“On Tuesday evening the long roll was beaten again, and we took our position, the enemy having advanced his whole force within two or three miles of us.”–Letters from Elisha Franklin Paxton.

Strasburg, March 13, 1862.

I doubt not you have heard of many bloody battles, actual and anticipated, about Winchester for the last few days, and, if you credited every flying rumor, have been somewhat apprehensive of my safety. You will then, I doubt not, be surprised to hear that we have had no fight; none killed except perhaps one or two of our cavalry pickets; none captured except some thirty or forty who stayed behind in Winchester, many of them, I doubt not, wishing to be taken. Twice since my last letter we have had every reason to expect an engagement. Last Friday evening the long roll, always a signal for battle, was sounded and the regiment formed under arms. We marched out and took our position and remained there for a day, but the enemy did not come up. On Tuesday evening the long roll was beaten again, and we took our position, the enemy having advanced his whole force within two or three miles of us. We remained there until dark, but were not attacked. Then we moved back five miles on the pike, and yesterday morning came to this place. Here we are, and what next? Will we continue our retreat or fight! No one knows. Jackson always shows fight, and hence we never know what he means. Don’t suffer yourself to be alarmed by any rumors which you read or hear. So soon as we have an engagement, if I get out of it, I will write to you, enclosing the letter to your father, requesting him to send it out immediately. So soon as we have an engagement, everybody will be writing letters, and, I doubt not, your father will send you immediately any reliable news that may come.

The militia, I see from the papers, are called out, and John Fitzgerald will have to go. Give him the shot-gun to take with him. I don’t know what you ought to do to supply his place. Consult with your father, and do what you think best. You can leave the place and go to town if you do not feel safe there. Your happiness, Love, I value and wish to secure above everything else.


Elisha Franklin Paxton – Letters from camp and field while an officer in the Confederate Army

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