“The fight began late in the evening in an unexpected attack from the enemy, and lasted about an hour.”–Letters from Elisha Franklin Paxton.

McDowell, May 9, 1862.

Before this reaches you, you will have heard alarming rumors of the fight on yesterday, and feel, I know, much anxiety for my safety. I was not hurt, for the reason that I was not in the fight. No part of our brigade was engaged, the enemy being whipped off the field before it came. But little, if any, more than one-third our forces were engaged. The fight began late in the evening in an unexpected attack from the enemy, and lasted about an hour. Our loss, I expect, will reach 60 killed and 300 wounded. They began their retreat early this morning in the direction of Pendleton County. We pursued them to-day some twelve or fifteen miles, capturing six or seven persons. They left a considerable quantity of tents and provisions, but burned most of them. I am indebted to this source for the sheet upon which I write.

Well, you want to know when we are going to have another fight? There is no telling, but I think to-morrow we shall take the end of the road which leads to Harrisonburg. I saw Matthew after the fight was over, and he, like myself, I suppose had not been in it. The cadets were behind our brigade, and, though I have not seen White Williamson, he is, I doubt not, unhurt except by the hard march. The company from Brownsburg, formerly Carey’s, suffered very severely, the captain, Whitmore, being killed and one of the lieutenants severely wounded.

I left Staunton the day I wrote to you last week and joined the army at Port Republic. Since then we have been marching every day but one which we spent in Staunton. And now, darling, I will bid you good-bye.


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

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