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    [First Battle of Bull Run]. Union Soldier's Letter by John C. Hallock, Private in Company A, 38th New York Regiment of Infantry. Four pages, on two 7.75" x 10" sheets of patriotic letterhead of the Headquarters 2nd Regiment, Scott Life Guard; August 13, 1861. Addressed to "Dear Cousins," Hallock describes his company's march to the battlefield at Manassas from July 16 to July 21, and then gives a detailed account of the battle as it unfolded on July 21: "we were ordered to the battle field, and after marching for half a mile on double-quick time, throwing off our coats Blankets and Haversacks, we were marched in line of battle, in direct range of the enemy's battery. We marched in good order to the bottom of a slight eminence, where we when we were ordered to ascend the eminence and engage the enemy, which was done in good order. Finding that the enemy's batteries were telling with dreadful effect on our ranks, we were ordered by a right-flank movement to support Griffins battery which had taken a position on our right, which order was promptly executed. We got within supporting distance and remained until the battery was forced to leave, having been silenced from the fire of the enemy. On the right of us was Ricketts Battery supported by five Zouaves, from which they were forced to retreat in disorder, seeing their movement and not knowing the cause. Our regiment seemed to be about following, when our noble Col. J. H. Hobart Ward, and Lt. Col. Farnsworth with others of our brave officers ordered them to return, which was done in comparatively good order. The enemy had now shown themselves for the first time, on the brow of the hill. Our regiment was ordered to fire, which told with deadly effect on the ranks of the enemy, and they fled in the wildest confusion. To the wood from which they had previously emerged, leaving Ricketts battery in our possession, which seemed to be the principle object of their attack. After that our regiment like many other, got mixed up with others, and all fought manfully. The Black Horse Calvary dashed out from among the trees, and many of them will never return to tell the tale. The Five Zouaves and 38th Regt. were the only Regt at this time on that part of the field, after which detached portions of many might be seen. It was observable that our forces could not gain the day, and a retreat was ordered. While leaving the field I came up with one of our captains who was wounded, and assisted him toward getting off the field. Another soldier relieved me from my duty in this case, and marched ahead. I had not proceeded far however before I saw a Lt. enquiring for some of the 38th Regt. I offered to assist him and help him until he was (as I considered) safe, in an ambulance. He afterwards was taken prisoner by the enemy. The army then was retreating in disorder, the enemy following with their Batteries from which all who did escape done so through the providence of God, not by any foresight of their own. A ball struck my cap which was the only narrow escape I had. They may have passed (and no doubt they did) as near or nearly so as that, but a miss is as good as a mile. We returned to the same ground that we started from on that morning, and after a rest of two hours joined the army who were on their way to Washington. We arrived at the camp from which we started on the 16th on the 22nd in the afternoon, foot sore and weary, with many left straggling on the road, or mixed with others found their way to Washington."

    The 38th New York Regiment of Infantry was mustered into the United States service in New York City on June 3 and 8, 1861 for two years. Assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, Army of Northeastern Virginia in July 1861, the regiment was active in the First Battle of Bull Run, where it suffered 128 men killed, wounded, or missing.

    Condition: The letter has horizontal and vertical folds, with tiny separations occurring at intersecting folds, with no loss of text. The letter shows a few small brown stains.


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    April, 2016
    5th Tuesday
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