Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 27, 1862: Theodore Carhart at 2nd Battle of Manassas [Bull Run]

In August, units of the Army of the Potomac had moved between Manassas and Fairfax Court House, Virginia.  Theodore Carhart, of the 1st NJ Volunteer Infantry Regiment, wrote to his brother,
"In one week, from Sunday night, the 24th, up to Sunday, the 31st, we have been up to Manassas and back, and to Fairfax Court House and back, making 90 miles all told.  When we were moving up to Fairfax the last time, Friday, the 29th, General Slocum, our Division General, headed our Brigade and encamped us for the night about eight miles away from Alexandria.  He made us quite a speech, complimenting us very highly for holding up so nobly under the severe difficulties that we had contended with.  He said he knew, and so did all other officers, that when we left the Seminary last spring that we were one of the finest brigades in the whole army, and that to be reduced to such a number, it must be discouraging both to men and officers.  He also said that he would like to have the name of every man and officer, for by his presence he knew him to be a good soldier, a true patriot, and men that could be relied upon; that we should keep a stiff upper lip, for it was always the darkest just before day.  After he got thro' with his speech, the boys gave him six hearty cheers and then we pitched our tents for the night, and he went on with the other two brigades of the division.  On Saturday morning, we struck tents and moved on to Fairfax and guarded that place and the different roads leading to it while the battle was going on at Manassas.  The guerrillas think nothing of making dashes at our trains as they pass backward   and forward with ammunition and provisions.
"At Manassas on Wednesday [August 27], we lost 163 men; the 2nd Regiment, about 175; I have not learned other losses.  Suffice it to say the Brigade today only numbers about 800 men; out of that the 1st has only 257 men all told.  It is the smallest regiment in the brigade...At any rate, we are all right so far.  Captain [Edward] Campbell [Company E, 3rd NJ Regiment] and Captain [John] Wildrick [Company B, 2nd NJ Regiment] are all right - they made their escape from the rebels."
Copyright 1997-2012: Jay C. Richards

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