1861 December 26 Centreville

My Dear Father:
I had no time to wish
you all a merry Christmas yesterday as
I was on guard and had my hands full
in taking care of those who had too
much Christmas in their bones. On the whole
I have had quite a pleasant time although,
I cannot say that Christmas in Camp
is by any means to be sought for.
The recent battle at Drainsville is
Still theme of conversation & criticism.
It seems that on the day of the fight,
the federals arrived at D. only half an
hour before we did, and that if we
had had that much time the
advantage we would secureds the position
and in all probability won the day.
The affair I am compelled to say
was in my opinions greatly mismana-
ged. Genl. Stuart precipitated the attack with-
out knowledge of the enemy’s force, and know-
ing him to occupy one of the most com-
manding positions in the entire Country.
His Artillery, consisting of but 6 & 12 pound-
ers, and with no position but a narrow
lane, was subjected to a terrible enfilading
fire from a superior force of the Enemy’s
Twenty pounders, and thus we fought at
disadvantage on every side. Notwithstanding
our many adverse circumstances I think
we would still have repulsed the Enemy
had we made as bold a charge

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as some made at Manassas. Thrice we heard
the Enemy’s Officers give the order to charge
but each time the men obstinately refused
to budge. Their sharpshooters and their
Artillery however were terribly Effective
and to these alone can our disaster be
attributed. The Engagement is greatly to
be lamented, as heretofore the Army of the
Potomac has known nothing but victory. In
the present instance that glorious prestige so
honorably won by our brave troops was
lost and it will require exertion &
blood to regain it.
I am still encouraged to think that
I can get men to join me if I can get
the armament for an Artillery Company.
Some 8 or 10 have voluntarily tendered me
their services to go in such a company
for the war and if I can get the assurance
that the Equipment wille be furnished
I can soon enroll the names. I under-
stand that if I can get sixty men they
will be mustered in and granted at
once the bounty & furlough offered to
those who reenlist. I have written to
Capt. Baldwin, but will be glad if you can
get some friend in Richmond to see the
authorities and procure for me the promise of
the guns. I am well & comfortably fixed.
It will be impossible for me to meet you
in Lynchburg or Richmond earlier than
the first of Feb. if then. I will meet you at
Manassas on the evening of Jan. 3rd & secure
you tolerable quarters if you say so.
Wishing Ma, Mrs. Cabell & yourself a
[Written on top of page one:]
Merry Christmas & many happy returns I remain
Your Affectionate son,
Jno. W. Daniel

John Warwick Daniel, 1842-1910, Co. C, 27th Virginia and later Co. C, 11th Virginia, attained the rank of major before being permanently disabled in the Battle of the Wilderness. Afterwards studied law at the University of Virginia, entered politics and served int he Virginia House of Delegates, the U. S. House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate. Called the “lame lion of Lynchburg” he was a noted orator who gave speeches on many memorial occasions and was especially known for his address on Robert E. Lee.

MSS 158

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