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Farm) -August 28th, 1862
of Gainesville, Washington
Star Article, 1913
This was one of the bloodiest battles of the war, and was fought by the Iron Brigade
alone, only receiving aid after the heaviest of the fighting was over. The battle day of
the 28th of August, is a bloody one in the calendar of many a Wisconsin homestead. While
marching toward Centerville, a battery of the enemy opened on the brigade, when the Second
Regiment was ordered to face the left, and march obliquely to the rear, and take the
battery in flank. The left wing was advanced to bring the regiment facing the enemy, when
the fire was returned, and for fifteen minutes, a tremendous storm of shot was kept up by
the contending forces, a brigade of rebels being engaged by the Second Wisconsin. The
Second held its ground during this time, when the Nineteenth Indiana came up on its left.
The enemy were reinforced, and the Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin went into line, and the
whole brigade continued its fight, till darkness put an end to the contest. General Gibbon
in vain sent for aid, only two regiments making their appearance near the end of the
action. At least four of General Jacksons best brigades composed the rebel force,
among them the famous "Stonewall Brigade," which claimed that it never before
was compelled to fall back. The fearful list of casualties proved the desperate nature of
the contest. Colonel OConnor sat on his horse amid the shower of bullets,
encouraging his men, when he was wounded. He kept on his horse until again wounded, in the
groin, when he was carried from the field, and died. Major Allen, of the Second, was twice
wounded, but did not leave the field. Captain Randolph, of Company H, was killed
instantly. Colonel Cutler, of the Sixth, was severely wounded in the thigh. Colonel
Robinson, of the Seventh, was wounded in the leg, Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton through both
thighs, and Major Bill was wounded in the head, thus depriving the Seventh Regiment of its
field officers, leaving Captain Callis in command. Captain Brayton, of Company B, was
killed. The brigade remained on the field, removing the wounded, till about midnight, when
they were ordered to retreat to Manassas Junction. Wisconsin may well be proud of the
heroes of Gainesville. All the regiments performed their duty admirably, and fought
without flinching, and every man was a hero.
Military History of Wisconsin, Quinter, 1866
This was one of the bloodiest battles of the war, clear
infantry contest , a fair stand-up fight face to face, both sides sufficiently firm to
keep each other from gaining ground or position. By order of Gen. King we retreated to
Manassas Junction, leaving their dead unburied, and the wounded and hospital attendants to
fall into the hands of the enemy. The Second Wisconsin Regiment suffered a loss of eighty
five killed , two hundred and twenty-seven wounded and missing. One hundred and sixty-two
were wounded and four hundred and forty-nine engaged.
Among the killed were Col.. Edgar OConnor and Capt. Randolph of H Co. Col.
OConnors loss fell upon the Second with deep sorrow, for his boys had learned
to love him. No sooner was the regiment brought into action then he placed himself to the
rear of his colors. There he sat on his horse, cool and collected, the personification to
the Napoleonic idea of a soldier. He kept his horse until wounded a second time, carried
from the field, and died soon after. Maj. Allen was wounded , but did not go off duty, but
stood by Gen. Fairchild, who had assumed Command. The Seventh Regiment having suffered
severely, was consolidated with for the time being, the whole under command of Col.
Wisconsin Killed and Wounded in the Recent Battles near Manassas as far as
We give the names of the killed and wounded in the recent battles in front of
Washington as far as can be ascertained. They are gathered from unofficial
sources as published in the N.Y. Herald
Colonel O'Connor, 2d Wisconsin
Captain Randolph, Co. H, 2d Wisconsin
Captain Brayton, Co. b, 7th Wisconsin
Sergeant Buckman, Co. D, 7th Wisconsin
F. Eversoll, Co. D, 6th Wisconsin
J. Bullock, Co. D. 7th Wisconsin
W. Emory, Co, D. 7th Wisconsin
R. King, Co, D. 7th Wisconsin
A. D. Coombs, Co, D 7th Wisconsin
J. M. Trent, Co. D, 7th Wisconsin
J. Marble, Co. D, 7th Wisconsin
J. Cuddy, Co. D, 7th Wisconsin
H. M. Haines, Co. D, 7th Wisconsin
J. Bimburger, Co. D, 7th Wisconsin
Lieutenant E. Crane, 3d Wisconsin
Major Scott, 3d Wisconsin
Captain Whiteley, 3d Wisconsin
Lieutenant Egolf, Co. D, 2d Wisconsin
Lieutenant W. Hawley, Co. H, 2d Wisconsin
Major F. A. Lancaster, 2d Wisconsin (mistake).
Adam Laia, Co. K 2d Wisconsin
Corporal F. A. Boynstoers, Co. F, 7th Wisconsin
Wm. R. Ray, Co. F, 7th Wisconsin
G. Max, 3d Wisconsin
J. Larrimore, Co. B, 3d Wisconsin
Fred Eddy, 3d Wisconsin
N. T. Smith, Co. B, 3d Wisconsin
V. Schmidt, 29th Wisconsin (mistake).
J. Dean, Co. B, 3d Wisconsin
General Schenok, in the right wrist, severely.
General Hatch, King's Division.
Colonel Cutter, 6th Wisconsin
Colonel Robinson, 7th Wisconsin
Lieut. Col. Hamilton, 7th Wisconsin
Major Bill, 7th Wisconsin
Captain Walter, Co. I, 7th Wisconsin
Captain Marsh, Co. D, 6th Wisconsin
Corporal Carpenter Co. D, 6th Wisconsin
J. Fowler, Co. B, 6th Wisconsin
S. R. Faulkerner, Co. C, 6th Wisconsin
J. Tibbits, Co. D, 6th Wisconsin
H. Overt, Co. C, 6th Wisconsin
J. Riley, Co. D, 6th Wisconsin
L. Fowler, Co. D, 6th Wisconsin
W. Russell, Co. C. 6th Wisconsin
L. Sheldon, Co. C, 6th Wisconsin
C. Kelley, Co. D, 7th Wisconsin
E. Marsh, Co. D, 7th Wisconsin
Albert Waldorf, Co. I, 2d Wisconsin
J. W. Leslie, Co. I, 3d Wisconsin
C. Ele, Co. D, 3d Wisconsin
C. Epler, Co. D, 2d Wisconsin
Some Accounts of Our Boys
Again has it become our duty to record an engagement in which the "Belle
City Rifles" have been active participants. With hearts filled with anguish
we write of some whose lives have been given to the cause of their country. What
can we say? What words of sympathy can we offer to their friends except to
speak of the noble heroism, the undaunted courage, and the unflinching bravery
of the fallen? Their deeds of valor and devotion to their country sealed with
their blood on the battle field can never be forgotten, but will live in the
hearts and history of the nation forever.
Without any official notice at hand we have gathered from private letters as
much of the history of the bloody struggle in which our boys were engaged as we
could and lay it before our readers knowing how awful the suspense and anxiety
has been, reminding our readers, however, that some reported as "probably
dead," and others missing or prisoners may, ere this, be found alive or
exchanged and safe among friends.
The best account we have seen of the fight is in a letter from
CHARLIE JEWETT to his friends written Sept. 2d, in which he says-
"Last Thursday, Aug. 28th, McDowell's
corps was marching on the road
towards Centerville from Warrenton. It was generally rumored among the
"boys" that Gen. Stonewall Jackson was at or near the old Bull Run
battle field and that we were going to give him battle. King's division crossed
the Manassas Gap Railroad near Gainesville at noon, and marched forward nearly a
mile and a half. Here they learned that McCall's division had a slight
engagement with the enemy during the forenoon and that the Bucktails had
captured some cannon.
We remained quiet till about 5 o'clock. McDowell and King, meanwhile, having
examined the enemy's position. We, being in King's division, were then ordered
forward to attack the rebels. Hatch's brigade were on the advance acting as
skirmishers; Gibbon's brigade followed supporting the batteries. We marched
about a mile when the artillery on both sides began firing; this was about
quarter to six. We succeeded in driving the rebels along
the road for a mile, it was now just dusk, when Gen. Gibbons came out of a small
piece of woods in front of our regiment and ordered it forward, that is toward
the left flank of our position. As soon as we had passed through the woods and
up a rise of ground we moved in line of battle. We could just discover the
rebels coming out of the woods, regiment after regiment en masse. Immediately both
sides began firing, the rebels yelling their loudest, the battle was now terrific
and awfully desperate. I cannot attempt a description now. A short time after
the firing began Judson said to me, "Oh, I'm wounded!" I asked him
where and he showed me a hole through pants about half way between his knee and
his ankle. I told him to crawl back and have it dressed. He started off, but I
have since learned that one of Co. "I" helped him into an ambulance,
and this man stated he was wounded again in the side.
In less time than it takes me to write it, I saw Rodman and Price limp back from the line in which the Regiment lay. There was, by this time, no man in
our company in the front rank to the right of me. Just at this instant I felt a
ball graze my hip and shortly after I thought another went through the flesh
near the same place. I kept on firing however and spoke to Walter Gregory who
was the only man near me in the front rank, telling him I had been hit but could "keep at work". We were now
ordered to close up to the right. Some of Co. "G" kept on firing so I
had to pass them and thus get separated from the Company. The ground was
literally covered with the dead and wounded. In moving, we had to be careful
where we placed our feet to prevent stepping on them. Just after we closed up
the vacant places, I was again hit by a ball on the head. The blood streamed
down my face, that I could not see, and I made my way to the rear in hopes of
getting my wounds dressed, telling the man nearest me my name and where I was
hit. I succeeded in gaining the brow of the hill and reaching the woods but
could find no surgeon. I soon reached a house but it was uninhabited, but a
piece further on I came to another where I found water to bathe my head and was
enabled to ascertain the extent of my other injuries. I found the second time I
thought I was struck in the hip, that the ball hit the corner of my cartridge
box, that had worked round in front of me and after tearing a slit in it four
inches long and carrying away the brass button it glanced off. Had not my
cartridge box been there the ball would have passed through my bowels.
Our regiment lost 279 killed.
Henry Sandford and Nearman wished me to say, for the information of
friends, that they were well.
The following is a list of the killed and wounded of our Company, as
accurate as I can now make it, and which I give to Dr. Tillapaugh:
H. P. Christie
E. B. Stickney
F. D. Cole
Sergt. Martin wounded in arm at a skirmish at Catlett's Station, where the
rebels attacked a company of about 100 convalescents belonging to the Wisconsin
regiments and got whipped.
Sergt. Rodman, both legs, seriously
Sergt. Graham, shoulder, slight
Sergt. Manderson, hip, seriously
Corp. Yates, hand slight
Ewing, head, slight
Hurlbut, thigh, seriously, prisoner, (since
Hughes, shoulder, seriously
Jewett, head, arm and leg, all slight
Judson, leg, prisoner
Malcom, sabre cut on head - at Catletts
Melgs, bowels and head, serious, probably dead - if alive a prisoner
Powles, leg, slight, prisoner
Dug. Smith, legs, prisoner
Seaman, bowels, seriously, if alive a prisoner
Wormington, shoulder slight, with co.
North, head, slight
St. George, mouth and head, seriously, if alive a prisoner - probably dead
T. Weldon, side
Webber, both legs
Uninjured- Gorman, Bradshaw, S. A. Cole Bauman, Adams, Barns, Ives,
Patrick, W. Miller, Stone, Leidy, S. Mead, Cadwell, Lathrop, Henry Sandford,
Mr. L. B. S. Miller, in a letter, gives the following items:
Company "F" went into the fight with 38 men and on Sunday only 12
were fit for Duty.
Capt. Parsons got off a sick bed and led the boys through the ordeal and in a
manner that elicits the warmest praise.
Tell our mutual friend M. B. Mead that his son is all right and that the
evidence of his comrades is that a better fighting boy never shouldered a
Cole says that he was beside young Stickney during the fight and the first
intimation he had that he was wounded was Stickney's remark: Here my little
finger is gone, but I can shoot yet." In a few minutes he remarked: "I
am shot through the arm but I can shoot yet" In perhaps five minutes more
he (Cole) looked around and saw Stickney's head fall over on his shoulder and he
jumped and caught him and found he was dead; just shot through the head.
The news here this morning is that the rebels have skeddaled. I don't believe
it. But one thing is sure, they will be whipped, and bad too.
Col. O'Connor, of the 2d, is dead -
killed on Thursday. After being wounded he
talked to his men that crowded around him and advised them to "fight to the death
for the good old flag." He was shot while gallantly leading his men.
I also hear that Col. Cutler, of the 7th is also killed. whether true or not
I can't say.
We once the following communication from our faithful Burlington
correspondent under this head as it related to our brave boys that have fallen:
EDITORS ADVOCATE: - Another name is added to the roll of honor from among the
noble youths that have gone forth from our town to fight our battles. Frank D.
Cole, son of A. G. Cole, Esq., and a member of company F, 2d Regt. Wis. Vol.,
was killed in battle in the terrible struggle at or near Bull Run on Thursday,
the 28th of august. Around him were found seven or eight guns, which he had used,
all of them too foul for further use, showing clearly how dearly he sold his
life. He was a noble youth and among the bravest of the brave. He was but 18
years of age and yet a veteran soldier having been in the battle of Bull Run, of
July 21, 1861.
The stricken parents are consoled by the knowledge of his devotion to the
cause he had espoused and that he fell with his face to the foe bravely daring
all. They mourn not alone. He was one of our much loved boys whose ringing laugh
still sounds in our ears, who greeted us always with smiles and was ever ready to
lend a hand to the needy. But his young life has gone out for our good. God help
us to bear with patience these great sacrifices and fully appreciate them.
Another of our boys FRANCIS L. GRAHAM, was wounded while falling back. He was
in a stooping position; a Minnie ball entered just below the shoulder blade and
came out by the side of the neck. His wounds serious but not considered fatal.
We hope he may live to pay off the rascals which he will do if he ever has the
The above facts we gather from Lieut. A. S. Cole, late of Co. F, 2d Reg't.,
who reached home last Saturday. He was through the worst of the battles from
Orange Court House to Centreville. He bears the marks of long and fast marches,
and the fatigue incident to hard fought battles. He saw his brother dead upon
the battle field and performed the "last sad office" of composing his
limbs and covering his face. He says our brigade always advanced at the word and
never retired without orders. He speaks in glowing terms of the officers and men
composing the 2d Regt., and that the closing scene of Col. O'Connor's life was
the most affecting that he ever witnessed. Mortally wounded he called the
fragments of his glorious regiment around him and briefly addressed them
charging them to do their utmost and fight to the last.
He was greatly beloved by both officers and men.
Walter Gregory named among the killed has been a resident of Racine six
years. He was born at Batavia, Genesee County, New York, in November, 1841. He
was a brave boy, esteemed by his comrades, and fell with his face to the foe. He
has been a member of the Belle City Rifles since their organization, being among
the number who, at the very beginning of this unholy rebellion, rushed to the
defense of the national honor. His father has just volunteered in Captain Williamson's
company determined, if the opportunity comes, to avenge the death of his son.
ELRICH BAILEY STICKNEY, whose name is
in the list of the slain, was born in Alabama, 1840, his parents removed to
Montgomery, Ala., but having a most intense hatred of the institution of
slavery, they subsequently moved to Chicago. Becoming a widow, Mrs. Stickney
came to this city a few years ago. Here her children have grown up and among
them ELRICH. When the first call was made for troops he plead with his mother to
be allowed to volunteer; being frail in body she hesitated, but unable to resist
his earnest entreaties she consented and he became a member of the "Belle
City Rifles." We can offer no better tribute to his memory than the
following written to his sorrowing mother: "In the fearful conflict of Thursday
night poor dear ELRICH fell fighting for his country. He was universally beloved
- a more unselfish character I never knew. ELRICH suffered no pain,. his
death was almost instantaneous. He was absent from the body and present with
ADAM SCHMAL; mentioned in the list as
killed from this city, was a Prussian by birth, a native of Bergen on the banks
of the Rhine. He was 22 years of age, 8 years a resident of the U.S., the last
five years a citizen of this city. At the time of his enlistment in Co. F, he
was in the employment of H. Mitchell, Esq. His comrades at the shop, as well as
those in the Company speak of his noble qualities with sincere respect. He had
given his life for the land of his adoption.
Of Hans P. Christy, another of our
fallen boys, we have been unable to learn much except that he use to sail under
Capt. Miller on the schooner Elmira.
WILLIAM PRICE, among the killed, was, we
learn, an old British soldier. A man somewhat advanced in years but true, and brave
as a lion. He lived with Mr. Smith in the town of Mt. Pleasant for a time.
GEORGE LINCOLN, also
"reported" killed, is the son of Col. F. Lincoln in Yorkville, Racine
Co. We have not ascertained his age or any particulars, hoping that he may yet
be found alive and be restored to his friends whose heats are bleeding at the
painful rumor of his death.
Among those of our brave boys known to
have fallen on the fields in the recent fight is JOSEPH M. MANN of this city, a
nephew of Lucius S. Blake, Esq. He was born in the town of Raymond in this
county, in 1840. His father dying, he has for several years been in the family of
Mr. Blake, under whose care he was educated and fitted for usefulness. He
graduated with credit at our High School just before he entered the army. Of a
generous disposition he made warm friends at home and among his comrades. Brave
and obedient, his officers ever spoke of him in the highest terms of praise. Few
young men exhibited more patriotism than he. The possessor of a valuable farm
with good business inducements at home why should he go into the ranks as a
private soldier to endure and suffer?
The answer is easily given; fired at
the insult to our flag when Sumter was assaulted by rebellious hands he gave up home,
friends, property; all for his country's sake. He was a patriot as well as a Christian.
In a letter to Mrs. Stickney from John E. Hinton, Co. F, 2d Wis., in speaking of Geo. Lincoln, says, "reported
Killed" In a letter from HENRY SANDFORD, he says that "we hope some reported
killed are yet alive. It is not our wish to raise up false hopes but experience
in the Past has proven that losses on the battle fields are always exaggerated
and unless a soldier is known to be killed and the proof is forthcoming, we shall
hope he is yet alive. We have failed to see any letter yet where George Lincoln
was seen to have been killed. So far it is only reported."
In a letter received from Henry Sanford
dated Head-Quarters, 2d Wis. Regt., Upton's Hill B., Sept. 4th, he says, giving list
of casualties, William Price in sound not killed. Also that the "Hospital
Steward and just returned and says that JUDSON'S leg must be amputated or it
will prove fatal.
Second Bull Run -
August 29 & 30, 1862
On the 29th, the brigade was present on the battlefield of Bull Run, engaged as support
to a battery. The Second and Seventh Regiments were consolidated, temporarily, the Second
into four, and the Seventh into six companies, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel
Fairchild. The brigade took part in the battle of August 30th, and on the retreat of the
army, was directed, by General Kearney, to act as rear guard, which they did, the whole
army passing by them, and the Iron Brigade covered the retreat, the Second being the last
to cross the Stone Bridge. Retiring with the rest of the Army, the brigade went into camp
at Uptons Hill, near Washington, on the 2nd of September.
Military History of Wisconsin, Quinter, 1866
We then fell back across a valley and up on a hill
behind passing, as we did so, a great pile of knapsacks and other equipment, lying in a
piece of timber where they had probably been left when their owners had gone into action.
As the troops moved back I caught sight of General Hooker on a spur just behind our former
position, looking on at the battle. I rode up to him to make some explanation regarding my
hesitancy in obeying the order he had sent me but he interrupted me saying, "That is
all right," and added some complimentary remark about the way which we had held our
position, which at once excited my pride and attracted me to him. I then left him and
climbing the opposite slope, encountered General McDowell. He met me with unusual
cordiality and shaking hands said he was glad to see me, as General Porter had told him I
was killed. I spoke with enthusiasm of the was in which my brigade , just then passing,
had behaved, and shall not soon forget his reply. "If you have such troops as
that," he said, "you shall act as rear guard and be the last, except myself, to
pass Bull Run!" I must admit that up to this time I had not got it through my head,
that there was such a thing as a retreat or that we were to have a rear guard.
My brigade was now placed in position on the ridge
alongside the Pike where it climbed the hill near the Robinson House, the pieces of
Battery "B" being unlimbered, were prepared for action. The sun was now just
disappearing and the atmosphere so thick with smoke the eye could not reach to any great
distance. We could not see any of the enemy's movements but the sound of cannon was still
heard both to our right and our left.
Whilst waiting in position I heard some one inquire
in a short quick tone: "Whose command is this?" and turning to look I recognized
General Phil Kearny. I walked up to him and told him I was directed to act as rear guard.
He was a soldierly looking figure as he sat, straight as an arrow, on his house, his empty
sleeve pinned to his breast.
Turning toward me, he said in his curt was:
"You must wait for my command, sir." "Yes," I replied, "I will
wait for all our troops to pass to the rear. Where is your command, General?"
"Off on the right, don't you hear my guns? You must wait for Reno, too,"
"Where is he?" "On the left-you hear his guns? He is keeping up the fight
and I am doing all I can to help." Then in a short bitter tone he broke out with:
"I suppose you appreciate the condition of affairs here, sir?" I did not
understand the remark and only looked inquiringly at him. He repeated: "I suppose you
appreciated the condition of affairs? It's another Bull run, sir, it's another Bull
"Oh!" I said, "I hope not quite as
had as that, General." "Perhaps not. Reno is keeping up the fight. he is not
stampeded. I am not stampeded , you are not stampeded. That is about all, sir, my God
that's about all!"
It is impossible to describe the extreme bitterness
and vehemence with which he uttered these words as he rode away towards his command. two
days afterwards, September 1st, General Kearny was killed at Chantilly. I have seen one of
the last letters he ever wrote, dated the 31st, in which he there alludes to the Battle of
Bull Run:- "The army ran like sheep, all but a General Reno and a General
Gibbon," and in letter dated the next day (since published) he says: "On the
30th nine-tenths of the troops disgracefully fled. I held the entire right until 10 P.M.,
as Reno did the left, and Gibbon the main road."
During the 29th we lay at Manassas Junction near the railroad. On the afternoon we
marched up the Sudley to its crossing of the Warrenton pike and took position in the rear
of and in supporting distance of Gen. Siegels troops who have been engaged all day.
Our Comrades Who Have Fallen
A letter from Lt. Hill of Co. G, 2d Wis.,
gives the names of the following killed at Bull Run on the 28th inst:
John G. Kent, Portage
Gustav Lecleaire, Portage
John Lester, Lowve'c
Owon W. Davis, Kingston
Charles P. Bloom, Wyocnca
Wm. Dean, Portage
Asher Linscott, Portage
Walter L. Plumbstead, Portage
Monroe S. Phillips, Castle Rock
John P. Schildgen, Lancaster
Guy Sherweed, Portage
James A. Snyder, Portage
Trevillian J. Staley, Portage
Thirty-seven of his company were
wounded and two missing. Hill says "I went into the fight with fifty two
men and came out with only eight!
He compliments the action of all the
boys and all the officers speak in the highest terms of the whole regiment.
Lieut. Hill is one of the bravest men
and best officers we ever saw-
He fought in the ranks in several
battles in Mexico and at the first Bull Run he was shot through his left
shoulder after which he very deliberately saved our bacon for us when we didn't
know it from sole leather.
Orderly Kent, rest his great good noble
soul, was one of the best friends we ever had. No words we can utter can express
our love for him. In his boyhood he played on the same Vermont hills we have
roamed among and after sailing the salt seas for five years entered upon the
sphere of manhood with all the noble qualities characterizing the sailor with
none of their vices. We don't believe he ever knowingly wronged a living being.
If ever a man went to war from pure patriotism he did. He loved everything that
was good and hated nothing but meanness and wrong.
The other boys were good, kind merry
soldiers. What days of drill and nights of dance we have had with them! Yet how
soon they fell on the same old field where they fought as they never could fight
elsewhere almost over the graves of those who fell there a year before.
If we live we shall come day plant
roses on their graves.
Death of Capt. J.F. Randolph
Many hearts in this city will be
stricken with the intelligence that Capt. Julius F. Randolph of Co. H, in the
Second Regiment has been killed in battle. We all knew him well and all had the
fullest confidence in his bravery and that he would do his full duty to his
country. He has fallen, a willing sacrifice to the wicked rebellion that has
sprung up to destroy the government, in fighting most manfully for the protection
of that government. No truer or braver man has thus fallen than Captain
Randolph. We all know with what indomitable zeal he entered into the work of
raising and organizing his company on the first call of the President for
troops. His company was among the first to enter Camp Randall for the Second
Regiment; and that company was the pride of his heart. It was thoroughly drilled
and held the first rank among the companies of the excellent regiment to which
it belonged. He led that gallant company in the battle of Bull Run last year and
was then wounded. His conduct on that occasion commanded the admiration of all who
were with him. He was active efficient and brave. Since that time Capt. Randolph
has suffered both from his wound and from disease but his courage and zeal for
the welfare of his country and his men never failed. Of all things, he desired
most to avenge that battle by fighting the rebels upon the same ground. He lived
to go into another battle at the same place but alas! he came not out of it
Capt. Randolph had hosts of friends in
this county who respected him for his real worth and we are not aware that he
had an enemy. He was a good citizen, an excellent mechanic, a true hearted friend
and a brave and gallant soldier - the whole community will deeply morn his loss
and sympathize most sincerely with those who were connected with the decease by
ties stronger than those of mere friendship.
Green grow the grass over the grave of
the gallant and brave!
News from the Battles-- from Private
Several letters were received by
persons in this city this morning from which we are kindly permitted to make a
few extracts. In one from an officer in the Second Regiment from this city dated
at Warrenton, Va., Aug. 25th, we find the following paragraphs:
"I only write to let you know that
I am all right and very well, after being under fire for a great portion of
three days. I cannot tell you anything of what will take place here but
something's up soon.
Major Allen has come back and will not
leave us, he says. He came back on hearing that a fight was on hand. He is
Our Adjutant, C. K. Dean is missing
since last Thursday, the 21st inst. We are very sure he was taken prisoner as he
was sent with an order to the front where a body of rebel cavalry was afterwards
known to have been at the very point he started to go."
The following letter from a friend of
Lt. Col. Fairchild of the 2d regiment we copy entire:
Washington, Aug. 30th 1862
Lt. Col. Cassuis Fairchild-
Dear Sir: - I have just returned from the
battle field. You brother Lucius has escaped unhurt. Col. O'Connor was killed.
Maj. Allen is wounded in the neck and arm. The regiment is all cut to pieces.
The whole brigade is badly cut-up. The following are the names of some of the
officers of the 2d killed and wounded:
Capt. Randolph, dead
Capt. Smith, wounded
Lieut. Baldwin, wounded
Lieut. Bell, wounded
Lieut. Belinger, wounded
Sergeant-Major Wining, wounded bad
And a few others slightly
Nearly all of the corporals and
sergeants are killed and wounded. Privates and officers killed or wounded or
missing number in all over 200. You may not hear from you brother in a number of
days as they are not allowed to send any mail for the present.
From a friend of your brother,
From a private letter to N.W. Dean
Esq., from a gentleman of this city now in Washington, dated in that city Sept
1st, we copy the following paragraph " the star of the great McClellan seems
to be waning fast. It is said at the hotels and upon the street, with how much
truth I cannot say, that he has disobeyed the peremptory orders of the War
Department to move forward his division to the support of Pope, in consequence of
which the greater portion of his command has been taken from him and sent
forward in divisions and placed under the command of Pope.
"Rumor has it that "Little
Mac" is to be placed in command of the new levies, it having been
satisfactorily ascertained that his forte is parading and drilling instead of
fighting. You know that heretofore I have pinned my faith to McC., and had kept
up my confidence in him long after many of his most enthusiastic admirers had
lost theirs. I take it all back now and concede that he is a humbug -" to an
alarming extent" as Artemus Ward would say.
"Sept. 2 - Since writing the
foregoing I have visited one of the hospitals and seen two of the 2d Wisconsin
wounded in the recent battles. One of them told me that he had Col. O' Conner
dead and that the regiment was badly cut up as early as Thursday. At that time
it could muster only 190 men and was drawn off from the field not having been
engaged since. Lt. Col. Fairchild had passed thro' the whole fight without a
scratch up to that time. Major Allen was struck twice with balls, causing simply
flesh wounds not at all serious."
Incidents of the Recent
Battles-Behavior of Officers and Men
The papers of the State are full of
interesting incidents of the recent battles relative to our Wisconsin regiments
contained in letters from those who bore a part in them. They furnish evidence
how steadily coolly and bravely they bought.
A writer in the Grant County Witness
speaking of the battle of Gainesville, says:
The Second was the first ordered on the
hill and through the dense woods that hid the fields, our Regiment was taken. -
double quick, charge bayonets, headed by our gallant Colonel the Second advanced.
I thought we should be ordered to silence a battery; but if that was the
intention, it was given over. The field was reached and into the leaden hail the
Second was ushered. The same old banner carried by the Second through the first
Bull Run fight was there and all seemed determined to avenge the insults heaped
upon it that day. Men are falling in every part of our line yet the ranks are
kept closed. Our Colonel (O'Conner) falls and is carried from the field to die.
Major Allen is wounded in the arm and neck and yet he cheers the men on to
further deeds of daring. At this juncture our line seems to waver - but see! The
line is solid - we have one field officer left - Lieut Col. Fairchild is left us;
and in front of the Regiment, with sleeves rolled up and sword clutched, he gives
the orders in cool distinct language and for an hour and fifteen minutes the men
of the Second Wisconsin fought and fell like heroes.
The 7th Wisconsin, the 6th Wisconsin and
the 19th Indiana all had their share, all fought well!- The entire brigade
gloriously sustained the proud name they so justly have. The Second's loss was
the heaviest - over one half of our regiment was either killed or wounded. We
left on the field two hundred and eighty-six and could only muster one hundred
and thirty four guns next morning. When the regiment slept on their arms that
night (we held the field) Colonel Fairchild could not realize the the Second had
grown so small, with tears in his eyes he asked "Where is the regiment -
they scattered? He was answered, "Colonel this is all that is left of the
Second - the rest lay on the field" A mountain's weight seems lifted from
his soul and in broken tones he exclaims "Thank God they are worthy of
A correspondent of the Mineral Point Tribune, writing of the same battle, says that a captain of the Stonewall Brigade
opposed to them who was taken prisoner asserted that it was the first time it
had been forced to turn its back on the enemy. After
speaking warmly of Col. O'Connor's merits he says: "I cannot speak too
highly of Col. Fairchild, the Second's model; and Allen cannot be beat for
pluck. Gen Gibbon is without doubt the best Brigadier in the service. If he gets
in a bad scrape he is not long in finding a way out. He thoroughly understands
his business and is cool and collected on the fields of battle."
In the Racine Advocate a letter from
the 6th regiment says the battle of the 17th was the grandest of all the many
desperate struggles which the writer had witnessed since he entered the army.
" Our boys, as they fell, would say "never mind me, fight! hold your
position! fight boys don't give up the ground." Such men never can be made to yield
and there never was more undaunted bravery than our men showed.
Another writer to the same paper from the 2d says: "during the struggle
on the 17th, one of the batteries attached to our brigade suffered severely. The
captain and eight men belonging to one piece had been shot by the rebels who
were pressing slowly towards it. The men were about to retire when Gen. Gibbon,
to whom the battery used to belong - sprung from his horse ordered the men to
double shot the gun with canister, sighted it himself and gave the rebels a dose
that turned them back with terrible havoc.
"Our brigade captured six stands of rebel colors during the contest.
Col. Fairchild got off a sick bed to go into the battle. The general told him be
ought not to be on the field but to no purpose. He would not leave till it was
won. I hope he will soon regain his health for he is a splendid officer and
beloved by his men."
Col. Edgar O'Connor
Beloit has to mourn the loss of another brave officer and honored citizen.
Col. Edgar O'Connor, son of Hon. B. O'Connor of this city, has fallen a victim to
this accursed rebellion. The news was received in this city of Saturday last
which caused deep sorrow to pervade the whole community. No news as to the recovery
of the body has been received.
Col. Edgar O'Connor was born in Cleveland, Ohio, August 29, 1833. In his ninth
year his parents removed to Milwaukee in this State. He graduated at West Point
Military Academy in June, 1853. He then served as Lieutenant in the 7th
regular army, until 1859 when he resigned. In 1856 he went with the expedition
that crossed the plains to Santa Fe and Pike's Peak and suffered the greatest
hardships, of which Col. Morrison made special mention. Lieut. O'Connor made a
profile and survey of the route of remarkable accuracy which is now on the books
of the War Department. He was stationed three years at Fort Gibson in the Indian
country where he enjoyed peculiar advantages of perfecting himself in the
military art and becoming acquainted with frontier life. These advantages, it is
needless to say, were most faithfully improved by the young Lieutenant.
In September, 1857, he was united in marriage with Miss Whitfield,
daughter of the Hon. Wm. Whitfield of Arkansas.
The young, heart-stricken widow, a sufferer indeed from this horrid civil
war, is now in this place with her father-in- law, Judge O'Connor.
After his resignation in 1859, he studied law in this city with Rockwell
&Converse, and was admitted to the bar of Rock County in March, 1861.
But his desire to lead the quiet life of a civilian could not be attained. This civil war called him from his chosen retreat. It will be remembered that in
the battle of Bull Run, in July, 1861, the 2d Wisconsin regiment fought most
bravely and desperately and suffered most terrible. The gallant boys came out of
that memorable conflict disorganized for want of competent officers. After that
shameful rout, - shameful to the officers but not to the men, - military talent was
in demand. Col. Coon resigned for reasons not necessary to state here. In looking
about for a man of the proper qualifications to reorganize and save the brave
and suffering 2d regiment, the past services and acknowledged military ability of
Edgar O'Connor were brought to the notice of Gov. Randall. Fortunately for the honor
of the state, the Colonelcy of the regiment was tendered to him and accepted.
Col. O'Connor, although in very poor health, immediately repaired to Washington
and took personal command of the regiment. No one can tell how severely he
suffered from sickness and how diligently and constantly he labored during the
first few months of his command to perfect the organization and drill of his
regiment. But his heart was in the work and his honor and pride were at stake
and he nobly, bravely, persevered and was soon rewarded by being known and honored
as the Colonel of the best drilled, most soldier like regiment of the grand army
of the Potomac. Since March last he has been in perfect health and has been
constantly with his regiment, doing with it every duty and sharing with it every
In this connection we would call special attention to an article of the first
page from the Milwaukee Wisconsin headed Wisconsin Brigades which was
printed in that paper and inserted in our form before the Sad news of his death
reached us. It is a deserved tribute to soldiership. His constant attention to his
duties and his military abilities would have soon been reward by a brigadier
But he had run his course and Thursday, August 28, was the last of the earthly
career of Col. Edgar O' Connor, The 2d Wisconsin was in King's division of
McDowell's corps which was engaged in the battle on Thursday. The gallant boys
fought near their old battle ground and between Manassas and Warrenton lost
their brave and much loved Colonel.
The Battles of Friday and Saturday
NARRATIVE OF AN EYE-WITNESS
Special Correspondence of the New York Tribune
Centreville, V., 5 A.M. Sunday Aug. 31,
1862-the battles of yesterday and the
day before on the already classic ground of Bull Run will rank with Napoleon's
bloodiest and more than one general fought in them to who ere this hour he
would have given a Marshal's baton, while he would have made proud a hundred
privates with the ribbon of the Legion of Honor.
Let me first detail the movements by which the two day struggle was brought
While at Warrenton early on Wednesday, I learned that Jackson was in our rear
and that we should once more try to trap him. Sigel and McDowell marched that
morning up the turnpike from Warrenton forward Centreville where the enemy was
supposed to be. This road passes through Bull Run battle-field five miles west
of Centreville. Hooker, Porter and Reno moved from our left (now as we faced
about, toward Washington becomes our right) toward the same point via Manassas
Junction. Sigel, in advance of McDowell, reached Gainesville, four mile from the
Bull Run field that night and came upon the enemy's cavalry and stragglers.
Resting a few hours, by 3 o'clock he was moving. The enemy did not appear in
front and leaving McDowell to take care of that road, Sigel turned to the right
to connect with Hooker at Manassas Junction. Hooker had fought near there on
Wednesday (of which I will speak in a moment), and it was possible he needed
When within two miles of the Junction, Sigel learned that the enemy was on the
Warrenton Road and turning short to the left, he marched to the south side of the
Bull Run field. It was then 6 P.M. McDowell, who, as before stated, had remained on
that road between the enemy and Warrenton, had been throwing shell some hours and
now we could hear musketry. Gaining the heights where Hunter bought a year ago
and approaching the turnpike, we could locate the scene of the engagement by the
line of musketry flashes. It was King's division, repelling the enemy in his
attempt to escape toward Warrenton. The affair lasted two hours and King held
the field. We had come upon the enemy's left flank. - Schenck's division became
partially engaged, gave the enemy's cavalry a few shell, then the whole corps
rested for the night. At the very time King was fighting on the Warrenton Road,
Ricketts was engaged fighting rebel reinforcements coming up through
Thoroughfare Gap, five mile further west. He was compelled, having suffered a loss
of 250, to withdraw and join King after the latter had finished his day's work. Reynolds's
division (Pa. reserves), then temporarily with McDowell's corps, was in the same
The situation then, Friday morning, was this: Sigel's corps (divisions of
Schurz, Milroy, Steinwehr, and Schenck) on the Bull Run field, fronting to the
West, was close against the enemy; McDowell's corps nearly connected with Sigel
on the latter's left but was not within fighting distance of the enemy.
Heintzelman's corps (Divisions of Hooker and Kearney, and Reno's corps) were at Centreville,
coming down the turnpike, which would have made them upon Sigel's right.
Porter was back-seven or eight miles - in Sigel's rear. These corps - Sigel's Reno's,
Heintzelman's, McDowell's and Porter's - were all that were
engaged at any time during the two day's, Friday and Saturday. They came upon
the field in the order I have named them.
Fortunately I had been with Sigel during his two days march to find the enemy
and was with him now that it fell to him to open the main struggle. His corps
had held the advance under heavy artillery fire on the Rappahannock the four
previous days and had now marched two days, a part of the time in line of battle and
taking but four hours rest. They moved into a battle, not a skirmish, not an affair, not
an action, not an engagement but a great battle, for such are the names given to
fights in the order of their magnitude.
Long before daylight Sigel had visited every position of his line, had seen to
the placing of every battery and with the daylight his artillery sounded. The
"Jessie Scouts"- transferred by Fremont to Sigel - reported the enemy as
massed in and beyond a stretch of woods a mile long, west of, and running nearly
parallel with, the road. Their line, however, extended on their right to the road
where they had guns on commanding heights on their left to Bull Run stream with
a battery or two across upon the north side. Sigel's line was opposite, on the
south side of the road.
The first hour it was all artillery. Sigel was advancing battery after
battery to this and that eminence, supporting each with a brigade, hearing the
report of scouts, sending cavalry now far to the right, now far to the left ,gradually advancing his divisions in cover of hills
upon which he had placed
guns- in a word, feeling for the enemy rapidly advancing but cautiously every
step. The enemy disdained to make any fight -but not for long .
His artillery was compelled to answer ours and pressing on, we unearthed his
infantry. There was a light rattle, then a roar of musketry. Milroy, in the
advance, had come square upon rebels in masses. Our line of battle was formed,
Schurz having the right, Schenck, the left, Milroy, the advance centre, Steinwehr,
the reserve center.
Just at this opening of the battle I saw, from the hill from which Schurz was
going into action, a column bearing down upon our right and at first supposed
them to be rebels. Unaccountably, as they arrived, high over their heads were sundry white
flags and they appeared to march straggling and it was soon seen they were unarmed.
They proved to be 634 prisoners taken by Jackson when he appeared at Manassas
three days before, now released on parole. The enemy could not feed them and
would themselves starve unless reinforcements should push to them with supplies.
A little after Milroy, Schurz became engaged. They drove the enemy a mile or
more and rested from outright fatigue.-
During this time Schenck had been engaged on the left but not heavily. Tough
old Heintzelman arrived at this juncture from Centerville with his whole corps.
- Schurz was withdrawn from action, Kearney and Hooker to take his place. Reno
arrived soon after from the same direction. Steven's division of his own corps
marched to the left to support Schenck and the attack was once more along the
I should have stated that some time before the cessation, Milroy, after two
hours of musketry in tornadoes, was driven back much cut to pieces and replaced
by Steinwehr, who was assisted by Schenck at his left.
It was now 1 o'clock. Sigel's corps only had been engaged and we had, on the
whole, gained ground - at the right, nearly a mile. It was reasonable to suppose
that with the assistance of Reno and Heintzelman, and most of the day before us,
we should utterly demolish the enemy.
It has since appeared that simultaneously with our reinforcements, he received
larger ones, Longstreet's whole command whose passage through Thoroughfare Gap
Ricketts had disputed the day before, had now joined Jackson and Ewell, whom we
had been fighting hitherto. Longstreet would naturally join Jackson at his
right; it was upon our left and occasionally our center that we were most severely
pressed the remainder of the day.
Up to this time, Sigel had command of the field. He had made the disposition before
the fight and conducted it success fully six hours. Pope arrived from Centerville
about noon and assumed command but wisely and generously deferred to
Sigel the rest of the day as being best acquainted with the position.
At 2 o'clock the fight was raging along the whole line terrifically musketry,
like Gaines's Mill and Artillery, like Malvern Hills. There was not ten minutes
cessation at any one time for the next three hours. We advanced not a step, we
retired not a step. The energy of War - men, guns and villainous saltpeter
seemed equal, each side to the other. At 5 o'clock Schenck was ordered back from
the left and the artillery of that wing fell back to the next eminence.
During the three hours scarcely a regiment of the three corps on the field
that had not been into the thickest. Promptly and skillfully as a command would
be come, exhausted, it would be replaced by another but only for a brief rest, then
to up and at it. These splendid "passages of lines," as such movements
are technically called, seem to me a feature that ought not to pass uncommented. Gaines's
Mill would have been a victory had such movements been made promptly and
The withdrawal of the left was not a giving up of the battle, troops were
rushed to the right and a redoubled onset made there. Again the enemy was forced
back. His left was swept upon his centre - we took him "endways" in
flank. - While the infantry fought those, our artillery, eleven batteries in line,
played stunningly, each gun pointed well to the left that no unlucky shell might
harm a friend.
We could move the rebels no further than their center. Musketry in rolls, in
crashes, sounded out of the spot of woods where our advance was, stayed how
tenaciously the enemy, held their ground. I cannot hope to adequately
Schurz fought - ask any eye-witness of the conduct of his men led by the orator
It was 6 o'clock. The enemy not only held his center but advanced upon our
left. It was critical.
Opportunely, McDowell's corps appeared coming to our relief. Two brigades
(Hatch's and Doubleday's) immediately met the enemy's advance upon our left and,
although suffering, terribly stayed him until dark.
The day's work was ended. We held more ground than in the morning but not so
much as at noon.
The day wore away until noon with a continuance of desultory shelling ("bumi'n,"
the butternut prisoners call it,) Gen. Pope, on horse the whole time, giving
orders, rapid and imperative each, carried instantly by a galloping aid, receiving
reports from all parts of the field and never detaining the messenger long for
his reply, from each eminence sweeping the position with his glass- he was
evidently ascertaining the position of the enemy and determined to fight if he
stood or if he ran.
Porter's corps had arrived on the ground at 9 o'clock from Manassas making
five corps ready for action. The number of men comprised in these, I should
estimate at 60,000. Hooker's division had but 2,441 men in the ranks so terribly
has it shrunk by battle and disease.
In the order of battle for the day Heintzelman commanded the right, Porter the
center, McDowell the left and Sigel, whose corps had borne the brunt the day
before, the reserve. At 10, Heinizelman advanced skirmishers into the wood on the
right of the battle field of the day before and found it only held by a few
troublesome bushwhackers. Driving them back, large numbers of wounded were got
off, and passed to the rear.
At 2 o'clock, by the movements of troops from right to left, I inferred that
the positions of the enemy had been found in that direction. By this time our
line was different from that of the day before.
Our right was further advanced, our left withdrawn so that we fronted almost
to the South. At Bull Run a year ago we faced exactly south.
At 3 o'clock, Gen. Stevens attacked at the right soon after, Gen. Butler held
at the left. The enemy's shells seemed equally distributed along the whole line
and at each point of attack he met us with musketry.
I was at Gen. Sigel's headquarters.- That general was certain the enemy
intended to turn one or the other of our flanks and said we must ascertain which
or the result was at the best doubtful for his scouts had just reported that Lee,
with the entire remainder of the rebels army, had come up and assumed command.
The scouts were correct. On Saturday we fought the whole rebel army.
Posting myself in the center within view of both portions of the field where
infantry were engaged, I could not determine which had the best of it. Evidently
but few troops were engaged and I surmised that we were fighting merely to learn
where lay the enemy's main force. At length our force at the right was driven
back and I thought Gen. Pope had been outgeneraled when he moved men at an
earlier part of the day from right to left.
A quarter of an hour later, I wished he had moved a still greater proportion
to the left. I have heard the musketry of the best contested battles fought in
Virginia and I say, unhesitatingly, that the fire which broke out on the left and
up to the center was by far the heaviest of any. Talk of volleys and rolls and
crashes! It was all these, continually accumulating, piling upon each other in
mighty swelling volume - the wrestle of a rushing tornado, such as chaos may have
known. From my position it seemed that artillery played from each of the
cardinal points upon the devoted center where I knew men were struggling. I
could not see them struggling. The smoke of gunpowder prevented that but I knew
they were there and I trembled for the result. A few minutes later, Schurz, who
was in reserve, was ordered to the left. Before he could get fairly into
position, McDowell and Porter were irretrievably broken. Their soldiers fought
like brave men; if moments be reckoned by their intensity, they fought long as
they surely did fight well. Rebel slain as Halleck sings of Moslem slain by
Buzzari's band. I believe there cannot be a man who heard or participated in
that awful tragedy, but counts the hour between 4.5 and 5.5 o'clock the severest
fighting he ever knew. It was all at one point. Along the right half of the line,
the combatants seemed to desist in amazement at the struggle there. By half after
5 it was apparent the we were being outflanked by a concentration upon the
left. Wagoner's and stragglers about the hospitals scented the retreat and soon
trains of the former and streams of the latter could be seen making for the Bull
Run bridges and fords. McDowell's and Porter's corps retired in comparative
I do not think there was a brigade that could not, as it came from the field,
show it's distinct regiments or rather a nucleus of each regiment to whose
standard ere it had marched a mile, its scattered men gathered. Still there were
several thousands hurrying pell mell in advance of them toward Centreville,
crowding the stone bridge and wading the stream. A dozen long wagon trains
centered there but there was little confusion among them, no desertion wagons but
simply a jam where each desired and pushed to be first. They were thus cool, not
withstanding a few shell burst among them all this time the, so soon as we fell
back from the left, the musketry almost entirely ceased.
CAUSE OF OUR DEFEAT ON SATURDAY
Another correspondent writes:
Gen. Reno said that the real cause of our defeat was want of supplies. The
horses had had hardly anything to eat for from three to five days and the men
had fared little better. His words were borne out by the voracity with which
staff officers, who usually have the best opportunities to secure what is to be
had, devoured their breakfasts today. In spite of this, however, in spite of all draw
backs to some of which it is not yet time to allud,e Ben Reno and all the
officers with whom my informant talked agreed that a column of ten thousand fresh
troops would have changed the fortunes of the day.
"Where is Franklin?" "Where is Summer?" was the question.
The answer I have given you in a previous letter. Franklin's officers said they
were ready to march on Tuesday and were expecting the order. On Wednesday they
were allowed a day's leave. On Thursday and Friday they were kept in camp
momentarily expecting an order. That it came and kept coming from Gen. Halleck
and was countermanded by Gen. McClellan you already know.
THE CAMPAIGN & ITS POLICY BY A MEMBER OF GEN. POPE'S STAFF.
The following is an abstract of the
campaign of Major General Pope, furnished
by a distinguished officer upon his staff. It is written evidently with a view
to defend Gen. Pope from any of the imputations cast upon him for the retreat of
his army from the Rapidan. The strictures upon other generals contained in it
may be referred to his partiality for the general in command.
We give it as we receive it:
POPE'S CAMPAIGN ITS POLICY
To the editors of the N.Y. Herald
Gen. Pope and staff left Washington on the 27th of July and visiting the
camps of McDowell in and about Warrenton; of Banks in and about little
Washington; and of Sigel in and about Sperryville, put these corps in march for
the Rapidan ,reached Culpepper on the 6th August where McDowell's corps had
already concentrated. The activity of the cavalry from McDowell's and Sigel's
corps had already alarmed Richmond and the raids of Hatch, Crawford and King on
the confederate lines had brought Jackson's entire army, 35,000 strong to the
Rapidan. Constantly informed by the people of the country of all the positions,
strength and movements of Pope's army, the enterprise of Stonewall Jackson was
stimulated with the conviction that he could cross the Rapidan fall upon
McDowell at Culpepper and, in detail, cut up that corps and Sigel before they
could be united. His intentions were perceived by Pope and hurrying Banks and
Sigel forward by rapid night marches, Pope threw the troops of Banks over Cedar
Run on the morning of the 9th, posting them for defense and moving to their
support Rickett's division of McDowell's corps. But Jackson perceiving the value
of time barely gave Banks time to take position before opening upon him from
commanding positions, seven batteries, strongly posted. The rebels had every
advantage of ground and it was clear to Banks that they had to be driven from
their positions or that his lines had to fall back. He accordingly fell upon
them and the memorable battle of Cedar Mountain on the 9th of August, a conflict
of arms, of audacity and severity that has few parallels in any war resulting in
a drawn battle, was the first of the series of bloody conflicts with the Army of Virginia.
The effect of this battle is well known in the country. It compelled the entire
army of Jackson to retreat toward the Rapidan and startled all Richmond with the
conviction that nothing but overwhelming forces could drive Pope's invincible
troops from the lines of communication of that city. Eight thousand of Banks
corps had met Jackson's entire army and held them in check, untill the
reinforcements of Rickett's division at sundown enabled our exhausted troops to
hold the field. Sigel's army arrived within supporting distance in the night and
the two armies laid before each other an entire day meeting on the field and by
mutual consent removed their wounded and buried their dead. Under a truce,
consented to on the field, Jackson moved his entire baggage train to the rear of
the Rapidan and fell back with his forces under the cover of the night,
recrossing that river.
Gen. Pope immediately moved forward taking a position beyond the field of the
battle. He was here joined by Reno's forces of Burnside's corps.
The capture of a confidential letter from Gen. Robt. E. Lee to Gen. Stuart
revealed to Gen. Pope the intentions of the enemy; they were to throw
overwhelming forces upon him, cut off his rear, and, in fact, annihilate, if
possible, his entire army.
Without delay Gen. Pope put his entire army in motion to the rear intending
to hold position behind the protecting waters of the Rappahannock. In this he
succeeded without loss.
Gen. Lee, having by this time assumed command and brought forward the main
army of Richmond, moved rapidly upon Gen. Pope in three columns of immense
strength on the three main forts of the Rappahannock before which, in such
overwhelming numbers, he laid eight days fruitlessly attempting to force the
passage of this river.
Having been thwarted in his attempt at the Rappahannock bridge and the fords
below, it was discovered that he was passing his columns to the left in the direction
of Waterloo bridge and the upper fords. Gen Pope immediately moved towards
Sulphur Springs and Warrenton and at this point, under sever artillery conflicts
of three days, prevented the passage of Lee's forces, and forced him to pass
still further to our right in the direction of the Manassas Gap. R. R. by the Thoroughfare
Gap, evidently meaning to gain our rear in the direction of Centerville and
Fairfax C. H.
Pope again fell back from Warrenton and its vicinity toward Manassas. He had
been reinforced ere this at Warrenton Junction by Hooker's and Kearney's
divisions of the Army of the Potomac and the Pennsylvania reserve corps under
The enemy succeeded in gaining his rear and cut his line of communication,
destroying the bridge on the railroad rear Kettle Run.
Hooker's division had advanced meeting the main force of the rebel Gen. Ewell
near this point where a desperate battle ensued resulting in the utter route of
the rebels. Ewell rapidly retreated leaving his wounded on the field and his
dead unburied. Hooker followed and the combat was continued by these forces for
several miles on their line of retreat and only ended by the approach of
Rapidly pushing forward this success, Pope's entire army was speedily put in
motion at daylight next morning, driving Jackson, who was at Manassas Junction
across Bull Run towards Centreville where the forts were and where he rallied
his forces. the desperate engagements of Thursday, Friday and Saturday then
Pope had detached to his left in the direction of
Gainesville, King's division
of McDowell's corps d'arme e, interposing that force between the reinforcement
under Longstreet then advancing by the Thoroughfare Gap and the armees of Ewell,
Hill and Jackson, near the old field of Manassas.
FitzJohn Porter with his corps had arrived at Manassas and was immediately
directed by Gen. Pope to proceed on the Manassas and Gainesville road to support
King's division and attack the enemy on his right flank which rested on the
Manassas Gap Railroad, while Pope advanced the balance of his army to attack them
Gibbons brigade was the first to engage the enemy beyond Gainesville and
towards Thoroughfare Gap. That gallant officer held in check and drove back with
his single brigade the entire corps under Longstreet. This was on Thursday and
the first of the series of desperate battles that made memorable the bloody
fields on which they were contested.
The public are already advised of the result of their actions. It is not therefore
necessary to mention in detail. They were fought with desperation and stubbornness
by both armies and with a slaughter that will ever memorize them in the history
The battle of Friday was commenced by General Heintzelman's corps supported
by McDowell and Sigel and resulted, after a continuous battle from eight in the
morning until sunset, in our obtaining the possession the field with the enemy's
Killed and wounded in our hands. Porter already in advance at Manassas received
orders here to fall upon the right flank of the enemy and to commence the attack
the moment Heintzelman engaged the center; but for reasons unsatisfactory to
General Pope and which are a mystery to the entire army, after a feeble
demonstration on the enemy, Porter retired to Manassas leaving the forces of
Heintzelman, McDowell and Sigel to sustain the powerful attack of the
confederate armies of Virginia commanded by Lee and Johnston who had arrived and
effected a junction with Jackson's, Longstreet's, Hill's and Ewell's divisions
making a combined army of two hundred thousand men that engaged the Battle of
the ensuing day Saturday.
It does not seem to admit of peradventure that had Porter obeyed the orders
of Gen. Pope and attacked the enemy's right flank while Pope was successfully
driving their centre and forcing them back on Friday the whole of Jackson's army
would have been utterly routed and the grater portion of it captured.
The conduct of General Porter gave great dissatisfaction to Gen. Pope and the
army generally. General Porter sent, at night, a note to General Pope, assigning as
a reason for his falling back to Manassas that he supposed General Pope to be in
retreat. He was answered by an order to report immediately in person to
headquarters in the field and bring his force to the front before daylight in
the morning.- These orders were complied with and Porter's corps were brought
upon the field and placed in position early on Saturday.
During the night of Friday the enemy had changed position advantageously by a
movement on their right flank upon the high crests along the Manassas railroad
from Gainesville. The reinforcements under Jackson had arrived on this line and
made a position, naturally strong, yet stronger by massing overwhelming forces and
pushing them upon Pope's left flank.
Pope, discovering the intention of the enemy to turn his left flank, made rapid
movement to strengthen that flank, while with Porter's corps he attacked the left
and centre of the enemy's lines. This attack brought on the general engagement
of Saturday, in which every regiment, brigade and corps of the army, in their
proper order, were brought into action. This contest was terrific and finally
resulted in our holding the field till far in the night when our forces, out of
ammunition and exhausted by the fatigue of four days fighting and the marches of
the previous fifteen days, fell back to the stronger position of Centreville
The movement was conducted in order, not a wagon of supplies of any kind
having been left on the field or on the road and with no loss of ordnance save
some four pieces of field artillery so disabled as not to be removable from the
Centreville, a position of great strength and with field works of great
capacity held by that officer the following three days, when it was discovered
that the enemy was so crippled by the disasters of the previous battles as not
to admit of facing this position. They, however, began again attempting to
outflank the position and to cut out thr rear in the direction of Fairfax Court
House on the Little River road.
Pope promptly put in motion Heintzelman's and Reno's corps in the direction
of the enemy with orders to intercept them.
These forces came upon the enemy near Chantilly and the combat of Monday
ensued, resulting in the rout of three army corps of the rebel army by less than one third
the number of Union troops. The confederates were here driven one mile and a
half from their original position and the utter destruction of this portion of
their army was prevented only by a tornado which arose at this juncture of such
violence as to render further pursuit impossible.
The cost of this decisive victory was great as two of our most gallant and distinguished
officers sealed it with their blood, Generals Kearney and Stevens.
This success enabled Pope again to fall back and to reach without loss or
disaster Fairfax Court House with his troops, trains and supplies.
Here he had resolved to establish his lines and make a final stand, convinced that he could secure and hold lines of communication with Washington and
Alexandria. But in the course of the day, he was instructed from Washington to
fall back in front of the lines of defense for that city.
This was accomplished in the course of the day and following night with a
success unparalleled in the movements of modern armies.
It has enabled the entire army of the Peninsula to withdraw from its position
of difficulty and danger there. The armies of the Potomac and Virginia have been
united in front of the lines near Washington making the capital not only secure
from any attempt at its capture but enabling us to reorganize in a position to
fall upon the enemy's rear and flank in whatever direction his forces may move.
It is mere justice to Gen. Pope that the public should know that all of his
movements have been made dependent upon reinforcements and support at fixed
times and places from others; relying upon such support he has been disappointed
both as to times and places of succor.-
Yet depending upon the small forces of his immediate command he has succeeded
without disaster or defeat in falling back pursued by overwhelming forces
holding them in check and giving them battle at different points on sixteen
LETTER FROM A SOLDIER
St. Joseph Hospital, Phil.,
To Gen. Taylor:
Being out of humor with myself and everybody else I thought I would vent my
spite on somebody by writing him a long tedious letter and I could not think of
any one else to pick on but you so here goes:
I have been lying in this delectable town a little over a month in the
hospital. This is what you can call being a thousand mile away from home, dead
strapped, although I get plenty to eat and a bed to sleep in; which is more that
many a poor devil of a soldier gets now-a-days.
When I left home, I had a kind of a striking presentiment that if ever I got
shot, it would be in the back but I wasn't for after cruising around in this god
forsaken land called Dixie for over a year and having one good fight where we
got licked and I run like the devil for Washington on a race with old Ben Wade,
the Senator from Ohio, but he beat me, for I believe he was more frightened that
I was and that was useless. So much for Bull Run number One.
After that we did not do much fighting but a right smart heap of walking for
we (the 2d) have done more marching than any other regiment in Virginia and I
know every foot of ground between Washington and Fredericksburg as well as I do
every plank between my house and Stillman's. After little Mac got drove away
from Richmond, they sent us a Western General called Pope so he thought he would
do a big thing on his watch, so he fooled around until old Stonewall got in his
rear at Manassas; so back we had to go and we had another battle right where we
had our first one. After we had been at it about an hour some careless greyback
hit me in the head with a mine ball which smashed my skull and fixed me out for
two or three months at least. My wound healed up once but broke out again and is
about as bad as it was at first. two pieces of bone have come out and there is
another one to come yet and then it will heal up and, I hope, stay healed for I am
getting sick of staying in a hospital. I think we have had our full share of
fighting but if I have to go back to the regiment, I shall go without growling
for as yet they have not got me frightened and if I have to fight another battle
I will go in game and fight like a butcher boy from the wild west. I have not
changed one bit since I left home for I am the same wild grassy little devil as
Maybe you think a year's soldiering has made an old man of the boy but I am
as ever a bully boy with a glass eye and I am bound to blow my horn if I don't
sell a fish that is me while I go I'll jump in if I don't stay a minute.
Are they getting many recruits around Racine and has George Williamson filled
up his company yet?
I saw George Elmore last summer in Fredericksburg, he told me if ever I wrote
to any of you, to sent his respects, he is the same old chip that he was when in Racine.
He says he shall come out to Racine and see you boys when he leaves the government
The last I heard of the boys they were all right. If you see a Wisconsin
paper with the names of the killed and wounded and I wish you would send it to
me as I don't know who is gone or who is not; but I suppose a good many of our
poor fellows were laid low as they have been in several battles since last I saw
them. I heard that Capt. Parsons was wounded but how true it is I don't know. I
wish they would send us home until we get well as I don't like being kept in a
strange place. I hear the Governor is trying to get us home and I hope he will
succeed. Give my regards to all of the boys and tell them I am getting along
finely. I have written quite a long letter and must now close hoping to hear from
I remain ever your friend
Lyman C. Ewen
Death of Col. O'Connor of the 2d Regiment
In the special dispatch to the
Chicago Tribune under date of the 29th, we find
"Col. McConnell of the 2d Wisconsin was killed during the fight
This doubtless refers to Edgar O'Connor of Beloit in this State who commanded
the 2d Regiment. Col. O'Connor received his commission as Colonel of this
regiment soon after the battle of Bull Run and although a partial loss of the
use of his voice has prevented him from taking active command a portion of the
time, the regiment has made excellent progress in the science of military since
he took charge of it. He was a graduate of West Point and had had considerable
experience in the U.S. Army, so that his consul was of vast importance to the discipline
of the regiment even though he could not take entire command. His regiment is
understood to rank among the very best on the service. His fall in battle will
be deeply lamented by a large circle of friends in this State. He was a son of
the Hon. B. O'Connor of Beloit.
CRUEL TREATMENT OF COL. O'Connor by the Rebels-
The Dryden News published in
Tompkins County, New York contains a letter from
D. C. McGregor who was wounded in the same engagement in which Col. O'Connor was
killed. Among other incidents on the battle field he relates the following:
"Col. O'Connor of the 2d Wisconsin laid on the ground almost dead from a
wound in the bowels when a lieutenant of the rebel army stepped up and took hold
of the colonel's feet and said:
"God damn you, Yankee Colonel, I want those boots and pulled them off.
It hurt the Colonel so, he screamed that they might spare his life; but the
Lieutenant paid no attention to him and pulled both his boots off. He said he
would have to pay $15 for such boots in Richmond and it was clear gain to wear a
dammed Yankee Colonel's Boots."
HOW HE DIED-
A correspondent of Milwaukee Wisconsin gives the following account of
"Col. O'Connor of the 2d is dead Killed on Thursday. After being wounded, he
talked to his men that crowded around him, urging them to fight to the death for
the "Good old flag" He was shot while gallantly leading his men.
Yours in haste
L. B. S. Miller