Thursday, September 6, 2012

August 27, 1862: Andrew Neal captured at 2nd Battle of Manassas

Corporal Andrew Neal, of Belvidere, in Company F of the 4th Pennsylvania Veteran Reserve Regiment, returned to Manassas, Virginia to fight a second battle near Bull Run Creek.  He and his best friend Thomas A. H. Knox, of Belvidere, fought in the First Battle of Bull Run [or Manassas] in July 1861.  On August 27, 1862, Neal was fighting another battle near Manassas Junction, but this time without his friend Corporal Knox.  Knox had been killed in action near Charles City Crossroads, Virginia on June 30, 1862 at the Battle of Frazier's Farm.
In a letter to his father, Corporal Neal wrote, "We received marching orders to go to the Rappahannock, and from there to White Sulphur Springs, then to Warrenton, then to Catlett's Station, then to Manassas, where we were taken prisoners by the 16th Mississippi Regiment.  The last Bull Run battle was a harder one than the first.  After I was taken prisoner, I was marched under guard to Gainesville with 1,800 more who were taken at Manassas.  After being there two days without anything to eat, we were paroled and allowed to depart to our lines by a circuitous route of 90 miles, conducted by [J. E. B.] Stewart's rebel cavalry.  We had to march without anything to eat, except what we could pick up on the way, such as green corn, apples and peaches.  We arrived at Harper's Ferry after three days rapid march, and then were ordered to Cumberland, Maryland, where we had a camp for a day or two.  We were kindly treated by the citizens of Cumberland.  It is a place of 8,000 inhabitants, along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, five miles from the Pennsylvania state line.  After the rebels crossed into Maryland, we were ordered to this camp [Camp Chase, Ohio].  There are some 4,000 paroled prisoners here altogether, and also about 1,000 rebel prisoners.  We are kindly treated here, have good rations, soft bread, and everything we need.  We lost our clothing; the trains that our knapsacks were on were burnt.
"I told you, after the retreat to Harrison's Landing, if reinforcements did not   soon arrive, Washington would be in danger; you can see it is so; even Pennsylvania is threatened.  I don't know how long we will be here.  We dare not do any military duty until we are regularly exchanged, when that will be I do not know.  There is some talk of sending us to our respective States.  I enjoy good health notwithstanding the hardships I have had to endure.  I am still living, and am among Union people, where we are provided with everything a soldier can expect."
Copyright 1997-2012: Jay C. Richards

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