"Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?"

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sunday, May 10, 1863. The 2nd Brigade holds a 50-mile front

Rappahannock Station.

"10th. Went down to Rappahannock station. Met with some Rebs at Kettle Run Bridge. They had fired the bridge and torn up the track. Were at work when we came along but skee-daddled at the sight of the train. We succeeded in saving the bridge and left a guard. When we came back the bridge, about one mile this side, on Cannon Run, was on fire. Just in time to save it. Saw the Rebs, about fifty of Stewart's Cavalry. They intended to capture the train, but found us enough for them." Diary of Oliver A. Browne, Co. K, 15th Regiment

"Sunday 10th. On guard & detailed again as Col's orderly. Had a pleasant time. Day very hot. This A.M. 3 negroes came in & were put in the guard-house, as usual, to await the arrival of the train. About 10 A.M. who should come in but John Minor Botts for the three. One of them was very white & quite intelligent. Of Course, Col Blunt declined to give them up, till he consulted higher authority. I think, personally his feelings & principles would prefer to allow them their freedom, but as it is an important case, as it would establish a precedent, he prefers not to be responsible. I hardly see how they can be given up, after the Presidents' proclamation, but undoubtedly he would receive compensation, in time."Diary of Horace Barlow (UVM), 116-17, Horace Barlow, Pvt., Co. C, 12th Regiment

Bristoe Station.

"Bristow Station, Virginia

"Sunday, May 10, 1863
"Dear Parents

"We are still at Bristow, having been ordered to remain here four days longer than we thought when we first came out here. We have had considerable bad weather since we came, but have enjoyed ourselves very well notwithstanding We are expecting to go back to camp today. The 15th has left its old camp and gone down to Warrenton Junction.

"The fruits of our labor thus far have been 45 or 50 contrabands, one sword, one double barreled shot gun, and one carbine, which we found concealed in the houses of citizens. Also about forty Sesesh fowls, and a lot of hams, meal, etc. The cavalry that was with us has picked up a dozen or so of citizens accused of being sesesh in their proclivities and actions.

"It is as beautiful a Sabbath morning today as ever was; the grass looks green and thrifty, and the apple trees all in bloom. A few of the boys have just gone up the railroad with a hand car for a ride, and are now coming back. They were rather careless, as they had neither arms nor equipment along.

"Since we came here we have seen some good looking white women, the first we have seen since we came into Virginia. From one thoroughly Sesesh widow lady we have taken at least thirty Negroes, found a carbine secreted in one of her beds, etc. We have also in some of our excursions found some good Union people, but those that can be relied on are few in comparison with the whole population. The Unionists are all northern people, mostly from NY or NJ, who have worked their own lands, and have never owned slaves. However, slaves and slavery fast are disappearing from Prince William County. Brentsville, the former county seat, is a little one-horse place so thoroughly Sesesh that there is only four to seven men left there, and unless they are more exemplary in their morals, than most of the people here, they will stand a chance to have their numbers reduced whenever we get in some more cavalry here.

"Stoneman's Cavalry, I presume you have learned, has returned to the Rappahannock. They sent in some thirty prisoners yesterday, including one major, and two or three carloads of contrabands, all smart active young men. 'Tis said that Stoneman has twenty acres of land covered all over with mules, horses and cattle, all standing just as thick as they can be tied, which he brought with him on his return from his recent raid. General Stahl is getting his division all down on the Rappahannock, and it is said that he is going to make another raid while Stoneman takes a rest .

"The weather now is quite hot....We have learned that we are not going to be relieved before tomorrow, and then 'tis thought that the 13th will come out here. We would certainly rather stay here than go back to camp. The boys in camp have drawn all our boards, stovepipes, etc. They would like very well to have us come back and help them do the picket duty, which is coming rather severe on them just now, as there is only one regiment in Union Mills.

"We were deeply disappointed when we learned that Hooker's movement had failed, for we had an abiding faith in the success of this grand movement and even now we have hopes that he has only returned to try it again under what he may consider more favorable auspices.

"I saw Gen. Stahl yesterday. He was on board the cars. Not a very remarkable looking man for a General, though his men say that he is the only man that can take a regiment of cavalry and break a regiment of infantry. The boys are all well and in good spiriting full of fun and frolic, hale and hearty, ready to attack anything from a box of hard tack to a band of bushwhackers. Give my regards to all my friends if I have any, and tell them that we think of coming back to Virginia after the war is over, provided we can get some confiscated land...

"Not long ago the Rebs set fire to a bridge not more than a mile and a half from us but it was put out without damaging the bridge seriously. There are a few bands of these Rebs about here first in one place and then another whom we are not shrewd enough to catch. 

"There is a guard here from Co. "F" now that came down in the cars to guard the train. We need a whole regiment here instead of one company, and if the 13th is coming, I am glad of it. Good bye for now ... H.G. Day" ~ Hezron G. Day, pvt., Company C, Sixteenth Regiment, Letter of May 10, 1863

Camp Widow Violet near Occoquan ferry

"Camp Carusi May 10, 1863 
"Dear Mother

"Gen. Stannard has been on a visit to this regiment and has gone away
today. He stayed till after inspection. We all like his appearance first-rate. He does not appear much like Gen. Stoughton. I hear that he Stoughton has been exchanged and that he is in Washington. All we ask is that they will keep him there and not give him the command of this Brigade again, for we are well suited with the change we have had.

"We have been in this camp one month and nine days, so we begin to think it most time to move. The 12th at Rapahanoc Station and the 15th at Warrington guarding the railroad. We may not move for some time but we have not staid out about so long anywhere, so I think we shall move.

"I am going to Mount Vernon in a day or two if nothing happens. I do not suppose it will do me any good but I want to go. We are so near now and it may be the only chance I shall ever have. It is only 7 miles from here and I can get a pass for two days, so I shall be all right if I go. When next time you write, let me know if you have got my money that I have sent. If you have, do what you are a mind to with it--only have it safe.  ..." 
James Willson, 13th Regt., pvt, Co. B. , Letter #42, March 14, 1863 (VHS)

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