Showing posts with label KIA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label KIA. Show all posts

Monday, November 16, 2020

Dr. Seth Rogers to his daughter Dolly, January 27, 1863

January 27, 1863.

I appropriated the mess-room for operations and the officer's berths to receive the wounded. Fortunately we had thought to bring candles along, no others on board. . . . It was not more than one hour before we were busy dressing gun-shot wounds. One man was killed instantly by a ball through the heart and seven were wounded, one of whom will die. Braver men never lived. One man with two bullet holes through the large muscles of the shoulder and neck, brought off from the scene of action, two miles distant, two muskets and not a murmur escaped his lips. Another, Robert Sutton, with three wounds, one on the skull, which may cost him his life, would not report himself till compelled to do so by his officers. While dressing his wounds he quietly talked of what they had done and what they yet can do. Today I have had the Colonel order him to obey me. He is perfectly quiet and cool but takes this whole affair with the religious bravery of a man who realizes that freedom is sweeter than life. Yet another did not report at all, but kept all night on guard and perhaps I should not have known of his having a buck-shot in his shoulder, if some duty requiring a sound shoulder had not been required of him today. The object of our raid was to surprise and capture a company of rebel cavalry pickets, but, as is usual in this war, the enemy seemed to know the secret plan, and we only succeeded in making them skedaddle after a few rounds, and in bringing off five contrabands, a fine piano [for the Beaufort schoolhouse] and divers other things. We also had the satisfaction of burning the plantation house and out-buildings, in accordance with general orders, so they will not screen any more pickets. We steadily send shot and shell over the bluffs to prevent their picking off men from our boat, which is their habit. All this is very exciting and I enjoy it much. I just now volunteered to go up on a bluff and burn a picket house of rendezvous, but I believe the Colonel thinks it is unsafe for his friends to do what he himself is ever ready to do.

We reached St. Mary's before noon. I believe I have before stated that the town was partially burned by the Neptune, yet there were fifty or more houses remaining, including two large churches, a bank, etc. As we approached, the waving of white handkerchiefs began again, by the two maiden ladies (!!) residing in sight of the wharf. All the other houses were uninhabited. The women informed us that they were living entirely alone with their aged mother, that they were “Domingo ladies,” but had not owned slaves since England abolished slavery there.

Their antecedents have been so doubtful that the Colonel thought it best to search their house very carefully in spite of their protestations, and entreaties and talk of honor, etc. etc. permitted to join him and one of the captains in the search and found it very interesting though we discovered no rebels. Of course we had a guard around the house, a guard of such color as greatly to annoy the inmates. They told me that they had not seen pickets at all, and many other things which I knew to be false. But we politely left them, they avowing that they were ladies and thanking us for being gentlemen. As we were about to leave the wharf, bang, bang, bang, went secesh rifles from behind the houses and whistling went the balls over our heads. We were not long in sending shot and shell enough to protect our skirmishers and then the Colonel did what I begged him to do this morning — put nearly all the town in flames, save the house of these women and two or three at the windward of it. I wanted to take the women down to Fernandina and burn every house, but the Colonel thought it best to leave them, so there will still be a screen and sympathy left there for the rebels. But we left an immense fire and I trust the pickets will have to rescue the women from it.

SOURCE: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 43, October, 1909—June, 1910: February 1910. p. 350-1

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Captain Charles Wright Wills: July 23, 1864

July 23, 1864.

The fight came off the 22d, and a glorious one it was for us. Lieutenant Blair of our regiment was killed, also Charles Buck, of Company F, and John Smith of my company. There were seven wounded only. Our brigade gets credit for 400 prisoners. They took us in rear and every other way, but the repulse was awful. Everybody is wishing that they may repeat the attack. Generals McPherson and Force are killed. (Force, was not killed.) Our regiment gets credit for its part, though we were very fortunate in losing so few. Our skirmish line is within one mile of the town.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 283

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant George G. Smith: April 22, 1864

Officer of the guard. Marched again at 10 a. m. Cavalry skirmished all day. First Louisiana in advance of infantry. Cut a road through a wood. Expected a fight all day. Somehow I did not believe we would have a fight, but my captain, Felton, believed we would, and get badly whipped too. “I will tell you what I will do Captain”, I said: “I will bet you ten cents, and that is the extent of my pile, that the First Louisiana don't fire a gun until we get into Alexandra.” He did not take the bet and I did not believe he had the money to cover it. Money was not very flush with any of us. It had been a good while since we were paid off. One of our men was killed today by a rebel. At six p. m. stacked arms and the men had stripped off their equipments and were preparing for supper when orders came to march immediately at double quick. There was a scramble to get into line and we went on a double quick about half a mile and halted in an open field. Slept on our arms that night. General Dick Taylor did not molest us and I had a good sound sleep.

SOURCE: Abstracted from George G. Smith, Leaves from a Soldier's Diary, p. 99-100

Friday, December 16, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Thursday, June 23, 1864

This has been the warmest day yet this summer, and no sign of rain. We remained in line all day without intrenching when the enemy began to make quite a demonstration on our left. We threw up rifle pits but our division was so far in advance of the other two of our Corps, the rebs had a cross fire on us. Our skirmishers have been on the Weldon railroad most of the day until finally the First Division of our Corps began to destroy the track. It had only just begun when the force sent from the Vermont Brigade and the Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania of our brigade to protect it, were attacked, surrounded and about five hundred, including four officers and seventy-nine enlisted men from the Eighty-seventh, were either killed or taken prisoners. The Eighty-seventh had twenty-six killed and wounded. After this we all retired to the line occupied by us on the 21st of June.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 87-8

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Diary of 2nd Lieutenant Lemuel A. Abbott: Wednesday, May 18, 1864

We were ordered to withdraw our line this morning at 3 o'clock which we did without difficulty; found our Corps had gone to the extreme right of the line to reinforce the Second Corps, quite a little brush having occurred between it and the enemy this morning which was repulsed and driven back into the valley; occupy the same ground we did yesterday; have orders to march in the morning at daylight; another mail came this evening; all's quiet. Perly Farrer was killed to-day on the skirmish line. He was a good boy, a member of my old Company B, of which I am so proud and fond. His remains will be numbered with the unknown dead, as it will be impossible to send them north now. He was a brave man and died manfully doing his whole duty. We can't even reach his body now.

SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 62

Friday, October 7, 2016

Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Saturday, May 3, 1862

Camp 5, Princeton. — The Forty-fifth Regiment had marched twenty miles through the rain to reach here, were very tired and straggled badly. They were regularly stampeded, panic-stricken, and routed. They report three killed in one party of stragglers. They had a cannon drawn by six horses, but our men “yelled so” and “fired so fast” that it was no place for cannon; so they wheeled it about and fled with it All queer! Company C killed eleven, Colonel Jenifer burned Rocky Gap (four houses) and continued his flight towards Wytheville. The Rebels report us two thousand cavalry and eight thousand infantry!! Got our tents today; got into a good camp overlooking the town.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 247-8

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Lieutenant-Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes to Colonel Eliakim P Scammon, May 2, 1862

Camp Number 5, Princeton, May 2, 7:30 A. M., 1862.

Sir: — Your strictures on the expedition under Lieutenant Bottsford are very severe. I wrote you my account of it hastily during a momentary delay of the column and am perhaps blamable for sending to you anything so imperfect as to lead to such misapprehension. I was, however, compelled to write such an account or none at all. I trusted to your favorable judgment of what was done rather than to the fulness and accuracy of what I was writing. I thought that a most meritorious thing in all respects had been done and did not imagine that it could be so stated as to give you such a view of it as you have taken.

You seem to think that the expedition was an improper one and that Lieutenant Bottsford or his men must have been guilty of great negligence. I think the expedition was strictly according to the spirit and letter of instruction given by both you and General Fremont and that no blame ought to attach to any one for the manner of it in any particular. I knew by reliable information, which turned out to be perfectly correct, that Captain Foley and his notorious gang of bushwhackers were camped within sixteen or eighteen miles of the camp at Shady Spring where I was stationed; that Foley's force was from thirty to sixty men, and that the only way of catching him was by surprising his camp at night or early daylight. I sent Lieutenant Bottsford with about seventy-five men of Company C, aided by Sergeant Abbott and his scouts, six in number, to do this service. I was satisfied that the enemy had no force worth naming nearer than Princeton, and at Princeton their force was small, probably not over two hundred or three hundred. All this information has turned out to be correct. Lieutenant Bottsford left camp at 9 P. M., April 29, and reached Foley's about daylight. He found the nest warm but the bird was gone. I can find no blame in this. He was compelled to move slowly in a strange country at night. A scout could easily give the required warning without fault on our part.

On the 30th, Lieutenant Bottsford scouted the country for the bushwhackers; camped in a house very defensible within four to six miles of where he knew I was to camp with the regiment. In the meantime Lieutenant-Colonel Fitz Hugh, or Fitzhugh, had marched with the whole force at Princeton, four companies of Jenifer's Cavalry, dismounted, numbering over two hundred, to aid Foley. This was done on the morning of the 30th, and on that evening Foley with bushwhackers and militia, to the number of seventy-five or one hundred, joined Fitzhugh. During the night they got as near Lieutenant Bottsford as they could without alarming his pickets, not near enough to do any mischief. In the morning Lieutenant Bottsford prepared to return to camp. He drew in his pickets, formed his line, and then for the first time, the enemy came within gunshot. Bottsford's men, in line of battle in front of a log house, saw the enemy approaching. A volley was fired on each side, when Lieutenant Bottsford, finding the strength of the attack, took shelter in the house and fired with such spirit and accuracy as to drive the enemy out of gunshot, leaving his dead and four of his wounded on the field, all of whom were taken possession of by Lieutenant Bottsford's men immediately, besides four wounded prisoners who didn't run far enough before hiding.

This attack was in no blamable sense “a surprise.” It found Lieutenant Bottsford perfectly prepared for it.

You seem to think there was nothing gained by this affair; that it is a “disaster” and that “we lost twenty men.” Surely I could have said nothing to warrant this. Of the twenty wounded over two-thirds were able and desired to march to Princeton with us. Our loss was one killed, two dangerously, perhaps mortally, wounded, and two, possibly three, others disabled, — perhaps not more than one. The enemy's loss was thirteen dead and disabled that “we got.” Captain Foley was disabled and we know of four others in like condition and I know not how many slightly wounded. This is not a disaster, but a fight of the sort which crushes the Rebellion.

You speak of Company C as advanced beyond “supporting distance.” We heard the firing and if the enemy had been stubborn should have been in good time to help drive him off. He reported here that our advance did in fact drive him off. If this is not supporting distance, parties cannot leave camp without violating an important rule. Lieutenant Bottsford had retreated to within four miles of us.

Upon the whole, I think that the affair deserves commendation rather than censure, and I take blame to myself for writing you a note under circumstances which precluded a full statement; such a statement as would prevent such misapprehension as I think you are under.

Respectfully,
R. B. Hayes,
Lieutenant-colonel 23RD Regiment, O. V. I.,
Commanding.
[colonel Scammon.]

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 240-2

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: July 1, 1862

To-day Gen. Magruder led his division into action at Malvern Hill, it is said, contrary to the judgment of other commanders. The enemy's batteries commanded all the approaches in most advantageous position, and fearful was the slaughter. A wounded soldier, fresh from the field to-night, informs me that our loss in killed in this engagement will amount to as many as have fallen in all the others combined.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 140