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

Post image for War Diary and Letters of Stephen Minot Weld.

War Diary and Letters of Stephen Minot Weld.

September 22, 2012

War diary and letters of Stephen Minot Weld

Headquarters 5th Army Corps,
Camp near Shepardstown, Sept. 22.

Dear Father, — . . . The enemy are still on the opposite side of the river and I do not know what measures will be taken to drive them off. Meanwhile we are getting a day’s rest, which every one needs badly enough. I am in the saddle almost all the time, and have very few chances to write. I feel so tired after coming in at night, that I go to bed instantly.

We have four guns here at headquarters which were taken the other evening from the other side of the Potomac. One of them is a gun taken from Griffin’s Battery at Bull Run No. 1. Griffin, who is now a general in the corps, is well pleased at getting the gun back, and is going to have it placed with his old battery.

I went over the river this afternoon with a message to Colonel Webb, who was over there with a flag of truce. We sent over some paroled prisoners and also applied for leave to bury our dead, who were killed in the skirmish on that side. I saw Colonel Lee,[1] who was in College with me, being in the class of ’58. He now commands the 9th Virginia Cavalry. He said that their men behaved disgracefully in the fight of September 17 and ran like sheep. He gave as the reason, that they were starved and had nothing to eat. When the 4th Michigan crossed the river the other evening, he said, they drove a whole brigade of rebels, who ran shamefully. These are Colonel Lee’s own words. He also said that the rebels deserted 27 guns that evening, of which we got four, not knowing where the rest were. There is no doubt that the rebels are mighty hard up for food and clothing. There were some forty of our dead there, and all of them had their shoes taken and pockets rifled. The faces of the dead were horrible. Some could hardly be distinguished from negroes, their faces were so black. I had charge of burying a good many of them. There are some 1200 rebels wounded, in the barns and hospitals around here, most of whom will be paroled. . . .

I have every reason to think General Porter is satisfied with me, from the messages he intrusts to me, many of which are very important.


[1] W. H. F. (“Rooney”) Lee

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