In Barracks Mannassas Junction Va.
Wednesday March 19th 62
Here we are at last at the
famous & much feared Mannassas. It hap-
pened in this wise. A week ago last Monday
at one o’clock in the morning we rec. orders to
be ready to march at six & to take everything
we should want & we were not to come back
again. So we went to packing knapsacks & At
six we started . The whole division moved
at the same. Our regt leading off. We marched
that day 15 miles going down to the left towards
Occoquan Creek this a miserable looking coun-
try & awful roads. Soon after starting it commenced
raining & rained all the A.M. wetting us thro
& making it very muddy. Camped that night
with the rest of the div. in a field. Our Co. had to
go on picket in front of the camp. So I did not
get much sleep. The next day we started at
eleven & marched 5 miles our Co. deploying
as skirmishes thro the woods on each side
of the regt. We camped that night at Pope’s Run
on a high hill it was a beautiful night & I could
see the camp fires of nearly 15000 men encamp-
ed around us. It was a splendid sight. We were
then within 4 miles of Bull’s Run & on the morrow
we –that is the men - expected to commence
the great fight, not knowing at that time, that
the rebels had fled from their stronghold.
The next morning at 4 o’clock I had to go back
with 16 men to Fairfax Station to guard the
provision wagons. When we got back the
regt. had moved on, we followed & found
them camped on a hill at Union Mills one mile
from the battle field of Bull Run & 4 miles from
Mannassas junction. I heard at Fairfax Station
for the first time that the rebels had fled.
We remained there till Sunday, doing nothing
we made little tents of our rubber blankets. We
got along finely had splendid weather till
Saturday when it rained all day & night.
The water running in under our tents & wetting
our clothes & blankets all thru. Early in the morning
we started on the march back to Camp Califor-
nia, went on the R.R. to Fairfax Station & then
to Fairfax Court House where we were to stop for
the night. It was the hardest march I ever had.
Our clothes being so wet our knapsacks were
very heavy and the mud was horrible. The little vil-
lage of Fairfax C.H. was full of soldiers, two div-
isions being there, ours & Blenker’s. I got some bou-
ghs made a bed on the ground, and just at dark
I got my coffee & soup on the fire for supper.
When the long roll beat & wet tired & sore
we had to fall in to line, leaving my supper
to burn up on the fire. We took only our blan-
kets leaving our knapsacks on the ground. They
have since been picked up & packed in a
barn. Marched up the turnpike north to Center-
ville & turned off to the woods in a path
full of sloughholes & deep with mud. We
marched till midnight and came out on the
battlefield of Bull Run & about one mile from
the place we left in the morning. Here we built
fires & layed down & slept for the rest of the night.
What this was for I don’t know. I understand however that
our Gen. had no business to take us to Fairfax C.H. & we were
immediately ordered back anyway it was a hard one
for us soldiers. The next morning we crossed Bull Run
Creek, marched two miles & took up our abode in the rebel
barracks where we now are. Close to the R.R. and two miles
this side of the Junction. The rest of the brigade is quartered
in this vicinity. We have fine quarters built of small logs,
plastered with red clay, each hut holding about 12 persons
& built in rows. Each has a large stone fireplace. We
found plenty of camp stoves and bedsteads left here by the
rebels. The little clusters of shanties, each accommodating
one regt.are scattered thickly all around here for several
miles. Yesterday I went with a party of our fellows
to the Junction. We got a lot of flour rice & C. The
rebels burned or destroyed everything they could not take
with them. It looked desolate enough & too bad to
see so much property destroyed. As for the fortifications
I think they are contemptible. I have not seen a single
fort or breast work that would hold more than a 100 men.
They are little rudely constructed earth works thrown
up here and there. nature has done everything to make
the thing easy of defense & it would have been
a very hard place to take. But the rebel did not do
much except to make themselves comfortable.
In this they succeeded they had good quarters & I
should think lived well. Where the rebels have
gone to I don’t know. I have not seen a newspaper
for 10 days. They will tell you all about these things
better than I can. I am sorry that they did not
make a stand here if they left we shouldn’t have had
a bloody fight & gained an overwhelming victory
which must have put an end to the war. Now
we have to pursue them all over the country.
What do the people of the north think of it.
There is another brigade encamped one mile be-
yond the junction. It is said we are to stay here till
Gen. Banks div. gets here, & then we are to go back to
Alexandria and go down the river. Don’t know
whether it is so or not & don’t care. I wrote
to mother while at Union Mills last week
& shall write again soon. We get a mail every day.
Direct your letters as before to Alexandria.
I don’t know how long we shall stay, we have to
keep in readiness to march at a moments notice.
We are in active service now. When anything
new happens I will let you know. This is written with
some secesh ink that I found. excuse this
rush sketch of my Bull Run Campaign it
is the best I can do. My health is excellent
spirits ditto. My love to you all
P.S. Tell Aunt Hannah I don’t
know where the 11th Mass is.
This division will hereafter be known as Richardson’s instead of Sumners.