Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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Leverett Bradley: A Soldier-Boy’s Letters

August 31, 2012

Leverett Bradley: A Soldier-Boy's Letters (1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery.)

Fort Corcoran, Va., Aug. 31, 1862.

Dear Mother:

Rec’d yours. We have had a tramp since writing last. Our orders came last Tuesday night to report to Gen. Sturgis at Warrenton; took up the line of march at 9 o’clock, marched seven miles that night and halted about 12 o’clk. to rest our wearied limbs in a field. Slept well; started early next morning and went two miles and halted to wash up and eat. While there, a report came that the 2nd New York (H. A.) in our brigade was all cut up, also that a battery had been taken from us. We then started on a forced march. We soon met the supply trains coming back and we marched by a train ten miles long, 1000 horses, 1500 cattle. We had got just the other side of Fairfax, about 2 miles, when at the top of a hill, in the woods, the remaining two pieces of the battery and some cavalry came rushing by, telling us the enemy were coming and for us to look out for ourselves. We jumped for the woods and waited, but they did not come; we then formed in line of battle about a mile long in the woods and waited. Co. B. was moved to the right, the hardest position, and a squad of men taken way out into the woods to look out for our flank, myself with them; this was the dangerous post, guarding a road they would pass in coming on us. This happened at 2 o’clk. We waited for them, but they did not come. The next morning, soon after getting up, we heard three shots. We jumped (our little squad) and concealed ourselves and waited; but it proved to be our pickets firing at each other. One of Co. A got shot through both legs; not hurt much. Soon after the Dr. and asst. Surgeon, steward and five others, with 2 teams and an ambulance, went back to Fairfax to make a hospital; while there, 500 Cavalry rushed on them and took all prisoners, but released the Drs. and kept the rest and teams and 8 horses, so you see the enemy had got behind us and we were in a fix. It was Lee of the cavalry and he sent a note to Col. Greene and to Gen. Sturgis; he was in the class of the Col. The Col. knew that it was not best for us to stop long, but to retreat back to Cloud’s Mills. We had considerable to look after, our teams and stores; we got ready to go, when we were sent back to old place again. Things looked rather dubious; soon we heard the roll. We all jumped to our guns ready for them; the picket came in and said that cavalry were coming. Of course we expected Rebel. I expected to get shot; hid myself in the bushes and waited, but they proved to be some cavalry come out to reinforce us, so we were all right; we sent them out scouting. They were gone an hour; they reported some 5000 rebels four miles from us, so we started as soon as possible. First went cavalry, next a battalion of our Regt., then all our wagons and 2 cannon, next two Battalions of our Regt., A. C’s. rear guard and some cavalry behind. We saw about 50 of them on the edge of the woods when we started, but they did not molest us; we kept up marching 18 miles from 7 o’clk. till 12 at night, resting only 3 times. They followed us until we came within 4 miles of Cloud’s Mills. Soon after, Col. Greene was ordered to report to McClellan, who ordered us into these forts. The report now is, that Jackson has surrendered; there was heavy fighting off there yesterday; heard the cannon plainly. All well. Love to all.

L. B., Jr.

We shall probably stay here now and not be moved off, because some one wants us! We are nearer Washington but farther up, opposite Georgetown. Very fine view.

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