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1862 April, Seventh
Mrs. Stephen Durkee sends for publication the
following extract from a private letter from her husband who is a correspondent
of the Record.-Ed.
FROM THE SEVENTH WIS REGIMENT
CAMP NEAR CEDAR RUN, VA.,
April 6, 1862
*** Again our "On to Richmond" march began April 4th at three o'clock
PM; we marched about six miles and camped for the night. The next morning we
started at five o'clock and marched to the old battle ground of July 18th, 1861,
and this morning (Sunday) took up our line of march for Cedar Run five miles
As near as I can learn, the rebels are falling back as fast as our troops
approach and I see in this morning's Chronicle by a dispatch from General Wool
to the Secretary of War, that the General thinks the Army of the Potomac will
meet with but little resistance in their advance.
I counted twenty-two horses in one place killed to prevent their falling into
our hands and all along the road we found horses that to appearance had mired
and the rebels in their hurry could not wait to get them out and killed them.
Everything, in this country looks desolate, Now and then a house is found
inhabited and they seem to be glad that rebellion is going down.
The railroad is completed to Bristol four miles from Manassas Junction and is
being re-built as fast as our troops advance in order to supply our advancing
army, for the rebels destroy as they retreat.
General Cutler, Colonel of the 6th Wisconsin Regiment, is promoted to Brigadier
General commanding General King's old Brigade; General King to Division General
commanding General McDowell's old division, we are still in Cutler's Brigade, now
King's division. The troops have great confidence in their officers and are
anxious to have the ball roll on and not stop until a death blow is given to
Yours, Stephen Durkee
P.S. April 10th - Two men belong to a New York Regiment were found yesterday about
three miles from our camp in a barn with their throats cut and four Brooklyn
Zouaves were found near our camp tied together with cords and drowned in Broad
Run. Nothing is too revolting to the rebels to do and I hope speedy retribution
will be meted out to them
FROM THE 7TH REGIMENT CAMP NEAR BRISTOL, VA.
April 11th, 1862
FRIEND PEASE: I thought it right that having a spare moment, I would, through the
medium of your paper, give information of the whereabouts and doings of our
company. Thus far nothing has occurred of interest on our march here except the unusual
sight, to us, of rebel fortifications at Centerville, Manassas and vicinity and
the destruction of railroad bridges, tearing up of Railroad tracks, burning of
wagons, stores and destruction of dwellings by the Rebs."
We are at present encamped on the line of the Orange & Alexandria R.R. about
six miles northeast of Warrenton Junction in Prince William's County and expect
to resume our march towards Richmond as soon as it has been evacuated by the
rebels; or, if that event is long delayed, to march back to Arlington, one of which
events we are all most sure will occur one of these days.
For the past three days we have been favored by a specimen of the spring weather
they have in this portion of the Sunny south in the way of a continued storm of
snow, sleet, rain, mud and freezing. I have had some little experience in camping
out on the Western plains and mountains, - have slept amid snow, rain and storms on
the Rocky Mountains - but can safely swear that there was never at any place or
time on this continent as mean, disagreeable and uncomfortable a storm as the one
experienced by us on the 8th and 9th of this month in this God forsaken portion
of his footstool.
This morning is bright and clear yet it is frozen quite hard. And now, whilst I
write, the boys are falling in for "roll call," for we have one every
two hours between "reveille" and "tattoo" by order of Col.
Cutler, commanding our brigade. This is done to keep men from wandering from
camp to the great damage of the citizens and destruction of chickens, sheep, hogs
and all things edible within a circuit of ten miles of our camp; yet still I
have had several very good meals of chicken, hams, mutton with honey &c. for
which I am indebted to the boys of the company who assure me they purchased
I enclose you a specimen of the small change they use in Rebeldom which is in
fact the only kind of change they have. - Our boys have been doing a very
profitable business with the inhabitants hereabouts by passing a photographic
representation of confederate script for anything they can buy and getting in
change such trash as the accompanying "shinplaster" represents.
On all sides of me I hear the boys discussing the result of the fight near
Pittsburg (Tenn) and swearing Horribly because they have thus far had nothing to
do but be reviewed, camp in mud and march out a few miles towards the enemy and
then march back again - each one fearing that the war will end and they have no
fight. It is too bad that men who have been in training so long and who, without
doubt, are as fine a body of troops as are in the Grand Army should be kept so
long idle. But I hope we'll yet have a chance to show of what material we are
made and whether there is any fight in us.
Our health is unusually good at this time. Our Company (E) has been
unfortunate in times past having lost six of its members in quick succession by
disease whilst encamped at Arlington: viz:
Alanson Marshall Jan, 20th, 1862
Chas. A. Smith, Feb, 14th
G. W. Root
Chas R. Sawlinson, Mar, 3rd
Edward I. Spooner, Mar, 4th
William Bradshaw Mar, 22d
To whose friends I would thus say: - You must take the same steps to secure their
pay, bounty, &c. as to obtain a Land Warrant.
I am in hopes that death by disease, at least, has left us, and that if any more
of us are to sleep our last sleep in a strange land it will be upon the battle fields
that death will reach us. Hoping that I may have a chance, one of these days to
give you a description of a fight in which the "Sharp-Shooters" have
had a hand I quit until then.
FROM THE 7TH REGIMENT HEADQUARTERS
SEVENTH REGIMENT Wis. Vol. CAMP
NEAR BRISTOL, VA.
Prince William Co. Va, April 12, 62
After many days of expectation to march down the
river, King's division broke up encampment near Fairfax Seminary and about three
o'clock Friday afternoon the 4th inst was on its way headed towards our late
foraging fields around Fairfax Court House and, as the sequel proved, as many
miles farther as our commander chose to take us. We reached our present camp
Monday the 7th inst and expect any moment to be hurried either back to
Alexandria to reinforce McClellan at Yorktown or to take up the line of the
railroad to Gordonsville. I suppose we are so to speak!
The grand ballast of the Onward to Richmond movement, Blenker's division, has
been transferred to the A Mountain department Day before yesterday, an Aide de
Camp from the latter division brought news to this camp that Major Steinbaus, a
Sergeant Major and a Captain were captured by the rebels in Warrenton by rebel
soldiers disguised as citizens.
There were no incidents of our march worthy of note and I won't inflict on your
readers the usual threadbare description of our journey. Centerville is a strong
position commanding the horizon, a gentle rising ridge covered with clover
fields and dead horses and covered with forts connected together by
The ditches in front of the forts are shallow and unfinished, the design of these
works seems too grand and scientific but they were never completed. It is silly
to believe that the rebels built all of them with the intention of only using
wooden guns. The wooden guns were an after thought after they abandoned the idea
of holding Manassas. The situation has great natural beauty. A gently undulating
plain stretches out to the west welling up against the horizon in a grand and
continuous chain of mountains called the Loudon Heights.
From the sides of these slate ridges issue such tributaries of the Occoquan as
Bull Run, Broad Run and the Cedar Run, and other streams of lesser note but
which, during a rain storm, swell into a magnitude truly formidable. Looking out
from Centreville right in front is the battle field of the 21st of July. The
whole space intervening is one grand scene of desolation - ruined farm houses,
clover fields, rebel barracks, dead horses and red soil heaped into little mounds
with pine headboards indicating the burial places of deceased foes.
Saturday night we camped within the boundaries of the battle-field surrounded
with dead horses and the debris of secession barracks. The barracks furnished
fuel for our cooking operations - Between Centreville and Bull Run the rebels had
built a corduroy road, through a thin grove of oaks where the soil was loamy.
Much traveling had dislocated the transverse logs and the mud was so sticky that
with every step a man stood in danger of losing his shoes. Sunday we crossed
Bull Run and passed through Manassas; thence through pleasant fields crossing
Broad Run, we camped in a corn field on it's banks. Manassas presented the same
appearance of desolation. Ruined houses, forts, piles of iron containing the iron
remains of army wagons, more barracks and more grave boards. The scene, day after
we camped, we were treated to a regular April mountain storm of rain, snow and
sleet of three days duration, added to this was the cold and when you are
thoroughly wet and have to sleep in the wet, as our tents are too thin to keep
the rain out for three days and nights, cook, fetch wood, move and have your being
in mud and wet with the additional aggravation of smoke blinding your eyes, wet
wood producing more smoke than warmth, you may have an idea of what a pleasant
picnic time the Army of the Potomac.- Rappahannock or what you may call it has.
To escape these blessings, accompanied by a corporal and two privates, I went in
search of something to eat among our secesh neighbors. To do this we had to walk
several miles as the houses around the different camps were too much crowded so
we thought we would cross Broad Run thinking that beyond it it would to easier
to get something to eat.
All that we had from Friday afternoon to Tuesday morning was one loaf of dough
and five biscuits of pilot bread, with a ration of meat each. This was owing to
the suddenness of our marching orders, and our Quartermaster's expectations of
going down the river instead of marching inland!
But when our daring quartette came to Broad Run, the stream had assumed proportions
too ponderous to make it safe to ford it. The whole bottom was one vast volume
of water and a troop of cavalry was crossing the water running as high as the
knees of the riders on what was the previous day lay land.
How the poor horses shivered. Poor beasts, victims of man's troubles and
Soon their bodes will bleach beneath the summer sun unthought of and uncared for
save by an occasional buzzard.
Not daunted by this aspect of affairs, one of
our party, an ex-rafts man of the "Old Wisconsin", said he could cross
the stream and the next day we struck the stream mile further up and our rafts man
commenced chopping a sycamore which struck a towhead in the middle of the stream
adding two more trees to this, we crossed one by one over to the tow-head.
Then chopping down several more sycamores the top of which rested in a low
growth of willow and old roots. Crossing over to this we floundered over is the
water and finally succeeded in crossing to what we supposed to be the mainland
but which subsequently proved to be an island on a large scale flanked by a tremulous
stream rushing and tearing over cataracts and huge boulders, breaking into mad
and dashing foam. It then rained with such vigor that fearing our temporary
bridge over the other stream would be swept away by the rising flood and we be
left on the island without food or fire, we beat a hasty retreat and just
escaped in time. On our way to camp we passed two groups of secesh graves, the
one belonging to a Mississippi regiment and the other to the Tenth Alabama
volunteers. In the latter group we counted eighty-two graves. They had, as the
head boards indicated, died during the months of August and September, 1861. The
names in some instances had been cut into stone with the name of the company and
the time of the death of the deceased. And these were Americans. It was a
truly a sad scene.
Since writing the preceding, we have just
heard of the great battle at Pittsburg Landing but few papers - Philadelphia Inquirer got into camp and the Second Regiment
bought them all up.
The news spread like fire and going over for the regiment, Corporal Edison
succeeded in buying one after the Second soldier had got through with it.
The Second boys cried out lustily "Hurrah boys, Bull Run, Johnston is
One person read the news to a breathless audience of the Seventh but there was
not much cheering . Most every person in this brigade fears that he had
relatives, friends or acquaintances in the battle and will await with keen
anxiety more news.
The inhabitants around our camp are very civil, they are neither Union men nor
bitter secessionists. The Negroes are about as intelligent as they are and very
much the same complexion. This is a fertile country only a little too stony.
Most of our boys prefer the distant prairies and forests of the West to the land
hereabouts. We are to see more of it soon and will be able to tell more about
Oscar Taplin, of Wautoma, died previous to our
departure in the Hospital, near Alexandria on the 2d inst. No one was allowed to
see him in his dying hours as the doctor feared it might make him worse. He was
beloved by all his comrades, and they regret to lose so worthy, valuable and so
patriotic a soldier. He has two brothers in the Fifth, now at Yorktown, named
Charles and Carey Taplin. A. A. Mead had been sent to Alexandria to serve in the
a Hospital there, his skill as a nurse making him invaluable in that
Dorsey Weston, who had been running the Quartermaster's department all winter, is
hale and hardly., He brings his gun out whenever to march and says when any fight
occurs he'll have a hand in.
Private Henry Thorngate has been promoted to Color Corporal, viz. David Puntzman
who and to leave for home on account of weakness. This is a position of honor
and a post of danger well deserved by the new incumbent Private Edison Terril
is also promoted Corporal! This is also an excellent appointment. Mr. Terril
had a Lieutenant's commission from the Governor last fall but not being chosen by
the company, he enlisted in the ranks, as also did our present Second Lieutenant.
The Second and Nineteenth Indiana regiment have just been detailed to guard the
railroads hereabouts. The weather is fine again
W. D. W.
FROM THE 7TH REGIMENT
Catalet's Station Virginia,
April 15, 1862
DEAR RECORD: Our present camp is thirty-six miles from Alexandria and two from
Warrington Junction. Warrington village is on a branch of the Orange and Alexandria
Railroad, running only to Warrington, six miles from Warrington Junction at
Catalet's. The railroad bridge across creek which was burned by the rebels in their
retreat has been rebuilt.
On the 13th at eleven o'clock at night Company G and H were ordered to strike
tents, pack knapsacks and be ready for march. Under the command of Captain FINCOMB of Company H, we marched about three miles and were thrown out as picket
guard where we remained until the next day (yesterday) when we were relieved by
the Sixth Wisconsin Regiment and we returned to camp.
One of the most interesting objects in the vicinity of Manassas is Beauregard's
Head Quarters while in command at Manassas. It is situated a little more than
one mile from the station towards Centerville. He occupied a large brick
building formerly the residence of a rebel named WEIR who owns 2,400 acres of
land including the whole of the famous battle ground.
WEIR left with the rebel army taking one hundred of his Negroes with him and is
now on the Rappahannock on another of his big farms.
Six of his contrabands were left to occupy the building and the premises
One arrived recently from his master and is delighted with the change of his
situation. The building is in good condition and a portion of the furniture
April 16:- work on the railroad was discontinued last night and it now seems
that the advance of our brigade in the direction indicated is put to an end.
To-day is the warmest of the season; the grass looks green but the forest shows
but little signs of vegetation.
We received our mail to-day the first for one week. It brought me the Record of
April 3d, almost as welcome as a letter and next to that to be prized.
Since I returned from picket duty I have been on the sick list but hope to be
able to move with the regiment.
P.S. April 17-news by this morning's Republican has just reached us of the death
of Colonel James C. Alban on the first day of the battle at Pittsburg Landing.
It creates a great deal of excitement and much feeling is manifested in the
Company, as all are acquainted with him.
Correspondence of the Jamesville Gazette
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT
Catlett Station, Va
April 18, 1862
EDITORS: GAZETTE:-There has been so little news to communicate of late that I
have not informed you of our movements.
We arrived here on Sunday last on our way to Richmond having left our encampment
at Alexandria on the 11th inst., to go via Manassas instead of going down the
Potomac as we anticipated.
Our brigade remains unchanged except it is under the command of Colonel Cutler,
of the 6th Wisconsin, General King being in command of the division, consisting of three
brigades. We have been gradually advancing along the railroad as fast as the
bridges were rebuilt and the road put in order, but the progress is so slow and
the damage to the road so great that no effort will be made to repair it beyond
the Rappahannock at present.
General McDowell has here a force sufficient to overcome any resistance that may
be offered; his command extends to Gen. Banks which is within four miles of us
at present. Yesterday, Auger's Brigade of this division advanced to the
Rappahannock supported by artillery and cavalry for the purpose of getting
possession of Fredericksburg, 28 miles distant. Before reaching their place of
destination they encountered the enemy in force, drove them back, captured one of
their encampments, with a loss on our side of five killed and sixteen wounded
among the latter was a Mr. Britton of the 7th regiment, a most valuable scout.
The rebels, in their flight, burned the bridge over the river at Fredericksburg,
but the latest intelligence is that our troops are in possession of the town. As
every part of the railroad has to be guarded, the plan to obtain supplies will
probably be via Acquia Creek and railroad to Fredericksburg, which will shorten
the distance two-thirds.
Our Wisconsin troops are in excellent health and fine spirits. The prospect of
active service having reduced the sick list so as to leave the surgeons without
business. We have lain dormant so long that the most exhilarating tonic which
can be prescribed for those on the sick list is "marching orders."
When the long roll beats they exclaim in the language of Shakespeare, "throw
physic to the dogs, I'll none of it," and away they go to join their
comrades, preferring the random shots of the rebels, to the unerring aim of the
Our progress has been so slow that ample time has been furnished for a minute
examination of the rebel position, his strength while at Manassas, his defenses
and resources. Whoever will make careful inspection of the territory occupied by
the Army of the Potomac, their winter quarters and camping grounds and
compare them with that portion of territory occupied by the rebels must conclude
that they had a force nearly equal to ours with far better accommodations in
quarters and an abundance of food and clothing.
There is at the present time between Manassas and the Rappahannock more wheat in
the stack, unthrashed, than the inhabitants will need for the next year but as our
cavalry are in need of forage and out boys are partial to straw beds. They will
thrash the wheat for them and them also if they object.
Although they were well supplied, their sickness and mortality was severe and in
some cases alarming. The 10th Alabama regiment lost 103 men in three months, 78
of whom are buried near their camping grounds. A large percentage of their sick
were sent to Richmond but their hospital accommodations at Manassas were extensive.
They consisted of five rows of ten buildings, each 24 by 128 feet, besides
several detached buildings, which were all destroyed by the rebels in their
retreat. The burial ground adjoining contains 228 new made graves and as almost
every camp had a burial place. The aggregate number buried here and at
Centerville amounts to over 2,700 aside from those buried on the fields of
Their natural defenses at Centerville were excellent but their
fortifications were more for show than hard service, not a fort at that place is
sufficient to resist a 52 pound shot and their breastworks and trenches could
be passed over with ease by cavalry at almost any point. Their fortifications
were well supplied with field pieces but there is no indications of any heavier
artillery ever having been mounted except several logs of Quaker guns which
remained in position. These logs were placed so as to resemble heavy Colombians
when seen from a distance and had been placed in position when the fields pieces
were removed and there is not a fort in the whole chain in which a heavy gun
could be mounted and worked without material alteration in its construction.
they never had any heavy guns here is also evident from the fact that only one
fort had a magazine. This was a very inferior construction and had never been
The indignities heaped upon our dead has not been over estimated. You might find
in many places evidences of their deeds which are perfectly outrageous and
disgusting. A disposition to seek their utmost revenge on lifeless remains
seems to have been quite general.
The country from the Potomac to the Rappahannock is almost desolated, the houses are
mostly destroyed, the farms stripped of their timber and fences, the stock all
appropriated as a military necessity and the few remaining inhabitants look as
weary and care worn as Old Virginia herself. Negroes are abundant and in high glee.
Ask one where he belongs "I'sa free negger, sah" is his reply.
of them come into the various camps daily and the information they bring respecting
the rebel movement strength is generally reliable.
We are taking the world very patiently, waiting for operations at Yorktown and
before we move again. We shall endeavor to select comfortable quarters in
From The 7th Regiment
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTH REGIMENT
Wis. Vol. Camp No.11, near Fredericksburg, Va.,
April 28, 1862
On the 18th inst. Cutler's brigade (or King's old brigade) took its line
of march on the railroad track for Cedar Run, a distance of seven miles,
and camped in the woods near Cattlet's Station; so-called after the name of
one of the wealthy F. F. V.'s who last year contributed liberally and
exerted himself in the equipping of rebel soldiery from this county. The
same county (Prince William) raised the noted Stewart's cavalry. We were
camped twelve miles from Warrenton, which is connected with the Orange and
Alexandria R. R. by a branch from Warrenton Junction. Cedar Run is a deep
stream, but narrow, running through splendid bottom land. It rises in the
Blue Ridge. Over it was a magnificent railroad bridge which the rebels
blowed up, burnt and otherwise destroyed. Also miles of the railroad track
in the direction of Warrenton. This bridge was rebuilt from pine scantling,
well walled by the Government, and trains will run to Warrenton connecting
Washington with the valley of the Shenandoah as soon as the rebels retreat
far enough. The 7th Regiment built an additional bridge for teams. A
detail was made to hew logs and fit them. Then the whole regiment turned
out and removed a stone fence which they piled up as a sort of an abutment
at each end, which supported the bridge. It is substantial and well made
and will serve as a model for the old settlers when the Lincoln hirelings
shall have returned to the bosoms of their families. The boys enjoyed
hugely the idea of being useful for Uncle Sam. Our camp was beautifully
located . In front there was a long undulating ridge of clover and grass
cropped close as it had been used no doubt from time immemorial as a sheep
Beyond this ridge there was a very miscellaneous variety of landscape -
green fields of winter wheat, meadows and rich alluvial bottoms,
where the wild onion flourished indiscriminately, crowding out the grass
and clover. Interspersed amid this goodly collection of varieties, there
creep out bold piles of stone, boulder of boulder, as if the Prince of the
Air had purposely deposited them as an obstruction to mankind. A lower
strata of slate, of a purple and gray, tinge on the side of the hills added
to the picturesque appearance of the scene. Crowning all and forming a perspective
of rare beauty, the Blue Ridge with its bold peaks, rise and fall in a long
line athwart the horizon north and south veiled in a blue haze softening
its otherwise rugged features. Imagine yourself on an eminence just before
sunset after a thunderstorm has cleared off with the limpid mountain air
freshened and cleansed, your eyes feasting on such a scene. Well you can
enjoy such felicity and much more including fatigue and glory by joining
the ranks to say nothing of venomous walleyed earnest looking brown
lizards playing around your feet while you write to your friends just as
two or three of them have been doing to me just now.
The boys have caught eels and other fish in Cedar Run, which was a good
thing as it furnished a new theme for conversation. Snake and fish stories
were at a premium.
It was a very common thing for a soldier to beg for "another for a
piece of snake."
Saturday night, after dark, the 19th inst., Companies C and I were detailed
on picket about two miles from camp. After marching over a muddy and an
unknown road they camped and grinned and got wet. It rained all day Sunday
and all night. At four o'clock Monday morning we were called in to report
in camp at daylight. This was accomplished and the balance of McDowell's
division started for Fredericksburg. Friday morning we heard firing which
since turns out to have been caused by a skirmish between our advance
forces and the rebels near Falmouth in which Col. Bayard and his command
of Penn. Cavalry distinguished themselves.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 21st, 22d and 23d was consumed in this
march - I will not attempt to describe it. I'll merely furnish the texts and
if you readers want to fill it out, they have more patience than I have.
Monday marched through tolerable country; splendid soil, as an inspection
of our boots would testify: on either side overflowed meadows, wet fields,
farm houses and here and there groups of cherry and peach trees dressed in
pink and white blossom; crossed Cedar Run by chopping trees across it and
walking over the same. Took us two feet deep till we came to Elk Run, a
furious torrent recently exasperated by heavy rain and the floods from the
mountain sides; had to halt and camp till the water subsided; slept bully
in the wet.
Tuesday-Next day about 10a.m. a bridge built by Augur's Brigade revealed
itself, took us till noon before the teams could ford this stream. The sun
poured its hot rays on us and the muddy road. but drying the latter but
little; our knapsacks weighed half a ton. -still we marched on through a miserable
county - a compound of sand, stone, gravel, scrubby pine ect. called Fauquier
County. Wherever there was any fertility or a good farm, a cloud of
darkies would issue forth. Also white women and old men. The young men are
either willingly or by compulsion in the rebel ranks The darkies were of
all sexes, ages and complexion. The teams frequently got stuck and many
halts were occasioned. The Seventh, being in charge of the brigade train,
had to halt also.- these halting opportunities were improved in many
instances by the boys in visiting their neighbors of the purpose of
obtaining chickens, geese, hoe cake, small hogs on foot &c; some paid and
some did not pay for these luxuries. As we neared our camping ground and
the valley of the Rappahannock, the land and the road improved.
Wednesday - Very hot day; marched by splendid fields of grass and clover
ankle deep ditto wheat; in the afternoon came on to the skirmish ground of
the 18th. Saw dead horse with his head shot off; traces of blood and a
little mound of new earth where some were buried. After getting out of the
woods the prospect widened. Surrounded by wide sweeping heights green with
the spring, we could discern evidences of a town; as we neared it,
buildings became distinct; also church steeples; then we lost the view as
we descended to Falmouth which is a mere suburb of Fredericksburg,
nestling beneath the banks of the Rappahannock.
The heights above it command the heights on the south side, thus placing Fredericksburg
at the mercy of our guns. Every house in Falmouth is at least fifty years old
with small gable windows in the roof so that the women can poke their
heads out and stare at and insult Union soldiers. The stream is very wide
and shallow where the bridge crosses. The bridge, one half of the wood
of which is burned, was suspended on a series of stone abutments built length
ways up and down the current. I walked over the unburnt half and could see
on the roof of a building on the other side where a price of shell had
torn the roof. The stone abutments are not much damaged.
The bridge can be repaired easily. The railroad bridge which crosses a
mile below was, I understand, a costly structure; I have not seen it. In
the village of Falmouth there is one church which after the skirmish
was used as a hospital.
Stains of blood now cover it; some of the pews still remain; the floor near
the pulpit is strewn with torn leaves from hymnbooks the remnants of the
Falmouth S. S. Library.
In the belfry the bell still remains; the citizens not having responded to
Beauregard a cry for bell metal.
The Union feeling is faint in Falmouth. They prefer Confederate notes to
U.S. Treasury notes. To punish them for such neutrality, the boys have
flooded the own and bought up all their eggs, corn meal, bread, &c.,
with facsimile of their currency. Corporation notes of the city of Fredericksburg
are much in vogue.
Thus Confederate notes will not be worth much in a short time. Sunday
morning the 27th we broke our camp beneath the tall pine in the rear of
Falmouth and are now camped near the road about five miles nearer the Potomac
Last Night I learned the sad news of the fall of your old partner John H. Williams,
at Pittsburg. (Shiloh battle) . Poor John, he fell at his post, one of the
first in that bloody contest where treason recoiled before the bravery of
our troops. Sustaining its first onset with his life, his memory should be
cherished, and it should in the history of this war be claimed for him and
Captain Saxe that they were the first to fall at Shiloh. It has occasioned
me deep grief but no one would die more gloriously than he did.
"In the battles van:
The somberest place for men to die
Was where he died - a man."
I shall not trespass longer, but to add an account of a sword presentation
to Lieut Bird. The event was unexpected to Lieut. Bird, and is therefore
the more gratifying. The sword and sash were presented by Private David
Thorngate, and an address appropriate to the occasion was delivered by
Sergeant Chris. Puntsmann, as it is the spontaneous gift of the whole company, I enclose the
On the scabbard is an inscription as follows:
LIEUT. J. V. P. BIRD
By Company I
SEVENTH REGIMENT WIS VOL.,
Catlet Station, Va.,
April 23, '62.
The whole sword sash and
scabbard, cost over fifty dollars, but is an appropriate testimonial and
one that any officer would be proud to receive.
"LIEUT. BIRD:- We the
non-commissioned officers and privates of Co I, 7th regiment Wis. Vol., do present you with this sword as a token of esteem for your noble conduct
since we have been together.
You, acting in the capacity and holding the position which you do in the
company, have won the esteem and confidence of all of us. Take this sword
as a slight token of the esteem in which we, as members of Company I, hold
you and should the foul hands of prejudice again assail you, may you once
more be able to vindicate yourself with out spot or blemish. And rest
assured, where you lead we will follow and wherever we can see the gleam of
this sword there we will be at your side to support and sustain you. Take
this sword. We know we cannot trust it in safer hands. And recollect that
in receiving it, you also have the confidence of the company, likewise our
love and esteem as an officer and gentleman."
Lieut. Bird expressed himself
embarrassed at the circumstance but promised to deserve the confidence of
He hoped to carry the sword back home and preserve it as a sacred souvenir
of their love and esteem. He pledged his life that it should be kept unstained and unsullied.
Wishing yet to meet all present at home among their loved ones he
concluded amidst three cheers from the whole of Co. I.
W. D. W.