From the 6th Regiment
Aug. 13th, 1863
Editor Republic-On the 2d inst. we crossed over to the south side of the Rappahannock, where we remained in line of battle until yesterday, when we were relieved, and recrossed the river to go into camp. the prospect of having a little rest after two months of continual marching and Hardships is at this time far from unpleasant.
Since leaving Fredericksburg on the 12th of last June, we have halted at no one place long enough to give it the title of a camp. the present state of affairs indicates strongly that the Army of the Potomac had reached a place where it will halt for a short time, not so much to rest itself or remain inactive while the oppressive heat of 'august passes away as to be strengthened by the draft. It is really only pausing for assistance, and a people that will acknowledge its bravery and prowess of fields which challenge the world to excel in deeds of valor, will not murmur when called upon to assist in completing the great work which has been so nobly begun. The men in the army wish from their full hearts, that the force for which we are now waiting was already with us that we might push on and strike the blow that terminates the rebellion. Give us two hundred thousand conscripts, and the last cool breeze of October will probably find us measuring arms with the enemy in the last great battle of the war. But the opinion is entertained that Gen. Lee may in the meantime attack we and is substantiated by the fact that the low egg to which the southern cause gas innately sunk readers it necessary for them to enter on some active plan somewhere, to give food for encouragement and allay the spirit of reaction which has become so manifest in portions of the confederacy. They are forcing all able bodies men into their army, and the usual promptness with which they do everything of the kind, makes such an action on their part seem not altogether improbable. Our army with the Rappahannock as its base is prepared for the attack whenever Gen. Lee chooses to make it.
Our regiments do not increase so rapidly since the battle Gettysburg as they did after Antietam. The army had many stragglers in the Maryland campaign last fall, who came up after the fighting was over. The evil does not exist this year. In a note which I sent you while at Gettysburg, I promised to give you some of the details of our battle at that place, but I have been prevented from doing so by want of time, and I do not now propose to more than glance at the beginning of that great battle, which is fraught with so many thrilling and interesting details. It is a fact to be regretted that our able correspondents were not present during the first day's fighting but reported it on what they could gleam from the statements of others.
It would be remembered that the 1st corps, which did the fighting the first day did not fight behind entrenchments, but took the enemy of the open field, in a railroad ditch in timber and wherever it could find him. It was a sudden, earnest beginning, which continued, with almost unparalleled determination long after either side had become weakened broken up, exhausted and only when Ewell came up with fresh troops could the enemy say the day was his.-
A disaster to us, the loss of a dear and able General may be called the opening of the battle. The bullet that struck Gen. Reynolds, robbed us of one of the brightest ornaments of our army-a patriot, a gentleman and a soldier, But such are the necessary fruits of war; bullets are he respecters of persons or if they are the good and great are the objects of their sting. The profession of a soldier stands at the head of all professions in responsibility.
A commander holds in his hands the life-blood of thousands. He who site with cool calculation and says, "I sacrifice so many lives to gain such a step."
"The possession of that hill will cost five thousand lives," &c. &c. yet in consideration of the gain makes the sacrifice, is calmly measuring out souls for principles. It is the part of such men to devote every energy to make themselves masters of their sacred calling, and after a life time devoted to such preparation, it becomes them at times to expose themselves where a single stroke may destroy it all. I cannot see how general r. can be charged with rashness in this battle. It began with a struggle for the ridge on the west side of the city, and the General sought to dispose of his force so as to gain it. The ridge he gained but lost his life.
As we approached the field there was joking in the ranks but it was dry for the men knew they were going into battle; a battery had all ready opened and at such a time no mind is perfectly free from that cloud of uncertainty which hangs over every battlefield until you are in the fight, when the sensation is dispelled. Going into battle is like turning the leaf of a brook to read at the top of the next page one of the words life death. But if you can look over the field and anything engages your attention thereon you will think less of yourself. As we reared the science of action the band at the head of the brigade fell out and played us on. They give their instruments the fell extent of their powerful lungs the exmbals chime with the heavy bass and now and then the voice of a cannon drowns it all. this had an effect the men caught the step and moved with spirit prepared for all that followed. It brought to my mind a remark which I heard Judge Clark make in the Methodist Church at one time in relation to the power of music, and its being employed to impel men to great exertions and strife in back gninses sometimes as well as good, The battle as I said before opened suddenly and earnestly Gen. Cutler's Brigade leads and the Iron Brigade follows. Half the field is hidden from our view as we approach by a strip of timber and there is a collision almost before we know it. The 2d brigade dashes forward and receives a murderous fire but they keep on a bold front and win bringing back a squad of prisoners. The is brigade except the 6th Wis. is rushed into the fray on the double quick men are shot down before they have loaded their pieces but they' re undaunted and another lot of prisoners coming back is the cheering result it is close work however the enemy knows the ground better than we and is pressing us hard. A discovery is made; a R. R. cut running at right angles to our battle line, and to the right is filled with rebel troops which the enemy as succeeded in moving up. They commence firing on the rear of our line whew! they have entered on the plan of capturing us! Gen. Wadsworth sees there is not a moment to be lost. The front must be changed or we are lost. The 6th Wis. is ordered to check their advance on the right, and engages them at once. the forces are somewhat disorganized; they cannot wait for reformation, but they are in and must fight, and those who strike hardest and fastest will be the victors. Regiments wheel and face the enemy but we are being punished badly while the enemy is shielded in the cut. A charge is ordered and made fearful storm! a crash- they mingle. It is the coming together of two battle lines in which the weaker is absorbed in the stronger. The 2d and 3d divisions are up and in position We change fronts once more and occupy the ridge. while here we are permitted a little respite, and we look at ourselves to to see who are hurt. Then we see that havoc has made sad breaches in our ranks; Regiments are without field officers-Company's are without commanders our General is dead, Look at your company seven are gone-nine remain Admire the remnant. Most of them bear the marks of bullets on their clothing. One is suffering from a spent ball, which almost renders his arm useless. Day fight may be seen through one's hat where a bullet has perforated just grazing his forehead; he did not know when it was done. We are to advance again: The men are quite exhausted, and some throw down their knapsacks. One was reminded that there was something in his knapsack he would want after the battle and he remarked, "I do not expect to live through the battle." He is a hero, and the term bravery when applied to such men is a weak expression. The more you se them it action, where their greatness is most brilliant the more you will love them.
A WORD FOR THE DEAD
Bodley Jones, a little fellow of a light complexion and brown hair intelligent, perceptive active with an ingenious and laughing nature that made him companionable; happy in doing his duty proud of his regiment, his State, and above all the colors under which he fought died in a charge which in fierceness and daring has rarely been equaled never excelled since the beginning of the war. A charge in which had the captives been on the surface instead of in a ditch, where many of them dared not rise to fire because it exposed them thus serving their own injury, they could have annihilated their victory. He died in a cause in which his whole heart was engaged and always went into battle in earnest. He loved his companions his home and his parents and it was reciprocated He allowed me to read a letter once which he received from his aged and patriotic father, in which that sensible parents made the remark, I wish I had more sons to go in the army and were I a few years younger I would shoulder a gun and go myself. It stirs my blood to hear there copperheads talk, If all parents wrote thus encouragingly to their sons in the army we should be stronger.
Wm. Pearson, who was killed at the same time had been in all the battle in whch his regiment had been engaged and never before had been injured by a bullet. His home is in Ironton, and he was one of the three brothers of the family who came out with co. A. He was cool in battle, and was one of the best marksmen in the regiment.
Uriah Palmer, who was fatally wounded and has since died was wounded in that great battle which stands next to Gettysburg in magnitude and fierceness-Antietam. He was generous bold and independent and of such a nature the it was beyond the scope of human power to intimidate him.
Three more have fell as brave
men only fall,
H. J. H.
Arrival of Gen. Cutler-
We announced on Friday that Gen. Cutler would arrive here on Saturday. The General arrived on the noon train from Chicago and was met at the depot by a committee from the Chamber of Commerce who had proceeded there is carriages, and escorted to chamber of Commerce. On his arrival there he was welcomed by a band of music, and on entering the rooms, was greeted by enthusiastic cheers by a large throng which had assembled to do honor to the gallant soldier. He stopped in the centre the ball and was welcomed by Mat H. Carpenter with the following eloquent and thrilling address.!
I am here sir on behalf of the chamber of commerce to welcome you home. Hot that we think we can confer honor upon you. Honor is won by deeds not conferred by words; and you have taken good care not to leave your laurels to be offered by friendly hands at home; you have snatched them, in the deadly strife, earned them dearly and well in the noblest cause for which a patriot ever unsheathed his sword. But we are here to allow that we appreciate you services and suffering in out and our county behalf here to welcome you have a representing of the army composed of our neighbors and friends freemen and the lovers of freedom not an army representing the mere brut force of a nation but containing members of all trades and profession recruited from all the walks and departments of life and society.