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1862 April, Seventh Wisconsin

Mrs. Stephen Durkee sends for publication the following extract from a private letter from her husband who is a correspondent of the Record.-Ed.

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 from Manassas.
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 treason.
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

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 them.
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                  Feb, 23rd
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.
Yours, C


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 entrenchments .
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 cruelties.
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 Terril 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 killed!
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 it.
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 respect. 
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
Yours truly 
W. D. W.

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 around. 
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 still remains.

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
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 doctors.
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 battle.
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. That 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 used.
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. Crowds 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 Richmond.

From The 7th 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 pasture.
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 work 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 than Fredericksburg.
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 address.-
On the scabbard is an inscription as follows:

Presented to 
By Company I
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 the company.
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.
Yours truly,
W. D. W.