Pvt. Thomas G. Read, Co. I, 33rd Virginia Infantry, On the Victory

4 08 2021

Manassa’s Junction
July 27, 1861

Dear Father,

I have been thinking sometime that I would send you a letter, as I have written twice to mother, I know you want the exact news about the big fight and what they took &ct. well I suppose you know we, that is, our company got here after the fight we got here last Tues. and have been under tent ever since, doing very well it is not near as bad as some report it we have had plenty to eat of fresh beef, bacon, flour, coffee & sugar, and some rice, we are kept right busy drilling three times a day, cooking, bringing water about 200 yds. The water is good freestone, but rather warm, still it does right well, there is plenty of it. As to the fight that took place last Sunday, it is considered by all a great victory, and so it is, I was out in the battleground Wednesday, it is 7 miles west of the Junction, and we are camped 3 miles west of it, so we are 4 miles from the battlefield, it is estimated that we killed 10,000 of the enemy, and they 3,000 of us, besides hundreds of prisoners taken by us, we took 70 pieces of cannon, 8 thirty two pounders, and 62 rifled cannon, besides 18,000 stacks of small arms. The value of all taken from them is estimated at a million and a half dollars so you see it is a pretty good gain to our side and less so theirs; there were a good many old regulars among the enemy; they are their best soldiers, and were dressed in red and blue, even had red pants, good marks to shoot at; it seems they intended to march right through to Richmond from the way they were prepared; they had 3 days rations in their haversacks, and had their Knapsacks on their backs pretty well filled; but God frustrated their designs and they have nothing left but infamy, dishonor, and defeat; if we had been able to follow them, we might have run them clear through, and taken possession of Washington itself, but it was not to be so, our men are very well satisfied as it is and there is no bravado, or boasting that I have heard, but we all believe that God was on our side, we being in the right. At last our men charged bayonets on them about a hundred yds off, but they ran like Yankees and we couldn’t reach them; they kept on running until they got out of danger though the cavalry pursued them and destroyed a good many with sword & pistol. they went back through Alexandria like stray sheep. Well, I can only tell you yet that I have been doing very well so far, we rode 35 miles on the cars from Salem to this place let me know whether Henry has gone in the militia and write soon to your affectionate son

Thos. G. Read

Let mother read this as if it were written to her, as I may not be able to write again soon, love to all, and tell James Zirkle I will write to him soon

T.G.R.

Contributed by Eric Mink

Read Family Correspondence at University of Notre Dame Rare Books and Special Collections, including biographical information

This letter at University of Notre Dame Rare Books and Special Collections (transcription and letter images)

Thomas G. Read at Ancestry

Thomas G. Read at Fold3

Thomas G. Read at FindAGrave