Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1861 August 31

My dear [word marked out] Pa,
I do n’t reckon Pen left me
anything at all to tell about our march & fight the other day, but
I will write something about it even if I have to repeat what he
has written.. Well, about an hour before day ^‘on Sunday’ orders were given
one day’s rations to be drawn, cooked & put in haversacks & to be re^‘a’dy
to march with our blankets at day. Our Co. with the Montpelier
Guard, the Baltimore Co. the Culpepper Minute Men & two pieces of the
town artil[l]ery, start under command of Major Terrel, commenced march=
ing about half after six, we did n’t know where we ^‘were’ going; after a
of nine or ten miles we came to Anondale [Annandale], a little village,
where we
rested several hours. We started again at one, went two miles farther,
when we came to Chesnut hill on Cap. Ma^‘s’on’s farm, where we
halted. We could see Washington & the Yankee pickets very distinctly.
Col. Stuart with a part of his ^cavalry’ came to Chesnut Hill soon after we
Co. Stuart took command of everything. Breastworks were laid off by
Adjutant Blackford of Stewart’s cavalry, in front of Mason’s house, & we
commenced work about four oclock. I worked harder on that hill than
I ever done in before in my life. The Baltimore Co. were sent out to
scout & they were fired upon by some of the Yankees in half a mile of us,
they returned the fire & soon drove them off, took one prisoner up a
tree. We stopped work about eight oclock & went to sleep on the ground,
but were aroused several times during the night by the fireing of the
pickets, their balls come very near us once & we all laid down on
the ground to avoid them. We were at work again early the next day.

[page 2]
We c’d still see the Yankee pickets on Munson’s Hill & their scouting
ties, some of which ventured very near to us, but a few shots at them
from our men w’d soon send them off in double qu^‘i’ck time. There was
a school house, not over five hundred yards from Chesnut Hill, in the
woods, w’h the Yankees w’d get behind to fire at our men, [several words
lined out] that house house was burnt by our men. Not [a] single
one of our men were hurt near Mason’s hill, a horse belonging to one of the
cavalrymen was shot through the leg; the loss of ^‘the’ enemy is unknown,
but it is certain some were wounded if not killed. We finished the
fortifications late Monday evening. We were reinforced Monday night
by a part of the Maryland line & a part of a Georgia Regiment. Our blan=
kets, overcoats &c were sent back here Tuesday morning & our Co. with the
three Companies of the 13th, the two pieces of artil[l]ery & two Maryland
started for Munson’s hill about eight oclock, we marched cautiously through
the woods & got there in about an hour & a half; just before we got there we
^‘saw’ a Yankee riding as hard as he c’d down the ^‘road’ & we were
ordered to shoot him;
I did n’t get a shot ^’at’ him myself but some of our Co. did, his horse was
shot & I think he was wounded. When we got on top of the hill we
saw a body ^‘of’ Yankees drawn up at Bailey’s Xroads, a miles off, we
expected an attack. Four prisoners were taken in a peach orchard
at the bottom of the hill. Our Co. with the Mon[t]pelier Guard commanded
by Major Terrel went to Upton’s house to search it, we found no Yankees,
but they had just left, they ^ ‘had not’ finished their breakfast, they left a
bowl of
soup & hot corn on the table. C.H. Upton is the rascal who pretends to
sent Virginia in the Con Federal Congress & he is now in Washington.
Reinforcements arrived soon after the hill was taken. Our Co. was
stationed at Upton’s, a Baltimore Co. was sent up the road towards
Loudon & Hamshire R. R., but were soon driven back, two being

[page 3]
wounded, they said the enemy were advancing upon us very rapidly.
M[a]jor Terrel the^’n’ ordered all of us to retreat to Munson’s hill, we had
gone over a hundred yards before we met Col Stuart who turned us back,
he said it wd never do for us to run. Our detachment (excepting the
M. M.) with two Maryland Companies, making five Cos. in all, were led
on, right after the Yankees, by Col. Stuart. We soon got in woods very
near to
the enemy, the skirmishers were put out to bring the battle on, the firing
commenced, but it was some time before anyone but the skirmishers c’d see
a single yankee, not until we got to the Loudon & Hamshire R. R., then
all of us commenced shouting, & the yankees too [word lined out] ^‘sent’
up a shout, but their
shouts did not last long, for we charged across the R. R. upon them
& you never saw such scampering in y’r life; but they rallied again
& for a few minutes their balls fell thick & heavy, they ran again [word lined
out] across
an open field & it was [word lined out] there that I got two fair shots, don’t
^‘know’ that I
did them a great deal of harm, but think I struck one, for I had rest on the
fence at him. I was right near poor Robinson when he fell mortally
wounded. The loss of the enemy is unknown, three were seen dead, I saw
one fall; our loss in all the skirmishes were five wounded & one killed,
we were certai^‘n’ly very fortunate. We were within two miles & a half of
Chain bridge. when we got back to Munson’s hill I was very much ex-
hausted. I was not as much excited as I expected I w’d be in my first
fight, though I ^‘was’ right much excited until after the first fire. Col. Stuart
as well as the men behaved very bravely, Col. S. is as brave as he can be
be & is a splendid officer. Lieutenant Winston also conducted himself first
rate, he kept as cool as a cucumber the whole time & gave his commands in
a clear & distinct tone as if he was on the parade ground. Our Major show=
ed a great deal of bravery & he raised himself in our estimation very much

[page 4]
I think he is most too rash. We had other reinforcements Tuesday night
& Wednesday morning, Aa part of the Washington artil]l]ery was there.
There was
right much of a skirmish Wednes. morning between Munsons Hill
& Bailey’s Xroads, a rifled cannon was fired at them at the Xroads
several times, we c’d see them running in every direction when the
ball struck. Our Co. was on picket Wednes night, we had a very hard
time of it, it rained nearly the all time, we were very near the Federal
pickets, cd hear them coughing on their post. We started back here Thurs=
day morning & had a very hard time in the rain. Bro Jno. was a
little complaining & Pen & I staid behind with him, we walked
on slowly & did n’t get to camp until late in the evening – all of us
were the mudiest looking fellows you ever saw when we got in camp.
Harry had nothing us a nice supper ready when we arrived &
you may depend upon it that all hands done ample justice to it.
After Sunday we ^‘had’ nothing to eat but peaches & corn, I used to eat as
many as seven ears of corn for a meal & peaches in proportion, I w’d
n’t like to say how many Pen ate. We had a terrible time after our
were sent back, we slept like hogs, piled up together on the ground about
four deep. It is the greatest wonder in the world that some of us were
not made sick, I don’t believe a single one ever took cold, & all of us
are ready for another bush fight, though we w’d prefer to have ^‘it’ in an
field. My sheet is filled so I must quit. My best love to all of
the dear ones at home, Aunt Cynthias’s & all of my friends & accept a large
share for yr self. We will write again soon. Yr devoted & most
Aff son
P. E. Jones

Major James Barbour Terrill, 1838-1864
Pvt. Marcellus Robinson
Frank V. Winston, Co. D
Charles Horace Upton, 1812-1877, an emigrant to Virginia from Massachusetts remained loyal to the Union and was elected as a Unionist to Congress. In 1863 Lincoln appointed him to a diplomatic post in Switzerland.
Jones' letter is describing a skirmish between Munson's Hill and Bailey's Crossroads, August 27, 1861.
MSS 13407

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