September 9, 1862
The following private letter has been received by David Brazie, Esq., of this city:--Utica Herald.
Camp Gauley Bridge, Aug. 20, 1862.
Dear Father—Your letter of the 3rd inst. Was received in due time, and this is the first time that I have been at leizure to answer it. Last Friday morning we were compelled to fall back from Meadow Bluffs to this post. Gen. Magruder reinforced the rebels the day before we left, with 9,000 men from Tennessee—so the scouts say. This line of operations is very little spoken of in any of the papers that I have seen, and but little is known of us except what is written home to our friends[.] To show you the severity of our work here, I will give you the list of the losses in our regiment since it has been in the field. We left Guyandotte on the 8th of May with 876 men for duty, and this morning the reports show 461 for duty, 69 sick, 126 prisoners of war, 21 discharged for disability from wounds received in action, 172 killed in battle, and 27 died in hospital. Now, if any regiment had been so cut up before Richmond, the people would applaud their deeds; but we are in the mountains of West Virginia, where we are forgotten by the world, and where no honors are to be gained, do what we may. Our Lieut. Colonel and three line officers are among the prisoners of war. You hear and read of the valor and glorious deeds of the army, but do not know the suffering and destruction that follows where an army moves. When you see women and children driven from their homes without any of their property or household goods, and made to witness their homes, that they labored years to make comfortable, burned before their eyes, you may think it hard; but the most affecting sight was, when we fell back, to see whole families trying to escape from the enemy, who were close upon our heels. Little babes in their mother’s arms, and others from three to ten years old, trying to keep up with us, was more than many of us wish to see again.—Then human nature showed itself in its true shape. You could see men who could face the enemy without fear, and witness death in its most hideous form with a calm face, now shed tears at the sight of those children. Many threw away their knapsacks and carried children on their backs, others leading those that could walk. Officers were on foot, giving up their horses to the weary little ones; and thus we marched forty-eight miles. Could you of the North see this, there would be no cause to draft men; they would rush to the field to put a stop to this unholy rebellion.
Yours truly, H. W. Brazie.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: August 1862