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MSA SC 3910, print of General "Stonewall" Jackson, CSA, who derived his nickname from the first battle of Bull Run or Manassas, July 21, 1861. Given by Ardath Cade in memory of Senator John A. Cade

One Man's Civil War: A Letter from Bull Run, July 26, 1861

Introduction:

Document:

from SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
(Murrays of Woodstock Farm, West River Collection of Family Papers)
Letter, William H. Murray, 26 July 1861, Fairfax Court House to My dear Cousin.
MSA SC2301-2-66:


Fairfax, C.H. July 26th 1861

   My dear Cousin
Being on the
Sick list to day, from rhumatism in
the left arm. I shall employ my
right to the grateful task of
thanking you for your timely
present, which strange to say
only reached us yesterday. You
could not have thought of any
thing more appropriate than
the housewifery, for I was reduced
to my last button, and looked
more like one of Fat Jack Falstaff's
regiment than an old City Guard
I trust your good council and



good book, may be half as ser-
viceable to my spiritual welfare
as the buttons to my wardrobe.
Long before you get this you will
have heard of the battle of Bull's
Run, and our glorious victory,
with all its particulars. And I
know you will rejoice to know
that it was won principly by
our Brigade. Our timely arrival,
rapid march, and desperate
attack turned the right flank
of their grand army and put
them to flight and I honestly believe
some of them are running yet. When
we get home we can tell you all
about it, for it would take a large
volume to note the incidents of
that terrible Sunday.

Although nearly all of us
had never seen battle before
we stood their fire like
veterans. At one time without
being able to return it, we for
ten or fifteen minutes stood
a perfect tempest of balls,
shell, & grape, which plowed
the ground all round us
with the loss of but two killed
and 8 wounded. Billy's Comp
any did not lose a man.
We had two dangerously woun-
ded & it was hard to march
by and leave them in their
blood. But when our turn
came and our Col gave the
word forward! double quick


march! with a shout of ven
geance for dear old Balto
that we heard for a mile
down the line we went at them
in a run and swept them from
field. They hardly turned round
to fire but dropt every
thing they had and away
with us after them, whilst
our artillery mowed them down
by hundreds. We cut some of
their regiments all to pieces.
The celebrated Elsworth Fire
Zouaves lost over 700 the 71
79 & 12 N.Y. Regts more than
one half, and the few of the
Maine men left must have
gone into Washington
naked for we have every


thing they could have had,
clothes- arms knapsack pro-
visions, tents- even their
medicines and pocket books
daguerreotypes and love
letters. Some of their letters
are rich of which we have cart
loads. I will try and save
some for you. You may depend
we are proud of our victory and
the Balto Boys are on every
ones lips- They don't seem here
to know how to take us, and
as we work cheerfully and
never complain, we have
nearly all the hard work
to do. By the way Beauregard
told our Col he was



Blucher of the day and made
him a Brigadier Gen on the spot
You ought to have heard our
cheer as he and Gen Beauregard
rode down our line in a gallop
waving their hats- and crying
boys we have whipt them.
But oh Bet - the dead and woun
ded. God grant our country may
never see such another field.
They lay some in heaps- piled
up in gullies where their friends
had thrown them- some in long
rows where the grape and round
shot had plowed them down-
dead & dying all together. Some
lay on their faces biting the
sod and clutching the grass.

Some on their backs as calm
as though they had fallen
to sleep with their hands folded
on their breast, and their glass
eyes turned up to the quiet
sky that seemed to smile down
upon them- and some stone
dead in the position they had
sat down leaning upon their
hands, with chins upon
their breasts. I saw 6 horses
and 8 dead men under one
little tree besides the wounded.
But I must stop for I have used
up my last bit of paper will
write again by 1st opportunity
Boys all well. Love to all. Tell
Aunt Mary to be proud of her boys.
Yr aff cousin WH Murray

transcription & document presentation by Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse, Jr., October 21, 1997


[  Manassas National Battlefield Park    -     Letters From The Soldiers of the Civil War  ]


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