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Full text of "What I saw at Bull Run"

Author 



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Title 



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16 — 47372-2 «l»o 




GEORGE LINCOLN PRESCOTT. 

COLONEL 32D MASSACHUSETTS REGIMENT, AND BREVET BRIGADIER GENERAL. 

Wounded at Gettysburg, jfuly 2, 1863. 
Mortally wounded i?i front of Petersburg, June 18, 1864. 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 



AN ADDRESS 



EDWIN S. BARRETT, 



DELIVERED IN THE 



Town Hall, Concord, Mass., July 2ist, 1886, 



25th Anniversary of the Battle of Boll Run, 



Re-union of the Veterans of Co. G (Concord Artillery), 



FIFTH REGIMENT, M. V. M. 



Capt. GEORGE L. PRESCOTT. 



BOSTON : 

Beacon Press : Thomas Todd, Printer. 

1886. 



3^1 



6 6{&-@ 



At a meeting of the veterans of Captain Prescott's company, 
held at the rooms of the Grand Army Post in Concord, on the 
evening of June 10, it was voted to hold a re-union of the 
veterans of Company G, on July 21, the twenty-fifth anniversary 
of the battle of Bull Run. 

The following committee was chosen to arrange for the 
re-union : Joseph Derby, Humphrey H. Buttrick, James W. 
Carter, George F. Hall, Edward F. Phelps, Caleb H. 
Wheeler, John Brown, 2d, Edward J. Bartlett. James W. 
Carter, Secretary. 

Invitations to the re-union were sent out to the members of 
the company as far as their addresses could be obtained, and 
numerous responses were received, showing quite an interest in 
the proposed re-union. On the afternoon of the day designated 
the comrades assembled at the rooms of the Old Concord Post, 
G. A. R. The roll was called, and thirty veterans responded 
to their names, of which number thirteen were residents of 
Concord. An hour or two was pleasantly spent in reviving 
memories of the past, and in giving personal reminiscences of 
the war. Some of the comrades present had not met for a 
quarter of a century, hence it was especially pleasant to renew 
the acquaintance after so long a separation. Under the guid- 
ance of Lieutenant Derby, the comrades visited the grave of 
Captain Prescott, in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and with uncov- 
ered heads dropped flowers upon the last resting-place of their 
honored commander. The soldiers' monument, in the square, 
was then visited, and the company photographed, after which 
they returned to the Grand Army rooms, where a bountiful 
dinner was provided by Caterer Wright. Lieutenant Derby pre- 



4 RE-UNION OF COMPANY G. 

sided on this occasion, and after ample justice had been done 
to the dinner, and cigars were lighted, speeches and toasts were 
in order, which filled up the time to 7.30 P. M., when the com- 
rades formed in line, and under escort of the Concord Artil 
lery, Captain Frank E. Cutter, and Old Concord Post, Com- 
mander Edward J. Bartlett, were escorted to the Town Hall. 
Rev. Grindall Reynolds was president of the meeting, and his 
address of welcome was especially eloquent and impressive. 
The Grand Army Quartette, under the leadership of Mr. William 
Barrett, gave several of their inspiring war songs, which was a 
pleasant feature of the occasion. The president then introduced 
Mr. Edwin S. Barrett, who gave his experience at the battle of 
Bull Run, in connection with that of the Concord company. 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 



The election of Abraham Lincoln as President in 
November, i860, was the signal for the slave-holders of the 
South to openly commence their long-threatened treason 
against the Union. The North had declared, by the election 
of Lincoln, that any further extension of slavery must cease, 
while the South not only demanded further slave territory, 
but additional guarantees for its protection, or the further 
alternative of a secession from the Union of the slave-holding 
States, and the founding of a Confederacy based upon the 
corner-stone of human slavery. After the election of Mr. 
Lincoln the more reckless fire-eaters of the South declared 
that he never should be inaugurated, and boldly threatened 
his assassination while on his journey to the national capital, 
but he arrived there safely on the morning of February 23, 
1 86 1, and was inaugurated on the 4th of March following. 
The South promptly commenced their preparations for war. 
In the North there was great excitement, but the people, 
long accustomed to the threats of the Southern slave-holders, 
hardly believed they would attempt open rebellion by force 
of arms. South Carolina, that hot-bed of secessionists, first 
lifted her fratricidal hands against the Union. At daylight 
of April 1 2th Gen. Beauregard opened his batteries upon 
Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, and for thirty-three hours 
kept up a continuous fire of shot and shell upon this Union 
fortress, till Major Anderson, in command of the garrison, 
was compelled to surrender. On April 15 the call was 
issued by President Lincoln for seventy-five thousand men 



6 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

from the organized militia of the loyal States, to serve for 
three months. The proportion to Massachusetts was two 
regiments. Gov. Andrew promptly supplied four; of these 
Middlesex County furnished two — the Fifth and Sixth Regi- 
ments. The Concord Artillery, Company G, Fifth Regiment, 
Col. S. C. Lawrence, left this town on Friday, April 19, 1861, 
and joined the balance of the regiment at Faneuil Hall in 
Boston, where they were quartered a day or two, receiving 
their equipments. The officers of the company were George 
L. Prescott, Captain ; Joseph Derby, Jr., First Lieutenant ; 
Humphrey H. Buttrick, Second Lieutenant, and Charles 
Bowers, Third Lieutenant ; and the company all told num- 
bered eighty-two men ; thirteen were boys of eighteen or 
nineteen years of age. They were mustered into the service 
May 1 and July 4, and their term of service expired July 31, 
1 86 1. Of these eighty-two men Concord furnished fifty, 
Woburn thirteen, Waltham four, Lincoln three, Boston three, 
Weymouth two, and one each from the following towns : 
Acton, Carlisle, Ashby, Quincy, Lunenburg, Braintree, and 
Harvard. Of the company only thirteen are now living in 
Concord. As near as can be ascertained twenty-two are 
dead, and the remaining forty-seven are widely scattered ; 
thirty are present this evening. The regiment left Boston 
for New York on Sunday, via the Boston & Albany Railroad, 
and on the march to the station one of the Concord company 
fell in a fainting fit and was left behind. Procuring a 
carriage, I took him to some friends, where he was kindly 
cared for. From New York to Annapolis the regiment 
was conveyed by steamer, and from Annapolis they were to 
take the cars for Washington. On arriving at Annapolis 
they found only cars enough for four companies, conse- 
quently the Concord company, with the other five companies 
of the regiment, were compelled to march all night to 
Annapolis Junction, and there took the cars for Washington, 
arriving there about noon of Wednesday, and then going 
directly to their quarters in the Treasury Building. They 
were in good health and spirits, barring the fatigue incident 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 7 

to their long journey. Washington and its suburbs during 
the next few weeks was one vast military camp, as the 
Northern volunteers gathered for its defence, while on 
the Virginia side of the Potomac floated the rebel flag from 
many a prominent point, in full view from Washington, 
bidding daily defiance to the Union arms. At length the 
order was given for the Union forces to cross the Potomac 
and occupy Alexandria and the commanding points on the 
Virginia side. At midnight of May 23d, by the light of a 
full moon, the movement was begun. The New York 
Regiment of Fire Zouaves, Col. Ellsworth, going by boats, 
and the Seventh New York Regiment, Col. Lefferts, and 
other regiments, including the Fifth Massachusetts, over 
the bridges, and by daylight they were all on the sacred soil 
of Virginia, without having met with any substantial resist- 
ance, capturing, however, several hundred rebels, who were 
taken by surprise and quietly surrendered. Col. Ellsworth, 
with his regiment of Zouaves, occupied the city of Alex- 
andria, and quickly moved his companies in different direc- 
tions to repulse any attack from the rebels. His men 
destroyed the railroad track, captured some rebel stores, 
and were generally more actively employed than the 
other regiments outside of the city. Then followed the 
tragic death of Col. Ellsworth. Seeing a rebel flag flying 
from the roof of the " Marshall House," he determined to 
remove it. Entering the hotel in the early morning with 
four of his men, he climbed the staircase to the top story, and 
then out through the skylight on to the roof, and hauled down 
the rebel flag. On descending the staircase, a man jumped 
from a dark passage and leveled a double-barreled gun 
squarely at Col. Ellsworth's breast ; Private Brownell attempted 
to turn the gun aside, but failed, and the man discharged one 
barrel straight to its aim, the charge entering the Colonel's 
heart, and he fell dead upon the stairs with the rebel flag in 
his arms. Quickly his assailant turned to fire the remaining 
barrel at Brownell, but his aim was faulty and the charge 
lodged in the ceiling, while almost exactly at the instant 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 



Brownell in his turn fired, the shot striking the rebel squarely 
between the eyes, and he fell dead upon the landing. Fearing 
he had not killed him, Brownell stabbed him through and 
through with his sabre bayonet. A woman appeared from 
one of the rooms, and rushing to the stairway, recognized the 
body of the defender of the rebel flag as that of her husband, 
and with agonizing screams threw herself upon his body. 
This man was the proprietor of the hotel, and his name was 
Jackson. This tragic event produced a marked sensation in 
the country, and it was feared the Fire Zouaves would 
burn the city of Alexandria in retaliation, as Col. Ellsworth 
was the idol of his regiment, and has been called the Gen. 
Warren of the Rebellion. Young, of strikingly handsome 
personal appearance, a thoroughly trained soldier, his future 
was full of promise, while his generous, manly qualities 
greatly endeared him to his friends. 

Early in June, 1861, I started for Washington, having 
in charge a set of new uniforms for the Concord company. 
I found the regiment encamped just outside of the city of 
Alexandria, and in fact the entire neighborhood was one vast 
camp for the gathering Union forces. The men were 
delighted with their new uniforms, and lost no time in part- 
ing with the worn and seedy garments which had done them 
such good service since they left home some two months 
before. Then came the fitting of the men to the uniforms, 
or the uniforms to the men. It required time, considerable 
patience, and no end of calculation. The man standing six 
feet two did not appear to advantage in the uniform intended 
for a man but five feet four, while the lean boy of eighteen 
to nineteen did not fill out successfully the suit fashioned for 
a more robust companion. However, after a trying experience, 
the company were satisfactorily settled into their new 
uniforms and voted them a great success. The men were 
in good spirits, doing their duty faithfully in every particular, 
sharing in picket and guard duty, and spending a portion of 
each day in drill ; sometimes as a company, then with the 
regiment, and occasionally as a brigade. There was more 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 9 

or less of jollity and fun, with no excesses, and in fact it 
seemed in some degree like a brigade muster on a large 
scale ; but the constant picket firing at night was a forcible 
reminder that we were in an enemy's country, and that a 
vigilant foe was watching our every movement. Active 
correspondence was kept up by the company with their 
friends at home, and this correspondence, with their routine 
of camp duties, kept the time of the men pretty well 
employed. For some weeks I divided my time between the 
camp and the capitol at Washington. The debates in Con- 
gress were intensely interesting, but at night I was glad to 
return to Captain Prescott's tent, even if the constant picket 
firing disturbed my slumbers. For real excitement I would 
occasionally visit our picket line and take a look at the rebel 
picket opposite ; and I remember on one occasion meeting 
Vice-President Hamlin at Falls Church, that being our 
farthest picket at the time, and he was intent upon seeing 
how a rebel picket looked at short range. On the Fourth of 
July I dined at the City Hotel in Alexandria, with Lieut. 
Buttrick and Private Garty. We were inclined to celebrate 
Independence Day with a change in our bill of fare, as we 
were heartily tired of the salt beef and hard-tack which were the 
staple diet of the camp. One evening Lieut. Charles Bowers 
invited me to take a walk with him over to Alexandria, and 
on the way made known his object. He wished me to use 
my influence at Washington to obtain a pass for a slave 
family, in order that they might go up on the boat to Wash- 
ington ; once in Washington, they would be free and no 
questions asked. This family numbered some half-dozen 
and were owned by a resident of Alexandria. There were 
the old grandmother, her daughter — a woman of forty, I 
should judge — with several children, the oldest a young 
woman of twenty, and she with a babe in arms. This whole 
family, with the exception of the old grandmother, wished 
to be free, and were anxious to go up to Washington, if a 
pass could be obtained from the military authorities. The 
grandmother did not desire to go ; she was willing to die in 



IO WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

slavery, as her infirmities would make her a burden to the 
others, but she was very anxious to have her children, grand- 
children, and great grandchildren breathe the air of liberty. 
Lieut. Bowers and myself left this slave hovel, with its four 
generations of slaves, determined to do what we could to give 
this family their freedom. Of course we did not wish to 
violate any law — no Concord man would — but we both 
thought that a trip to Washington would do them good ; but 
before we could carry out our plan the order came to march. 
I cannot permit this opportunity to pass without a brief 
allusion to Captain Prescott. I had known him from my 
childhood, and I had great respect and affection for him. 
When I first visited the camp he at once urged upon me the 
hospitality of his own tent. On the march we slept under 
the same blanket, and on every occasion and under all 
circumstances he treated me with as much care and consid- 
eration as though I had been his own son. In fact, the same 
fatherly care was exercised toward every man under his 
command. If sick he would sit by them, and write out their 
letters home while they dictated, receiving and delivering 
his routine camp orders at the same time ; if any jarring 
in the company he would patiently examine into the trouble, 
and in his kindly, straightforward way smooth away the 
difficulties. He made it a rule to visit the tents of his men 
every night before retiring himself, to see that the men were 
properly covered and protected from the night air, and many 
a time in camp and on the march have I been a witness of 
this his last duty of the day. His interest also extended to 
the whole regiment, over which he exercised great care and 
watchfulness, as well as kindness of heart. I remember an 
instance of a boy in another company having received a fatal 
wound while handling a revolver ; he lingered for some days, 
and during the time Captain Prescott gave all his spare time 
to the care of this dying boy. On the night of his death he 
left our tent about nine o'clock, saying, " he thought the boy 
had not long to live." I could not sleep myself, I remember, 
and about twelve o'clock the captain returned, and with 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. II 

tearful eyes informed me that the boy was dead. Captain 
Prescott had the entire respect and esteem of his superiors 
in command : faithful to every duty, they knew he could be 
relied upon, and all through the war to that fatal day before 
Petersburg, June 18, 1864, when as Colonel of the Massachu- 
setts Thirty-Second Regiment he fell mortally wounded, he 
carried himself as a brilliant example of the typical Northern 
volunteer, and one of which our town may well be proud. 

Of the men in the Concord company I can truly say 
that they were thoroughly imbued with a sense of duty to 
their country, and felt the great responsibility of its defence, 
while as soldiers, no company in the regiment was its 
superior. One night in camp, on attempting to pass the 
guard, I was challenged by the sentry on duty and the coun- 
tersign demanded, which I was unable to give. The guard 
was one of the youngest of the Concord boys and knew me 
well, and there would have been no particular harm in allow- 
ing me to pass, as he knew me and could vouch for my 
loyalty. But he held to the letter of his orders and higher 
sense of duty, and I felt proud of his true military spirit, as 
I turned away and sought a more willing sentinel. Actual 
conflict had now commenced in Virginia at various points. 
General Butler had been repulsed with severe loss at Big 
Bethel ; General Schenck, while exploiting on a railroad 
train with the First Ohio Regiment, fell into an ambuscade 
at Vienna, ten miles from Alexandria, and his whole force 
barely escaped capture by a large body of rebels. A Con- 
cord boy was a First Lieutenant of this Ohio regiment, and 
was seriously disabled and for a long time in the hospital, 
in fact never entirely recovered his health, and now sleeps 
in a far Western grave. 1 In my frequent visits to Wash- 
ington I had learned that an advance movement was soon to 
be ordered, and I quietly determined to be one of the party. 

On Tuesday morning, July 16, the order was given by 
Gen. Scott to advance and attack the rebels at Manassas. 



1 Arthur II. Barrett. 



12 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

Col. Heintzelman was in command of our division, and the 
Massachusetts Fifth had the right of the line, or the head 
of the column, and the Concord company the right of the 
regiment. A company of pioneers were in advance of us, 
armed with pick-axes, crowbars, spades, etc., their duty being 
to repair the bridges and clear the way for the advance of 
the division. We had skirmishers thrown out on either 
flank to the right and left as we advanced. Our guides were 
men supposed to be familiar with every road and cross-road 
in the country. Supplied by the regimental quartermaster 
with a military cap and regulation belt, I readily passed 
muster as an assistant surgeon, and was frequently addressed 
as doctor. I was provided with a pass from the War De- 
partment, which gave me entrance at all times within our 
lines as well as protection where not acquainted. Our first 
day's march was slow, as we found all the bridges destroyed 
by the rebels, and our pioneers were obliged to repair them. 
Then again where the road ran through the woods the rebels 
had felled the trees across, compelling us to clear them away 
or seek a new passage around the obstruction. Frequently 
we had to leave the main road and pass our whole column 
through a corn or wheat field, leaving behind a swath of 
destruction. The mounted rebel scouts were always pranc- 
ing in our front, occasionally exchanging shots with our 
advance skirmishers, and as our regiment was at the front 
it made our onward march quite exciting. We marched ten 
miles and bivouacked for the night in an open pasture. Our 
camp fires were soon lighted and supper hastily prepared. 
We carried three days' rations of hard-tack — trying to false 
teeth — and corned beef, which the soldiers nicknamed salt 
horse. We had no tents during this eventful week, but 
rolling ourselves in our blankets, lay down on the bare 
ground to sleep. Rather fitful were our slumbers, for our 
pickets were constantly engaged at night in exchanging 
shots with the pickets of the enemy, and we were apprehen- 
sive of a night attack. On the second clay's march our 
regiment still led the column, but we did not encounter as 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 13 

many obstacles as on the first day; and having been furnished 
with a horse and equipments by the quartermaster of our 
regiment, I felt equal to any emergency, although conscious 
that my advancement from the ranks to the staff was a streak 
of good fortune rather beyond my deserts, and to be a vol- 
unteer staff officer, even without pay and subject to no 
assigned duty, was certainly an enviable position. My horse 
was a large dark bay standing sixteen hands high, muscular 
and strong, of great endurance and without any especial 
beauty. I have a suspicion that he was unwittingly left in 
his stable by some rebellious Virginian for his family use, 
while his master had gone further south, but having been 
taught that I should never " look a gift horse in the mouth," 
I asked no questions. He certainly was of great service to 
others as well as myself, as will appear later ; and what was 
most remarkable about him, he seemed to be very indifferent 
as to whether he had anything to eat or not, and I fear he 
did not gain much flesh while in my week's service. 

We camped the second night near Sangster's Station, on 
the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, and all the afternoon we 
had noticed the smoke of the burning bridges, which the 
rebels had fired as they retreated before us towards Manassas 
Junction. One of our men presented me with a pair of sad- 
dle-bags found in the railroad station, which the rebels had 
left behind in their hasty retreat. This soldier was certainly 
an angel in disguise, for without these saddle-bags I should 
have been minus my horse when most wanted. 

Our third day's march was long and toilsome. We did 
not follow altogether the country roads, but tried to shorten 
the distance by short cuts across the country, through wheat 
and corn-fields. Women scowled at us from the doors and 
windows of their houses, children fled in terror, but the slaves 
could not conceal their delight, and were always ready to do 
us service. We had captured some rebel scouts on the march, 
but they were sullen and silent, and not interesting even to 
look at. We had heard during the afternoon heavy firing to 
the southwest, and thought another of our divisions had en- 



14 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

gaged the army. It proved to be at Blackburn's Ford, four 
miles south of Centreville, and the object of our attack was to 
ascertain the strength of the rebel right wing. It was ten 
o'clock at night before we reached our camp at Centreville, 
tired and jaded with our long march. Our rations were ex- 
hausted, and a light, drizzling rain was falling. Our camp 
was located on the top of a high hill, and from this elevation 
we could look down upon the camp-fires of thirty thousand 
men, a magnificent spectacle and one long to be remembered. 
The ground itself was an old corn-field, and I remember that 
it was with some difficulty Captain Prescott and myself could 
find a level place large enough to accommodate us, as we both 
slept under the same blanket. On Friday we rested in camp, 
waiting for our supplies to feed the army. In the afternoon 
cattle were driven into the camp and slaughtered, and the 
meat passed around before it was cold, consequently the beef- 
steak was very tough, and I much preferred the hard-tack. 
In the evening Captain Prescott and myself sauntered through 
the different camps, but neglected to get the countersign, and 
on attempting to pass the guard of a Pennsylvania regiment 
we were challenged ; not being able to respond with the coun- 
tersign, we were promptly arrested and taken to the guard- 
tent, but on producing my pass from the War Department, we 
were immediately released. / 

It was the original plan of General Beauregard to attack 
our army at Centreville on Friday, the 19th, but his rein- 
forcements not coming up, he did not make the attempt; but I 
am inclined to think it extremely prudent on his part that he 
did not do so, as the hills of Centreville could have been easily 
defended by us with our artillery, against a greatly superior 
force. The rebel force at Winchester, under Gen. Joe John- 
ston, was ordered to fight Gen. Patterson, or slip away from 
him and join Gen. Beauregard at Manassas; the latter fearing 
all the while that Patterson would make a junction with Gen. 
McDowell before Johnston could unite his forces with Beau- 
regard's. The strategy of Gen. Johnston surpassed that of 
Gen. Patterson, and he slipped away from him, and before the 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 1 5 

day of the battle, Sunday, he had transferred his whole army 
to Manassas Junction and formed the junction with Beaure- 
gard, Patterson all the time thinking he had Johnston in his 
front at Winchester. By this failure of Gen. Patterson to 
hold Gen. Johnston in check, or else give him battle, Gen. 
McDowell had lost the battle of Bull Run before he had 
fought it. On the other hand, if we had attacked Gen. Beau- 
regard on Friday we should have had only his single army to 
fight, and the chances of victory greatly in our favor, and even 
up to Sunday, notwithstanding our delay, Gen. McDowell felt 
that only Beauregard was in his front. On Saturday, the 
20th, we were still in camp, and hard-tack and supplies were 
again abundant, but these two days' delay were fatal to the 
plans of Gen. McDowell. Saturday evening Captain Prescott 
and myself visited the camp of the First Rhode Island Regiment 
and called upon Lieut. Prescott — a cousin of Captain Pres- 
cott, who was killed the next day — and there we heard of the 
order to be in readiness to march at half past two the next 
morning, and returning to our camp, gave the news to the 
company. 

^ There was not much sound sleep that night ; the hum of 
preparation and expectancy seemed to pervade the vast camp, 
and the thought of what the morrow might bring forth must 
have forced itself upon the minds of all. The night was cool, 
and at twelve o'clock I awoke, feeling very cold; and unable to 
sleep more, I anxiously waited for the signal to prepare. At 
two o'clock one drum sounded through the camp and was re- 
peated through the numerous camps around us, and in half an 
hour thirty thousand men stood ready to battle for the Union. 
The army moved in three divisions — Gen. Richardson to 
attack the rebel left wing with artillery as a feint; Gen. 
Tyler the center, and Gen. Hunter, by a long circuitous route, 
was to attack the rebel left, and try to outflank them, bring- 
ing his line so as to cooperate with Gen. Tyler. Tyler's divis- 
ion, three brigades and two batteries, with one rifled thirty- 
two pound gun, moved on the Warrenton turnpike to the 
stone bridge that crosses Bull Run. Hunter's division, five 



l6 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

brigades, four batteries, and one thousand cavalry, which was 
the main body, and to which the Fifth Massachusetts Regiment 
was attached, was to follow Tyler's division. We waited in 
marching order from half past two o'clock till half past six, 
before the command was given to march. We had partaken of 
a scanty breakfast, and this long halt was a great tax upon our 
patience and endurance. The regular cavalry and a battery of 
artillery led the advance of our division, followed by the First 
Minnesota, Col. Gorman, the Massachusetts Eleventh, Col. 
Clark, then the Fifth Massachusetts, Col. Lawrence, thus giv- 
ing our brigade the right of the line. Gen. McDowell and 
staff now led our division. As we left Centreville we passed by 
the camps of the Fourth Pennsylvania Regiment and the New 
York Eighth battery, and to our surprise we learned that they 
refused to advance, claiming that their time had expired on 
the day before. Gen. McDowell urged them to join the col- 
umn, but his solicitations were in vain, and while we were 
marching forward to battle, this recreant regiment, with the 
8th New York battery, turned their faces homeward to the 
music of the enemy's cannon. There was great indignation 
throughout the army at their cowardly action, and I am happy 
to say they were mostly Dutchmen. 

We followed Tyler's division till we had crossed Cub 
Run ; then turning to the right, took the old Braddock road, 
leaving Tyler's division on our left. Passing through a forest 
of heavy oak timber, some three or four miles in length, we 
emerged into the open country, with a wide intervale on our 
left, and the Blue Ridge mountains distinctly visible on our 
right. We had heard an occasional cannon shot during the 
morning, but not until ten o'clock was there any sound of a 
general engagement. Passing over a hill, we could see in the 
distance the flash of the rebel artillery, and the excitement in- 
creased and our march was hastened, part of the time on the 
double-quick. Surgeon Hurd and myself now rode up to a 
house, and dismounting, we requested permission of the in- 
mates, in our blandest tones, to make some tea in their kitchen, 
the doctor having a package of the article in his pocket. The 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 1 7 

Virginia ladies paid no attention to our request, but stared 
angrily at the Northern invaders. So walking into the kitchen, 
we helped ourselves to hot water and made our tea, of which 
we drank freely, and I have always felt that this tea was an 
immense benefit in sustaining me during the fatigues of the 
next twenty-four hours ; but the angry looks of these female 
rebels left a permanent impression, as we mounted our horses 
and rode away to the head of the column. About a mile 
before we reached the field of battle, our men began to throw 
away their blankets and all unnecessary appendages, the dif- 
ferent regiments trying to throw them into a pile, or as near 
together as possible, without halting. The sun was hot and 
the perspiration rolled in big drops from the faces of the men, 
but in their excitement of the double-quick, and the fighting 
in front, the heat did not seem to trouble them. I tied my 
horse to a tree near the hospital headquarters, Sudley's 
church, and gave a small colored boy twenty-five cents to 
watch him, and with Dr. Hurd hastened to the head of the 
division, which advanced in double-quick time till they came 
within reach of the enemy's guns. Passing in the rear of 
Burnside's brigade, then hotly engaged, we passed on to the 
right. I could see that the enemy's batteries were posted on 
a slightly elevated plateau partially concealed in the woods, 
while their infantry were more to the rear, keeping under 
cover as much as possible. We were separated from the reb- 
els by a valley more or less wooded and somewhat undulating. 
It was now about half past ten o'clock; Gen. McDowell 
ordered our infantry into this valley in the front of the rebel 
artillery and infantry, and kept extending his line to the right, 
with a view of turning their left wing. By lying on the 
ground our men were partially sheltered from the rebel fire, 
the shot passing over their heads. I watched the colors of 
the Massachusetts Fifth with intense interest as they marched 
into this valley, but I preferred remaining on the higher land 
where I could better observe the battle. As our division 
passed along, the rebel fire would make an occasional gap in 
our ranks, and I remember with what horror I saw the first 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 



man fall, killed instantly by a cannon shot, and our men 
passed over him, trampling him in the dirt. I then made up 
my mind that I should witness all the horrors of a battle. A 
staff officer rode up to me and ordered me to rally the strag- 
glers, and see that they took their places in their regiments. 
There was quite a fringe of stragglers just outside of the 
range of the rebel fire, and hastening to where they were the 
thickest, I earnestly urged them to take their places in the 
line, I fear without much success, but I am happy to say I saw 
no Massachusetts soldiers among them. I kept as near to 
Gen. McDowell and his staff as was practicable to hear the 
orders given, but as they were mounted and moved rapidly 
from point to point, I was not very successful. A battery 
swept past me to take a position ; I followed it along some 
distance, when the captain galloped back to me and called out, 
" Doctor, tell Capt. Fry to hurry up my supports." I did not 
know Capt. Fry, the acting Adjutant General, but hastening 
back, met an orderly, of whom I inquired where I could find 
him. He pointed him out to me near a regiment of infantry. 
I rushed up to him and gave my message ; he replied, " They 
are coming right along," and on a double-quick the regiment 
followed after the battery. 

Burnside's brigade was pressing the rebels steadily back, 
the Second New Hampshire Regiment holding the left of his 
line. I stopped in the rear of the Second New Hampshire 
Regiment, which was on the most elevated ground, but the 
shot and shell were so thick about me that I thought it extra 
hazardous to remain there. Noticing a high persimmon tree 
standing alone at a short distance to the right, I determined 
to climb it — I had learned to climb trees on Ponkatassett hill. 
As I ascended the tree I noticed that the trunk had been 
repeatedly hit by the rebel bullets. The top of the tree was 
partially dead, and at about thirty feet from the ground I took 
my position, and from this tree-top I had an unobstructed 
view of the battle. On my immediate left was the brigade of 
Gen. Burnside, and on my right across the road and more in 
the valley, the brigade of Col. Franklin, including the Fifth 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 1 9 

Massachusetts. Opposed to Burnside, and directly under my 
eye was posted the rebel brigade, under Gen. Bee, with two 
Georgia regiments and the Fourth Alabama, partially pro- 
tected by an angle of fine woods, being part of Joe Johnston's 
army just arrived from Winchester. On the left of Gen. Bee, 
and facing our right, Stonewall Jackson was in command, 
while some four or five miles away on the rebel right, near 
Blackburn's Ford, Gen. Beauregard was posted with a large 
part of his force, expecting our main attack there, he being 
deceived by the artillery fire of Gen. Richardson's division, 
which was intended as a feint and to hold Beauregard to this 
point, while McDowell outflanked him. Gen. McDowell's 
plan of battle was unquestionably a good one, and he should 
not be held responsible for the delays which caused its fail- 
ure. It was now between eleven and twelve o'clock ; our 
division had been rapidly placed in position, all the time ex- 
posed to the fire of the rebels. Ricketts's battery took a posi- 
tion to the right of my tree, just across the road, and in the 
rear of our infantry lines and to the right of Ricketts's was the 
battery of Griffin. The Rhode Island battery was on my left, 
some fifty rods from Ricketts's, and in the rear of Burnside's 
brigade. Ricketts's battery now opened fire with shell, and 
the first shot struck fairly within the rebel lines, and our men 
cheered at their success in getting the range so quickly. 
Then opened the Rhode Island battery with equal vigor and 
precision. The firing spread along our whole line to the 
right, the left having been steadily engaged. Promptly did 
the enemy respond ; it was an incessant roar of artillery and 
rattle of musketry, grand beyond my powers of description. 
Our infantry in the valley commenced their rapid firing. 
Advancing to fire, some regiments sheltered themselves by 
lying flat on their faces, while the rebel shot passed over their 
heads. Steadily but slowly we forced back the enemy ; more 
than ten thousand infantry and twenty pieces of artillery were 
sending their shot and shell into the rebel lines, while the 
enemy responded with equal vigor. My tree was repeatedly 
hit by bullets while I was in it ; but I noticed they struck 



"WHAT I SAW A? W 

more e for I w 

This hill was a favorite point 

McDov : . al- 

a 'd I heard McD: ran 

D advance a fc . a point beyond 

. Henry house. The 

ay receive ; order, ; jfe actng at 

asked in a loud 
ere?" McDowell over- 
mine, sir." 
a the batter started, 
: r speed across the inter- 
and the Fourteenth 
; support of this bat- 
th intense interest, for I felt 
ement, it being far in advance of our 
main line, and I could see from my tree-top a con-. 

and infantry dire :ir front, and on 

.d by the woods, and I think if 

eH had been in my lookout he would not have given 

• ! ' 

The Z - a beautiful nance as they 

mat lery; the .-let uniform and 

-. marching I well remember. It was supposed 

/ vould stand fire, and only sought a good 

- of Ellsworth. But scarcely 

ha<- red, before the enemy opened 

! :m with their partially concealed artillery and a ter- 

fantry, and our artillery were driven back pell-mell 

. / , : their men and 

led. The Zouaves stood their ground, firing 

on their , load. Their ranks were 

would r Suddenly the 

-:, when out from the low pines dashed Stew- 

y, and charged with uplifted sabres upon the 



7 . - - . • • ■ . dtiis ;.c- 

pre?- :ivL rhev clubbed tiieir Eausik . _~mrcL 

a mes - - . 

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- - . ■ twsly w:cr; . - 

. - - ■ . .- _ 

- grams were i^aaai 
ag been kilted., be ins m:. ; 

- . . . - 

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- : > v .15 

"His? :rees were b . 
;>i'> . - _ :t . . . ?5 - - 

I cod . _ 

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s* 

shelL Mrs 



22 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

taken out of the house by the inmates and carried to a ravine 
for safety. Later, after the battle passed, she was carried 
back to the house. Again the house came within range of 
the contesting forces, and Mrs. Henry was killed in her bed. 

I had now been in the tree-top over two hours, and all 
this time a stream of wounded men had been passing toward 
the hospital headquarters at Sudley's church, either helped or 
carried by their comrades. The ambulances were active in 
picking up the wounded. It was now about two o'clock ; the 
day was excessively hot, and I began to suffer from thirst. A 
quarter of a mile to my left was a small house, the Lewis 
house, and I determined to go there for water. I left my post 
of observation in the tree-top with great reluctance. There 
was a fascination which held me to the spot, notwithstanding 
I was a fair target for the rebel sharp-shooters. Picking a 
couple of persimmons as a remembrance, I descended the tree, 
startling two straggling soldiers leaning against it, by request- 
ing them to move their guns so that I could get down. They 
looked up in astonishment at hearing a voice, and no doubt 
took me at first for a rebel spy, but the U. S. on my cap, and 
my anxious inquiries after their regiment, soon re-assured 
them. 

Leaving the tree I started for some water at the little 
house on my left, where I could see quite a crowd of soldiers 
clustered around the well. I stopped to speak with a rebel 
prisoner, whom two of our men were taking to the rear. He 
belonged to a South Carolina regiment, and in vain I tried 
to make him talk, but he was disinclined to be agreeable. 
I soon passed within range of the rebel fire ; the shot fell 
thick about me and shells were bursting all around ; I hardly 
knew which way to turn. A spent cannon ball came rolling 
over the ground toward me, and I involuntarily put out my 
foot to stop it, when a soldier drew me back ; a bullet 
whizzed past my ear, so near that it felt like burning. It 
occurred to me I had better change my base. I passed still 
toward the left, over the ground fought over by the command 
of Burnside and Tyler. Scattered over this field were guns, 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 23 

blankets, and other paraphernalia of warfare, mingled with 
our dead and wounded men. I saw here a horse and his 
rider under him, both apparently killed by the same cannon 
ball. Getting over an intervening stone-wall, I was startled 
by the long line of dead men belonging to the First Maine 
Regiment, who had a hard fight at this point. As I drew 
near the house I saw that it had been turned into a hospital 
for our wounded, and such a scene as was presented in that 
little house of two rooms was enough to appall the stoutest 
heart. The rooms were crowded, and all around on the 
green sward were men mortally wounded. I should think 
there were forty. One man lay dead with his canteen at his 
lips ; he had died in the act of drinking. They lay so thick 
around that I could hardly step between them, and every 
step was in blood. The hospital headquarters were a mile 
off, and there were only two surgeons here. I gave them 
what little assistance I could, until becoming faint and sick 
I was compelled to leave. I left this house, and following 
the wake of battle bore off towards the south, till I came 
to the pine woods previously held by the rebel brigade of 
Gen. Bee when opposed to Gen. Burnside and others. Here 
occurred the heaviest loss to the rebels ; two of the rebel 
regiments were nearly destroyed. They held this angle of 
woods with great tenacity, it being the key to their position. 
The Fourth Alabama lost all its field officers, and were left 
with only a captain to command. The Eighth Georgia of 
six hundred men, their colonel killed, did not at the close 
of the day muster but sixty men. The Seventh Georgia 
suffered heavily in its officers, and the Brigade Commander, 
Gen. Bee, was killed. I found in these woods the ground 
literally covered with the corpses of the enemy. I counted 
in a space of about ten rods square, where they seemed the 
thickest, forty-seven dead rebels, and ten mortally wounded ; 
the slightly wounded were helped off, and scattered through 
these woods were any number more. I talked with several 
of the wounded, and they told me they belonged to the 
Eighth Georgia, Col. Bartow, and had arrived at Manassas 



24 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

from Winchester the day before, together with all of Gen. 
Johnston's force. One young man informed me that he was 
from Macon, Georgia, and that his father was a merchant. 
I asked another man where he was from. Glancing at my 
belt, he replied, " I am for disunion, opposed to you." This 
man was shot through the body. I heard one of our soldiers 
ask a wounded rebel if their orders were to kill our wounded. 
He replied " No." I thought it an unfortunate time to ask 
that question. Our straggling soldiers carried water to these 
wounded men, and as they lay there in their dying agony, 
a cup of cold water was left within their reach. All through 
these woods were the killed and wounded of this rebel 
brigade. I spoke with a wounded man belonging to the 
Fourth Alabama Regiment, who told me he had joined 
the regiment on the 13th of April, and pointing to a dead 
horse lying near us, with saddle and bridle on, said, " There 
is my colonel's horse, and I suppose you have taken him 
prisoner." In these park-like woods' I noticed a splendid 
bay horse, handsomely caparisoned, and nibbling the leaves 
from a tree, and captivated by his beauty, I was about to 
mount him, when I saw that one fore leg was shot off at the 
knee-joint, as clean as though cut by a knife, and bleeding a 
stream. It was near this spot, during the efforts made by 
Gen. Bee to reform and steady his line, that Jackson and his 
brigade are said to have acquired the name they afterwards 
bore, by Gen. Bee calling his men to observe how Jackson 
and his brigade stood like a stone-wall, and this circumstance 
gave the great Confederate General the name of Stonewall 
Jackson. 

" It was now between four and five o'clock, and I had 
noticed for some time a lull in the battle, and felt sure we 
were the victors. I passed through the woods and came out 
in front of the valley previously held by our infantry, while 
within rifle shot were the rebel lines. As I came out of the 
woods and looked back across the valley and up the hill, to 
my utter astonishment I saw our whole army retreating in 
confusion and disorder. No lines, no companies, no regi- 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 25 

ments could be distinguished. I stood still a few minutes 
unable to comprehend the extraordinary spectacle. I heard 
my name called, and turning around, Lieut. Buttrick, of the 
Concord company, exclaimed, " My God, Ed. ! what are you 
here for ? " I asked him if the Fifth had suffered much ; 
he replied, " Not seriously, but that Col. Lawrence was 
wounded." I waited to find others of my friends, but the 
whole line was drifting from the valley. An ambulance 
passed, and some one called to me. I rushed up to it and 
found an officer of the Fifth slightly disabled, and not long 
after Robert Pemberton (since dead), a private in the Concord 
company, came to me and asked me to examine his shoulder 
to see if a bullet had lodged there. While stooping to pick 
up a revolver from the ground a bullet had hit him near his 
shoulder blade and made a glancing wound ; he was in fine 
spirits, however, and seemed to treat the matter as a good 
joke. v I went slowly up the hill, occasionally halting and 
looking back. I stoppecTon the summit while our panic 
stricken army drifted by, and I can compare it to nothing 
better than a drove of cattle, so entirely broken and disor- 
ganized were our lines. The enemy had ceased firing, except 
from their extreme left, where the cannonading was kept up 
with vigor. I did not leave the hill until the enemy's fresh 
reinforcements of infantry moved slowly forward, their guns > 
glistening in the declining sun,- but they showed no disposi- 
tion to charge and only advanced a short distance. Had 
they precipitated their columns upon our panic stricken 
army, the slaughter would have been dreadful, for so 
thorough was the panic that no power on earth could have 
stopped the retreat and made our men turn and fight. 'They 
were exhausted with fifteen hours of marching and fighting, 
having had little to eat, their mouths parched with thirst, and 
no water in their canteens. What could be expected, of them 
under such circumstances ? Before five o'clock all resistance 
had ceased. McDowell placed eight hundred regulars under 
Gen. Sykes on the hill fronting the Henry house to protect 
our retreat. "I did not expect to find my horse where I had 



26 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

left him in the morning, fearing in the general rout some one 
would take him, but when I reached the hospital head- 
quarters at Sudley's church, I found him hitched just where 
I had left him, but the colored boy whom I had left to watch 
him was missing. The saddle-bags on my horse had saved 
him ; for supposing him to belong to some surgeon doing duty 
in the hospital, he was left unmolested by our men, who in 
their panic seized every horse. * k Mounting him I rode up to 
the door of this old brick church, delightfully situated in a 
grove of oaks, and watched the ambulances bringing in their 
loads of wounded, and fearing I might discover a friend or 
acquaintance. As these loads of wounded were brought up, 
blood trickled from the ambulances like water from an ice 
cart, and directly in front of the church door was a large 
puddle of blood. I left these scenes of blood and carnage 
and fell into this retreating mass of disorderly and confused 
soldiery. Then commenced my retreat. None who dragged 
their weary limbs through the long hours of that night will 
ever forget it. Officers of regiments placed themselves in 
front of a body of their men and besought them to halt and 
form, for if they did not their retreat would be cut off. But 
they might as well have asked the wind to cease blowing. 
The men heeded them not, but pressed on in a disorganized 
retreat. The regiments two or three miles in our rear, 
which had not been in action, exhorted our men to halt as 
we drifted by, but all to no purpose. The various regiments 
tried to collect together as many as possible by calling out 
the number of their regiment, and their State. In some 
instances they collected two or three hundred men. Sud- 
denly, while riding my horse at a walk, I was overcome with 
drowsiness, and it seemed impossible to keep awake. I don't 
think I was ever so sleepy in my life, and in fact I did lose 
myself several times and came very near falling off my horse. 
I resolved to take a nap, so turning into a pasture I dis- 
mounted, and tying the bridle rein to my arm, I lay down 
upon the ground to sleep. But the plan would not work. 
My horse was very hungry and would not keep quiet ; so 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN". 2"] 

after being dragged around by my arm over the stones and 
through the bushes, I was compelled to relinquish my nap for 
a more favorable opportunity. My horse knew better than 
I what was best to be done. I again fell into the column and 
fortunately met with some of our regiment. Later, at a 
narrow place in the road, the baggage wagons, artillery, and 
ambulances got jammed together in a dead lock, and in 
trying to get through them I was hemmed in so completely 
that for ten minutes I could not move in any direction. 
I finally extricated myself by dismounting and breaking 
down a fence, and driving my horse over it struck through 
a large corn-field till I again reached the column, but by this 
delay I became separated from my friends in the Fifth Regi- 
ment and did not see them again till I reached Centreville. 
Shortly after I overtook two soldiers helping along a disabled 
lieutenant. They asked me to take him up behind me, to which 
request I readily assented. The poor man groaned as they 
lifted him up, and I was fearful he could not keep his seat. 
I told him to put both arms around me and hold on tightly. 
Leaning his head upon my shoulder we started on. He 
gave me his name, and informed me that he was a lieutenant 
of the Marine Corps, and belonged in Connecticut. He 
stated that they had four companies of eighty men each in 
the fight, and that Lieut. Hitchcock, a very dear friend, was 
killed by his side. A cavalry officer, with his arm in a sling, 
came riding along, and drawing up near to me I asked him 
if he was much hurt. He replied that he had received a 
bullet through the fleshy part of his arm. He also informed 
me that during the battle he had two horses shot under him, 
and the one he was then riding he had caught on the field. 

" ' It was now about six o'clock. As we continued our retreat 
the men, overcome by weariness, dropped by the roadside 
and immediately fell asleep. Some, unable to drag themselves 
along, begged to be carried, and the wagons were loaded to 
their utmost capacity. It was a common sight to see two 
men upon one horse, with a third man helped along by taking 
hold of his tail. 



28 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

Passing out through the oak forest which extended 
several miles we at length came in sight of the hills of 
Centreville. I noticed that a part of the column left the 
road and bore off through an open field, leaving the bridge 
we had crossed in the morning on our right. I could not 
account for this deviation from the morning course, and I 
determined to keep the main road, as I knew of no other 
way to cross the river. I continued on till I came in sight 
of the bridge, and then noticed it was entirely choked with 
broken down wagons, and that the rebels had posted their 
artillery on a hill commanding this bridge, and were firing 
an occasional shot into our retreating column. I followed a 
crowd of soldiers into some low pine woods skirting the 
stream at the left of the bridge. I picked my way through 
the tangled underbrush till I came to the stream. The bank 
down to the water was steep, and I feared my tired horse 
could not carry us both down safely, so dismounting I led 
him down slowly, and then mounting I drove into the stream. 
The bottom was soft and miry and my horse sunk to his 
middle. I began to think we should all be floundering in the 
stream, but urging him to his utmost strength we reached 
the opposite bank in safety. Twice my horse attempted to 
carry us up the steep bank and fell back, but succeeded at 
the third trial. I soon reached Centreville, and there my 
companion met with his captain, and he then dismounted. 
Never was a man more grateful for a favor than was the 
lieutenant, and with tears in his eyes thanked me many times, 
and then left with his friends. 

V From Centreville I could see our disordered army press- 
ing onward toward our old camp. The artillery and wagons 
kept to the main road with the intention of crossing the 
stream by the bridge, which they had passed in the morning, 
when suddenly a shell was fired from the rebel battery 
commanding this bridge. The utmost consternation was 
created by this fire. In their haste wagons and gun car- 
riages were overturned. The drivers cut their horses loose 
seeing that the bridge was impassable, and galloped they 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 29 

scarcely knew whither. Our men plunged into the stream, 
both above and below this bridge, and reached Centreville as 
best they could. The enemy still fired from this battery, but 
did not dare to advance, as they were kept in check by our 
reserves on the hights of Centreville. I reached our camp, 
which we had left in the morning, at about half past eight 
o'clock, and found Captain Prescott and a portion of the Con- 
cord company had arrived before me. It was then expected 
we should encamp for the night. I tied my horse to a tree, 
and with my saddle for a pillow, had just composed myself 
for a night's rest, when the orders came to march to Alex- 
andria. We had already marched that day over twenty 
miles, and now our weary soldiers were ordered to march 
twenty-five or thirty miles farther. Slowly the fragment of 
our regiment fell into line and began this dreadful night 
march. I gave up my horse to Major Boyd of our regiment, 
who was disabled, and a sick man was placed behind him, 
and I saw nothing more of my horse till the next morning. 
I trudged along all night without once sitting down to rest, 
only occasionally stopping to get water. I noticed that 
many of the soldiers the instant they sat down to rest fell 
asleep, and it was almost an impossibility to arouse them. 
The dust was intolerable, and not having any canteen I 
suffered intensely from thirst. About midnight our weari- 
ness increased and the night seemed endless. Men dropped 
by the roadside in scores ; some completely exhausted begged 
to be helped along. The wagons and ambulances were 
crowded, with the horses carrying a rider on his back ; in 
fact, any horse carrying only one rider was an exception. 
The worn-out men were assisted by their comrades. I as- 
sisted one fine fellow along who told me he was taken with 
bleeding at the lungs while on the field. He was very weak, 
and in vain I tried to find an opportunity for him to ride, but 
he bore up manfully through the night, and I saw him the 
next day in Washington. After passing Fairfax Court 
House, some of the regiments, or such portion as could be 
collected together, bivouacked for the night, but the men 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 



were so scattered that I doubt if half a regiment halted in 
any one spot. I still walked on, never once resting, fearin^ 
to sit down lest I should fall asleep. Towards morning my 
fee became blistered, and the cords of my legs worked like 
rusty wires, giving me great pain at every step. Gladly did 
I hail the first faint streak of light in the east. At daylight 
our men were within five miles of Alexandria. About this 
time we came to where the Washington road branches off 
from the main road to Alexandria, and here the column 
divided, some going to Washington, and others to their old 
camp around Alexandria. I soon overtook Captain Prescott 
riding my horse, and he informed me he was the fourth man 
who had ridden him during the night. Lieut. Derby has 
often told me that he could not have reached Alexandria but 
for the chance to ride on my horse. I continued on toward 
Alexandria, and in about an hour came in sight of Shuter's 
hill and then I felt my march was nearly accomplished, but 
the last two miles seemed endless. I stopped at a small 
house just back of Fort Ellsworth, and asked the old ne^ro 
woman for some breakfast. Two Zouaves were there when 

e T Te u T d S ° 0n f ° Ur m ° re came in - She kn ew them all 
as they had paid her frequent visits while encamped in the 
neighborhood. She gladly gave us the best she had, and the 
six Zouaves and myself, nearly famished as we were, sat 
down to that breakfast of fried bacon, hoe cake, and coffee 
served to us by this old slave, with greater delight than ever" 
a king seated himself at a banquet." Each of the Zouaves 
had their story of the battle to relate, but the charge of the 
black Horse Cavalry was their special theme. ; One of them 
exhibiting a large Colt's revolver, said, "There, I gave the 
owner hell and he was not the only one either." I soon 
bargained for the pistol, and now have it in my possession; 
one barrel only had been fired. The Zouaves gradually 
dropped off, and after paying the slave woman for our break- 
fast, I started over the hill to the old camp of the Fifth, 
where I arrived about half past eight o'clock, and found that 
Captain Irescott had arrived with my horse sometime before 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 3 1 

It had now commenced to rain, and shortly after our camp 
was broken up, and we were ordered to march to Washington. 
Foot-sore and weary we once more took up our line of march, 
and as we struggled on through the Virginia mud in the 
pouring rain, our disordered army presented a forlorn and 
bedraggled appearance, and crossing the Long Bridge we 
left the Potomac between us and our foes. 

We found Washington in a state of intense excitement, 
and the whole population seemed to be in the streets. Quite 
a delegation of Concord people were there, some dozen or 
more, and some of them were present at Centreville and wit- 
nessed the retreat. Dr. Bartlett offered his services in at- 
tending the wounded as they were brought into Centreville 
from the field. The company returned to Concord the same 
week, their term of enlistment, dating from the time they were 
mustered into the service, expiring July 3 1 st. Gen. McDowell 
gives our loss at Bull Run as four hundred and eighty-one 
killed, one thousand and eleven wounded, and about one 
thousand five hundred taken prisoners, and the rebel loss in 
killed and wounded was about the same. We' had in the bat- 
tle, actually engaged, about twenty thousand men and forty- 
nine pieces of artillery ; ten of these cannon were captured on 
the field and seventeen more on the retreat ; we also lost four 
thousand muskets and four thousand accoutrements. The 
Confederate officers reported one thousand four hundred and 
twenty-one prisoners sent to Richmond, of whom five hun- 
dred and fifty were wounded. The rebels, in not having a 
large cavalry force, were prevented from making a large part 
of our army prisoners. In our Fifth Regiment eight were 
killed and twenty-one taken prisoners, and in the Concord 
company one man was wounded, Robert Pemberton, since 
dead, and five were taken prisoners the day after the battle. 
The names of the prisoners were William Sidney Rice, Or- 
derly Sergeant, Cyrus Hosmer, Sergeant, and Privates Henry 
L. Wheeler, Edward S. Wheeler, and William C. Bates. Two 
of these five men are dead, and the others are present this 
evening. Henry Wheeler and Cyrus Hosmer were taken 



3 2 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

together, Hosmer being sick with colic was unable to move 
rapidly, and Wheeler stayed with him. Sidney Rice and 
Edward Wheeler were captured together about five o'clock in 
the afternoon of Monday, and William C. Bates was also 
taken prisoner on Monday morning at Centreville. It is 
claimed that Henry Wheeler would never have been taken 
prisoner but for his devotion to his cousin, Cyrus Hosmer. 
A man of great muscular endurance, he was also a man of 
great resources, and would make the most of every opportu- 
nity; and for any delicate duty requiring skill and good judg- 
ment, either in camp or on the march, he was among the first 
men to be detailed. I remember when we had reached Cen- 
treville on the retreat, some one asked Captain Prescott if he 
had seen Henry Wheeler, and the captain replied, " Have no 
fear about him, he will take care of himself." Afterwards in 
the rebel prisons he ingratiated himself into the good graces 
of the prison officials, and was thus able to obtain some favors 
for his friends and himself. These five prisoners, with others, 
were taken to Libby Prison in Richmond, where they re- 
mained until September, were then removed to New Orfeans 
and confined in the " Old Parish Prison " until February, then 
sent to Salisbury, North Carolina, where they remained until 
exchanged, and were then sent to our lines at Washington, 
North Carolina, in June, having been in rebel prisons eleven 
months. They were then sent to New York, and were for a 
few days at Governor's Island in New York harbor, and I 
well remember greeting them there and giving them the first 
news from Concord, and the results of the battle. For eleven 
months they had received no news from home ; they supposed 
many of the Concord company had been killed, and life during 
this long captivity had been a period of suspense and anxiety, 
with much of mental and physical suffering. They were, how- 
ever, in good health and spirits, and that week returned to 
their homes. 

I have but imperfectly sketched the events of that memo- 
rable campaign, but my experience left a lasting impression, 
and the events of a quarter of a century seem but as yester- 



WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. $$ 

day. I think all who participated will bear the same testi- 
mony. Our disaster at Bull Run produced great excitement 
throughout the North. The report came to Washington that 
the Concord company was cut to pieces, and the same news 
quickly reached Concord, and you who can remember that 
day will never forget the anguish of those hours, when you 
were waiting with blanched faces for more favorable news 
from our Concord company. Having witnessed the opening 
tragedy of the war, it was also my good fortune to be present 
at the grand review in Washington of our victorious army, on 
the 23d and 24th of May, 1865. It was a gala day in the 
National Capital, and the flag of our once more united coun- 
try fluttered from almost every available point ; a sea of flags. 
The city was crowded with people, every window and door, 
sidewalks and roofs of buildings, were filled with spectators 
anxious to get a view of our conquering army. On the first 
day the President and his Cabinet reviewed the " Army of the 
Potomac." Marching in column of companies with Gen. 
Meade in command, attended by his brilliant staff, came this 
matchless army of sixty-five thousand well-dressed veteran 
soldiers, filling the broad straight avenue from the Capitol to 
the Treasury Building, from curb to curb. Infantry, cavalry, 
and artillery, bearing their battle-scarred flags that had waved 
over many a bloody field. In this brilliant array I saw the 
men from Concord, playmates at school, who for valiant ser- 
vices had risen from the ranks to a high command. Men 
from the old Company G were there, who had received their 
baptism of fire at Bull Run. The army of Gen. Meade occu- 
pied more than six hours in passing the grand stand which 
had been erected in front of the President's house, and no 
finer body of soldiers ever trod the globe, for they were hardy 
veterans who carried a thinking bayonet. On the second day 
Gen. Sherman's army was reviewed, having about the same 
number of men. They were not so neatly dressed as the Army 
of the Potomac ; they had marched from " Atlanta to the Sea," 
and from the sea back to Washington, and their marching 
could not be excelled. With their long swinging step, they 



34 WHAT I SAW AT BULL RUN. 

presented an appearance of men thoroughly trained to hard- 
ship and fatigue, regardless of climate or exposure. Tanned 
by the Southern sun, and with a sort of reckless dash about 
them, they presented the appearance of invincible soldiers. 
Following in the rear of a company would be a mule team, 
loaded with negro children and all the cooking utensils of a 
family, while the father led the mule and the mother followed 
behind. Another mule would have a load of captured chick- 
ens for the use of the men, with a small colored boy or girl 
acting as driver. This grand review was a fitting close to our 
four years of war, and in a few months the vast armies of the 
North and South had fallen back into paths of peace, while 
half a million soldiers slept in their untimely graves. 

On yonder granite shaft, in letters of imperishable bronze, 
are inscribed the names of the representatives of our town 
who "died for their country in the War of the Rebellion." 
A grateful people delight to recount their patriotic deeds, and 
will always revere their memory. And to you, veterans of 
Company G, no name can be dearer than that of your old 
commander; he who led you from this town on Concord's 
historic day, and after years of service — "faithful unto 
death" — fell bravely fighting for his country's cause. 



APPENDIX. 



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Charles Nealey. 
Ira Osborne, Jr. 
Robert Pemberton. 
Edward F. Phelps. 
Charles Puffer. 
John S. Puffer. 


Edward W. Reynolds. 
John S. Rogers. 
Elbridge G. Robbins. 
Joseph N. Robbins. 
Lewis T. Sampson. 
George E. Sherman. 
John W. Smith. 
George E. Souther. 
Thomas G. Stevenson. 
Warren F. Taylor. 



APPENDIX. 



45 



expiration of service, 
disability. 

expiration of service, 
expiration of service, 
expiration of service, 
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expiration of service. 


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Henry L. Wheeler. 
Joseph Winn. 
Eugene Wright. 
Joseph S. Wyman. 



46 



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APPENDIX. 



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Major, July 5, 1861. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
Captain, July 8, 1861. 
July 31, 1S61, expiration of service. 
First Lieutenant, July 8, 1861. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
Second Lieutenant, July 8, 1861. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 
July 31, 1861, expiration of service. 


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John T. Boyd, Capt. 
John B. Norton, Capt. 
John B. Norton, ist Lieut. 
Caleb Drew, ist Lieut. 
Caleb Drew, 2d Lieut. 
Walter Everett, 2d Lieut. 
Walter Everett, 3d Lieut. 
Albert Prescott, ist Sergt. 
Daniel W. Davis, Sergt. 
Samuel A. Wright, Sergt. 
George A. Bird, Sergt. 
William W. Davis, Corp. 
Enoch J. Clark, Corp. 
Joseph Boyd, Corp. 
George F. Brackett, Corp. 
J. Newton Breed, Musician. 



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