Sunday, January 1, 2012

1861 December 31

[John Leavitt misplaced this letter when he was recording the letters sent home by his son Joseph and placed it in the volume at this point]

Dear Father--I will now try to give you A full account of the Bat
tle of Bulls Run which you have been trying to know about, it is and Old
Story but as you have written A number of times about it in you Letters I will
set down & try to give you a full account of the affair when whe Landed
in Alaxandria the only Regiment that was here was Elmore the Fire Zouaves
which was guarding the City with the third & fourth of Maine the Maine
Regiments started from Washington one night before we left & our Regiment
went & Camped about two miles from the City in A place which they call
Clouds Mills & staid there about A week & then changed the Camp to A place
called Bush hill which was owned by A man by the name of [Strate?] which he
said he was A native of Maine but that he had lived Thirty Five years out
here & he called himself sixty years old & I should think he was about that
we had not been here no longer than three weeks before we had orders
to pack up our knapsacks & be ready to march to the Field of Battle which
we started the next Morning & we got as far as Springfield that night
when we rested for the night & next morning have to start about three
oclock for another days march & then every halfe hour throwing out
an advance guard to see wether they could see anything of any Masked
Batteries we kept on so till dark when the hold[sic] Army had to cross A
stream of water on A plank which time they were crossing was about
three hours & then have to march about Four miles further & then rest
for the night the next morning Companies E & G was put on Guard of
A thirty two pounder which we guarded till we got to Centreville but there
was A great accident in Company E in which A member of that company
shott & he died instantly all on that March there was nothing but killing
of Cattle Which we eat at noe house we had & plenty of honey we had
three hives each one weighing about seventy five pounds we staid at
Centreville a week & on the morning of the twenty first of July 1861 which
was Sunday whe started for the field of Action which was six miles from
Centreville the Brigade in which my regiment was in was put on A reserve
one in about three or four hours from the time in which they commenced to
Fire we was all on which time we was going three miles was only fifteen
minutes when we was the last Regiment to go on & the last to retreat so that
you see that the Maine Fifth had A hard chance on the retreat to get
off the Maine Fifth has not the praise it ought to have at that Battle
& it has dishartened most of its members & there has gone home A great many
stories that is not true about the Regiment that retreat was only one day
day[sic] getting back to Alaxandria when we was getting there at Bulls run
three days on the march so that you can see that was A kind of hard
march for me but I held out I have gone as far on that old scrape as I
can now I must close my letter, I am well & hope by the time you get
this that it will find you the same & the rest of the Family give my love
to Aunt Remick if she is at home & tell her that I should like to have her
to write me A letter From you r affectionate Son
Joseph Leavitt
this letter was mislaid therefore was not coppid in proper order

Letters from Joseph Leavitt and his brother George Leavitt were copied into a ledger by their father John Leavitt in October 1865: "because they are of value to me and I was fearful that they might get mislaid." Both boys were mortally wounded in the war, George at Second Bull Run, August 30, 1862, and Joseph at Spotsylvania, May 18, 1864.

MSS 66

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