I intended to write to you yesterday and tell you all about the reception of the president-elect. Well everybody is disappointed agreeably so in his looks. His likeness that you have seen does not flatter him any. He is not the handsomest man I've seen nor by any means the ugliest one. He has a very fine eye and as it looks on you, you forget his low flabby cheek and see only his head that is remarkable well formed and large. His eye is very mild and kind, but yet there is something away back in the depth of its blue that says I could be firm if it was necessary. Everyone speaks well of his appearance. His friends see all they want and his opponents affect to see all they would like to have possessed of or, in other words, the exact opposite of the friends. The opposition say he is but a third rate Monroe. We will all be sorry if this is true, but they have no chance to judge yet. No man can speak well with his tongue tied endeavoring to speak well and yet say nothing. On the fourth of March he will speak clothed with full authority and then will be the time to criticize his remarks. For one, I have no fear of that time. Everything is very quiet here. All are waiting to hear what will be said and done the first week of March.
Yesterday Lincoln raised a new flag on the state house, bearing 34 stars. The ceremony was very beautiful and affecting. At 6 o'clock the street was densely crowded and every window that looked out upon the scene was filled with ladies. The prayer was a solemn one for our country's weal. This ended, "Sorry Abe" laid by his overcoat and hat and taking the halyard in hand, pulled steadily hand over hand until the bunting reached the top of the tall flag staff (it was rolled up in a ball) then by a shake of the coil, it unrolled itself to the breeze and after shaking itself for an instant, stretched out a thing of beauty in that morning light. The crowd assembled there early (for 6 is early here) the sun just rising, the association of the place all conspiring with the time, the man, the new star, every connection to make it one of the most affecting scenes I ever witnessed. As the flag started up the shout was like a roar, thousands of hats swinging, the front of every house in a flutter of handkerchiefs, all was shouts and commotion. When it reached the top of the staff, everyone was still for a moment then, as one man, they all cried "Long may it wave." I have heard some shouting in my life and can do some myself now and then, but I never heard anything like this before. The cannon fired a salute, the band played the Star Spangled Banner. I went home to have my patriotism cooled with cold coffee and mutton for I had been out too long. Working men celebrated the birthday of Washington yesterday. I do not belong to that class.
I have been anxiously waiting to hear from you this week, expecting your orders to get at once and defend the country against its destroyers for I know your patriotism must dictate such a course. We have had a week of intense excitement. All but myself seem to be at flame heat, but when I say that I am cool and collected I speak the truth. Monday and Tuesday last were terrible days here. An excited mob ran round the streets like madmen, but that passed over and now the excitement is deeper and strong men are responding to the call of the President and an army will be at Washington soon that will set things right.
Two regiments of mass volunteers passed through here last week, also the 7th from N.Y. (Hopkins Company). Flags are flying from almost every house. Many churches displayed the colors this morning, patriotic sermons were preached, and national airs sung in many of the churches today. I wish you could see and hear all that is going on here. It is a sight one may never see again, a city so thoroughly aroused this is thronged with men talking eagerly. Where I now stand, I cannot see the crowd but can hear the murmur of voices like a roar of the sea. The streets are crowded with eager faces and it is not uncommon for a man coming out of his house in the morning to ask the first one he meets, "What is the news this morning?" It is really wonderful.
White, red, and blue rosettes are worn by everybody, women and children included. But I must tell you something that will not surprise you much. I go to Trenton this evening to offer my services to the Governor. I do this not from excitement but from a sense of duty. We have advocated a principle and now our country is in her direst need. Why not defend that principle? She needs the support of every good man. It is the only way of demonstrating on which side you really are. I have thought of this thing seriously and have come to the determination from sound reasoning. I have divested it of all romance and looked at thing. If you will do the same and put self one side, you will bid me God speed and send your blessings after me. I had at first intended not to go until the next demand, but events thicken so fast and assume so unbecoming a shape that delay will be hesitation. If I can get an appointment, I will go with New Jersey regiment. If not, I will enlist in a city company as high
Yours as ever,
I wrote you a hurried letter yesterday from Philadelphia stating, among other things, my resolution to go to the wars and came here accordingly. I intend applying to W. S. Johnson for some commission in the quartermaster department or something of the kind. He is expected here this afternoon, and I am awaiting his return. After I have seen him, I will go back to the city and write you again. I do not believe my letter surprised you much. From what you know of me, you must have expected that I would go in some shape or other.
I have but one draw-back to contend with and that has held me for two weeks vacillating between filial love and patriotism. I know that you all will be cast in the deepest gloom and that the thick cloud that has hung so long over our house has grown more murkey and dark and impenetrable than ever. You must not recognize this as an additional misfortune; rather, feel proud that you have a son willing to go at his country's call, ready to give his small service to maintain the honor of our home. This is not time to hesitate. A prompt and energetic action may save all. I know that when you reflect calmly you will say I am right and your grief at the danger that may surround me will be softened by the reflection that you, with thousands of others, are making a small sacrifice for your country's good.
Could I retain my situation where I now am, I could contribute but little to your assistance as the wages are small; yet, it would be something. But if business declines as rapidly for a few weeks to come as it has for the last, there will be nothing to do.
Out of my pay as a soldier I could do more as my board will cost but little. You can rely on my prudence and every care for my health and, as for the evil of camp life, I think I am too old to fall in bad habits very rapidly. Take it all in all, you will not have so much to mourn over.
You cannot be expected to feel the full force of the enthusiasm that prevails in the city. We are closely connected with Baltimore and, if the Capitol should fall in the hands of its enemies, they will march on to Philadelphia. Boys are constantly applying for the privilege to enlist. Fathers are bringing their sons, enrolling their names. Women are volunteering as nurses. There is scarce a family that is not represented. Many have friends, all acquaintances, in the army. Our streets are full of uniforms and flags and presents a strange appearance. A walk to dinner will give you a view of more than one company marching to quarters or leaving for camp at Harrisburg. We are really a city in arms (only they haven't the arms yet). You have seen by the papers I sent you how they have acted at Baltimore, how much we can expect from them. Virginia is in the same boat; and, if there is any fighting, it will be on her soil and about the Capitol. I think there will be but little fighting. If they get possession, they must be dispossessed; then there will be a good deal of fighting. What are they doing in Sussex? I presume Newton is raising a company. Tell me who are its officers and who goes from Andover. I expect a letter from you very soon and direct as usual.
Yours truly as ever,
I wrote to you a hasty letter last week from this point and received one from father yesterday dated the third. As we are about to have a great battle near Winchester and the order to cook two days' provisions has been given out, looks as if we intend to participate. The fate of battle, you know, is always uncertain and it may be my lot to fall. This must happen to me sooner or later here or somewhere else, so I don't know as it matters much. No one can tell his own self what he will do in the trying time, but I hope I may do my duty well, let the consequences be what they may to myself. I will trust to that that has always brought safely through some doings before and I believe it will again, at all costs. If I know myself, I will do a good battle for the cause of universal freedom and the rights of man. I am not fighting for more glory but for the eternal principle of right, and that must prevail.
We have over thirty thousand men here in and around this place, mostly Pennsylvanian soldiers under Gen. Patirson. We will move south tomorrow morn. You have no idea how many men and horses and wagons or how much meat and bread and other appliances there is embraced in this little move of thirty thousand men. If you sat to calculate, you still will fail to approach near the reality. It would be a column of men miles in extent and of wagons still longer. A mind unused to the calculations cannot grasp the vastness of an army such as ours is at the present, to say nothing of what it will be if the president's recommendation is granted. There is a division approaching Winchester from three points, each as large as this one. The enemy is posted there in force behind earth works of some strength - at least they are so reported - and intend to give us a warm reception. Of the result I have no doubt, and that will be the death blow to Secession Rebellion. Still, this thing may be not so easily "did." We shall see. The destruction of property is fearful to look at here. They have destroyed the four railroad bridges made of cut stone, real armaments, and have burned and broken 52 large class locomotives besides other property. They intended to burn the depot on the 4th but we stopped them from it by coming here a day too soon. I will just tell you where I am writing this letter. We have to carry water about 1/2 a mile and I am captain of the water guard today and have stolen a moment under a mulberry tree, seated on a horse block to write. Now I will carry this bottle in and if I come out again will finish.
Since I have been away from my cool seat here I have written for another man to his wife and did several jobs. I must tell you we have left our tents behind so that the wagons can keep up to and I have been sleeping in the open air. It is really delightful (if it don't rain) and I see the Comet every time I awake in the night, and when the moon shines it really is lovely. I feel no bad effects from the experience. No one knows what he can endure until he is put to the test. Well, I must close. So good by until you hear from me again.
I am yours as ever,
I catch a moment of time to repair, if possible, the seeming neglect I have been guilty of. I use the word catch in the sense it usually is used, in the connection just embracing a leisure moment before dinner to write one word. I never was more fully employed in my life. Every moment has its duty from early dawn to tattoo; then I am usually tired enough to sleep soundly. I enjoy a large maske to myself and have furnished it to my liking. Two boxes that our saddles came in form my "bed by night and chest of drawers by day." Two others knocked apart make my floor. A rope from pole to pole holds my blankets by day, answers for a clothes piece at all times. So there is where I live. Hanes and Fowler, Morford and Inman mess with us. The two former occupy a large tent. In there we eat for the present and have things our own way. I wish you could just see us around our dinner board. Our dinner would do credit to some hotels. We have a jewel in that way - I mean the culinary way - in Alanson Austin, the son of Marcus. The girls will remember him. He was clerking with someone in town a few years ago. I will make him my clerk and he can lodge with me. How he is up to all manner of nice cooking and oversees that department in such a manner that our table has been the theme of compliment from all who have tasted its excellent qualities. We had the Lieutenant Colonel to take breakfast with us on yesterday. He is a Prussian soldier and has served a long time in Prussia, an accomplished soldier and a gentleman of the first water. I will tell you more of him at some other time.
Now for my own trumpet! I am very proud of my company and make bold to tell you that others have spoken well of me, and them in high places. I am called in nightly to the Colonel's tent to give some opinion on some matter, and anything I ask is granted with pleasure. You would be proud to see the position I hold here, and I will fight hard to retain it. Morford has been promoted to Adjutant, for which he is come indebted to me, and a place he will fill well if he gives it his attention. I am glad Bill has done so well. Hanes makes a better Lieutenant than I thought he would. Fowler is learning as fast as can be expected; and, if I had a good 1st Sergeant, I would be all fixed.
You wish to know how I made out about my outfit. Well, I just made out and that was all. I went to Philadelphia on Thursday and failed to make any arrangement. I came back by the first train and found the camp broken up and just preparing to start. I was almost in despair. WCJ could not devise any way to help me out; so, I struck a plan of my own - a note at Sussix Bank for $100 that gave me no relief for the moment. I must do something; so, when we arrived at Philadelphia, I went to Birmingham and told him he must go my bail for a suit of clothes. The he did and I bought them ready made for $33. At Trenton I borrowed some money from Haines. Here Fowler has found me in funds up to the present time. I received a letter from Hopkins last week. He said he had made the arrangement for the money and would send me a certified check, but it has not arrived. Will you see him and find out if that is the fact - I mean, if he has sent it? If not, ask him to do so. Tell him I will write him the moment it arrives and give him all the particulars of our company. I am about organizing this company anew and want it full. Tell George if he will come on I can give him the Staff Wagon to drive. Have him bring as many as can come along. Abe Laurance appears well satisfied and want George and Oliver to make him happy. If I had Ase here, I could use him.
Say to SJH that Strubb and Cooper did take with them their uniforms; and, if he can take them and bring them on, he will be entitled to $30 apiece reward, enough to cover expenses and
give him a showing of this army. I saw Agg here last week only one moment. He promised that he would tell Jack to come and see me. For my part, I cannot find time at present to move from camp.
Well, I must stop this scramble. The boys are awaiting my arrival to drill mounted (we have our horses). I was thrown the first time I tried my spurs and might have been hurt but was not.
Love to all,
I received father's letter of the 24th, enclosing one from Sarah, two days ago and direct this as an answer to your inquiry as to my comfort. The best way to do this, I imagine, would be to describe our position and my abode. We are encamped in a hollow surrounded by hills on every side with just room on the north to allow a small stream to pass out. This opening is guarded from the wind by a thick, firm woods. Our camp is laid out on three sides of a square facing a small hillock on which is situated the headquarters of the commanding officer and his staff. Immediately in the rear of the houses is the tents of the men. To the rear of these some 20 yards is the line officers' tents and again to the rear of his battalion, making a novel but very pretty and convenient camp.
Now, if you understand the formation of our camp, I will describe my abode. You will see by the above diagram where I am situated, but I cannot show you the beautiful hill that raises abruptly behind my tent and, in fact, forms a part of it. We soon learn to use everything in nature for our comfort; so, I sue the hill. I have excavated the size of my tent setting the canvas on the edge of the hole. In one corner, I have burrowed back far enough to make a fireplace and a flu, then go above and sink a chimney. Until I join the hole below on this, I place a barrel. You will see that I at once have a master fireplace and a chimney unexceptionable in its draft. On one side of my house I drive four crutched sticks, lay two sticks across of them up between the crutches with small rods on these. I strew pine bows until I can no longer feel the ridges and spread my rubber blanket and my check blanket and cover with my gray blanket. My saddle and my saddle blanket makes my pillow. On this I sleep like a prince. No feather bed ever gave me sweeter repose or half as much rest. If it was not for a slight twinge now and then in my right hip and shoulder that warns me these companies have not passed without leaving their camp liniments, I would not know that my fire ever went out in the night.
On my return I purchased two woolen shirts, white and black check, and two silk undershirts. Now said I, I am fixed. But how vain are all human calculations. Last week some vile wretch, with no regard for my comfort, stole one of each while on the line drying. I have one left and a comfortable house. I can have that washed and dried indoors.
Father was wrong in supposing that we were under the command of Seigal. We are in Franklin's grand division. General Greg is our Brigadier General since the death of Bayard. You have seen by the papers before this, no doubt, that the regiment was in the fight but was not brought in the action. The only loss we sustained was a few horses killed. I was on detached service doing picket 22 miles to the rear and could only hear the roar of the cannons. I have 7 companies of the 10th New York Cavalry, although so far to the rear I assure you it was no place of security or ease. With this small force I was guarding a front of 10 miles without a support within 18 miles. The Hamilton legion (Reb) known to be in the neighborhood and the woods full of bushwackers prowling along the line for the chance to capture or shoot a picket. I counted myself exceedingly fortunate in losing only five men captured, and these under circumstances in which neither men nor officers were to blame. The day before I was sent to take command, Lunt Hoffman and 5 men were captured on that very line, and the day I was recalled a whole company was taken just to my right.
I wrote you several letters lately; one to Jane, one to Mary, two or three to father, which you will no doubt get or have got by this time. One written while on picket contained a sprig of
Camp Karges Near Bell Plain
holly with berries. I supposed you never saw any and sent it as a curiosity. My general health is unexceptionable. I hope your is as good. How are the cakes this winter? If I only had them attached to my fireplace, I would be all right
I am your affectionate son,
I was in the 2nd Regt last week. Jack is not there but was supposed to be somewhere in Washington.
This is the first opportunity I have had to write and do so now not knowing whether it will reach you or not. But chance luck is as good as any luck if it is good. We left camp on the 18th and reached the Rappahannock River opposite Fredericksburg in a little less than two days, a distance of sixty miles over the worst road I ever saw. I had been over the road before and knew what to expect. Our horses were very tired. Nothing of interest transpired on the march. We were not destined to have much rest, however. On Sunday I was ordered to trace a picket line behind the camps (for there is a corps de army here). All day and night and Monday until two o'clock I was at work making a superficial survey of the country. When it was light enough and when it did not rain, I endeavored to write my report upon a piece of brown paper by the light of the picket fire. Early on Monday morning the boy brought in a sheep on which we made the only meal of the two days. At two o'clock Monday afternoon, the regiment came by on its way down the river and I joined in for a march of 22 miles to King George's Courthouse. You will see for the first few days I was busy enough. Next morning we looked about for quarters. These were found in the premises of Col. Taylor (militia ), a deserted property on the river bank. Here let me say this really is the finest in the country and as fertile as a garden.
We made several scouts and a number of arrests among whom was six soldiers caught here by our sudden appearance. Among them we promptly took possession of all the and this kept many others from joining their regiments. So a general change of clothes was necessary. On Thursday I obtained information that a picket of 7 men was stationed about ten miles over the river. I asked and obtained permission to capture them. With 17 men, I started at 9 o'clock in the evening and trudged through mud and rain guided by a Negro two shades lighter than the night itself. He guided me straight over fields through woods by high road and by roads to the house where they lay all unsuspecting. I reconnoitered the ground and made my charge on a picket fence. We were successful, captured five prisoners. I could not control the boys. In the moment of excitement, several shots were fired killing one man and mortally wounding another. On reason of the firing was that I proceeded the rest by a moment or two, and as I presented pistol to the only man I found standing when I entered the room, it went off by accident wounding one in the arm, making three hits in all. They supposed I was in danger and fired through the back window. I was sorry that any were killed. It would have been better if I had brought them in, but it was not in my power. My last order was not to fire until I ordered, but two or three young fellows were carried away by the excitement. The men were very much chagrined when they saw how few in numbers and spoke with warmth of our daring to come so far in their country with so small a force. I have no doubt that the prompt firing and fatal effect of it was the cause of our escaping unhurt. There was but one shot fired at us and that went wide of its mark. We took five horses, six pistols, three double barrel guns, seven sabers. And I speak the truth; if it does sound like bragging, I am a little proud of the affair - small as it is - for it was the first real good thing that has been done in the regiment. The Colonel complimented me very highly on my management. One of the pistols, a repeater of some value, I retain myself; the rest I distributed through the party. Also, I shall keep a pair of matched mares until such time as I can send them home, if I could do so safely. They are small but matched well and of high mettle and good blood.
April 30th, 1862
The Negroes are flocking to us by hundreds, determined on freedom. What is to be done is a mystery. Surely something ought to be done for then it will tax the benevolence of the North heavily to keep them from want until they can get work. We employ as many as we can in the regiment. I have my . Everywhere they hail us with unmistakable evidence of joy, believing that the day of their slavery is at an end when we appear and that behind us all is free; so it should be. They have the true idea, but the time has not arrived for such action or it would be done. Surely the day is dawning. We have seen the darkest hour; slavery has reigned supreme and ruled the nation, but sooner or later this war will be the nill of slavery. Its dying struggle is a fierce one and may last longer than our impatience would. But come it will as come it must.
We are in front of Fredricksburg. We see the pickets every day on the opposite side of the river. Yesterday we returned from our scout to King George Co. and all last night I was writing up my payrolls and master rolls. We have had no pay for four months. I am in hopes it will come soon. We live cheap here but rough.
Yours as ever, but in great haste
I embrace this, the first leisure moment when an opportunity has offered to write you, that you may not be uneasy about me for no doubt the papers have made you acquainted with the fact of our being on the advance in the pursuit of Jackson's retreating army. We are attached to Gen. Bogard's Brigade and were moving toward Richmond at the rate of 25 to 30 miles per day when the defeat of Banks and an order for McDowell's division to go to the rescue reached us. By forced marches, we arrived at Strasburg last Monday morning, whirled on the great valley pike and commenced the pursuit which soon brought us on his rear. We had outstriped our Division but we met General Fremont at Strasburg about 4 miles from the above place. We came up to the rear guard and were received by a shower of heads with a fury of a tempest; unsupported by any artillery or infantry this was too hot work for us and we drew off to the shelter of a wood and a hollow. Here we had time to mark the effect of the shells on the trees, how they crashed through the branches howling like demons. The men stood the first fire very well; only few showed evidence of faltering and, when our battery came up and opened on the enemy and our time had come to charge the battery of the Rebs, everyone stood up to the work like men. Our loss was very small when we think how many shells were thrown.
The ball fairly opened, we danced every day for three or four days; during the night Jackson would get started and we would overhaul him next day and pounce upon his rear guard. So far, we had everything to our own way, except bridges. These they burned as soon as they crossed. On Friday we drove them out of town in the forenoon, and in the afternoon charged through the town and attacked them 5 miles from our support. For this rashness, we paid dear enough in the death of Capt. Haines and the capture of our Colonel and two captains with 25 prisoners and a number of horses killed. Poor Tom fell by my side fighting bravely and vainly endeavoring to rally his men to a stand, for we were driven back and so hotly pursued that I was obliged to leave his body until next day. We were led in an ambuscade and but for the personal daring of a very few, we would have been cut to pieces. These met the onset and dealt such blows in return that a respectful distance was preserved between both main bodies.
You will wish to know what I did. Some things I will tell at the risk of your thinking me a brag. I have learned that in such times they will shoot a man that is trying to run as soon as the man that is trying to fight; and, if I am shot, I much prefer the latter position. So I turned fighting man and covered the rear of our running regiment at every gate or gap in the fence. I would rally a few officers and men around me and make a stand until the rush was through. Three times they had me cut off from the rest and laughed and shouted at me, but I as many times opened a place in their fast closing circle and escaped. I guarded poor Haines until left entirely alone; and, when a major called on me to surrender, I shot him and escaped untouched though a volley was fired at me from every direction. My life was charmed surely or they would have taken it. I fought every inch of my way back from the front when the attack was made until the rally was sounded. When my revolver was empty, I borrowed another; and, when this was of now use, I drew my saber and prepared for a keen fight. I am sorry to be my own trumpeter, yet I am not unmindful of the service I did the regiment; and I believe they appreciate it. I was reported killed by the head of the column, but neither myself or horse received a scratch. I lost my cap early in the affair, and I learn from some persons that I am known as the bareheaded devil.
June 9, 1862
On Saturday Doct. Philips, the Chaplain, two others and myself went in search of the body of Tom. We found it near where he fell, buried as nicely as circumstances would permit, by some of the neighbors. We took him up, brought him to town, and on Sunday morning buried him in the graveyard. He was a brave, gallant fellow, beloved by all the men and idolized by the officers. If I could read aright, his death will cost the Confederate Army many a man to pay the debt, for in our tears we swore to avenge him. We have already notified his father and I am to write the particulars - a task I fain would be spared - but will do it as soon as opportunity offers. Yesterday there was a battle fought 7 miles from here. This morning some more fighting and tomorrow a big fight. We are not in unless the tide goes against us. There is no room for Cavalry to act, so we are guarding this town.
Yours most affectionately,
Camp near Culpepper C. H.
July 28, 1862
I embrace this opportunity (OS) to write you a few lines. I received your last, dated July 14th, and was as I am always glad to hear of your health and prosperity. I hope you have drawn for the amount mentioned and, if Farrel Herring & Co. have received my last letter, I know your draft will be honored. Anything you want, do not hesitate to get. Make yourselves comfortable without regard to me. I have everything that I need and no expectation beyond this war and no one crying for bread. If you don't have it, who will? It would distress me to hear you were in want of anything and for delicacy refuse to take what is offered.
We are marching almost every day somewhere forward and back then across so that almost every road is becoming familiar. We see all the state as far as we advance on either flank. For beauty of scenery, this region surpasses anything I have yet seen. The mountains are not so high as the Allegheny a little way farther down, but are so beautifully grouped together and the country so picturesque around this base that I doubt if some of the famed European scenery surpasses it much. The land is naturally good. Wheat grows very well.
If we succeed as everything indicates, this will be
September 5, 1862
Balls X Road, Virginia
I hasten to allay your fears. I have passed through 20 days fighting untouched, not every day a hard battle. But some fighting at Brandy Station and Rappahannock. Two days at Bulls Run were hard fought battles where shot and shell fell fast enough to satisfy the most ardent of the newcomers.
You are anxious why we are here only one mile and a half from the camp we first occupied in Virginia. You are just as wise as I am on the subject. I fear they (the enemy) have the best generals, and their men fight with a desperation unprecedented. Jackson has just what our generals lack - dash, clarity of action. He is here today and possibly tomorrow finds him 20 miles away and ready to fight again. On the contrary, we meet him and beat him then wait two or three days before we push on to use the advantages we have bought so dearly and find that all he has left behind him is a front to show and everything else is gone, we know not where nor do we find out until his guns relieve the suspense. There is something rotten in this Denmark. I will not call it Treason yet, nor incompetency, but what is it? Where is the fault? Is there no leader to take this army and wipe out this disgrace and to crush this foul rebellion? The army is ready to do noble battle; the men are anxious and clamorous to be led against the enemy by some competent commander. Men never fought better than our Northern troops. Their stubbornness and fortitude under the most trying circumstances is a known fact. Their bravery unquestioned, their appointments as a general thing unequaled. I repeat the question, why are they thundering at the very gates of Washington and Richmond, as secure and quiet as your own home?
These are questions I hardly expect you to answer. I think others of more military reputation would be bothered to give a satisfactory answer. The papers, I have no doubt, will make the matter all smooth. McDowell has already done so to his wife. He may tell her, as the new recruits, that he fought another battle on the same ground of the Bull Run fight and was entirely successful and driving the enemy back at all points. We that were there know better; know that the left, commanded by McDowell in person, was badly beaten in a very short time. True, the center and right wing was not driven back, and their steadiness saved the disgrace of another Bull Run. We are all here under the guns of our forts and the enemy pressing more impudent than last fall.
Yesterday there was a very severe battle fought at the Chain Bridge resulting in the defeat of the enemy with dreadful slaughter. They are so emboldened by their recent success that they rushed in the face of our batteries and were literally heaped and piled up, so says rumor. We could hear the firing.
I have a number of letters to write tonight. I will write to Sarah and take that opportunity to discourse what has taken place and the part I took. This scribble is mainly to let you know and all you know are say and sound excited. My trusty friend, the Chief who received a ball in the right breast pressing through and behind the shoulder blade lodging against his ribs, is doing very well and I accuse him of getting fat under his misfortune.
With love for all and hope for better times,
I remain yours as ever,
It is with deep regret that I have to inform you that Lieut. Col. Brodrick is wounded and a prisoner. He was wounded and taken while gallantly leading his men to the charge in the fight we had day before yesterday at Brandy Station, at which place the rebel cavalry were massed preparatory to making a raid. At daylight Tuesday morning Gen. Beauford, with his division, crossed at Beverly Ford and marched to attack them in front while at the same time Gen. Gregg, with his division, crossed at Kelly's Ford and marched on their right flank. Col. Wyndham's brigade had the advance of his division and our reg't the advance of the brigade.
When near Brandy Station, we met and repulsed a South Carolina brigade, drove them past their battery, charged their battery and captured it; but they immediately rallied and drove us, but only a short distance when we again rallied and drove them again. Our regiment made three charges against four times our number before any other regiments came up to our support and drove them with heavy loss at each charge. For about 2 hours our division fought over the field about 1/4 of a mile in width, charging and recharging until it was strewn with dead and wounded men and horses. The fighting was hand to hand and of the most desperate kind. Col. Brodrick fought like a lion. Wherever the fight was the fiercest his voice could be heard cheering on his men, and his revolver and sabre dealing death to the enemy around him. His bravery and daring conduct is the admiration and praise of everyone in the division. His horse was killed in the first charge, but he immediately mounted another and was soon leading his regiment. It was while leading a charge that he was wounded. Just then the enemy brought up a heavy reinforcement of fresh troops, and we were obliged to fall back and the Col. and a number of others were captured.
We retired in good order, fighting as we retired, until we formed a junction with Gen. Beauford when we drove them about two miles. They then took a position on a hill in the woods surrounded by stone walls, and they also received a reinforcement of infantry; so, it was useless to attack them in their present position with cavalry alone. They outnumbered us about two to one when the fight commenced, but we punished them severely. At about 5 o'clock p.m. we marched for the river and recrossed. The enemy did not attempt to press us, being satisfied to be left alone. Those who saw Col. Brodrick when he was wounded think that he is not dangerously wounded; so, we will hope for the best.
Col. Wyndham received a bullet through the leg. Maj. Shellmire of our regiment was also wounded and taken prisoner. Capt. Sayer of Co. K and Lieut. Crocker of Co. H are also prisoners. The loss in our regiment of noncommissioned officers and privates killed, wounded, and missing is about 40 out of about 240, being all we could mount on serviceable horses to go in the fight.
Hoping that we may soon hear good news from the Colonel, I close my letter.
Very respectfully yours,
Lieut. Thos. L. Cox, Co. B
1st N. J. Cavalry
John S. Brodrick, Esqr.
I have the honor to inform you that during the fight at Brandy Station on the 9th inst. in which this regiment was engaged, Lt. Col. Brodrick was wounded and taken prisoner by the enemy.
The particulars of his wound and the manner of his capture are not known. The enemy was discovered on our approach to Brandy Station occupying an elevated position on the northwest side of the railway, half a mile distant from the railway. Our guns were soon in position and soon began shelling, the enemy replying from a battery on the top of the hill. Failing to dislodge them by our shells and the hill being a very commanding and desirable position, we were ordered to charge and take possession of the height. The entire Brigade charged in columns of batallions. The 1st N. J. C. had the advance with Col. Brodrick leading the charge at the head of the regiment. As we advanced over the plain and crossed the railroad and a deep wide ditch, the enemy removed their guns some distance in the rear and their cavalry behind the crest of the hill. It was not until we were within two hundred yards of the top of the hill that the Rebels advanced to meet us. And now began the most severely contested cavalry fight ever witnessed in this cavalry. It was a regular hand to hand encounter, and the fight soon became general. We took and held the height for a short time until the enemy, by a flank movement, came in on our rear and we, being without sufficient support, had to cut our way back to the station where we remained until ordered to fall back.
Col. Brodrick distinguished himself greatly by his dash and gallantry, and he is spoken of by all in the very highest terms. Nothing was seen or heard of him after the first shock of the fight further than that his horse was shot and that he mounted that belonging to the Bugler, who had followed him until that time. An officer who had accompanied the flag or truce across the river after we had returned came back yesterday with the intelligence that Lt. Col. Brodrick, Maj. Shelmire, Capt. Sawyer, and Lt. Crocker were all wounded and were prisoners. From the most reliable information that we have been able to get, it is thought that Col. Brodrick's wound is not severe - further than this we know nothing. Col. Wyndham was wounded in the fleshy part of the leg. Lt. Brooks was wounded by a sabre cut in arm. We went into action with 21 officers and 260 men. Our loss is the above named officers and 46 privates killed, wounded, and missing - which is very heavy. Our loss in horses, arms, and equipments is considerable. We captured a large number of prisoners but we only were able to retain 71. We also took an ambulance and a large number of horses, arms and equipments.
Having for the last four months been the constant companion of Col. Brodrick, owing to my official capacity, it is with the deepest regret that I think of his capture and wound, but it is with the greatest pride that I am a member of a regiment commanded by so gallant a man and so true hearted a patriot.
Very respectfully yr.
M. Kitchen, 1st Lt. & Adjt.
To J. S. Brodrick, Esq.
Yours of the 9th inst. is received and I am very glad to hear you are well, and can congratulate your daughter on her happy marriage, and you in receiving a son, and I hope will in a measure take the place of the Brave & Noble one you lost in defending his country; but according to my estimation, his place is not easily filled.
In regard to the pictures I retain, one I gave the firm, one to Mr. Klinefeller, one to my daughter, and one for myself. The 6 more I shall order immediately and forward them as early as possible.
In regard to the money deposited with us by Virgil, it is ready for you at any time you will call for it, as the firm would rather pay it to you personally.
With much respect to you and family, I hope to remain,
Your sincere friend,