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    [Battle of Second Bull Run]. Union Soldier's Letter by W. H. Powers Describing the Battle. A six-page letter on two bifolia, 5" x 8". Arlington Heights, Virginia; September 4, 1862, addressed to "Dear Friends"; A graphic description of the fighting at Second Bull Run by one who participated in the action.

    Henry Powers opens his letter by informing his friends back home that "We have been in four battles since I wrote you. The last of which was on the old Bull Run battle-field." He then provides a detailed account of the Second Battle of Bull Run: "Everything went on smoothly enough until we crossed the Manassas Gap railroad when a Battery opened on us. We were quickly drawn up in line of Battle and Capt. Coopers Battery threw a few shells among them when they skedaddled. We moved on, bearing off to the right from the main road toward Manassas Junction, passing that place early in the evening. Gen. Siegel was ahead of us and his artillery was engaging the enemy.

    We bivouacked until morning when we formed in line of Battle and were skirmishing with the Rebels all day. We advanced several times during the day, but as often fell back, seemingly with the intention of preventing the advance of the Rebel right-wing. The last time we advanced our Regiment was deployed as skirmishers covering the Brigade. We advanced within four hundred yards of the Rebel Battery under a shower of shot and shell, and exchanged shots with the Rebel sharpshooters who were behind fences, buildings, and trees. Corp. Wm. P. Widdicombe was slightly wounded by a fragment of shell, which also broke his musket. We were exchanging shots with the Rebel skirmishers when we got the order to rally on the rescue. When we turned to rally the Rebels poured a volley into us, killing one man in Co. A, and wounding one or two others. Joe Baugh had a narrow escape. I was on his right side and we were rallying double-quick; a ball passed between us cutting a hole in his pants on the right leg....

    At daylight we were moved a few hundred yards to the right and again advanced in line of Battle, our Regiment skirmishing in front of the Brigade. Capt. Hooton of Co. A was wounded while advancing his company through a piece of woods in which the Rebel skirmishers were posted. At one P.M. we were ordered to fall back, and at 3 o'clock we were resting ourselves and watching the movements of the different divisions on the first line, when the Rebels suddenly made a furious attack on Gen. McDowell's corps, turning his left flank and driving us a mile to a new line of Battle. Our Division was drawn up in line of Battle on the very spot where the fighting was hardest in the first Battle of Bull Run, when the Black Horse Cavalry charged and were cut to pieces. Our Batteries were soon ready and poured grape and canister into their advancing columns, but onward they came to charge our Battery. Gen. Reynolds ordered the Battery to the rear and shouted 'Charge Bayonets-Forward double quick.' We charged about 100 or 150 yards when the Rebels poured a volley into us and then broke-running for the woods. Joel E. Bradley fell at the first volley. He was shot through the lungs and died almost instantly, without speaking a word... We fell back to Centreville that night, and we have been gradually falling back until we are again in sight of Washington.

    The Second Battle of Bull Run was fought in Prince William County, Virginia, from August 28 to August 30, 1862 between the Union Army of Virginia under General John Pope and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia under the command of General Robert E. Lee. Like the First Battle of Bull Run, this engagement was a significant victory for Confederate forces. Union casualties were approximately 10,000 killed and wounded out of 62,000 men who participated in the battle. Lee's army suffered over 8,000 killed and wounded out of 50,000 men engaged in the battle.

    Letter has horizontal folds, with slight tears at the intersection of the folds and the crease of the bifolia, without affecting text. Otherwise, in good condition.

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    April, 2016
    5th Tuesday
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