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

for

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

New=

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

march

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

arrived.

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

par=

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

other

three Companies of the 13th, the two pieces of artil[l]ery & two Maryland

Companies

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

repre=

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

not

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

Culpepper

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

soon

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

the

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

blankets

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

open

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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