Wednesday, July 27, 2011

1861 July 27 Washington, D. C.

Dear parents and friends

I have again got an opportunity
to write and I thought I would occupy the time in
doing so. I have recieved all the letters you have
written to me and also one from Franics Symonds and
one from James Jordan. I have been very anxious to
hear from home ever since I came from Portland I am very glad
to hear you are getting along so well but I hope you will
not try to do too much work it will be far better to let a
part of the work go undon[e] overdue yourselves but
you must be your own judges in this respect try to do
the best you can for yourselves and all will be well.
I understood by your last letter that you heard I
was a prisoner to the rebels but I am happy to say it
is not so we were one spell in a very tight place and we
have lost six men out of our company probably their
may be in all 50 men in this regiment missing including killed
and wounded, we were in the thickest of the fight & about
three hours in the fight we got all mixed up and part
of the time we fought on our own hook the main body
had begun to retreet before our brigade got there but we
did not know it we marched up to the enemy and drove
them into the woods all the whill the cannon and
musket ball were whistleing and flying in every direction
at last our own cavelry rushed down uppon us like

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cowardly dogs as I think they were trying to get away
from the enemy we opened our ranks and let them
through and we got into disorder and could not form
again as we were before and then came the order to
retreet and we went in every direction the party that
I was in came very near being taken by rebel cavelry
but we formed into line and met their charge we
stood firm and when they got near enough we fired
upon them and in a few minutes they begun to retire
but they left more than half their men behind, out
one company that charged uppon the Zouaves but six
got away alive it was so in about every fair charge
we had taken four masked batteries and were was
driving them towards Manassas Junction and their bagage
wagons had begun to start towards Richmond, in fact
we had fairly won the day but I believe our leader
was a traitor and a coward or we should have held our
ground, but as the saying is every thing works for the
best I hope it will be so in this case but I cannot
tell we retreeted to Alexandria we are now encamped
about four miles from the city in a splendid grove
and our men appear to be in good spirits and anxious
to go back and wipe out the rebels from their strong
hold among the hills which we surely shall do if we
ever have a chance to try. I can get enough paper
here to write on so you need not send any more
try and do the best you can to take care of the
things at home and if you cannot do it alone hire

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some one to help you and if you cannot get any
one let a part of the work go undone. I have been
a little lame since the battle I did not feel it at
the time I had a musket ball pass through my coat I
suppose as there is a hole through the skirt about as
large as a musket ball. I could see the cannon balls
passing through the air and when they came to near
I steped one side and let them pass on. I saw quite
a number wounded dead, and dieing on the field it
was hard to pas them but we were obliged to do it
in order to save ourselves from being captured which
we were lucky enough to do I have learned since the
battle that the enemys force numbered more than
three time our own our loss is small to what we
expected, it would be whill the loss of the rebels
must have been large in killed and wounded with
a small number of prisoners that we took. I do
not know where we shall move next but this I know
we are now under a general that is a union man and
knows something and the one that lead us in the
battle is under arrest and I hope he will be hung
as I believe he deserves I do not think of any more
news at present. Tell the boys and friends that I
cannot get time to write to them separately so when
to write a letter to any I mean the whole I should
be very glad to hear from any of them if they
feel disposed to write. Give my best respects to all

Hiram M. Cash
Washington D.C. Co. H fifth Regt Main V.M.

Cash here refers to the July 26 appointment of George B. McClellan as commander of the Military Division of the Potomac, the main Union force responsible for the defense of Washington.

MSS 12916

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