June 24th. Almost every man in the regiment got a thorough drenching last night; their arms, too. The colonel ordered fires lighted to dry the blankets and clothing, and on the color line at break of day every ball cartridge was withdrawn and the men ordered to clean their muskets. After breakfast the regiment fell in, and arms were carefully inspected, then reloaded. It is extraordinary how little the men require looking after in regard to their muskets! There are few men who do not keep them in perfect order all the time.


June 24th.—Mr. Chesnut, having missed the Secessionville¹ fight by half a day, was determined to see the one around Richmond. He went off with General Cooper and Wade Hampton. Blanton Duncan sent them for a luncheon on board the cars,—ice, wine, and every manner of good thing.

In all this death and destruction, the women are the same—chatter, patter, clatter. “Oh, the Charleston refugees are so full of airs; there is no sympathy for them here!” “Oh, indeed! That is queer. They are not half as exclusive as these Hamptons and Prestons. The airs these people do give themselves.” “Airs, airs,” laughed Mrs. Bartow, parodying Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade. “Airs to the right of them, Airs to the left of them, some one had blundered.” “Volleyed and thundered rhymes but is out of place.”

The worst of all airs came from a democratic landlady, who was asked by Mrs. President Davis to have a carpet shaken, and shook herself with rage as she answered, “You know, madam, you need not stay here if my carpet or anything else does not suit you.”

John Chesnut gives us a spirited account of their ride around McClellan. I sent the letter to his grandfather. The women ran out screaming with joyful welcome as soon as they caught sight of our soldiers’ gray uniforms; ran to them bringing handfuls and armfuls of food. One grayheaded man, after preparing a hasty meal for them, knelt and prayed as they snatched it, as you may say. They were in the saddle from Friday until Sunday. They were used up; so were their horses. Johnny writes for clothes and more horses. Miss S. C. says: “No need to send any more of his fine horses to be killed or captured by the Yankees; wait and see how the siege of Richmond ends.” The horses will go all the same, as Johnny wants them.


¹ The battle of Secessionville occurred on James Island, in the harbor of Charleston, June 16, 1862.


June 24, 1862, The New York Herald

Our Special Army Correspondence.

FAIR OAKS, Va., June 19, 1862.

Yesterday the Sixteenth Massachusetts regiment, Col. Wyman, has a severe skirmish with the enemy in front, resulting in a loss of seventeen killed, twenty-five wounded and fourteen missing, but driving the enemy back a distance of a mile, with a loss double that of the Sixteenth.

For the past two days and nights our pickets have observed an unusual commotion in the rebel camp, indicating a movement of some kind.

Large bodies of troops have been seen moving to the left of us, in the direction of James river, with bands playing, and work was being done in their camp all night, which sounded like packing up camp equipage and the moving of stores. Wishing to ascertain their whereabouts and what was going on, General Hooker concluded to send out a regiment, and drive in their pickets. He selected for this most important duty the Sixteenth Massachusetts regiment, which is one of the largest now on the peninsula, and most nobly did they perform the duty.

The regiment was drawn up in line of battle in front of the camp occupied by General Casey at the time he was attacked, and ordered to advance through the woods in front, and find out where the main body of the enemy were. They were under the immediate command of Colonel Wyman, about whom, it will be remembered, Governor Andrew and General Butler had some difficulty, but were also accompanied part of the distance by General Grover.

The loss of the regiment is undoubtedly larger than it would have been had they deployed as skirmishers instead of marching through in close line of battle, as they presented in this way a splendid target for the enemy, with very little chance of missing some of them. Within five minutes after entering the woods they encountered the advance pickets of the enemy, who fired and fell back upon the reserves, who in turn fired and fell back until they had received reinforcements of a full brigade.

The regiment steadily advanced, with unbroken lines, meeting and driving back this brigade of the enemy, and also receiving the fire of a battery, until they had gone at least a mile, when they came in sight of the main body of the enemy and accomplished what it was intended for them to do — viz: ascertain the exact location and force of the rebels.

This being accomplished, they returned in good order to camp, bringing with them three prisoners.

While this was being performed by the regiment one of our batteries was pouring into the woods on the left of them a perfect shower of grape and canister, which, according to the story of a captured prisoner, did terrible execution, killing and wounding about six hundred of this brigade, who were in exact range of our guns.

The Sixteenth went near enough to their battery to have captured it had their force been a little larger.

A private by the name of Alonzo Sibley, of Company C, became separated from the regiment, and secreted himself in a thick clump of bushes, remaining there all night and till ten o’clock next day, within forty yards of the rebel battery. His account of his night’s experience is very amusing. The mosquitoes troubled him so much that he could get no peace, and, to add to his discomforts, he found himself in very close proximity to a large rattlesnake, which kept up an incessant rattle. He concluded, however, that he preferred to take his chances with the rattlesnake and mosquitoes rather than with the rebels. He says that about midnight the battery left at double quick, supposing our troops to be advancing. He could distinctly hear the officers urging the men to hurry, as the damned Yankees were right upon them.

He remained there concealed till ten o’clock the next day, when, beginning to feel hungry, he concluded to try and make his escape, although he was uncertain whether the men at the battery had retired or not. Thinking he would be safer without his gun, he stopped boldly out and hallooed in the direction of the battery, inquiring where his regiment was, but, receiving no reply concluded they had left and that he would try and get through the picket lines, which he finally succeeded in doing, after being twice shot at, one of the balls passing through his coat.

Gen Grover sent for him upon his return […..].

The Sixteenth is undoubtedly destined to be one of the star regiments of this army, and to add still more to the glory of old Massachusetts. The bodies of the killed have been handsomely buried by the regiment, in the rear of their camp. The funeral services were performed by the chaplain, Rev. A. B. Fuller, in the most touching and appropriate manner, General Grover being present.

How soon the decisive battle for the possession of Richmond is to take place it is of course impossible to tell. The rebels are evidently a good deal uneasy at General McClellan’s movements in front of them.

There is one thing certain; if they attack us again they will not get off as easily as they did before.

Although correspondents are not allowed to tell what we are doing preparatory to the final struggle, I presume it will not be considered contraband to say that our forces are hard at work preparing for the great event, and a battle is liable to take place at any moment.

Our position is now all that could be desired, and our success, I think, sure. The troops are improving in health and are in fine spirits.

General McClellan has the unbounded confidence of the whole army, and they will fight under him to the death.

As the facts in relation to the battle of Fair Oaks become known, it is conceded by all that the division under General Casey fought much better than they had the credit of doing, and that they held their position against a force at least six times greater than their own for more than an hour, and only retreated when they were completely surrounded by the enemy, and being cut to pieces by a murderous flank fire. Gen. McClellan, with his accustomed sense of right and justice, has already modified his first despatch sent to the War Department, and will, undoubtedly, do full justice to all in his official report of the battle. The following is a correct list of the killed, wounded and missing of the Sixteenth Massachusetts regiment in their skirmish with the enemy on the afternoon of Wednesday, the 18th of June, in front of Richmond: —



J. Sparkman, Co. B.
Asa W. Brooks, Co. C.
Thos. Wilson, Co. C.
Thos. Weldon, Co. D.
John Barrry, Co. D.
John McMahon, Co. D.
Fred. S. Richards, Co. E.
First Lieut. Chas O’Hara, Co. G.
Chas. Jones, Co. G.
Robt. Wilson, Co. G.


June 24, 1862, The New York Herald


(From the Charleston Courier, June 16.)

The enemy have erected a battery of three rifled Parrott guns near Rivers’ plantation, and about eight hundred yards from Col. Lamar’s battery at Secessionville. While the battery was in course of erection the men were hidden from view and protected by a large clump of woods in front. On Saturday they suddenly cleared the wood off from the battery and opened fire. Several shots were fired at Col. Lamar’s battery, and several at gunboat No 2, having on board Mathews’ artillery. Our battery and the gunboat replied with telling effect. Col. Lamar made some excellent shooting.

We have learned of but one casualty. Private Jno. H. Andrews, of the Charleston Light Infantry, Captain Thomas Y. Simons’ company, was instantly killed in his tent, about six o’clock Saturday afternoon. While reclining in the tent, and reading, a shell ricochetted [….] entered, exploded, tearing the tent to pieces, and a large fragment struck young Andrews on the right side of the head. His body was brought to the city Sunday morning, in charge of a comrade, on board the steamer Gen. Clinch, and delivered over to his relatives. He was a young man and had just reached his maturity, being twenty-one years of age only a few days previous to his death.

Both parties were again engaged in shelling Sunday afternoon, but with what result we were unable to ascertain. It is reported that two men were slightly wounded. There was no infantry fighting.

(From The Charleston Mercury, June 17.)

A little before noon yesterday our city was thrown into a state of feverish excitement by the vague tidings that there had been bloody work at Secessionville, on James Island. From the first the news was of an encouraging character, inasmuch as we were assured that more [….] handful of our brave troops had repulsed a heavy column of the enemy thrown forward to assault the battery at Secessionville, manned by a portion of Colonel Lamar’s regiment of artillery, South Carolina Volunteers. From the various accounts which we have received, we have collated the following facts in relation to the battle:—


About dawn yesterday morning our pickets in front of Lamar’s battery were driven in, and almost simultaneously the enemy’s column was seen some four hundred yards off, advancing with the bayonet, at double quick, to the assault. Our troops within the battery had been hard at work the evening before in throwing up another battery, and were almost worn out with fatigue. The first round that was fired at the Yankees was by Colonel T. G. Lamar himself. His men hastened with alacrity to their pieces, and were soon pouring grape and canister against the rapidly approaching enemy. At each discharge great gaps were visible in the Yankees ranks, but still they came on without firing a single volley. It was afterwards ascertained that their muskets were empty, and that they had actually hoped to carry the battery with the bayonet alone. But the rapid and fearful cannonade and fusillade kept up against them was too severe for their nerves, and when close to our intrenchments they wavered, reeled and finally fled in disorder.


But a very short time elapsed before the enemy’s column, reinforced by infantry and artillery, reformed, and again came forward. This time they did not disdain the use of cartridges, but poured heavy volleys against our battery as they advanced. But again the terrible discharges of grape and canister mowed down the approaching line; and, notwithstanding the remonstrances of their officers, again the Yankees broke and retreated pellmell from the field. A third time the enemy formed its line and advanced in a last desperate effort to gain the battery, but again in vain. The assailants had reached the ditch, and some of them succeeded in mounting the embankment, but they paid for their rashness with their lives; and their comrades behind, taking warning from their fate, fled once more — this time not to be rallied to direct charge. Our men all bear witness to the obstinate bravery of the enemy on this occasion.

Between the charges which proved so disastrous to the Yankees, a galling fire was kept up against our battery from three gunboats in the creek, about 1,700 yards east of our position. A cross fire was also steadily maintained against us from the land batteries which the enemy had erected — one on the edge of the wood in which the fight with the Forty-seventh Georgia regiment occurred last week, and another between that point and the position occupied by the gunboats. Sherman’s famous field battery also took part in the engagement, being divided into two sections, which played upon different parts of our works.


It had now become evident to the enemy that the men who held our battery had no idea of yielding it, and the plan of attack from the front was given up.

Flanking bodies were thrown forward to assault our works from the direction of the marshes which skirted our battery on either side. On the east side of the battery the movement was speedily frustrated, and the few bold men who ventured close enough to pour their fire into the post soon fell. No less than seventeen were killed outside the ditch, and one who had mounted the parapet fell on the top, pierced by eight balls. FLANK ATTACK ON THE NEW YORK SEVENTY-NINTH (HIGHLANDERS.)

On the west side of the battery the attack was more serious. The famous New York Seventy-ninth regiment took up a position so as to enfilade our guns, and kept up a constant and effective fire of musketry to drive off our gunners. They were met by the Charleston battalion and the Eutaw regiment. For a time, the fight was desperate, but the Louisiana battalion, under Lieutenant Colonel McHenry, came up at the critical moment in gallant style and the repulse of the Highlanders was no longer doubtful. The enemy was, for the last time, forced back with great slaughter, and the day was won.


The list of casualties is given by the Mercury. Among them is the name of Colonel Lamar, of the battery, who was wounded, but continued to fight with his guns. Capt. Samuel J. Reed, Lieut. Humbert, Lieut. J. J. Edwards and Lieut. R. W. Greer are among the officers killed, and Capt. H. C. King was mortally wounded.


Our total loss, as nearly as we can ascertain, was about forty killed and one hundred wounded. The enemy’s was far heavier. We buried yesterday one hundred and forty dead Yankees left upon the field. We say Yankees, using the designation as one common to the whole army of invaders, but in truth, the men who did the fighting against us yesterday were nearly all Europeans, and in the lineaments of the dead the Scottish type was markedly predominant. We captured seventy prisoners. As for the number of the enemy wounded no correct estimate can be made. Glad to get rid of the unwelcome task of caring for maimed vandals, our men suffered the enemy ambulances to approach within point blank range of their guns, and to carry off the wounded, who must have numbered three hundred at least.


June 24, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

We have no idea that the South will now be recognized as a Confederacy of Independent States so long as the United States continues to conquer, or until we manifest, by signal and material victories, some ability to achieve and maintain the position we claim. Moral victories, followed by retreats, however brilliant; temporary checks ending in the abandonment of important cities and great railroads and magnificent States, however they be necessities, will never establish our cause, or bring us power and peace. There is no royal road to learning. There is no path to security for the Confederate States, but one of bloody victory over bloodthirsty foe. The task before us is one where doubt cannot interpose, timidity cannot shrink, humanity cannot soften. Failure is destruction. We must [….] our way through with a bloody axe. All that, as a people, we are and have and hope in this life, is at stake; and the shortest, cheapest, easiest mode of self-preservation is to fight with desperation. We cannot submit to a despotism of the Northern mob, with personal degradation and pecuniary ruin. We cannot submit to amalgamation with the negro. This is no ordinary war. It is a war for existence. Temporising, casting about, waiting for exterior assistance, postponing the struggle for more favorable circumstances and events, have served but to weaken our cause. We have already permitted our enemy to drill his unmilitary people and to prepare his weapons on a great scale. We have, by his partial successes thus achieved, shaken the opinions of the civilized world in our capacity. The folly of our past management is palpable and beyond prevention. There is, however, a remedy for our present case, and but one — to wage this war with inflexible vigor and unpitying firmness — to meet the foe in more than the spirit in which it is ruthlessly brought to our homes — to inflict retribution for our deep, immedicable wrongs — to bring the enemy to his senses by punishment. The sense of justice and humanity can be inspired by the stern lessons of the sword and bayonet. This is the instruction which alone will inform those with whom we have to deal. It is surely a dear and dreadful business, but we cannot avoid it; and the sooner and faster we teach it, the less costly, the more effective.


June 24, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

The British steamship Memphis, Captain CRUIKSHANK, from Liverpool, via Nassau, N.P., arrived here yesterday. She has on board a most valuable cargo of British goods, being precisely such as we most sorely need at the present juncture. The Memphis had the misfortune, while coming into port on Monday, to get ashore on the beach of Sullivan’s Island, where she remained several hours, but was finally towed off by the steamers Marion and Etiwan. When she first got aground she was approached by one of the blockaders, which fired a number of shells, most of which struck on Sullivan’s Island, but none of them hit the ship. The Yankee gunboat was finally driven off by a rifled gun on Fort Beauregard, which discharged but one shot at her, when she retired. The Memphis is a new iron ship, on her first voyage, and was built at Dumbarton, on the Clyde, is a most sightly vessel, of good speed, about 800 tons register, but is capable of carrying the cargo of many a vessel of 1200 tons. She made the passage from Liverpool to Nassau in 16 1/2 days, and was boarded off Abaco by the Yankee steamer Quaker City. Left at Nassau, on the 19th inst., the steamships Hero, Herald, Nashville (now Thos. L. Wragg), Lloyds, Kate and others. The Cecile had left Nassau some days previous to the 19th inst. for an unknown port. The Yankee cruisers keep up quite a sharp blockade off Nassau, and board nearly all vessels bound in or going out. The Hon. Mr. WARD, late Minister to China, and Major BATEMAN, came passengers in the Memphis.


June 24, 1862, The New York Herald

Our Special Army Correspondence.

The camp is unusually quiet today. Usually, however, there is more or less firing along some part of the lines, so that quietness and silence are more noticeable here than skirmishing. The hoarse voice of artillery continually alternates with the clatter of musketry, while every now and then a wounded or dead man is brought in from the front. The evening of the 18th inst, there was quite a brisk skirmish in the division to the left of this one, and the boys with the flags were ready, with the rest, to in […..] if the enemy gave them a chance. The rebel skirmishers retired, however, without bringing on a general battle. They got decidedly the worst of the skirmish.

Many are the rumors now current in the camp in reference to the plans of the rebels. It is the impression of some that they will […..] Richmond without a fight if McClellan be sufficiently reinforced in time. Some strange manoeuvres have taken place in the enemy’s camp here recently, and it is universally believed that the new positions taken up by our artillery have rendered the enemy’s batteries in many cases untenable. A strange piece of information came in here yesterday. One of our men, who had been lying in front of a rebel battery the night previous so close that he could distinctly hear the conversation of those within, reported that both it and the next fort to it were evacuated the night before by the enemy. He heard the officers giving the orders to evacuate. Our man got there by missing his way in the excitement of the skirmish, in which he participated the evening previous.

General McClellan and his staff rode through this camp on Wednesday evening last, and he was received with tremendous cheers by every regiment in the division. The enthusiasm was real and unmistakable. He was accompanied by his entire staff, and rode to the front while the skirmishing was progressing.

The enemy dare not attack any part of our line. Like an old woman scolding, they prefer to stand off and keep up a musketry or artillery battle.

The noise of artillery has commenced, and I hasten forward to discover what it means.


June 24, 1862, The New York Herald

From the brief account which we publish this morning from rebel sources of the sanguinary battle on Monday last on James Island, within four miles of Charleston, we have every reason to believe that it resulted in a substantial Union victory, and that the apprehensions of The Charleston Mercury in reference to the rebel army on the island and the safety of the city were well founded.

With the island in our possession, our land forces can be advanced within easy shelling distance of the city across the Ashley river, and five or six miles above Sumter, Moultrie and their supporting forts and batteries. Our gunboats and land forces, in working their way through the obstructions in the channel and the shore batteries of the Stono Inlet, have turned all those solid formidable fortifications of the broad seaway to Charleston, just as a fleet of hostile gunboats would turn our heavy forts at the Narrows by going around Staten Island. We expect, therefore, soon to hear of the capitulation of Charleston, and in season to cut off the retreat of the rebel army from Richmond in that direction, should it escape from the beleaguering army of Gen. McClellan. Whatever may be the main object of the government in this active movement against Charleston, simultaneously with the advance upon Richmond, its effect will be to cut off the retreat of Jeff. Davis and his followers by the seaboard, and to push them into the interior and among the elevated regions of North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, where our Northern troops may prosecute the active work of a summer campaign without the slightest fear of the pestilential summer exhalations of our Southern seacoast section. In this view the importance of the timely capture of Charleston can hardly be overestimated.

On the other hand, so transcendantly important do we regard the decisive investment of Richmond, that we believe a complete success to our army in that quarter will put an end to this war —

from the centre all round to the sea — and that with the fall of Richmond, Charleston, if not sooner taken, and Savannah and Mobile, and every other remaining place of any consequence, menaced by our land or naval forces, will come by default into our possession. This supreme importance of Richmond is in every way confessed by the rebels themselves. They are weakening their extremities on every side to strengthen this great vital central point. Beauregard, for instance, may have been called to Richmond to explain his evacuation of Corinth; but that he has been also summoned there, with some portions of his Corinth army, to assist in the defence of the rebel capital, we have no doubt. Excepting Vicksburg, the rebels appear to have abandoned or surrendered the defence of the Mississippi valley for the desperate enterprise of maintaining their foothold in Virginia. Strange rumors to this end are afloat — such as this: that another reinforcement of Jackson is going on, sufficient to enable him to sweep out again all obstructions from the Shenandoah valley, and to cross the Potomac this time, and descend, like an avalanche, upon Washington, through Maryland.

We must stay, however, that since the late repulse of General Banks, and the stirring events which have followed his return to Winchester, we cannot apprehend for a moment that the War Department will again be caught napping in reference to the Shenandoah valley. We have men enough to supply any requisition in that quarter, and men enough, at the same time, to meet all the demands of General McClellan; and we dare say that the War Office is so industriously reinforcing our army in front of Richmond and in the rear of Washington as to leave no ground for apprehending another disaster in our front or rear to the end of this grand Virginia campaign.

Meantime it appears that the Macon (Ga.) Beacon had discovered that Jeff. Davis and his Congress have made some terrible blunders in the Northwest — that they have lost the Mississippi river by shutting it up against the Northwest, when they should have declared it a free sea, according to the idea of Mr. Calhoun; that the rebellious South, in adopting this idea and absolute free trade, would have secured the support of our Northwestern States against the new England Yankees their high protective tariffs and their abolition abominations; and that it is only by adopting these principles of a free Mississippi, free trade, &c. that the South can ever secure her independence.

It cannot be denied that there is something like philosophy in these views; and in the remarkable difference which this Georgia editor points out between the conservative ideas of the people of the Northwest and the violent abolition excesses of our New England States on the slavery question the intelligent reader can appreciate the wisdom and patriotism which have dictated the conservative policy of President Lincoln. A Northwestern man himself, he understands fully the popular sentiment of that section, and no other policy but that which he has pursued would have given us our splendid victories in the Mississippi valley. The same conservative policy had advanced our armed forces to Charleston and Richmond; and it is only by policy, after crushing the armies of this rebellion, that we can restore integrity of the Union.


July 25, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

RICHMOND, June 24, 1862.

Gen. S. Cooper, Adjand InspGen:

SIR — Before the 30th May, I had ascertained from trusty scouts, that Keyes’ corps was encamped on this side of the Chickahominy, near the Williamsburg road. On that day Maj. Gen. D.H. Hill reported a strong body immediately in his front. On receiving this report, I determined to attack them next morning — hoping to be able to defeat Keye’s corps completely in its more advanced position before it would be reinforced. — Written orders were despatched to major general Hill, Huger, and G. W. Smith. General Longstreet, being near my headquarters, received verbal instructions. The receipt of the orders was acknowledged. General Hill, supported by the division of General Longstreet (who had the direction of operations on the right), was to advance by the Williamsburg road to attack the enemy in front; General Huger, with his division, was to move down the Charles City road, in order to attack in flank the troops who might be engaged with Hill and Longstreet, unless he found in his front force enough to occupy his division, General Smith was to march to the junction of the New Bridge road and the Nine Mile road, to be in readiness either to fall on Keyes’ right flank or to cover Longstreet’s left. They were to move at daybreak. Heavy and protracted rains during the afternoon and night, by swelling the stream of the Chickahominy, increased the probability of our having to deal with no other troops than those of Keyes. The same cause prevented the prompt and punctual movement of the troops. — Those of Smith, Hill, and Longstreet were in position early enough, however, to commence operations by 8 o’clock, a.m.

Major General Longstreet, unwilling to make a partial attack, instead of the combined movement which had been planned, waited from hour to hour for Gen. Huger’s division. At length, at 2 o’clock, p.m. he determined to attack without those troops. He accordingly commenced his advance at that hour, opening the engagement with artillery and skirmishers. By 3 o’clock it became close and heavy.

In the meantime, I have placed myself on the left of the force employed in this attack, with the division of Gen. Smith, that I might be on a part of the field where I could observe, and be ready to meet, any counter movements which the enemy’s General might make against our centre or left. Owing to some peculiar condition of the atmosphere, the sound of the musketry did not reach us. I, consequently, deferred giving the signal for Gen. Smith’s advance till about 4 o’clock, at which time Major Jasper Whiting, of Gen. Smith’s staff, whom I had sent to learn the state of affairs with Gen. Longstreet column, returned, reporting that it was pressing on with vigor. Smith’s troops were at once moved forward.

The principal attack was made by Major General Longstreet, with his own and Major General D. H. Hill’s division — the latter mostly in advance. Hill’s brave troops, admirably commanded and most gallantly led, forced their way through the abattis which formed the enemy’s external defences, and stormed their entrenchments by a determined and irresistible rush. Such was the manner in which the enemy’s first line was carried. The operation was repeated with the same gallantry and success as our troops pursued their victorious career through the enemy’s successive camps and entrenchments. At each new position they encountered fresh troops belonging to it, and reinforcements brought on from the rear. Thus they had to repel repeated efforts to retake works which they had carried, but their advance was never successfully resisted.

Their onward movement was only stayed by the coming of night. By nightfall they had forced their way to the ‘Seven Pines,’ having driven the enemy back more than two miles, through their own camps, and from a series of entrenchments; and repelled every attempt to recapture them with great slaughter. The skill, vigor, and decision with which these operations were conducted by Gen. Longstreet are worthy of the highest praise. He was worthily seconded by Major General Hill, of whose conduct and courage he speaks in the highest terms.

Major General Smith’s division moved forward at four o’clock — Whiting’s three brigades leading. Their progress was impeded by the enemy’s skirmishers, which, with their supports, were driven back to the railroad. At this point, Whiting’s own, and Pettigrew’s brigade, engaged a superior force of the enemy. Hood, by my order, moved on to cooperate with Longstreet. General Smith was desired to hasten up with all the troops within reach. He brought up Hampton’s and Hatton’s brigades in a few minutes.

The strength of the enemy’s position, however, enabled him to hold it until dark.

About sunset, being struck from my horse, severely wounded by a fragment of a shell, I was carried from the field, and Major General G. W. Smith succeeded to the command.

He was prevented from resuming his attack on the enemy position next morning by the discovery of strong entrenchments, not seen on the previous evening. His division bivouacked, on the night of the 31st, within musket shot of the entrenchments which they were attacking, when darkness stayed the conflict. The skill, energy, and resolution with which Maj. Gen. Smith directed the attack, would have secured success if it could have been made an hour earlier.

The troops of Longstreet and Hill passed the night of the 31st on the ground which they had won. The enemy were strongly reinforced from the north side of the Chickahominy on the evening and night of the 31st. The troops engaged by Gen. Smith were undoubtedly from the other side of the river.

On the morning of the 1st of June, the enemy attacked the brigade of Gen. Pickett, which was supported by that of Gen. Pryor. The attack was vigorously repelled by these two brigades, the brunt of the action falling on Gen. Pickett. This was the last demonstration made by the enemy.

Our troops employed the residue of the day in securing and bearing off the captured artillery, small arms, and other property; and in the evening quietly returned to their own camps.

We took ten pieces of artillery, six thousand (6,000) muskets, one garrison flag, and four regimental colors, besides a large quantity of tents and camp equipage.

Major General Longstreet reports the loss in his

command as being about ……………………3,000

Maj. Gen. G. W. Smith reports his loss at …..1,283

Total …………………………………. 4,283

That of the enemy is stated in their own newspapers to have exceeded ten thousand — an estimate which is, no doubt, short of the truth.

Had Major General Huger’s division been in position and ready for action, when those of Smith, Longstreet and Hill moved, I am satisfied that Keyes’ corps would have been destroyed, instead of being merely defeated. Had it gone into action even at 4 o’clock, the victory would have been much more complete.

Major Generals Smith and Longstreet speak in high terms of the conduct of their superior and staff officers.

I beg leave to ask the attention of the Government especially to the manner in which Brigadier Gens. Whiting and R. H. Anderson, and Cols. Jenkins and Kemper and Hampton, exercising commands above their grades, and Brig. General Rhodes, are mentioned.

This, and the captured colors, will be delivered by Major A. H. Cole, of my staff.

I have been prevented, by feebleness, from making this report sooner, and am still too weak to make any but a very imperfect one.

Several hundred prisoners were taken, but I have received no report of the number. Your obedient servant,

(Signed) J. E. JOHNSTON, General.


June 24, 1862, The New York Herald

From despatches received at the War Department yesterday afternoon from General McClellan’s headquarters, nothing of importance occurred in the army of the Potomac yesterday. General Halleck sends the same information from his command on the Mississippi. Our correspondence from the army in front of Richmond, however, is worthy of close attention. Our pickets returning to camp represent that indications of some important movement of the rebels in Richmond were observed. The heavy rumbling of trains and wagons were heard late at night, and the sound of martial music receding from the city. The impression seemed to be that an evacuation was taking place, but it is just as likely that reinforcements were arriving.

We have information from our correspondents on the Chickahominy that the desertions from the rebel army amount to a regiment a week. The principal desertions are from the Louisiana and North Carolina troops, whose States are restored to the protection of the United States government; and the temptation to return to their homes, where they hope to escape from the tyranny of rebeldom, and enjoy once more peace and comfort, is no doubt the motive which impels them to abandon the ranks of the rebel army.

From rebel sources exclusively — that is to say, the papers of Richmond and Charleston — we have accounts of a terrible battle fought near Charleston, on James Island, within four miles of that city, on Monday last, in which a body of Union troops and some gunboats were engaged. Judging from the statements of these journals, which we publish in another column, we think that there can be little doubt that the battle at James Island was a great Union victory, which will result in the capture of Charleston before long. It is true that The Charleston Mercury, in recounting the story of this battle, represents it as an utter defeat of the Union troops; but we need hardly remind our readers that such account hardly tallies with the lachrymose articles from the same paper relative to the […..] of trial, which we give today, nor with its avowed determination in view of the final fall of the city of Charleston, which it predicts, to remove its printing apparatus to Columbia, South Carolina.

Our news from the South is interesting. The city authorities of Memphis have been compelled to take the oath of allegiance. General Mansfield Lovell has retired with his staff to Meridian. Information comes from Mississippi that the negroes in Oktibbeha county were arming themselves, and were about to make an attack on the white population.


June 24, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

THE ACTIVITY OF THE ENEMY seems to have been suddenly transferred from the neighborhood of Savannah to that of Charleston. Lieut. T.F. HOOPER, of Company B, 29th Georgia, with a detachment of twelve men, visited Wilmington Island, below Savannah, on Friday, and, after a diligent search, was unable to find a Yankee on the island. There are indications of Yankee troops having recently been there, but it is the opinion of Lieut. H. that they have entirely abandoned the island. Many head of fine fat cattle and hogs were seen running at large.


June 24, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

We have, from a trustworthy source, the following narrative of a recent excursion to this locality — formerly the estate of General JAMES HAMILTON, now owned by C.B. KIRK, Esq. It seems that at the time of the Yankee invasion last November, Mr. KIRK hurried to the Island and destroyed all his cotton, intending to return and save such other property as might be of value. Constant service in the field prevented this, and it was left to Capt. John Mickler, of the Hamilton Guards, 11th Regiment S.C.V., to exhibit an instance of […..] which reflects great credit on himself and the thirty comrades who shared with the him the dangers of the bold enterprise.

Some ten days ago Capt. Mickler determined to explore the Island for Yankees and other contrabands. With Gen. Drayton authority, he arranged his expedition and effected a landing unobserved. A glance at the map will show Calliwassee Island, between the Colleton and Chechessee rivers, a few miles east of Hardeeville, and within hearing of the Yankees’ reveille and tattoo. After secreting the boats, Capt. Mickler threw out his skirmishers, and began reconnoitering, hoping to catch some of the Yankees, who were in the habit of visiting the place for supplies of cattle and corn. In this, however, he was not successful, and he at once turned his attention to the next best thing to be done, i.e., the saving of the grain and the cattle. He found in the barn about 500 bushels corn, and in order to render its transportation more convenient, put his men to shelling and bagging it. His next move was to drive up all the cattle (some 81 head, in splendid condition,) from the rich pastures which the island afforded. The corn was deposited in the boats, and, not having accommodation for so many our four-footed passengers, he drove the cattle before him into the river, and, after great labor in keeping his boats between them and the shore, finally succeeded in making them work their way to Hasel’s Point, on the Okatee river, where the whole party disembarked, after an absence of nearly two days, having conducted their hazardous expedition to a most successful conclusion.

The corn and three mules soon found their way to the Quartermaster, and 81 beeves were purchased by the Commissary at a good round price.

We record these incidents with pleasure, for we are sure that, if opportunity is afforded to our young men from the seashore, whose lives have been spent near the creeks and sounds which skirt our shore, and with every point of which they are familiar, the Yankees will soon find their sojourn in this portion of Sunny South as perilous and unpleasant as it ought to be.


Monday, 23d—Nothing of importance. I went out to the branch a mile from camp to do my washing. Burtis Rumsey of our company has been sick for about two weeks and he begged me to take two of his shirts along and wash them for him, so I did. I used a small camp kettle which the company cook has set aside for boiling clothes. Some of the boys in the company hire colored women to wash their clothes. I prefer to do my own washing.


23rd. Monday. According to orders started for Neosho at 6 A. M. Up early and flew around to get chores done. Our road lay mostly through the woods. After 8 miles ride, mail came. A letter from good Fannie. Met Co. “A” and “D” from Sherwood, three miles north of Neosho. Met some Kansas Sixth who had fallen in with a band of 400 rebels on the road to Granby. Council of War—Burnett wanting to go on with 200 men—Ratcliff not thinking it best. Bivouacked for the night in open air.


Written from the Sea islands of South Carolina.

[Diary] June 23, Monday.

General Hunter drove us out to the camp of the black regiment, which he reviewed. After our return I saw Mr. McKim and Lucy off, the steamer being crowded with the wounded and sick from the battle of Edisto. Then Mr. French advised my returning to General Hunter’s. Mrs. H. had asked me to stay all night, but I had declined. Now, however, it was too late to go back to Beaufort in the little steamer and there was no other chance but a sail-boat, so after waiting and hesitating a long time, I consented to the intrusion, and Mr. French escorted me back again, explaining to General and Mrs. Hunter my predicament. They were cordial in their invitation, and I had a long talk with them about plantation matters, sitting on their piazza, the sentry marching to and fro and members of the staff occasionally favoring us with their company.

The regiment is General Hunter’s great pride. They looked splendidly, and the great mass of blackness, animated with a soul and armed so keenly, was very impressive. They did credit to their commander.

As we drove into the camp I pointed out a heap of rotting cotton-seed. “That will cause sickness,” I said. “I ordered it removed,” he said, very quickly, “and why hasn’t it been done?” He spoke to the surgeon about it as soon as we reached Drayton’s house, which is just beside the camp. The men seemed to welcome General Hunter and to be fond of him. The camp was in beautiful order.


(This month was the one in which commenced the retreat, or “change of base,”) from before Richmond. The constant call on my time, from the last date to the 25th, prevented my keeping a full journal of events, and I therefore state, generally, that after having been compelled, for three weeks, to witness an amount of unnecessary suffering, which I cannot now contemplate without a shudder, I at last succeeded, by the efficient and cordial aid of my Assistant Surgeons, Dickinson, Tuttle, Freeman and Brett, (the last two named coming in at a late date) and by my ” insufferably insolent demands” on my superior officers, in getting the hospital well supplied with provisions, stores, bedding, &c. The Assistant Surgeons named above, have my acknowledgements and my grateful thanks for their ever willing and well-timed support of me in my efforts to relieve the sufferings of brave men under our care. I wish, too, to make my acknowledgement to Medical Director Brown, for his courteous and cordial support of my efforts. Nor can I pass here without bearing testimony to the ever-ready and humane efforts of the Sanitary Commission to aid, by every means in its power, in the proper distribution of comforts for the sick and wounded. On arriving at Washington, shortly after entering the service of the United States, I became much prejudiced by statements made to me against this organization, but it required but a short time to satisfy me that my prejudices were groundless. I have uniformly found the members both courteous and humane, and am satisfied that the privations of the soldiers would have been incomparably greater but for the aid received through them. From this Commission we received, about the 15th June, amongst other things, a generous supply of bed sacks. These, by the aid of the convalescents in hospital, were filled with the fine boughs of the cedar, pine and other evergreens, which made very comfortable beds, and in a few days after this every man was comfortably bedded and between clean, white sheets.[1] About the time of this change in the condition of the hospital, patients unable to be moved to the rear began to be sent in here from other hospitals. The removing of convalescents to the rear, and the breaking up numbers of hospitals and massing their very sick in one general field hospital, always indicates some active army operations. ‘Twas so in this case. But the condition of the patients sent in was shocking in the extreme, and a disgrace to the officers by whom such things are permitted. Poor fellows, wounded in battle, had been neglected till their wounded limbs or bodies had become a living mass of maggots. Legs were dropping off from rottenness, and yet these poor men were alive. Yet if the Surgeons had have protested against these things, perhaps they would have been threatened, as I was, with dismissal, and have been told that it was ” bad enough that this should be, without having it told to discourage the army.” There is no necessity for it, and the Surgeon who will submit to being made the instrument of such imposition on the soldiers, without a protest, deserves dismissal and dishonor. I must be permitted to insert here my most solemn protest against the action of any Governor, in promoting, at the request of (7×9) party politicians, (and in defiance of the remonstrance of those acquainted with the facts,) officers, and particularly surgeons, whose only notoriety consists in their ability to stand up under the greatest amount of whisky; and also against their re-appointing surgeons under the same influence who, after examination, have been mustered out of the service for incompetency. Under such appointments humanity is shocked, and a true and zealous army of patriots dwindle rapidly into a mass of mal-contents.

[1] A little incident here. Amongst the loads of hospital supplies furnished by the U. S. Sanitary Commission, were many articles of clothing and bedding marked with the names of the persons by whom they were donated. After the new beds were all made and severally assigned to those who were to occupy them, I was supporting a poor, feeble Pennsylvanian to his bed. As he was in the act of getting in he started back with a shriek and a shudder, accompanied by convulsive sobs so heart-rending that there was scarcely a dry eye in the ward. He stood fixed, staring and pointing at the bed, as if some monster was there concealed. As soon as he became sufficiently calm to speak, I asked what was the matter? With a half-maniacal screech he exclaimed—his finger still pointing—” My mother!” Her name was marked upon the sheet. Three days after the poor fellow died with that name firmly grasped in his hand. The sheet was rolled around him, the name still grasped, and this loved testimonial of the mother’s affection was committed with him to his last resting place. This circumstance was published at the time, in a letter from myself and I have seen it also stated in several papers, extracted from letters written to friends by soldiers in the hospital.


Eliza Woolsey Howland’s Journal.

Wilson Small, June 23.

A very anxious day. An orderly from Brigade Headquarters brought word from Captain Hopkins that Joe was ill and unable to write. I at once put up a basket of stores for him—bedsack, pillows, sheets, arrowroot, etc., etc., to go by the orderly, and Charley telegraphed Generals Slocum and Franklin to know the truth, while Mr. Olmsted arranged with Captain Sawtelle for a pass to take me to the front to-morrow morning. My mind was relieved, however, by the telegraphic answers and better accounts, and I have given up the idea of going out.


Saturday, 23d.—Feel some better this morning. Brother J. H. Magill came up from Mouse Creek to see me to-day. In afternoon, regiment passed through Knoxville, and Brother Tom is sent to this hospital, sick. J. H. got him in the same room with me. Got two letters to-day; one from Cousin Fannie Lowry, the other from 3, 3, 1.

(Note: picture is of an unidentified Confederate soldier.)


June 23d. Hot during the day, nothing important to note. In the course of the night it rained and blew terrifically. I was awakened by the tent blowing down on top of me and was obliged to crawl out and run to the guard house for assistance. Puffy, the quartermaster, who tents with me crawled out too, on the other side, swearing like a Dutch trooper. After a considerable struggle we succeeded in getting it up again and making the pegs hold; the difficulty is the ground is all sand and when it rains hard the pegs will not hold, and, consequently, the tent must come down. We got a famous bath by the operation.




June 23.—The London Times, of this date, said that whatever might be the result of the civil war in America, it was plain that it had reached a point at which it was a scandal to humanity. It had become a war of extermination. Utter destruction might be possible, or even imminent, but submission was as far off as ever. Persons who listened to the excited railers on either side might think that there was no alternative but to let a flood of blood pass over the land; but, at that calm distance, it might perhaps be wisely calculated that such voices did not represent the mind of the American people. Both parties ought by this time to be tired of the strife. There had been blood enough shed, fortunes enough made, losses enough suffered, and wrongs enough inflicted and endured. The opportunity ought to be either present or at hand when some potent American voice, prudently calling, “Peace,” might awaken an universal echo.

—Martial law was proclaimed in the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., by order of Brig. General E. L. Viele, Military Governor.

— Brigadier- General Schofield, Military Commandant District of Missouri, this day issued a General Order from his headquarters, St Louis, warning the rebels and rebel sympathizers in Missouri that he would hold them responsible in their property and persons for any damages that might thereafter be committed by the lawless bands of armed men which they had brought into existence, subsisted, encouraged, and sustained up to that time.

—The Third battalion, Fifth Pennsylvania cavalry. Col. Campbell, stationed at Gloucester Point, made a reconnoissance under the command of Major Wilson, into the counties of Gloucester and Mathews, Va., for the purpose of capturing a body of rebel cavalry, who were overrunning those counties, arresting deserters, and impressing others into their service who were unwilling to volunteer.

On arriving at Mathews’s Court-House, Major Wilson found he was a day too late. The rebel cavalry had been there, and arrested twenty-four men as being deserters from their army.

Samuel Wylie Crawford (Wikipedia) was the surgeon on duty at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, during the Confederate bombardment in 1861, which represented the start of the Civil War. Despite his purely medical background, he was in command of several of the artillery pieces returning fire from the fort.

A month after Fort Sumter, Crawford decided on a fundamental career change and accepted a commission as a major in the 13th U.S. Infantry. He served as Assistant Inspector General of the Department of the Ohio starting in September 1861. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on April 25, 1862, and led a brigade in the Department of the Shenandoah, participating in the Valley Campaign against Stonewall Jackson, but the brigade saw no actual combat.


June 23, 1862, The New York Herald

The latest news from the army in front of Richmond reports that everything was remarkably quiet yesterday — something new for a Sunday’s operations. On Saturday brisk skirmishing was going on, and it appeared exceedingly likely towards nightfall that a general engagement was imminent. During the day the rebels kept up a continuous shower of shells on our lines, but did little damage. The object appeared to be to force our troops into a fight, but the attempt was not successful, doubtless for good reasons on the part of General McClellan.

An important change has been made in the Medical Staff of the Army of the Potomac by the appointment of Surgeon Litterman, a skillful physician, as Medical Director of General McClellan’s army. We are compelled to admit that heretofore the medical department of the army has not been as effective as was desirable. We hope that under the new direction our poor follows suffering from wounds and sickness will feel the blessings of prompt and careful attention.

The Richmond papers of Saturday published a despatch from Montgomery, Alabama, dated the 17th inst., stating that General Beauregard and his staff had arrived there on his way to Richmond, and that a large portion of the army of the Mississippi was to follow him, leaving a considerable force behind under General Bragg. Whether General Beauregard will arrive at Richmond in time to effect anything for the cause of rebeldom remains to be seen.

General Schofield has taken stringent measures to repress the guerillas in Missouri, as we learn by a despatch from St. Louis. He has issued an order holding the rebel sympathizers in that State responsible in their property and persons for all damage done to citizens by marauding parties. He announces that $5,000 will be exacted for every Union soldier, or loyal citizen killed, and from $1,000 to $5,000 for every one of either class wounded by any guerilla party. The full value of all the property destroyed will be assessed and collected from the secessionists residing in the locality where the outrage may be committed. This measure will, no doubt put a stop to guerilla warfare.

Our news from New Orleans today will be read with great interest. General Butler is managing things there with the greatest firmness and discretion. Not only is he putting down with a strong hand all rebel sympathizers, but he is sheltering the loyal citizens from outrage and annoyance. While at one moment he sends obnoxious rebels to Fort Jackson to work at hard labor, at the same time he condemns some of his own troops to be hung for pillaging the houses of the citizens. Thus the Union sentiment, under such management, naturally grows stronger and stronger, and we are not surprised to see Union meetings getting up in all quarters of the city of New Orleans. So far has Gen. Butler won upon the feelings of the people by his generous and just course that he was serenaded at the St. Charles Hotel on the 14th inst., and made a speech in response, in which he declared that his feelings towards the South were friendly and fraternal; but that at the same time he was resolved, as a matter of duty inexorably imposed upon him, to carry out the laws of the United States under all circumstances.


June 23, 1862, The New York Herald

In accordance with the resolution that recently passed Congress, Secretary Stanton issued a proclamation on Saturday announcing that hereafter a premium of two dollars would be paid for each and every accepted recruit. Any person who obtains a recruit is entitled to that sum when he is accepted, under this order. It will no doubt prove an incentive to the recruiting officer, as well as to others who may wish to labor for the premium by prevailing upon men to enlist. The really important feature of this order of the Secretary of War is the announcement that every person who may hereafter enlist, either in the regular army or the volunteer force, for three years or during the war, shall receive, immediately upon the mustering of his company into service, the first month’s pay in advance. Heretofore many men have been deterred from enlisting by the fear of leaving their families without any support until they had served long enough to receive pay from the government. The payment of the first month in advance is a decided improvement, and calculated to encourage men to enlist. We rejoice to see its adoption, although at the eleventh hour.


June 23, 1862, The Charleston Mercury

The Richmond Examiner says: Col. WADE HAMPTON, formerly commanding the Hampton Legion, of South Carolina, one of the most distinguished and gallant corps in the service, has been promoted to a Brigadier Generalship. In the reorganization of the Legion, Lieutenant J. HARVEY DINGLE, of the Manning Guards, was elected Major, and Captain M.W. GARY, of the Watson Guards, Lieutenant Colonel. Captain GARY won a famous name at Manassas, his company having captured two of the enemy batteries, and his own personal gallantry having been conspicuous on that celebrated battle field. The compliment of his election was increased by the circumstances, that it was without opposition.

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