but I was so strongly impressed with the idea that we would proceed by the left flank that I might neglect it.

Near Centreville Va. Fri. July 19, 1861

About 11 a.m. yesterday Gen. McDowell & staff arrived. There was not much of an engagement as our troops advanced. Col. Miles had two men wounded. Our troops burned Germantown & I believe Fairfax Court House.

When the General came most of the troops were near this place, that is in striking distance. I had sent out to look for our supply train, which should have been in & towards Wolf Run Shoals & out the r. road to Bull Run. From the latter place a battery was reported on the r. r. & the bridge burned. I sent again, but I could not get any positive information. I am satisfied the battery is beyond the rear & the bridge burned.

Our position & prospects were discussed & the plan changed. We were ordered to be here by daylight with two days rations in haversacks. We waited till late in the afternoon & I was satisfied no train would arrive so we marched & the head of the column arrived at a creek half a mile from here. As Wilcox was here & water good I came here with Franklin’s brigade & left Howards at the run.

As far as I can learn all the Army is here but Hunters column. I presume they are not far off.

At Sangsters heavy firing of cannon was heard near the direction of this place.

On our arrival we learned that Gen. Tyler had attached a battery, first with Infy. 3 regts. & then with Arty & was repulsed with loss. It was without orders & against the advice of the Engineer & other officers.

Col. Richardson’s Bri. was engaged & the 12 N. Y. Vols. ran awayXnot Col. Butterfields. Our loss instead of being 60 killed & a piece of Arty is but 3 killed, 2 probably mortally wounded & but 30 wounded. It is a disgraceful affair & Gen. Tyler is not excusable.

Our provision trains have arrived & our men are cooking & killing beef. I last night ordered a lot of cattle seized for my Division fearing the train would not arrive. I have just learned that it started for Occoquan.

We had a thunder shower last evening before our baggage arrived but a deserted town afforded us shelter till our tents came.

The coffee kept me awake most of the night. Our pickets were firing at intervals all night. This morning there was firing for hours, so that it was really dangerous to be about. With these long range muskets & raw Vols. it is really dangerous to be near them.

We got some pork meat this morning, the first since we started. No orders yet.

Our loss I find is much greater than I stated before, though no one knows yet as the Vols. have not called their rolls yet. I heard Capt. Alexander of the Eng. & Brackett of the cavalry give an account of the affair. There must have been a large number of troops & the firing was very heavy.

Mr. Dunn was here this morning. He witnessed the battle yesterday. I also saw Mr. Hoard. He was also present. Quite a number of citizens have been about the camps.

I also met Col. Porter & Major Barry. The latter has been appointed Chief of the Arty. I also saw Major Parker of the cavalry.

Camp near Centreville Va. Sat. July 20, 1861

This has been a tolerably warm day. I have not felt very well, but am much better this evening.

Sec. Cameron was in camp & a number of members of Congress. Mr. Dunn & Mr. Hoard called & then Mr. Brady.

I rode up to Centreville to look at the earth works. They are very indifferent & have embrasure for five guns.

We got orders to be ready to march at six p.m. When near the hour it was put off till 2 a.m. tomorrow.

At Fairfax Station in the earth works Col. Wilcox’s men found the secession flag of the Tensaw Rifles. It was presented to me & I sent it to Gen. McDowell. I have made out my report of the march from Alexandria.

Washington Sun. Sept. 1st, 1861

It is six weeks today since the battle of Bull Run, in which I was wounded. I was hit on the right arm, a little below the elbow by a minie ball, nearly spent & it was cut out on the field by Dr. King. It hit me about two inches below the elbow, on the outside & struck the bone & I fear fractured it slightly. I was on horseback & the Doctor he commenced cutting the ball out, but found it difficult & he got off.

On the afternoon before the battle the general officers got orders to appear at Gen. McDowell’s Hd. Qrs. to receive instructions. I went & did not get home till 11 p.m. We found a number of citizens there, many members of Congress amongst them.

The plans were detailed, but no opinions asked. I asked a few questions to understand what I had to do.

Gen. Tyler was to go up the turnpike & attack with artillery the battery protecting the stone bridge across Bull Run. I was to follow Gen. Hunter who was to take a side road to Sudley’s Church, or spring, or millsXwhere it crosses Bull Run. About half way there was a ford I was to stop at & when Hunter turned it cross & we together follow down to the Stone Bridge & then I take position on Hunter’s left. The road for me to turn off did not exist & I had to follow on to Sudley’s Mills where I arrived at 11 a.m. Before we got there Tyler’s heavy guns were heard & the smoke seen at two points. I could also see two heavy clouds of dust indicating reinforcements approaching from Manassas.

Whilst waiting for the last brigade of Col. Hunter’s division to cross I heard his advance attack the enemy in his front. We could hear our men driving the enemy back. Before we could cross Gen. McDowell sent Capt. Wright of the engineers & Major McDowell, the Gen’s brother, to me for reinforcements to prevent the enemy’s out flanking them. I had stopped the first Brigade to fill their canteens, but now ordered the Minnesota Regt. to go with Capt. Wright & follow more to the right, with 5th Mass. having orders for the second brigade to follow, but leaving Arnold’s battery & the 11 Mass. to take post as reserve on the right bank of Bull Run.

In a mile we got on the battlefield & I did not find any one to give orders. Gen. McDowell & his staff had passed up about a mile from Sudley’s Springs. We found the enemy had been driven back & I stopped a few moments to see what was going on & to make inquiries. In the meantime I met the General. He ordered some of the batteries forward, nearer the enemy & me to push the 5th Mass. forward from a position they took on a side hill, where they were lying down.

I went but seeing I could do nothing there that the key of the position was on the enemy’s left I ordered up two regts to try & take the battery covering it. I went up in that direction to wait for the Zouaves & when they came up lead them towards some old fields with scattered pines. As I approached the crest of the ridge I saw a line drawn up in good order at a shoulder & in citizen’s dress. I checked my horse for an instant & surveyed them. I then turned to the Zouaves & said there are the Secession troops, charge them. They rushed forward & in a few steps both parties came in sight of each other & fired & the Zouaves ran & I believe the enemy also. I tried to rally the Zouaves but failed. At the instant the Zouaves fired a party of 30 or 40 Secession cavalry charged them & were fired upon & broke & ran, leaving some half dozen men & three dead horses on the ground. As they fled Capt. Colby’s regular cavalry gave them a volley, killing a few more. It is said this was the famous Black Horse Cavalry.

I next led up the Minnesota regt., Col. Gorman. They got close on a Mississippi regt. & were repulsed & some 150 of their men ran away.

Washington Thursday Sept. 5, 1861

I next brought up the 1st Mich. They also were repulsed. These two regts. went into the woods on the right & did good service. The Zouaves joined some other regt. & did service as skirmishers.

The 14th Brooklin [sic] Regt. came up. I joined it, but at the first fire they broke & ran. Here I was wounded. Ricketts’ & Griffin’s batteries we retook three times, but they were lost at last.

I retreated with the troops till I met Col. Howard with his Brigade. They were engaged with the enemy. I left them after a while & got my arm dressed. I then tried to rally some of the Regts. but not one would form, or advance. We finally had to retreat across the Run, but there they would not form.

I stopped a moment at the Hospital & tried to get off some of the wounded, but most of them were captured by the enemy.

When I got across Bull Run I found that not a Regt. could be rallied nor even a company. I had Capt. Arnold with a section of Artillery & five companies of regular cavalry & with them covered the retreat of the troops on our road of retreat. A few secession cavalry followed us, but a discharge of canister sent them scampering away & they did not molest us any more.

It was about sundown when we got to where the country road we were on joined the turnpike as we approached it, we met a battery of rifle cannon. Here Arnold lost his battery, but we took through the woods & fields & came on the turnpike beyond the range of the guns. We reached Centreville after it was quite dark. Such a rout I never saw before.

I was helped off my horse, but having been on him since 11 a.m., I was so benumbed in my feet I could not stand for a moment.

I got a good drink of Whiskey & took a sleep of half an hour. In the mean time our Doctor was arranging for me to continue on to Washington.

We soon got orders for the Army to retreat to Washington. We got a cup of coffee & had our horses fed & were soon off. We found the road full of fugitives & wagons, but not a regt. in good or any order. I had Capt. Low’s company of 2 Cav. with me, all the way. Some other companies also joined us.

It commenced to rain a little before we got in. At the other end of the Long Bridge was the Buffalo 21 Regt. Some of them knew me. Major Rogers gave me a tumbler of whiskey, helped me to get home. There were orders not to let us pass but as I was wounded they let me & my staff pass. I got to my door at 6 a.m. on Monday. Capt. Wright & Lt. Farquhar helped me off my horse & as soon as I got to my room, Margaret sent for Dr. Abadie.

Washington Fri. Sept. 6, 1861

Dr. Abadie soon came & dressed my arm. He made me stay in bed & required me to keep the elbow wet with cold water. This I continued for some three weeks or more. The wound healed in a few weeks without suppuration. My arm is till a little stiff & I cannot turn my wrist sufficiently. It was six weeks before I could write anymore than sign my name.

I had a great many visitors, the first day & since.

Capt. McKeever was soon relieved from my staff & then put on McDowell’s. From there he was sent to Gen. Fremont’s. I sent the officers to Alexandria to try & reorganize the Division, but they could not do much & in a few days they were all relieved. I dictated my report & Lt. Farquhar wrote it out for me. It was arranged on the 31 July & written out & sent in on the 1st of Aug.

In the mean time Gen. McClellan arrived & assumed command of both sides of the river. I was relieved from duty on the other side & ordered to report to him. On the 2 Aug. reported to him & am to have a Brigade. On the 5 Aug. was made a Brig. Gen. of Vols. on recommendation of Penn. Delegation in Congress.

I rode to the Capitol same day & met a great many Senators. Next day Congress adjourned.

On the 6th Aug. Lt. Col. Day & 3 cos. of 2 inf. arrived & are posted near here. I called on Day, the next day & the day after they went to Georgetown.

Mr. Jewett left for Buffalo [on the] 6th. He took us over to Arlington & the Buffalo regt. the day before.

On the 12 Aug. Dr. Tripler arrived & called. He is the Chief Med. Off. on Gen. McClellan’s staff.

On the 13th I got my commission as Brig. Gen. Vols. & accepted same day. I would have declined but the Penn. Delegation had recommended me. It adds but little to my pay as I get so many longevities.

On the 14th got news of the death of Gen. Lyon near Springfield, Mo. A gallant officer sacrificed from having an inferior force.

Had a photograph taken for Harpers Weekly at Mr. Leavin’s regiment.

On the 15th went to Alexandria to see Col. Davies about my Brigade & Staff. I have the 5th Maine & the 16, 26 & 27 N. Y. We are posted on the left of Ellsworth.

On the 16th Dr. Tripler examined my arm & says the head of the bone is fractured.

Capt. Griffin’s battery is from the other side & encamped near us. He belongs to Gen. Porter’s Brigade. The latter is Provost Marshall & has been for some time. He has cleared the city of straggling officers & soldiers. The disorganization after the battle was frightful. For seven days after I feared for the safety of the city. I believe that the Confederates could have taken the works on the other side if they had attacked us. We lost the 3 mos. men & the panic was great. The chance soon passed. The truth is the enemy suffered so greatly they could not pursue us with rigor & some of their regts were as badly disorganized as ours. On the 20th we had quite a stampede in town about an attack on the city. On the 24th the mayor of Wash. & some women secessionists were arrested. Mr. Phillips & Mrs. Greenhow.

On the 26th Mr. G. W. Eddy arrived. Wants to be a pay master. Has not got it yet & I fear wont.

Stamped[e] & constant alarm on other side.

I was down town & saw Mr. G. H. Penfield make bread & bake it in 30 minutes by Prof. Horsford’s method. It is the great desideratum of the age. Now bread making is reduced to a science. Any child can succeed in making good bread. The bran takes out some of the nutritive qualities & what makes the bread size. This is prepared in the shape of a powder of phosphates of or phosphoric acid & bicarbonate of soda. These are mixed with water & or rather dry mixed with the flour & then mixed with water & baked at once. He is trying to introduce it in the army.

Sept. 1st Heard of the success of the expedition to Hat[t]eras Inlet of Com. Stringham & Gen. Butler. This I hope inaugurates a new era is in our operations. It should have been done 3 mos. before.

The first week or ten days after the battle the weather was cool & then about as many very warm. Since then much rain. It must have been same in the Confederates & we learn they have much sickness.

A few nights ago Griffin’s battery with a Brigade (King’s) went & crossed the Chain bridge & established batteries on the other side. The night before more troops went out. We met them, as we returned from Mr. Young’s when we had been to eat fruit & met Col. & Mrs. Paulding.

I got letters almost every day from some one for my influence to get an office. Jacob Stauffer formerly of Manheim has called. Jno. Bastruff who lives near here & I have had letters from Dyer & Mayer of Manheim.

I got a letter from Andreas Heintzelman in Kansas who inquires whether we are relatives. I have a number of letters of congratulations on my escape from the battle & promotion.

I have been several times to see Gen. McClellan, but he is hard to see & two weeks ago I thought he stood on his dignity, so I have not been to see him since. I must try & go to duty next week.

It cleared off today & has been pleasant. I walked down town with Capt. Lathrop. He got a commission as Capt. in the 17 Infy. & draw my pay of Major McClure for Aug.X$330.63X12 days as Col. & 19 as Brig. General. We went to Express office & got a keg of crackers some one sent Margaret & a box of ointment sent me from western N. Y. for my arm.


Samuel P. Heintzelman’s Diary resides at the Library of Congress

This transcription was made by and presented with the permission of Dr. Jerry D. Thompson, author of Civil War to the Bloody End: The Life and Times of Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman

Contributed by Daniel Winfield

Samuel P. Heintzelman at Wikipedia

Samuel P. Heintzelman at Ancestry

Samuel P. Heintzelman at Fold3

Samuel P. Heintzelman at FindAGrave

Corp. Patrick Lyons, Co. E, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, On the Campaign

30 06 2020

Tuesday, July 16, 1861

After waiting long for the final order to march it finally came at last at 1 ocl. P. M. when we started for Washington and thence across the Long Bridge, rightly named being about 1 mile long, and were soon on the “Sacred Soil” of Virginia. We marched 11 miles that day and bivouacked for the night near Balls Cross Roads…

We were brigaded on the March with the 7th New York, 2nd New Hampshire, and the 1st R. I. The time for which the latter Regmt. Enlisted was now very nearly expired but they Volunteered to accompany us on this expedition which shows the stuff that they were made of & which entitles them to the front ranks amongst the Nation’s defenders.

Wednesday, July 17

After thawing ourselves out by some gymnastic exerises & having breakfast with the indispensible hot coffee we resumed out march to Richmond. Our Regmt. Had the right of the Column on this day’s March & consequently two companies were detailed to act as skirmishers & Co. E being one of them was deployed on the left of the column & advanced thro woods and fields till we came in sight of a pretty strong rebel fortification in front of the Village of Fairfax CH. The fort had the appearance of being still occupied thee being apparently Some heavy guns mounted & it was therefore deemed advisable to reconnoitre. Major Ballou was amongst the first to advance when upon a close inspection he found that the fort was evacuated, the guns Quaker ones (wooden).

The enemy apparently left in haste as a great many useful and some valuable articles were left behind and appropriated by our soldiers upon entering it. The writer picked up one trophy in the shape of an officers old fashioned red night cap, which he carried along in his haversack, but which , later he was destined to lose again.

We proceeded thro the Village which was an ancient looking place. The rebel flag floated over the Court House and some members of our Regmt hauled it down and hoisted the Stars and Stripes…

Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21, 1861

On Saturday evening the 20th we received orders to be ready to March at 1 ocl. That Night…but not until 2 ocl. Or thereabouts did we start.

The Column separated near Centreville. Our Brigade under the command of Col. Burnside of the 1st R. I. took the road to the right leading South West…Our destination was learned to be Bulls Run and as we had the extreme right of the army we had to march about 15 miles through thick forests and bad roads.

We met with no opposition till 11 A. M. when after having crossed the Stone Bridge over Bulls Run, Cos A and E were sent out to the right and left as skirmishers through dense woods. E had just completed its deployment when the left which extended to the extremity of the belt of woods discovered a force of about 200 of the enemy marching past our left flank through a clearing in the forest and the alarm “enemy on the left” passed along the line amid the greatest excitement.

The order from the Capt, close to the left was speedily obeyed and we fired a volley at the enemy who were falling back pretty lively by this time, believing no doubt from the racket we made, that our whole army was pouncing on to them. The Capt ordered us to advance over a fence at the end of these woods, which we did and again commenced firing. The enemy meanwhile having retreated to the opposite Slope of a hill between us, better known later as the Henry House Plateau. Returned the fire, but up to this time our casualties were few owing to the rebels being obliged to elevate their guns too high in firing over the hill.

We were thus engaged about 15 minutes when Co. A came to our assistance and we advanced to the Henry House on the Slope of the Hill which separated us from the enemy and everyone fired away at will and in some confusion.

It was ¾ of an hour before our Brigade formed line of battle on our right with the 1st R. I. Light Atillery near the extreme right when the battle became general all along the line. The enemies batteries opened on us from all points from woods in front and their infantry becoming emboldened proceeded to occupy a belt of woods on our left and front and put their Sharp Shooters in the tall pine trees opposite the Henry House.

It was here while advancing over the crest of the Hill, pistol in hand, and while getting over a fence, that the brave and lamented Col. Slocum (Col. of our Rgt) was shot in the forehead and died in a short time after being carried tenderly back to the Henry House.

The Major (Ballou) also fell here while riding along the crest of the Palteau receiving a canon shot in the thigh from which he died soon afterwards. Gov. Sprague was nor fortunate, he also rode along the hull and had a horse shot under him but bravely mounted another & repeated the act.

Co. E lost some of its best men here amongst who William Nichols, Corp. Stephen Holland and Henry L. Jacques were killed and Corp. Ezek B. Smith, Isaac Clark Rodman & John Clark, N. C. Dixson were wounded, the three former being captured, Smith and Rodman dying in prison at Richmond.

Meantime we were ordered back to the edge of the woods to get a fresh supply of ammunition. Up to this time everything was favorable for our side & we felt as if we would not be called upon again to take part in the battle…

[But again] the line was formed on the right of our former position, the Brigade in columns of Regts, our Regmt in front. We were not long in discovering that our troops were defeated and in full retreat and our duty was to cover the retreat. We descried a long column of the enemy advancing directly on our line and their batteries opened on us with disastrous effect…

The rout now became pretty general from all parts of the field excepting our force which had to stand in line facing the exultant and advancing foe. Our Cavalry and other mounted men added much to the consternation in their headlong haste to the rear, teams and ambulance got stuck in the mud and blocked the roads. Several Congressmen & other prominent men who came to see the battle in their Carriages added not a little to the confusion, members of all regiments got mixed up together, many of whom threw away their guns and equipment & set out to make their way to Washington.

But meantime, the space between the advancing column of the enemy and our brigade was lessening and we were ordered about face and marched off the field in good order until we came in contact with the disorganized mass near the stone bridge when it became impossible to preserve our organization. The enemy brought a battery to bear on the bridge and disables some ambulance wagons and artillery caissons which blocked it so that the troops had to wade the stream on either side and clamber up its steep banks, the water in the stream reaching breast high.

After crossing the stream the writer and John Allen were trudging along together when hearing some peculiar buzzing behind us looked around and saw a canon ball rolling after us which caused us to run in a zig zag manner till it gave up the pursuit.

Capt. Tower of Co. F was killed at the bridge and I suppose a great many others beside a large number of prisoners were captured among them Lieut. Church of…

…Upon arriving at Bush Camp, thinking we would make a stand here, reoccupied our huts and were soon fast asleep being completely exhausted by the fatigues of the past 20 hours our so…however…we were routed up and informed that the army were to retreat to Washington…

Jerry Quinlan and I kept together and jogged along with the weary throng composed of men from all the different organizations of the army, and I do not exaggerate when I say that we slept wile marching along at various stages of the journey, each one alternately stepping on the others heels, causing a momentary awakening…Traveling all night, the crowd to which I was attached, arrived at Fort Runyon, covering the long bridge, about 9 ocl. Monday morning the 22d.

Here we found the garrison working in hot haste arranging Shot & Shell for the guns & in every way preparing for the expected advance of the enemy, which however did not occure…For several days after we arrived in Camp, stragglers kept coming in by the twos and threes and all had woeful tales to tell of hardships and narrow escapes &c and about the last to arrive was Tom Flaherty with out late Col. Slocum’s horse, which notwithstanding repeated efforts of officers in command of the Chain Bridge to take away from him, he brought safely to Camp & afterwards the horse was shipped to the deceaseds home in R. I.

A few days after our return, the 1st RI bade us farewell & started for home which made us feel rather homesick. We exchanged our smooth bore muskets for their Springfield rifles and moved into their comfortable board barracks, which we did not long enjoy as we were moved to Brightwood about 5 miles from Washington and immediately set to work building fortifications for the defense of Washington.

From Voices of the Civil War: Letters and Journal Excerpts of South Kingstown Men in the Union Army, 1861-1863, Shirley L. Barrett, Ed, Petaquamscutt Historical Society, pp. 7-10

Contributed by Rob Grandchamp

2nd Rhode Island Infantry Roster

Patrick Lyons at Ancestry

Patrick Lyons at Fold3

Patrick Lyons at FindAGrave

Pvt. Theodore Reichardt, (Reynolds) Battery A, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, On the Battle

6 01 2014

Thursday, July 15. – Great excitement in camp; order was received to get ready for a forward movement; ammunition packed; haversacks and canteens were issued.

Tuesday, July 16. – The morning of that day found us marching across the Long ridge, directly through Fort Runyon, on the Virginia side; did not march over seven miles; after which we formed in line of battle and prepared to camp for the night, this being the first night in the open air. All quiet during the night.

Wednesday, July 17. – Resumed our march soon after break of day, and entered Fairfax Court House, contrary to our expectations, towards one o’clock, at mid-day, the rebels having evacuated the town shortly before our entrance. Their rear guard could be plainly seen some distance off. Our battery formed in park near the court house. Some of the boys were lucky in finding a good dinner served on a table in one of the houses, besides some articles of value, undoubtedly belonging to some confederate officers. Some picket firing during the night.

Thursday, July 18. – Advance at daylight. A part of the Union army, Gen. Tyler’s troops, engaged. This conflict the rebels call battle of Bull Run. While the contest was raging, our division halted two miles to the left of Fairfax Court House, at a place called Germantown. We could plainly hear the distant booming of artillery, and were impatiently waiting for the order, “forward.” Towards four o’clock P. M., we advanced again; preparations were made to get in action; sponge buckets filled with water, and equipments distributed among the cannoniers. But when we approached Centreville, intelligence came that our troops got worsted and the contest was given up. Our division went to camp within a mile and a half of Centreville. Strong picket lines were drawn up.

Friday, July 19. – Camp near Centreville. The troops remained quiet all day. Fresh beef as rations.

Saturday, July 20. – Quiet during the day. About six o’clock in the evening the army got ready to advance; but after council of war was held by the chief commanders, they concluded to wait till the next day.

Sunday, July 21. – Battle of Manassas Plains. This battle will always occupy a prominent place in the memory of every man of the battery. They all expected to find a disorganized mob, that would disperse at our mere appearance; while, to the general surprise, they not only were better disciplined, but also better officered than our troops. We started by tow o’clock in the morning, but proceeded very slowly. Passed Centreville before break-of-day. When the sun rose in all its glory, illuminating the splendid scenery of the Blue Ridge mountains, though no sun of Austerlitz to us, we crossed the bridge over Cub Run. By this time, the report of the 30-pounder Parrott gun belonging to Schenck’s command, who had met the enemy, was heard. Our division turned off to the right, and marched some miles through dense woodland, to the Warrenton road. Towards ten o’clock, nothing could be seen of the enemy yet, and the belief found circulation that the enemy had fallen back. Experience proved that, had we remained at Centreville, the rebel army would undoubtedly have attacked us; but hearing of our advance they only had to lay in ambush, ready to receive us. At the aforesaid time, the Second Rhode Island infantry deployed as skirmishers. We advanced steadily, till arriving at the Bull Run and Sudley’s Church, a halt was ordered to test the man and the horses. But is should not be; the brave Second R. I. Regiment, coming up to the enemy, who was concealed in the woods, their situation was getting critical. The report of cannon and musketry followed in rapid succession. Our battery, after passing Sudley’s Church, commenced to trot in great haste to the place of combat. At this moment Gen. McDowell rode up in great excitement, shouting the Capt. Reynolds: “Forward with your light battery.” This was entirely needless, as we were going at high speed, for all were anxious to come to the rescue of our Second regiment. In quick time we arrived in the open space where the conflict was raging already in its greatest fury. The guns were unlimbered, with or without command; no matter, it was done, and never did better music sound to the ears of the Second Regiment, than the quick reports of our guns, driving back the advancing foe. For nearly forty minutes our battery and the Second Regiment, defended that ground before any other troops were brought into action. Then the First Rhode Island, Seventy-first New York, and Second New Hampshire, with tow Dahlgren Howitzers, appeared, forming on the right and left. The enemy was driven successfully in our immediate front. Our battery opened on one of the enemy’s light batteries to our right, which left after a short but spirited engagement, in a rather demoralized state. Griffith’s, Ayre’s and Rickett’s batteries coming up, prospects really looked promising, and victory seemed certain. The rebel line gradually giving way. Gen. McDowell, seeing the explosion of perhaps a magazine or a caisson, raised his cap, shouting, “Soldiers, this is the great explosion of Manassas,” and seemed to be highly pleased with the work done by our battery. Owing to different orders, the battery, towards afternoon, was split into sections. Capt. Reynolds, with Lieuts. Tompkins and Weeden, off to the right, while the two pieces of the left section, to the left; Lieuts. Vaughan and Munroe remaining with the last mentioned. Firing was kept up incessantly, until the arrival of confederate reinforcements, coming down from Manassas Junction, unfurling the stars and stripes, whereby our officers were deceived to such a degree as to give the order, “Cease firing.” This cessation of our artillery fire proved, no doubt, disastrous. It was the turning point of the battle. Our lines began to waver after receiving the volleys of the disguised columns. The setting sun found the fragments of our army not only in full retreat but in complete rout, leaving most of the artillery in the hands of the enemy. Our battery happened to be the only six gun volunteer battery, carrying all the guns off the battle-field, two pieces in a disabled condition. A battery-wagon and forge were lost on the field. Retreating the same road we advanced on in the morning. All of a sudden the cry arose, “The Black Horse Cavalry is coming.” The alarm proved to be false; yet it had the effect upon many soldiers to throw away their arms. But the fears of many soldiers that the enemy would try to cut off our retreat, were partly realized. Our column having reached Cub Run bridge, was at once furiously attacked on our right by artillery and cavalry. Unfortunately, the bridge being blocked up, the confusion increased. All discipline was gone. Here our battery was lost, all but one gun, that of the second detachment, which was carried through the creek. It is kept at the armory of the Marine Artillery, in Providence. At the present time, guns, under such circumstances, would not be left to the enemy without the most strenuous efforts being made to save them. We assembled at the very same camp we left in the morning. Credit is due to Capt. Reynolds, for doing everything possible for the comfort of his men. At midnight the defeated army took up its retreat towards Washington. Our battery consisting of one gun, and the six-horse team, drove by Samuel Warden.

Monday, July 22. – Arrived at, and effected our passage across the Long Bridge, by ten o’clock, and found ourselves once more at Camp Clark, where we had a day of rest after our debut on the battle-field yesterday, under the scorching sun of Virginia.

Wednesday, July 24. – Lieut. Albert Munroe addressed the battery in regard to the battle, and attributed our defeat to the want of discipline. The men felt very indignant at his remarks. “We had to come down the regulations, the same as in the regular army, and should consider ourselves almost as State prison convicts.” We have since seen that he meant no insult towards the battery; but have found out to our satisfaction that he spoke the truth, for we have seen the time that put us almost on the same level with convicts.

Diary of Battery A, First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery (Kindle Version, location 66 to 123)

Theodore Reichardt at Ancestry.com

While the above was published as a diary, it is apparent from the text that it was at least edited in retrospect.

Pvt. William J. Crossley, Co. C, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, On the Battle and Captivity

31 12 2013

Extracts from my Diary, and from my Experiences while Boarding with Jefferson Davis, in Three of His Notorious Hotels, in Richmond, Va., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Salisbury, N. C, from July, 1861, to June, 1862.


[Late Sergeant Company C, Second Rhode Island Infantry Volunteers.]

July 17th, we arrived at Fairfax, where some of the smart ones made themselves conspicuous in a few of the houses evacuated by the Confederates, by smashing portraits, pianos, mirrors and other furniture, without cause or provocation.

Thursday, 18th, bought a hoecake and went a mile to milk a cow, with and from which I had a rare supper. The boys are shooting pigs and hens to kill. At 7 p. m. we marched away three or four miles to a place we named “Brush Camp,” where four men came to us from the fight we had heard two of three miles beyond, at a place called Centreville. They were gunless and hatless, and two of them were wounded. On the 19th, with rails and brush, we made a shelter from the fierce sun. Fresh meat was issued to-day; I made a soup, first in the campaign; rather but not awful salt, — for a fresh-made soup. Dress parade tonight. Sent a letter Home. Have to begin Home now with a capital “H” since we have seen rebel-made blood.

Sunday, July 21st. This is the day we celebrate the occasion of this melodrama. Left camp about 2 a. m., arrived at Bull Run about 9 a. m. Here the Confederacy received us with open arms and refreshments galore. We had barely time to exchange the compliments of the season with them, when one of the Johnnies with much previousness passed me a pepperment drop in the shape of a bullet that seemed to be stuffed with cayenne. Out of courtesy, of course, I returned a similar favor, with but little satisfaction however, for he was so completely hidden down in the grainfield that his colors and the smoke from his guns were all we had for a target. Well, the cayenne was getting warmer, and the blood was getting out of my eyes into my trousers’ leg, so I was taken to the rear, and down to where Surgeons Wheaton and Harris were dressing wounds, and had mine dressed; and, as the rebs began just then dropping shot and shell so near to us as to be taking limbs from the trees over our heads the doctors ordered that the wounded be moved away. I was put in a blanket and taken to another part of the woods and left. Soon after, an old friend of mine, Tom Clark, a member of the band, came along, and, after a chat, gave me some whiskey, from the effects of which, with fatigue, loss of blood and sleep, I was soon dozing, notwithstanding the roar of fierce and murderous battle going on just over the hill. When I awoke a tentmate of mine was standing over and telling me we were beaten and on the run. I wanted to tell him what Pat told the Queen of Ireland, Mrs. Keller, but after looking into his ghostly, though dirty face, I said nothing, but with his help and a small tree tried to get up. That was a failure, so I gave him my watch, said good-bye to him, and he left. Up to date it was also good-bye to the watch. Well, after this little episode, I turned over, and, on my hands and one knee, crawled down to the road, four or five hundred yards away, and tried to get taken in, or on an ambulance, but they were all full (though not the kind of full you are thinking about). Then I crawled up to a rail fence close by a log cabin, and soon the rebs came along, took account of stock, i. e., our name, regiment and company, and placed a guard over us. Being naturally of a slender disposition (I weighed one hundred and eleven pounds just before leaving Washington) and from the fracas of the last twelve hours, was, perhaps, looking a little more peaked than usual, so when one of the rebel officers asked me how old I was, and I told him twenty-one, maybe he was not so much to blame for smiling and swearing, “He reckoned I had got my lesson nearly perfect.” I didn’t know then what he meant, but it seems they had heard we were enlisting boys, and I suppose he thought, in my case at least, the facts were before him.

Monday, July 22d. Well, here I am, a prisoner of war, a lamb surrounded by wolves, just because I obeyed orders, went into a fight, and, by Queensbury rules, was punctured below the belt. So much for trying to be good. And just here I would like to add a few lines pertaining to that (to us, then) strange expression, “Prisoner of war.” From the day of my enlistment to the morning of this notorious battle I had never heard the word mentioned, nor had I even thought of it. I had been told before leaving Providence that I would be shot, starved or drilled to death, that with a fourteen-pound musket, forty rounds of cartridge, a knapsack of indispensables, a canteen of, — of fluid, a haversack of hard-tack, a blanket and half a tent I would be marched to death under the fierce rays of a broiling sun, with a mule’s burden of earth — in the shape of dust — in my hair, eyes, and ears, up my nose and down the back of my neck, or, wading through miles of mud so thick that I must go barefoot or leave my shoes. That I would return home — if at all — with but one leg, one arm, one eye, or one nose, and with but very little of the previous large head; but with all this gabble about war and its alluring entertainments not a solitary word about “Prisoner of war.” So you see, it was not merely a surprise to us, a little something just out of the ordinary, but it was a shock, and not an every day feeble and sickly shock either, but a vigorous paralyzing and spine-chilling shock, that we couldn’t shake off for days or weeks after we were captured. But to continue.

It rained all of last night; I got thoroughly soaked. This morning the rebs made our able ones go out on the battlefield and get rubber blankets, put them over rails and make a shelter for us in the yard of the cabin. The cabin is full of wounded and dying, and I don’t know how many are in the yard. When the surgeon was dressing my wound to-day, we found the bullet inside the drawers where they were tied around my ankle. Oh, but wasn’t I lucky; there was but one puncture and that one below wind and vitals. That’s where the infantry lap over the navy, you see, Mr. Shell-back.

July 23d. Colonel Slocum died at one o’clock this morning. Penno, of the First, had his leg cut off. The major had both of his taken off.

We had some porridge made from meal the men brought in from the woods.

July 24th. Colonel Slocum was buried this morning at the lower end of the garden. Major Ballou’s and Penno’s legs in same place. The Major is getting better; so am I. As the men were going past me here with the Colonel’s body, I was allowed to cut a button from his blouse (I have it yet), at the same time they found another bullet wound in one of his ankles.

July 26th. Had ham and bread for dinner right from the field, and gruel for supper. T. O. H. Carpenter, another of my friends, and of my company, died to-day, up at the church.

July 27th. No bread to-day, only gruel. McCann, of Newport, died.

July 28th. Major Ballou died this p. m.

Gruel for supper, with a fierce tempest.

July 29th. The major was buried beside the colonel at dark.

July 31st. Have had an elegant headache the past two days; to-day it’s singing. Started for Manassas Junction about noon, in ammunition wagons, and with those infernal drivers hunting around for rocks and stumps to drive over; it did seem as if the proprietors of the bullet holes and stumps in the wagons were getting “on to Richmond” with a vengeance. At the Junction we were put into freight cars and started at dark for Richmond.

August 1st. When we arrived at Gordonville this morning, the most of us hoped to be delivered from another such night, for the way that engineer twitched and thumped those cars all night long would have made Jeff Davis & Co. smile, if they could have heard the cursing and groans of the tortured and dying in those cars. This afternoon some are scraping the maggots from their rotten limbs and wounds, for the heat has been sweltering all day, and the stench almost unbearable, as you know, there is no ventilation in the ends of a box freight car; but the most of us lived through it, and finally arrived at Richmond, one hundred and fifty miles from Manassas, at the speed of nearly seven miles an hour. Did you ever hear of Uncle Sam treating a train load of gasping and dying strangers quite so beastly and leisurely as that? As we were being unloaded from the cars to wagons a nice looking old gentleman with a white necktie, standing nearby, said to me, “How old are you, my little man?” I told him twenty-one, but from his insinuating that I must be a near relative of Ananias, I did not pretend to be over seventeen after that while in the Confederacy. From the cars we were taken to a tobacco factory, near the lower end of the city, and on the left bank of the James River, afterwards known as the famous “Libby.” We were dumped on the first floor, among the tobacco presses for the night, and next morning taken upstairs, and, “bless my stars,” put on cots, and given bread and coffee for breakfast. What was the coffee made of do you ask? I don’t know, and, as you didn’t have it to drink it need not concern you; and we had soup for dinner, and it’s none of your affairs what that was made of either. And now we are allowed to send letters home, but have to be very careful as to quality and quantity, for Mr. Reb has the first perusal and will throw them in the waste basket if a sentence or even a word is not to his liking. I tell you if we needed a capital “H” for home, when at Brush Camp, the entire word should be written in capitals here, for there we were surrounded by friends, not an enemy in sight, while here we are surrounded by thousands of enemies and bayonets and not a solitary friend within miles.

While writing this paper I have tried to think of some parallel or similar case to that of ours, that I might give you an idea in a more condensed and comprehensive form what that life was, but I can think of none. Possibly some of you may think that board and lodgings at “Viall’s Inn” for a few months might be comparable. I don’t think so; but as we are cramped for time I will not argue the matter with you, but drop it after a single comparison. If you were to be sent to General Viall’s you would be told before leaving the Court House how long you were to stay. There is where much of the agony, the wear and tear came to us, that everlasting longing, yearning and suspense.

When settled down to our daily routine, I find on the cot beside mine a little Belgian Dutchman, about thirty-five years old, with a head round as a pumpkin, eyes that would snap like stars in January, and a moustache that puts his nose and mouth nearly out of sight. He was seldom murmuring, but flush with sarcasm. His name was Anthony Welder, and he belonged to the Thirty-Eighth New York. He was wounded the same as I, just above the knee, so he could not walk, but he did not lack for friends and fellow countrymen to call on him and help use up many weary hours with their national and lively game of “Sixty-Six.” I wish you could have seen them play it. I was a real nice boy at that time and didn’t know even the name of a card, but seeing them getting so much fun out of it I asked Anthony one day to show me how to play, but with a very decided No, he said, “I tell you; I show you how to play, and you play awhile for fun, then you play for a little money, you win, then you play for a pile, and you win, then you play for a big pile, and you lose him all, then you say, ‘Tarn that Tutchman, I wish the tevil had him before he show me how to play cards.’ ” But there wasn’t much peace for Dutchie until I knew how to play Sixty-Six.” And just here is another illustration of the havoc my evaporated memory has made with some of the tidbits of those days, that I would occasionally like to recall ; for to-day I know no more about that game of “Sixty-Six” than the Chaplain of the Dexter Asylum.

August 4th. A First regiment man died, and on the 6th Esek Smith, also three other Rhode Island men died. And her[e] I should say I make no mention of the dozens and scores belonging to other states and regiments that are carried out daily. One day as a body was being taken out past us I said to Welder, “There goes another poor fellow that’s had to give up the ghost,” and Welder says, “Well, that is the last thing what he could do.”

August 7th. Had services this p. m. by an Episcopal clergyman.

August 10th. Grub very scarce. Cobb of the Second died, and H. L. Jacques, of Company E, from Wakefield, bled to death this evening.

August 13th. Johnnie is whitewashing the walls. It makes the dirty red bricks look a little more cheerful.

August 21st. To-day we are a month away from Bull Run, and a month nearer home.

Hat-tip to reader Bill Kleppel

William J. Crossley at Ancestry.com

While presented in diary format, it is apparent that the above was subsequently edited by the author.

4th Sgt. Harrison B. Jones, Co. H., 33rd Virginia Infantry, On the March and Battle

22 04 2012

Thursday [7/18/1861]

Today left Winchester about 1 o’clock and marched to reinforce Gen Beauregard

we had a hard march to day; waded the Shenandoah river at Berry Ferry and continued marching until 9 o’clock at night, then stoped at Paris in Va

Friday [7/19/1861]

left Paris about 4 o’clock this morning and marched to Piedmont Station to break fast – after remaining there several hours we got upon the cars and run down to Mannassas Juncktion we remained in the cars all night there was a fight near the Junction

[Saturday 7/20/1861]

To day we marched to and fro through the Country below the Juncktion and cornfield about four miles from the Juncktion where we camped in the pine bushes with no blankets and very scant supper & breakfast.

Sunday [7/21/1861]

To day after getting an early breakfast we were marched at a quick pace having understood that the federal forces were making a attempted to flanke us about 2 o clock we were drawn up in line a battle about the time we go airly in line one of our company was wounded in the leg — we remained in that position some time exposed to heavy fire — from the Federal forces we then fired a round or two and charged upon the enemy running them from their cannon — our company lost 6 killed & fifteen wounded besides several others marked a little

MSS 14169 Albert & Shirley Small Special Collections Library, as transcribed at 150 Years Ago Today (1, 2, 3, 4). Used with permission.

Harrison Jones at Ancestry.com

Reminder – Call for Stuff

9 10 2011

Just a reminder: if you have, or are aware of, any diaries, letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, &c., published or otherwise, with a Bull Run significance, send them in or let me know about them. They’re a big part of what this site is all about. I do require some sort of verification, so if you have letters or diaries of ancestors that you would like added to the record here, I’ll need as much information as you can provide, and preferably images of the original documents.

Help great-great-grandpa’s/grandma’s words live on in cyberspace and contribute to the historical record at the same time!

Notes to Surgeon Charles Carroll Gray, 2nd US Cavalry Diary Entry on the Battle

8 08 2011

Charles Carroll Gray (1838 to 1884) was an assistant surgeon with the 2nd US Cavalry at Bull Run. Documentation of The Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill notes that the diary from which this passage is taken covers the period from July 16, 1861 to July 28, 1862. Biographical information from the same source notes that:

Gray was born on March 28, 1838, that he probably lived in New York State, that he studied medcine in Geneva, New Yok (probably at Hobart College) and at Bellevue Hospital in New Yok City. He took the army medical examination in May 1861, and was appointed first lieutenant and assistant surgeon. He was captured at First Manassas and imprisoned in the South for over a year, returning to duty upon his release, and remaining in the army until his retirement in 1879. He was promoted by brevet in 1865, and in 1866 was promoted to the regular grade of captian and in the same year to major and surgeon. He died November 22, 1884.

The diary consists of two sections of small notebooks, the first without a cover and inserted inside the cove rof the second. The second is a small leather bound notebook which Gray managed to buy while a prisoner in Charleston. When the space in the second section gave out, he reversed the book and wrote between the lines..

Note that Asst. Surgeon Charles Gray of the 2nd US Cavalry is not Asst. Surgeon Charles Gray of the 11th NY, mentioned in Gray 2nd US Cav’s diary and also, coincidentally, captured at Bull Run.

See document

Surgeon Charles Carroll Gray, 2nd US Cavalry Diary Entry on the Battle

8 08 2011

21st. Deluged by crossing columns of infantry; at day break halted on the hill at Centreville. Never felt so depressed in my life. Moved in close order over the fields & through the woods far to the right, a heavy cloud of infantry skirmishes on the left. As the sun rose I could not help thinking that many were looking at it for the last time. I said so the officer next me & he [“declined & fell”] into poetry to this effect – “And Ardennes moves above them her green leaves dewy with nature’s tear drops as they pass, grieving, if aught inanimate he grieves over the unreturning brave. (Wilson 1st – 4th Cavalry now dead. Rode a bobtailed gray horse.). Sen. Wilson gave us speed as we went down the Braddock road at a sharp trot. Marched & marched & marched, making a long detour to the right with the intention as we guessed to turn the enemy’s left at Manassas. Heintzelman next left. Tyler extreme left. Miles in reserve. As we cleared the woods about 10, we heard heavy artillery firing far to our left & the wise said Tyler’s division was engaged. Went ahead at a sharp pace. Horses & men* glad to dismount at a small stream (Cub Run) & drink.

*[Note in margin:] Here such of us as had anything to eat devoured it for fear of accidents. I divided my small lunch with Lt. Custer (of Drummond’s Co.) who had just joined us from West Point this morning. C. became afterward quite prominent & was killed June 25th ’76 on the Little Big Horn. Drummond after many escapes was killed at Five Forks, April 1865 – the last cavalry fight of the war.

[?] Drummond sings, &c. Found in the ravine & moved at a gallop to the extreme right and wailed orders. The ground to our left well sprinkled with dead & wounded. Our infantry close behind us (8 cos. regulars, 4 cos. marines, 8th N.Y. Mil., 14th Brooklyn – Red Legs) went into fire very stadily. Having no wounded of my command needing help, I turned my attention to the volunteers (mostly of Burnside’s brigade to our left & rear). Had a little talk with Douglas Ramsay just before he went into action with his battery (Rickett’s). Poor fellow he was soon killed. Soon an orderly from Dr. Magruder summoned us back to Sudley Church where in the few houses scattered about the wounded were being rapidly collected. There was another Dr. Gray there (Fire Zouaves) & some confusion arose thereby.

Retreat began between 4 & 5 P.M. I think, leaving a field strewn with dead and wounded as the troops streamed down the road past the church. I went out to find my horse. Horse gone but I presently found him with Asst. Surg. Silliman (serving with artillery) astride. He told me of the death of Capt. Ricketts & his Lieut. Ramsay, and further that his own horse was killed or missing & he had accordingly appropriated mine finding him riderless. I could not subscribe to the arrangement (wish I had) & he went in search of another mount. Soon ran into my cavalries – who looked anything but jubilant – and reported to Maj. Palmer. He seemed in a awful state of mortification and when I asked for orders he ‘wept’ for reply. Presently the cavalry & regular infantry moved slowly forward & I rode on the flank till meeting Magruder and [Averill?] (of the Rifles afterward Maj. Gen. Vols) with [B?] or O’Bryan afterward killed. We halted in Cub Run to water our horses & talk it over. As to the wounded, what was to become of them? All agreed that some of the medical officers should stay & become prisoners and take chances. Magruder (Asst. to Med. Director) said he could not – being a Southerner it would be very awkward & he didn’t believe he would be of much use – he “wouldn’t order me to remain but thought it would be well if I were willing to do so.” [Averill?] & the other officers were like minded, as in truth I was myself; so I bade them goodbye & rode back toward the field & to the little church in the grove. The grove full of stragglers mostly unwounded & many of them without arms. They could not be urged forward but loitered along or sat down as though the war – or this part in it at least – was over. They did not seem frightened but stupid, tired, & indifferent.

Went up to the church, found that Lt. Dickinson, Adjt. 3d Infantry whom I had left under a tree wounded, had disappeared as well as my blouse which I had left under his head. Shells beginning to fly rather savagely through the trees & around the building, I made search for something to hoist that the nature of our “population” might be indicated. Found a dingy white piece of some sort, hanging on to my horse. This time, went down to the road to hang it from a branch. While engaged in this a small body of Virg. cavalry (Rockbridge Cavalry Guards?) came hurrying up the road driving a lot of prisoners before them like so many sheep. The Lt. commanding with flourish of pistol & much excitement pronounced me prisoner, concerning which matter I expressed myself of the same opinion, & endeavored to explain to him that I had remained voluntarily & solely on account of the wounded with which the vicinity abounded offering my parole to remain where I was for any number of hours on days he might mention, &c., &c., but to no purpose – He was in a great hurry, very much excited, & a trifle frightened I thought. Didn’t know anything about paroles, hadn’t any authority anyway, &c, & I must mount at once & come along to Hd. Qrs. I am the more persuaded that my hero was the least bit in the world scared, from the fact that a few minutes before a small body of cavalry had bound down as if to attack the rear guard (Sykes’ Infantry) of our retreating troops. The old “dough boys” paid no attention to the bold dragoons until they were pretty near, when suddenly they faced about, opened ranks and opened fire, while a piece or two of artillery – Griffin’s I was told – which had been concealed by the infantry rattled into them & they were scattered like a flock of black-birds. Perhaps my Lt. was one of the discomfited – he had seen the affair no doubt. However he soon became more composed, though much elated with his goodly number of prisoners, momentarily increased as we moved up the road. None of them were wounded even slightly, nor did any of them so far as I recall have arms. What they had done with them I don’t know, thrown them away, as “cumbersome & dangerous” I suppose. We encountered two or three volunteer medical officers, but he made us demand for them to share my pilgrimage, but simply left them at their work when he found who they were & what doing. Left them “to be called for” in short. Whether he thought them of too great or little value to take away, or me of too great or too little value to leave, is a mystery. I don’t suppose he really had any theory unless perhaps as some one afterward suggested, he attached some fictitious value to a regular officer as prisoner.

Our company of prisoners – all with one exception beside myself privates or N.C. officers, and all on foot except myself, made slow marching though constantly urged. All had had a long day’s work of a particularly trying kind and many of them were of exceedingly poor material. All judging from my own feelings were hungry & thirsty, and it altogether was a bad job with no chance of improvement for many hours to come. Although I rode most of the distance it was the longest 8 or 9 miles that I remember. Toward dusk I saw that one of the prisoners – a soft stripling of 17 or thereabouts belonging to a N.H. regiment, was about to give out altogether, and having some vague notion that he might be killed if it became necessary to leave him persuaded the Lt. who had now become quite placable, to let me put the boy on my horse, which helped him through. (I might have spared myself the trouble for if I remember aright he died soon after in prison). Arrived at the Junction I made vigorous protest at being huddled into the pen with the rest of the folks I had come with. I did not know at the time that all the other officers, prisoners, to the number of 20 or more were inside; and so kicked up as much of a row as I could. It would probably have ended in my getting a bayonet stab or sabre cut on the head & being tumbled in by the heels; where my luck came in the shape of a creole Arty. Major from La. who was field officer of the day, or in command of the main gaurd or something of that nature. With the said genial creole I fraternized so successfully that I was permitted to report to the Medical Director of Gen. Beauregard, with the caution to look out not to step on the men; a needed warning for it was pitchy dark & beginning to rain & the men lay thick by the sides of the road & buildings. The wounds of many had ceased troubling as I found when stumbling along. (Mem.) a dead man never groans when you kick him, accidentally or otherwise. Well I thanked my friend from the land of cypress & alligator, & turned once my horse to him as [?]. It would have been in order for me to have warned him of the brute’s failing, had I not known that my major must be in no danger of needing such a mount. A man [?] to be shot is in no danger of being killed by a horse and my major was killed in action…(* And thus never had to know Kellogg et id omne genus). Found at the Hospital which was rather a small store turned into a depot of medical supplies & dispensary than an hospital, a Dr. or two prisoners like myself, and a [?] named Drew who claiming to be sick, had by some unexplained process of thimblerigging managed to avoid being “unimpounded” with the other officers. I came to know Drew well in after days and learned to admire his adeptness in ‘thimblerigging’ & his admirable skill in making much out of little. Through a little renegade Jerseyman, who was acting as Hosp. Steward or something of the sort, managed to get a little hard bread & what was more welcome plenty of water. (Mem.) They depend here for drinking water on rain & Bull Run five miles distant.

Transcrption and diary image.


Diary 7/15-25/1861 – Pvt. Josiah Favill, Co. C, 71st NYSM

31 10 2010

About the 1st of July the troops were brigaded on the Virginia side of the river, and formed into an army, commanded by General McDowell. On the 15th of July we received orders to cross the Potomac the following day, carrying three days’ cooked rations; we marched out, about one o’clock from the yard, very cheerfully, and crossed the long bridge into Old Virginia, singing lustily, “Away Down South in Dixie,” and went into bivouac near Annandale, a distance of eight or nine miles. Here were gathered together an immense body of men, being organized into an army. Our regiment was brigaded under Colonel Burnside, with the First and Second Rhode Island regiments, and the Second New Hampshire. We had no tents or shelter of any kind, only one blanket to cover us, and what was worse than all, no old soldiers to teach us the simple tricks of campaigning comfortably. In the Navy Yard we slept on the bare boards, but that soon became easy for us; now with no boards, and no shelter when it rains, we shall be in a pretty pickle. I once wondered, I remember, what kind of beds we should have in the army; by degrees, I am finding that out, as well as some other things.

In the evening our enthusiasm burst out anew, when we saw the countless camp fires, extending in every direction as far as the eye could reach. Here around us was a veritable army, with banners, opening to our imagination, a glimpse of the glorious pomp, and circumstance of war. Later on, the music of the bands came floating over the gentle summer breeze, while the increasing darkness brought into more distinct relief the shadowy groups of soldiers sitting around the fires, or moving between the long lines of picturesquely stacked arms. At intervals were batteries of artillery, their horses tethered amongst the guns, while in rear of all, just discernible by the white canvas coverings, were wagons enough apparently, to supply the combined armies of the world.

At nine o’clock tattoo was sounded by thousands of drums and fifes, and shortly afterwards the men were mostly asleep. A young fellow named Kline (Dodd having remained in the yard on the sick list) and I slept together, and shared each other’s fortunes; we spread my rubber and woolen blankets on the ground, covering ourselves with his blankets, and without other protection from the weather slept our first sleep in the open air, with the new army of Virginia; we lay for a long time gazing at the starry heavens before we slept, our stony pillows not fitting as well as those we had been used to, but at last we slept, and only awoke at the beating of the drums for reveille.

We turned out promptly, feeling pretty stiff, hair saturated with the heavy dew and generally shaky, but after a good wash at a running brook near by, and a bountiful supply of muddy coffee, were as bright and active as ever. This morning we got many particulars of the approaching campaign; it seems we are to move forward to Centreville, where the rebel army is in position; attack, and if possibly, destroy it, and so end the rebellion. We formed column, and marched soon after breakfast, with bands playing, and colors flying, in a happy frame of mind, without a thought of danger or failure. Nothing barred our progress until we approached Fairfax Court House. Here we found the roads blockaded by felled trees, and it required considerable time to remove the obstructions; shortly afterwards our advance guard exchanged shots with the enemy’s mounted videttes, and a strong line of skirmishers was thrown out, which soon cleared the way and we entered the town in great spirits, the rebels retiring as we advanced, leaving behind them a good many stores, and their flag flying from a pole in front of the court house; it was a blue cross on a red ground, with white stars on the bars. Our men quickly hauled it down and ran up the Stars and Stripes amidst vociferous cheering. The place is a wretchedly dirty, straggling little village, now almost deserted; all the men, and most of the well to do women gone, the best houses generally being deserted. Many of the women stood in the doorways watching us march past, and I am sure, I never saw so many poor, ill fed, dirty looking creatures in my life before. They are what they call poor whites here, and seem hopelessly tired out; they acted ugly, evidently considering us enemies. I fear they had cause subsequently, as many of our men acted like barbarians. We halted, stacked arms, and rested in the main street of the village. As soon as ranks were broken, the men made a dash for the large houses, plundering them right and left; what they could not carry away, in many cases, they destroyed; pianos were demolished, pictures cut from their frames, wardrobes ransacked, and most of the furniture carried out into the street. Soon the men appeared wearing tall hats, women’s bonnets, dresses, etc., loaded down with plunder which they proceeded to examine and distribute, sitting on sofas, rocking chairs, etc., in the middle of the dusty street. What was not considered portable, or worth keeping, was smashed and destroyed; in this general sack the deserted houses came in for most attention, few of those having any one in charge being molested, and I did not hear of any personal indignities. It seemed strange to me the men desired mementoes of something we did not have to fight for, and I took no part or interest in the business. This was Fairfax’s first taste of war at the hands of the enemy, and it must have been decidedly bitter.

We went into bivouac just in front of the town, with headquarters in the village. It seemed as though we had men enough in the encampment to overrun the whole world. If it were not for the numerous trains of wagons needed to supply us, how quickly we could finish up this war. This second bivouac was in all respects similar to the first.

It is reported that General Beauregard, commanding the rebel army, has taken a position just beyond Centreville, and is awaiting our approach, intending to give battle; also that they are strongly intrenched behind breast works and rifle pits. We are told too, that the woods are full of masked batteries, commanding the roads over which we must march, and it looks now as though we should have some severe fighting in a few hours’ time. It does not yet seem really like war, and it is hard to believe we shall actually have a battle, I suppose one good action will enable us to realize the requirements necessary to make a good soldier, and prove our usefulness, or otherwise, as nothing else will; I hope we may prove equal to the emergency.

Reveille the next morning sounded at daybreak, and soon afterwards we were enroute for Centreville, distant about eight miles; the day was very hot and there was much straggling, many of the men proving poor walkers; at intervals we halted to give time for the advance guard to properly reconnoiter, and also to rest the men, so that we did not arrive in front of our objective point till 1 P. M. ; one trouble was the complete blockade of the road by wagons and artillery, obliging the infantry to take to the fields on either side of them, this causing much delay. I was in good condition, and did not mind the fatigue at all. Arriving at Centreville we found no enemy, but a little squalid, wretched place, situated on rising ground overlooking a good deal of the surrounding country. The column turned out to the right and left, forming a line of battle facing almost west, stacked arms, and lay down to await developments. Three regiments of infantry were shortly afterwards sent ahead to reconnoiter, and about a mile in front commenced exchanging shots at long range with the enemy’s pickets; as they advanced, they brought on quite a little fight, in which some of the rebel batteries joined for the first time. We saw the white puffs from the cannon, and watched with breathless interest this first evidence of actual hostilities. Presently an aide came back for reinforcements, and two other regiments were ordered to advance, but had hardly started, when General McDowell coming on the ground, ordered the advance to be discontinued for the present, and the troops withdrawn. We had four men killed outright, and several wounded in this first baptism of fire, which of course, produced great excitement, in the rear, especially when the ambulance with the wounded came in. We knew now there was more to be done than simply marching, and bivouacking, and began to feel a little curious, but still equal to the task, and sure of giving a good account of ourselves.’ We remained in position the rest of the day and night, watching during the evening the long lines of dust far away to the right and front, which is said to indicate the arrival of reinforcements for the enemy.

This morning we hear the rebel army is posted in a commanding position along the Bull Run stream, deep in many places, but having numerous fords. The rebel general, Johnson, has joined from Winchester, which explains the long dusty lines seen last evening. General McDowell, it is said, intends resting our army for a day or two here, in the mean time ascertaining the exact position of the rebels; we are not at all in need of rest, and I don’t see why we cannot go right ahead, but I suppose it is none of our business to speculate on the conduct of affairs. The wagons are now separately parked, so is the artillery, and the infantry placed so that the color line instantly becomes a line of battle in case of necessity. If the rebs would only come and attack us, how we should warm them.

July 18th. To-day great droves of beef cattle were driven into camp and slaughtered, and three days’ cooked rations prepared, and issued to all the troops; we got enough to completely fill our haversacks, and load us down uncomfortably. Nothing occurred during the day worth mentioning, the band played frequently while we cleaned our muskets, filled our cap pouches and cartridge boxes, and otherwise prepared for the great battle so near at hand. The camp is full of rumors, but nothing trustworthy.

July i9th and 20th.—Nothing worthy of especial mention the last two days; reports say the rebels are seventy thousand strong, with ten thousand additional men near at hand, strongly posted behind the run, with all commanding points well fortified. We have made many reconnoisances and find the enemy’s position in front and left too strong for direct attack and so the plan now is to move the bulk of the army, under cover of the thick woods, to the right, and attack in earnest; in the mean time, making demonstrations directly in front, and on the left, with force enough to take advantage of any weakness that may be discovered. All the preliminary arrangements are made, and we are entirely prepared. Saturday night taps sounded as usual at nine o’clock and we all tucked ourselves under the blankets and lay down for a good night’s sleep; we had hardly got comfortably fixed, when we were ordered to get up and fall in silently. We got up wondering what was the occasion of this nocturnal disturbance, but quietly rolled and slung our blankets, fell into line, and answered to the roll call. We were ready to start by twelve o’clock but those ahead of us did not get out of our way till nearly two o’clock, so we sat down in the ranks and waited our turn. It was a brilliant moonlight night, and we could see the long line of flashing bayonets filing off to the right, looking like an immense silver sea serpent. From Centreville to Fairfax court house, all the troops were in motion, and where an hour before everything was quiet and still, now the ground trembled with the tramp of armed men, and innumerable horses. We stepped out promptly at last, glad to be in motion,; taking the Warrington road through Centreville, we marched some distance, then turned off to the northward, on a wood road, and were hid from view by the dark, gloomy shadows of a pine forest. Everyone knew the object of the movement, and was anxious to get well in rear of the rebel left before daylight, and take him by surprise. For nearly three hours, our march lay through the dark pines; finally about break of day, we emerged into open fields, and saw away off to the front and right the Bull Run and Blue Ridge mountains, with pleasant fields, and shady woods, laying quietly at their feet. It was so still and peaceful that it was hard to believe this beautiful Sunday morning we were going to fight a battle.

We halted now awhile, giving the stragglers a chance to come up, and all of us a much needed rest, as we were very much fatigued, besides being hungry, and longed to make some coffee, but the orders were imperative, no fires! no noise! very shortly, several shots were fired directly in our front, the bugles sounded the assembly and we fell in; the First and Second Rhode Island regiments were deployed in line of battle, and with a regiment of regular cavalry out as flankers, and several companies of infantry deployed as skirmishers in front advanced in the direction of the firing, we following in column, well closed up, a short distance in rear, a battery moving immediately in our front. The stately and well ordered advance to our first battle was most impressive. Not a word was spoken, every man busy with his own emotions and trying to do his duty.


“Ah me! what perils do environ,  The man that meddles with cold iron.”— THE BATTLE OF BULL RUN IN WHICH WE FIGHT AND WIN AND RUN AWAY

IN the order prescribed by the regulations, for a force feeling the enemy preparatory to an attack, we marched forward, passing over the open field and into a piece of full grown timber, apparently the slope of a considerable hill. As we slowly ascended the rising ground, suddenly a loud screeching noise overhead sent more than half the regiment pell mell the other side of a fence that ran along the road side. Here we crouched down flat on our bellies, our hearts in our mouths, just as a shell exploded a little beyond us. It was from the rebel batteries in front, and the first any of us had ever heard, and it certainly did seem a terrible thing, rushing through the air like an immense sky rocket, then bursting into a thousand pieces, carrying death and destruction to everything in its course. The stampede was only momentary, but very funny; the boys jumped back again; in fact, almost as quickly as they had dispersed, and then stood steady in the ranks, watching the advance of the Rhode Islanders. When the latter had emerged into the clearing, beyond the woods, our regiment wheeled to the right, into line of battle, and followed the advancing line. In the meantime, several shells came over the woods, generally passing far to the rear before bursting, doing no harm other than making us a little nervous. Just as we emerged from the woods, the Rhode Islanders reached the crest of the hill and immediately opened fire, and the rattle of musketry became so heavy we could hear no commands, and the smoke so thick, we could see nothing at all in front; away off to the right, however, we saw little white puffs of smoke, indicating the position of the rebel batteries, which began to drop their shells about us, much to our confusion; while we were peering into the dense smoke in front, wondering how the enemy looked, an order came directing us to move forward and go into action. We marched immediately, reached the crest of the hill, and amid the rattle of musketry, the booming of guns, and screeching of shells, lay down and commenced firing. Before we had time to get well at work, along came Griffith’s light battery at full gallop, scattering the right of our regiment badly; we got together again as quickly as possible, but were five and six files deep, narrowing the front of the regiment, and rendering about half of us useless. I was in this struggling crowd, and with many others, tried hard to get the line straightened out, but the objection many of the fellows had to take the front rank prevented our doing much of anything, so I crept up to the front, determined at least to get a sight of the enemy, and a shot if possible. I soon reached a position where I could look over the hill, and there sure enough, nearly at the bottom, just in front of a clump of trees, stood a long line of rebel infantry firing away at our men. I took a shot immediately, and then loaded and fired as quickly as I could, very much excited, but now not at all afraid, except of the men in rear who persisted in firing over our heads, although they could see nothing to fire at, and stood no possible chance of hitting anything, except the back of our heads, which was not comfortable to think of. The musket balls whistled around us, and every now and then, one of our fellows dropped his gun and rolled over, shot; however, the noise of the musketry, and booming of the cannon, drowned all cries, and kept up the excitement, so that we thought only of firing and trying to hit somebody. We lay in this position a good while, keeping up a rattling fire, when the order was passed along the line to stand up and fire; the regiment jumped to its feet, just as a wild unearthly yell rung out below, and the rebel line dashed forward, charging directly up the hill at us. We had a beautiful chance now and blazed away into the advancing line without let or hindrance, but still they came on until some of them got within thirty yards of us, and I really thought they were going to reach us and give us a chance to bayonet them, but suddenly they hesitated, then turned back, and ran away. Now we yelled, and together with our boat howitzers, poured a rattling fire into them, killing and wounding a good many; they ran until they reached the woods, then reformed, and actually tried it again, but this second attempt was a mere farce. The batteries shelled them until they completely disappeared, leaving us in undisputed possession of the field. Our fighting was done and very soon we were relieved by the Sixty-ninth New York and a New Hampshire regiment, who followed up the enemy, while we fell back to the edge of the woods, stacked arms, and answered to roll call. We had lost seventeen men killed outright, and forty wounded; all the rest were accounted for; we then buried the dead and carried such of the wounded as had not already been cared for back to the field hospital, after which we compared notes and congratulated each other on the success of the fight. There served with us throughout the whole fight a tall, elderly gentleman, wearing plain clothes and a tall silk hat, in the front rank, who loaded and fired away in the most deliberate manner, apparently wholly indifferent to danger; he must have done a good deal of execution, as the excitement did not seem to affect him in the least. They say he is a noted abolitionist, and desired to do his share in the field, as well as in the forum; I am sorry I cannot remember his name. With a regiment of such men as he, what might we not have done ?

Soon after we retired, General McDowell rode up, dressed in full uniform, including white kid gloves, and told us we had won a great victory, and that the enemy were in full retreat; we cheered him vociferously, and felt like veritable heroes.

The enemy having disappeared, some of us concluded to walk over the battle field, see how it looked, and pick up something as a souvenir of the fight. The Sixty-ninth and Seventy-ninth New York and the splendid line of the marine corps, in their white cross belts, were moving without opposition, away off to the right, apparently intending to follow the enemy to Richmond. Butler and I strolled down the hill side, and were soon amongst the dead and dying rebels, who up to this time had been neglected. What a horrible sight it was! here a man, grasping his musket firmly in his hands, stone dead; several with distorted features, and all of them horribly dirty. Many were terribly wounded, some with legs shot off; others with arms gone, all of them, in fact, so badly wounded that they could not drag themselves away; many of the wretches were slowly bleeding to death, with no one to do anything for them. We stopped many times to give some a drink and soon saw enough to satisfy us with the horrors of war; and so picking up some swords, and bayonets, we turned about and retraced our steps. Suddenly a minnie ball whistled past us, making the dust fly just in front, where it lodged; we thought it must be from some of our men mistaking us for rebels, and so hurried along to join our regiment when, nearly at the summit of the hill, a whole volley of musket balls whizzed about us, one of them striking my companion, who dropped to the ground as though he had been killed, and I really thought he was; in looking him over, I found he was shot through the knee and quite unable to stand, or walk; promising to bring him assistance, I started on the run, found the regiment, and with several good fellows quickly returned, picked up our comrade and carried him to the rear, and left him with the surgeons. This turn in affairs greatly puzzled everybody, and the only conclusion arrived at was, that some of our troops had mistaken us for the enemy. About half an hour after this, our attention was attracted to the distant hills and open ground by long lines of infantry extending across the whole face of the battle ground; the sound of distant musketry came floating along, followed by an occasional cannon shot. Presently the lines grew more distinct, finally developing into well defined lines of battle, marching in our direction; everybody was now alert; wondering what was going to happen; at last the glittering bayonets, reflecting the summer sun, were easily distinguished, and there was no longer a doubt but what the rebels had reformed, and with new forces were going to renew the fighting. The musketry increased and several batteries opened in our direction, but there were no indications on our part of making any resistance to the rapidly advancing foe; so far as we could see over the wide extended fields, not a single line of battle on our side was in position; the regiments about us had been gradually withdrawing, until few were left. All the guns had gone, except our two howitzers, and there was no general officer on the ground. As the long line came nearer and nearer, Colonel Martin ordered us to fall in, and with muskets in hand, we stood, simply watching the gradual approach of this overwhelming force, and the disappearance of our troops; wondering what had become of all the masses of men we not long ago thought numerous enough to thrash the world; now there was nobody left, and our colonel at length ordered us to counter march to the rear, and follow the crowd. We still supposed there was a new line forming in rear of us, and that in the confusion, our regiment had escaped attention, consequently, at first were not much alarmed, but as we continued going to the rear and saw no signs of fresh dispositions, we came to the conclusion we were running away, following the route we had marched over with so much confidence in the morning; presently we came up with the rear of the troops that had preceded us, but looked in vain for new defensive dispositions. Everywhere was hurry and confusion, the wagons and batteries filled the roads, while the men spread out on either side, gradually losing their formations and fast becoming reckless. There was no rear guard, nor any arrangements for holding the enemy in check, and if they really had appeared, they might have captured us all without difficulty. Now every one was anxious to be first, and so by degrees, the men of various regiments got mixed up together, and thus, finding themselves without officers, accelerated their steps until at last it became a precipitate flight to the rear.

In the course of the afternoon, when the woods were one mass of men, without a semblance of order, a report spread that the Black Horse cavalry were advancing! instantly, every man of us backed up to a tree, and it was really wonderful how almost instantaneously the woods seemed clear of men; with three or four of us around a tree, bayonets fixed, awaiting in fearful suspense, we looked quite formidable, but were in fact, very weak kneed.

After waiting a time, and seeing nothing of the foe, we spread out again, hurrying along to get across the Bull Run stream. By this time the men were throwing away their blankets, knapsacks, and many of them their guns, in order to fly the faster; and when the enemy began shelling the woods we were in, the panic was complete, and all semblance of order was lost; at a bridge where the ambulances were crossing, several shells burst in succession, completing the disaster. Confusion became confounded; men, horses, mules, wagons, ambulances, and batteries were inextricably mixed together, and the mass rushed forward, abandoning everything in their flight; in many cases, the drivers of wagons and ambulances cut loose their teams and galloped to the rear, leaving their wagons and contents to block the road, thus cutting off all chance for escape for those in rear of them. On the bridge over the Bull Run were several ambulances, filled with wounded men, so jammed together that none of them could move. Some shells from the enemy’s guns dropped in amongst them, killing some of the wounded, scaring away the drivers, and effectually blockading the bridge for good. The panic was complete. The wounded, deserted in the ambulances, yelled for succor in vain; the whole crowd were utterly demoralized. Colonel Martin and the regiment up to this time had kept tolerably well together, but here the general frenzy took possession of us, too, and the cry of “every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost,” was the only rule observed.

About the stream, the loss of material was immense; our two boat howitzers were abandoned here, after doing very effective service. There were hundreds of wagons, ambulances, forges, guns, muskets, myriads of blankets, knapsacks and every kind of accoutrement; the ground, in fact, being literally covered with material, the men throwing away indiscriminately all that they had to facilitate their flight. When we arrived at the stream the bridge was completely blockaded, so we took to the water with the crowd, and found it nearly up to our waists; we were almost dying with thirst and stopped to drink and fill our canteens; the water was liquid mud, but more precious to us just then than gold; standing amongst myriads of men and horses, I drank and drank, until I must have swallowed at least a quart; it did refresh us amazingly; we had marched all the previous night; fought all the morning, and had been running away all the afternoon, with nothing at all to eat since the evening before, and as- the heat was intense, and the dust horrible, one may imagine our condition.

It did us good to see many batteries boldly ford the run, descending the steep bank and climb the opposite side in a most business like manner. I can truthfully say up to this time none of us had seen or heard of a general officer or aidde-camp nor any one making any effort to stem the tide of disorder south of the stream.

After crossing the river, the crowd kept on in just the same disorder; but, as they got more fatigued they threw away more of their equipment, and so by degrees, about onehalf of them threw away their arms, as well as clothing. Amongst the infantry, there was no longer a pretense of formation; the crowd scattered over a wide area of fields and roads, observing only one rule, of keeping in the direction of Washington. As our organization fell to pieces at the run, half a dozen of us agreed for our own safety to stick together at all hazards, retain our arms and accoutrements, and pretend we were soldiers. The country was now open, giving an extended view of the situation as far as we could see; to the right and left, crowds of men, wagons and guns, all mixed together, were hurrying along spread all over the country.

We trudged along wearily enough, at last reaching Centreville, and then sat down to rest and eat, expecting the crowd would do the same, but their fears still urged them forward, and they surged through, and around the village, in one continuous mass of disorder. We rested about an hour, then started ahead again, keeping along with the crowd still as dense as ever. Not long after passing Centreville, the crowd in front suddenly halted as if by magic; right in front, drawn up in battle array, stretched a long dark line of infantry, completely blocking the way; to our disordered imagination there could be but one explanation, the enemy had in some way gotten in our rear, and cut us off; no man dared to advance, and for a time we were motionless, lost in amazement. Presently the men on the extreme right began a movement to slip around the flank, hoping in this way to elude the new danger; but just then several mounted men rode forward, and announced the troops in front as friends, being in fact, a line of New Jersey troops, formed to stem the surging tide of disorder, by offering a shelter, sufficiently strong to restore confidence. What a relief it was! we were now safe from pursuit, and could rest our weary feet. We marched along with the crowd, passed through the new line, and sat down, intending to go no further, utterly exhausted and demoralized. We threw ourselves on the ground, and watched with much anxiety, the efforts made to stop the fugitives. Staff officers, cavalrymen, and infantry, all exerted themselves strenuously to halt the crowd, and form them anew, in rear of the fresh men, but without success; the crowd continued pressing to the rear determined only to stop, under the forts at Washington. We remained till after dark getting a little rest, but keeping our eyes on the Jerseymen. About eight o’clock two of the regiments near us were ordered back to Vienna, so we fell in with them, and continued our retreat from this point, in much better company. We marched wearily along, foot sore, and since night set in, extremely nervous. In every piece of woods through which we marched we heard the dreaded sighing of the minnie ball, and saw dark shadowy forms, which took the shape of Black Horse Cavalry. We knew better, but our nerves gave out, I expect, and we could not help ourselves. As everything in life must come to an end sooner or later, so this trying march to Vienna ended also, something after midnight. The Jerseymen turned into a field to the right of the road, formed in close column of division, stacked arms, and lay down and slept. We begged some bread of them; half a loaf each, which we lost no time in eating, then lay down and slept. We had no covering, as our regiment was ordered to remove their blankets before the fight, and never had a chance to get them again, but we slept for all that, and only waked, after a vigorous shaking; about three o’clock in the morning, the Jerseymen were ordered to fall back on account of the advancing enemy, and there was nothing else to be done but go with them. What unwelcome news! My feet were so covered with blisters, and swollen, that at first I could not stand on them, and it seemed out of the question to use them at all, but we had heard of the guerillas, and feared capture, so were bound to move. I tore my pocket handkerchief into strips and bound each toe, separately; the soles, and heels, and in that shape started off; at first I could scarcely stand, but, as my feet warmed up they felt better, and I was able to keep up with the regiment, until we got to within about seven miles of Washington. There we parted with the Jerseymen, and went to a farm house, where after much parleying, we hired a man to carry us to the long bridge, for fifty cents apiece. As soon as the springless wagon was hitched up, we jumped in, and felt that our troubles were all over. In due time we arrived before the tete de pont at the long bridge, paid and dismissed our farmer friend, and started to cross over, but the sentry stopped us and refused to let us cross. The sergeant of the guard was deaf to our entreaties, and we fell back in dismay; presently, someone suggested that, by taking the tow path to the Georgetown bridge, about three miles up the river, we could cross, and so, nothing daunted by the pouring rain, we started off and for two hours struggled over the worst road, in the worst weather, imaginable. When we arrived, we were disgustingly covered with red clay mud, from head to foot, and altogether in a pitiful condition; filled with anxiety, we went up to the bridge and found a regiment apparently going over, and so fell in rear of it, but when nearly up to the entrance, it filed off to the right, leaving us in the lurch once more. Nothing remained now but to go up boldly and ask permission to cross, which we did, and were delighted when told to go ahead; we lost no time in passing the guard, and with light hearts, but dreadfully weary feet, trudged along, and were soon across and looking out for some means of getting to the Navy Yard, many miles away. Very soon afterward a couple of gentlemen rushed up to us, grasped us by the hand, and hustled us into a carriage; they said they were New Yorkers and had heard all about the gallant behavior of the Seventy-first, and that they were there for the express purpose of taking care of some of the boys. They were full of sympathy, and took great interest in us, and so we began to think a little better of ourselves. They took us to the Metropolitan Hotel, where they ordered dinner, wine, etc., and made us sit down, wet and muddy as we were, and eat and drink. It was wonderful how we recovered under this generous treatment, and in a couple of hours, were so refreshed that we took leave of our fellow townsmen with many and hearty thanks, and went straight to the Navy Yard, almost falling asleep on the way.

Arriving, I found my companion Dodd occupying our old bunk in tranquil security, not having heard of the misfortune that had befallen the army. He came to the rescue, and like the good fellow he was, never ceased till I was encased in dry clothes, and snugly packed away in my old place, and fast asleep.

July 23d. I awoke after a long, refreshing sleep, very stiff, and feet badly blistered, but, after a cold bath at the hydrant, and a cup of coffee, felt quite myself again.

Many men have returned but not enough to complete the organization, so we were not required to perform any duty. The first thing I did was to clean my musket, and belts, then my clothes, and by noon time had everything in good order; then Dodd and I dressed up in our best clothes, and walked to the city, first going to the telegraph office, where we had to wait a long time for our turn, to notify our families at home that we were not killed, wounded, or missing; this done, we spent the day in town, looking up our men, and getting all the news we could of the situation, now considered extremely critical. The forts have been manned, and all the available troops placed in position to defend the capitol.

July 25th. Nearly all the men are back again to-night, and military duty is to be resumed to-morrow, but our three months have expired, and we are ordered back to New York to be mustered out of service. The President has called for three hundred thousand men to serve for three years, or the war. The country is just beginning to realize the magnitude of the undertaking, and the first thing it is going to do is to organize a regular army, which will last at least for three years. Our views of war are somewhat modified by the past three months’ experience, but I am determined to return, and under more favorable conditions, try to find that exaltation and glory that I have always associated with arms.

We shall go home and refit for a long period, organize and discipline an army, and when officers and men have learned to adjust themselves to their new positions, and know each other and their duties thoroughly, then commence afresh, and go on to victory, or sustain defeat with dignity. The cause is just as great to-day as it was the day we left New York, and, while we have been temporarily overthrown, there is no cause for despondency. We shall as certainly win in the end, as though we had never seen, or heard, of the disastrous battle of Bull Run.

For myself, I have served in the ranks for the last time; and shall go home and apply at once for a commission in some of the regiments now forming to serve for three years or the war, which will be more to my taste than serving in the ranks.

Two days after the regiment returned to the yard it was ordered home by rail, going by way of South Amboy, and landed at pier 1, North River; from thence it marched up Broadway to the armory on Centre Street. Depositing our arms and accoutrements, we were dismissed till the 30th of July, when the regiment was mustered out of service and paid off, and so ended our first campaign.

[Josiah Marshall Favill, The Diary of a Young Officer Serving with the Armies of the United States During the War of the Rebellion, pp. 26-41]

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