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Report frequently, so that when they are
pushed, Gorman can come up on their flank.
Yours respectfully and truly,
Brigadier-General Commanding.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 1861.
General Barry, Chief of Artillery:
SIR: Agreeably to your instructions, I give
below a correct report of the circumstances con-
nected with the recent battle near Ball's Bluff,
October 21, 1861.

"The left section of Battery B, Rhode Island
Artillery, was ordered on the 20th of October to
proceed to Conrad's Ferry. Captain Vaughn
immediately started, camping at the New York
Ninth regiment's camp on Saturday night, and,
proceeding to the ferry the following morning,
placed one of his pieces in readiness to cross the
river. General Baker at that time gave Captain
Vaughn orders to place the centre section of his
battery, which was two miles and a half distant,
in a position to shell the woods. Captain
Vaughn immediately started, ordering Lieuten-
ant Bramhall to see to the piece in the event of
his not getting back in time to cross with it.
Very soon after Captain Vaughn left the river,
orders were given to transport one piece of ar-
tillery across the river. Lieutenant Bramhall,
being at that time chief in command, crossed
with the one best situated for immediate and
most expeditious forwarding, which was one of
Captain Vaughn's pieces. The pieco was taken
across the river, with the timber, seven_horses
and fourteen men, including Sergeant Tucker.
After dismounting the piece the men dragged
it up a steep hill, and, returning for the carriage,
brought it up also, mounted the piece, and com-
menced firing; continued to do so until all the
cannoneers, with the exception of two, were shot
down. Sergeant Tucker remained by the piece
until his right leg was shattered by a musket
ball, and then, unassisted, retired.

Aspinwall, shot through the arm, above the elbow; Bromley, arın grazed by musket ball; M. Carmichael, A. J. McAllen, C. L. Woodmancy and M. Tillinghast escaped without injury.

The loss sustained by the battery is as follows, viz.: One James's rifled cannon, bronze, one gun carriage, one gun limber, seven horses with equipments, four men missing, six men wounded. The following is a list of those who were in the detachment which crossed the river: Sergeant S. G. Tucker, right leg shattered; Corporal W. F. Tanner, missing, probably drowned; Corporal L. C. Olney, missing, probably drowned; privates Charles Connell, missing, probably drowned; W. F. Matteson, missing, probably drowned; B. W. Matteson, shot through both legs; G. R. Matteson, shot through the side; N. C. Haskins, shot through the chest; John

The wounded men will probably recover. Dr. Crosby informs me that he has no fears of any one wounded, but intimates that there is a possibility of its being necessary to amputate Sergeant Tucker's leg.

I feel it my duty to say, that had Captain Vaughn not been prevented by illness, caused by his arduous labors in carrying the dead and wounded across the river, immediately after the battle, a full and authentic report would have been forwarded to you. Respectfully, GEORGE W. ADAMS, Lieutenant Battery B, R. I. A.

Addenda.-General Stone visited the wounded ·

men, praised them for their bravery, and told
them that no men could have worked the piece
G. W. ADAMS, Lieutenant.

CAMP BENTON, October 23d, 1861.

To Brig.-Gen. Lander:

Learning that a column of our troops was crossing the Potomac on the 21st inst., at a point near the centre of Harrison's Island, in which the companies of my regiment stationed as pickets upon the river had been ordered to join by General Baker, I hastened thither, in anticipation of orders from General Stone. I arrived there about half-past one o clock P. M., and found among the troops at the point of crossing great confusion, no competent officer seeming to have been left in charge of the transportation, and the progress made in embarking was very slow. I at once took charge at this point, caused a line to be stretched across the river by which to propel the boats, and forwarded troops in the following order,

to wit:

Part of California regiment not already crossed, the Rhode Island and New York bat

Lieutenant Bramhall speaks of both the ser-
geant and all the men, with the exception of
one, who retired after the third fire, as exhibit-teries, the New York Tammany regiment, and
ing the greatest bravery. He was also particu- the Nineteenth Massachusetts. With the lat-
lar to speak of the bravery shown by M. Car- ter regiment I proceeded to the island. I
michael and W. F. Matteson. His report to learned that General Baker had been killed,
Captain Bunting is full of the praises of the and found every thing in confusion, our column
whole detachment.
being entirely routed and in precipitate retreat,
throwing away their arms, deserting their
killed and wounded, and leaving a large num-
ber of prisoners in the hands of the enemy. I
at once took command, arrested as far as pos-
sible the progress of the rout, restored order,
and, to check the advance of the enemy, who
threatened to occupy the island, I sent the
Nineteenth Massachusetts regiment to the front,
and placed one gun of the Rhode Island bat-
tery and two of the New York battery in posi-
tion, supported by two companies of the Mas-
sachusetts Twentieth, and so much of the Tam-
many regiment as was upon the island and
could be induced to remain; which disposition

being made, and pickets extended upon the
Virginia side of the island, I commenced active
measures for the gathering of the wounded,
and rescue of straggling parties of our troops
upon the Virginia shore, by the construction
of rafts and the use of small boats; the boats
used for crossing to the Virginia shore having
been swamped and lost in the precipitate and
disorderly retreat. No field-officer was on duty
upon the island, with the exception of Major
Bon, of the New York Tammany regiment.

good order, to the Maryland shore, without
any casualties or loss whatever; and complet-
ing the retreat at twelve o'clock, I immediately
passed my compliments to the rebel command-
er, in the form of four shells from Captain
Vaughn's guns, which had been placed in bat-
tery upon the high ground overlooking the
canal and river. During the retreat I was re-
inforced by five companies of the Massachusetts
Second, under command of Captain Tucker,
who remained upon this side of the river,
where I stationed him with his command in
support of the battery, and ordered to camp
the companies of the Nineteenth and Twentietli,
who were greatly exhausted, having been con-
stantly employed in the intrenchments, bury-
ing the dead, removing the wounded, and trans-
porting the artillery to and from the island.

After the passage of the Nineteenth Massa-
chusetts regiment, no reinforcements crossed
to the island, although several regiments were
upon the tow-path on the Maryland side, but
returned to their camps during the night; a
considerable number of unarmed fugitives from
various regiments were passed to the Maryland
shore during the night, and the transportation The enemy known to have been engaged
of the wounded was continued until noon of consisted of the Eighth Virginia regiment,
the 22d. On the morning of the 22d I de- under the command of Colonel Janifer, and
spatched Lieutenant Dodge, of the Nineteenth the Seventeeth and Eighteenth Mississippi regi-
Massachusetts, with a flag of truce, to request ments, with a squadron of horse and battery,
of the Confederate commander permission to the whole under command of General Evans.
remove our wounded, of which numbers lay in Our loss in killed, wounded, and missing cannot
view, uncared for, on the Virginia shore. This be determined, as large numbers of wounded
request was denied, except in the case of a few and unwounded were drowned when the boats
apparently mortally wounded. The remainder were swamped, as well as in attempts to swim
were taken prisoners. Permission for my sur- the river during the night; and no reports have
geon to cross and treat the wounded was also as yet been made to me. The Fifteenth Mas-
refused, except upon condition that he should sachusetts regiment, the Twentieth Massachu-
remain a prisoner in their hands. Subsequent-setts, Baker's California regiment, and a part
ly I despatched Captain Vaughn, of the Rhode of the Tammany regiment, lost a large number
Island battery, with another flag of truce, to of men, who were made prisoners. Colonel
obtain permission to bury the dead, which was Lee and Major Revere, of the Twentieth, and
acceded to, with the stipulation that no move- Colonel Coggswell, of the Tammany regiment,
ment of troops should be made from the island are reported missing. Lieut.-Col. Ward, of the
to the Maryland shore in retreat, while the Fifteenth Massachusetts, was severely wound-
burying party was employed; and I despatched ed. We have lost two howitzers and one rifled
Captain Vaughn with a party of ten men for cannon belonging to Capain Vaughn's Rhodo
that purpose, who remained till after dark, and Island battery, and a considerable number of
succeeded in burying forty-seven bodies, which small-arms, (say fifteen hundred,) with equip-
he reported to be about two-thirds of the num- ments. I shall make a further report of the
ber lying upon the ground; but night coming killed who were identified before burial.
on he was unable to bury the remainder.

I have to report that the remnant of the Tammany regiment, under command of Major Bon, deserted its post in the intrenchments on the island at an early hour in the forenoon of the 22d, and passed to the Maryland shore in disobedience of orders, while I was engaged in arranging for the removal of the wounded and the burial of the dead. I cannot close this report with justice to our troops, who fought valiantly, without commenting upon the causes which led to their defeat and complete rout. The means of transportation, for advance in support, or for a retreat, were criminally deficient-especially when we consider the facility for creating proper means for such purposes at our disposal. The place for landing on the Virginia shore was most unfortunately selected, being at a point where the shore rose with great abruptness for a distance of some one hundred and fifty yards, at an angle of at least thirty-five degrees, and was entirely studded with trees, being perfectly impassable to artil

During the afternoon factious complaint was made by the rebel commander that I had violated the stipulations under which the flag of truce was protected, accompanied by a threat to retain Captain Vaughn and his party as prisoners of war. I at once addressed a note to the rebel commander denying the accusation, threw up new intrenchments, and made disposition of troops, with a view of renewing hostilities if the threat was carried into execution. Subsequently, however, Captain Vaughn returned with his party, and informed me that my explanation was deemed satisfactory by the rebel commander. Immediately after Captain Vaughn's return, under cover of night, I commenced a retreat, in pursuance of orders previously received from Gen. Hamilton, and transported three pieces of artillery, with caissons and ammunition, thirty-six horses, and the eleven companies of infantry under my command, numbering some seven hundred men, in

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lery or infantry in line. At the summit, the J. Lowell, shot in leg, not serious. Second
surface is undulating, where the enemy were Lieut. Putnam was shot in the bowels, and
placed in force, out of view, and cut down our died in this camp yesterday. His body was
troops with a murderous fire, which we could sent on to Boston this morning. Our loss in
not return with any effect. The entire island killed, wounded, and missing, of non-commis-
was also commanded by the enemy's artillery sioned officers and privates, is reported at one
and rifles. In fact, no more unfortunate posi-hundred and forty-seven, of whom forty-five
tion could have been forced upon us by the en- are at the camp, and most of them will recover.
emy for making an attack-much less selected The other wounded are believed to be pris-
by ourselves.
oners. At about three o'clock on Tuesday
Within a half mile upon either side of the morning, I was ordered to march, with all my
points selected a landing could have been ef- remaining troops, including even the camp
fected where we could have been placed upon guard, to the river, and cross, and join the ad-
equal terms with the enemy, if it was necessary vance. I did so, and we returned this morn-
to effect a landing from the island. My judging. We were under fire for a few moments,
and in a position of great peril all the time. I
have had to go through such fatigue and anx-
iety for the past four days, and had so inuch to
do in arranging what is left of this gallant and
unfortunate regiment, that I can only write
briefly, and at a late hour, to state the prin-
cipal facts of the sad story. All accounts agree
that the conduct of officers and men was gal-
lant in the extreme. The enemy paid them
the highest tribute when they permitted our
burying party to land the following day. You
will see from the following table that our loss
was about fifty per cent.: officers engaged,
twenty-two; officers safe, nine; killed, one;
missing, seven; wounded, five; rank and file
engaged, three hundred and eighteen; killed,
wounded, and missing, one hundred and forty-

ment, however, cannot approve of that policy
which multiplies the number of river crossings
without any compensation in securing com-
manding positions thereby.
Respectfully submitted,
Col. Nineteenth Mass. Vols., Comdg. Baker's Brigade.
Dead, one hundred and fifty; wounded, two
hundred and fifty; prisoners, five hundred.
Total casualties, nine hundred.

The number of Federal troops engaged was about two thousand one hundred in all. The bodies of the killed were rifled of all valuables by the enemy; the shoulder-straps and buttons were cut from the coats of the officers.

LIEUT. COL. PALFREY'S REPORT. HEAD-QUARTERS 20TH REG. MASS. VOL. Camp Benton, Poolesvile, Md. Thursday, Oct. 24, 1861. To His Excellency Governor Andrew: GOVERNOR: It is my painful duty to make the following report:

On the morning of the 21st, Col. Lee, with Major Revere and Adjutant Pierson, conducted the whole or the greater part of Companies A, C, D, E, G, H, and I, of the above regiment, to a point on the Virginia shore opposite Sullivan's Island, a little below Conrad's Ferry. The command numbered something over three hundred men. They were accompanied or followed by other troops, the Massachusetts Fif teenth, Col. Devens, among them. They were soon attacked by the enemy, who outnumbered them greatly. The attack continued to be made at intervals, and most of the fighting was in the afternoon. They were very severely treated, and the following is the result, as nearly as I can state it:

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GENERAL MCCLELLAN'S ORDER. HEAD-QUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Washington, October 25, 1861. The Major-General commanding the Army of the Potomac desires to offer his thanks, and to express his admiration of their conduct, to the officers and men of the detachments of the Fifteenth and Twentieth Massachusetts, First California and Tammany regiments, the First United States Artillery and Rhode Island bat

Missing, believed to be prisoners of warCol. Lee, Major Revere, Adjutant Pierson, As-tery, engaged in the affair of Monday last near sistant Surgeon Revere, First Lieut. Geo. B. Harrison's Island. The gallantry and discipline Perry. Believed to be wounded-First Lieut. there displayed deserved a more fortunate reBabo, Second Lieut. Wesselhoeff. Wounded sult; but situated as these troops were-cut off in this camp-Capt. Dreher, shot through the alike from retreat and reinforcements, and at head from cheek to cheek; recovery possible. tacked by an overwhelming force-five thouCapt. J. C. Putnam, right arm taken off at sand against one thousand seven hundred-it socket; doing well. First Lieut. O. W. Holmes, was not possible that the issue could have been jr., shot through chest from side to side; doing successful. Under happier auspices such devowell. Captain Schmidt, shot three times tion will ensure victory. The General Comthrough the leg and through small of the back, manding feels increased confidence in General from side to side; doing well. First Lieut. J. Stone's division, and is sure that when they

next meet the enemy they will fully retrieve | our first company landed at the foot of the bushthis check, for which they are not accountable. covered precipice which rises abruptly over one By command of Major-General MCCLELLAN. hundred feet from the river bed on the further S. WILLIAMS, side of the river. Four hours more had elapsed Assistant Adjutant-General. before the last company landed. Sections of the Second Rhode Island battery, comprising two howitzers, two field smooth-bores, and one rifled gun, went over with us, the men dragging them up the heights with great difficulty and spirit. All this time irregular fighting was going on above. It seems that Colonel Devens had in the morning moved with a small detachment in the direction of Leesburg, shortly after his forces had crossed, had advanced one mile, there met the enemy's skirmishers in feeble force, and had retired to the brow of the heights. Before this the quartermaster of the Massachusetts Fifteenth had gone alone to a point within a mile of the village, had returned, crossed the river, and reported to General Stone that there were no hostile forces in that region. But after Colonel Devens fell back his men were placed in a semicircular clearing, or natural forest opening covering five or six acres, with its base resting on the edge of the heights, and flanked and fronted by forest. The enemy, becoming bolder, advanced in scattered parties to the edge of these woods, and from ten A. M. till four P. M. kept up a random, annoying fire upon our men. The latter sheltered themselves as well as they could, lying just below the ridge, and awaited

Six companies of the Fifteenth Massachusetts regiment, under Col. Devens, and two companies of the Twentieth (Tammany) New York, arrived at the river about two A. M. Monday, and commenced to cross. At sunrise they were all on the Virginia side.

Before daylight an order came to Colonel Baker to march the first battalion of the California regiment to Conrad's Ferry, two miles south of the island, and then, if he heard firing, go to the support of Coggswell and Devens. Accordingly, Lieutenant-Colonel Wistar advanc- | ed with the battalion, six hundred and eighty-reinforcements. nine officers and men, and by sunrise had reach- At four, then, our whole force had crossed ed the river and proceeded down to the island | and ascended, Colonel Baker and staff with the crossing. I accompanied the force to arrange for rest, and the troops were suffering somewhat transportation. Was sent to report for orders from the concealed enemy's fire. Many had to General Stone. Returned, having received dropped and been carried down the hill. We command to cross at once. On my way back asked Colonel Baker what he thought of affairs. I overtook Colonel Baker, who told me that He said that he thought we had a good posionly the battalion were to cross. He had no tion; could fall back for shelter behind the orders for the brigade. ridge. "Yes," said we, "but what's in those woods?" He answered, "I think the enemy are concealed on our right." A private had reported that there was no force on the left, but a deep ravine, hidden by the woods. We then proposed sending skirmishers to make a reconnoissance on the right, and Captain Markoe, Second Lieutenant Williams, and myself advanced with Companies A and D of the Califórnia regiment. Company A got in front on rising ground, in skirmishing order, Company D following in line. The California battalion, to make the story clear, were drawn up on the left of the open field; the Massachusetts Fif teenth and Tammany on the right, and the Massachusetts Twentieth ncarer the centre. Colonel Coggswell took charge of the artillery. Only four guns were planted in the field, the rifled gun having been hauled up at the wrong place, and being afterward seized by the enemy and spiked. When our skirmishing companies had reached the edge of the woods, suddenly the enemy, hitherto concealed, rose with a yell and fired a volley, then began fighting in their usual manner: first giving a yell and volley; then loading and firing at will for a few min


On Sunday evening, Gen. Stone, being persuaded that no important force of the enemy remained along the upper Potomac, and in obedience to orders from head-quarters, commenced his passage of the river at Harrison's Island. The point of transit was about five miles above Edwards' Ferry, and nearly an equal distance from Leesburg. The island is a low, fertile strip of land, several miles in length, so dividing the river that the Maryland channel is not a furlong in width, and that on the Virginia side not more than two hundred feet.

Shortly after General Stone placed Colonel Baker in command of all the forces on the Virginia side. Our battalion then, at about seven A. M., commenced crossing to the island, and from thence to the further shore. Meantime we could hear skirmishing shots on the heights, which continued without much intermission through the morning. Now we began to experience the difficulty which was the chief cause of the terrible scenes which closed the day. No adequate means of transportation had been provided. It seemed as if the column was expected to walk across on the water-surface. Nothing but one old scow, capable of holding perhaps forty men, appeared available on either side of the island. If the Massachusetts men had had any other boats, they were not visible in the morning. At length I discovered a large scow in the canal, and two hours were consumed in getting it over into the Maryland channel. It would hold about sixty men. Colonel Baker, Lieutenant-Colonel Wistar, Assistant AdjutantGeneral Harvey, and myself went with the first load to the island, and there superintended the transit of our men. It was twelve M. before

utes; then ceasing an equal time; then giving | fire from the cliff above. All was terror, conanother yell and volley, and so on, pouring a fusion, and dismay. A captain of the Fifteenth murderous fire into our little band for the space Massachusetts at one moment charged gallantly of half an hour. The whole woods around up the hill, leading two companies, who still swarmed with them. They had no artillery had their arms, against the pursuing foe. A and no cavalry. Our Rhode-Islanders, except moment later and the same officer, perceiving the officers, deserted their guns; but Colonel the hopelessness of the situation, waved a white Baker, Lieutenant Colonel Wistar, Colonel handkerchief, and surrendered the main body Coggswell, and Adjutant Harvey manned thie of his command. Other portions of the column battery, and fired the guns themselves, aided by surrendered; but the rebels kept up their fire Company G, First California, led by the gallant upon those who tried to cross, and many not Captain Beiral. (The latter was conspicuous drowned in the river were shot in the act of for bravery throughout the action; is wounded, swimming. but not dangerously, and is now safe on Maryland ground.)

We kept up both a musketry and cannon fire as well as we could, but half the time we could not see the enemy, and his cowardly discharges were thinning our ranks; still most of the men stood firm and acted bravely. The enemy's volleys and yells increased in loudness, and it was evident that reinforcements were pouring in to his aid. Captain Stewart, General Stone's adjutant, came on the field with the cheering statement that General Gorman would shortly support us. At a quarter to six P. M. we held a council of war, and resolved to stand our ground, General Baker ordering me to go for reinforcements. By this time Coggswell was wounded -Wistar had fallen. The enemy were growing more daring, rushing out of the woods, taking some prisoners, and firing hotly.

Just then a rebel officer, riding a white horse, came out of the woods and beckoned to us to come forward. Colonel Baker thought it was General Johnston, and that the enemy would meet us in open fight. Part of our column charged, Baker cheering us on, when a tremendous onset was made by the rebels. One man rode forward, presented a revolver at Baker, and fired all its charges at him. Our gallant leader fell, and at the same moment all our lines were driven back by the overwhelming force opposed to them. But Captain Beiral, with his company, fought his way back to Colonel Baker's body, rescued it, brought it along to me, and then a general retreat commenced.

It was sauce qui peut! I got the Colonel's body to the island before the worst of the rout, and then, looking to the Virginia shore, saw such a spectacle as no tongue can describe. Our entire forces were retreating, tumbling, rolling, leaping down the steep heights; the enemy following them, murdering, and taking prisoners. Colonel Devens left his command, and swam the river on horseback. Colonel Coggswell, after unavailing bravery, had ordered the retreat himself, but, being wounded, was taken. The one boat in the Virginia channel was speedily filled and sunk. A thousand men thronged the further bank. Muskets, coats, and every thing were thrown aside, and all were desperately trying to escape. Hundreds plunged into the rapid current, and the shrieks of the drowning added to the horror of sounds and sights. The enemy kept up their


Night came on. At eight г. M. all of our band whose fortune it was to return had landed on Harrison Island, and the fire from the Virginia heights had ceased. The rebels took all our guns but one. When I left they had shouted to us, telling us to come over and take away our dead under a flag of truce; had also mounted our own guns on the heights, and warned us to leave the island in four hours. The cause of this sad havoc was that we had no proper means of transit and retreat.

Doc. 36.



WAR DEPARTMENT ORDER. War Department, Oct. 14, 1861. SIR: In conducting military operations within States declared by the proclamation of the President to be in a state of insurrection, you will govern yourself, so far as persons held to service under the laws of such States are concerned, by the principles of the letters addressed by me to Major-General Butler, on the 30th of May and the 8th of August, copies of which are herewith furnished to you. As special directions, adapted to special circumstances, cannot be given, much must be referred to your own discretion, as Commanding General of the expedition. You will, however, in general, avail yourself of the services of any persons, whether fugitives from labor or not, who may offer them to the National Government; you will employ such persons in such services as they may be fitted for, either as ordinary employees, or, if special circumstances seem to require it, in any other capacity, with such organization in squads, companies, or otherwise, as you deem most beneficial to the service. This, however, not to mean a general arming of them for military service. You will assure all loyal masters that Congress will provide just compensation to them for the loss of the services of the persons so employed. It is believed that the course thus indicated, will best secure the substantial rights of loyal masters, and the benefits to the United States of the services of all disposed to support the Government, while it avoids all interference with the social systems or local institutions of every State, beyond that which insurrection

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