May 20, 1864
Killed and Wounded in Carlin’s Battery. – Mr. Pillsbury, of this city, yesterday received a letter from his son Geo. R. Pillsbury, of the Wheeling battery, conveying the melancholy intelligence that in the recent fight near New Market, in the Valley, four of the battery boys were killed and three wounded.
George W. Battles was shot through the breast upon the field. He started towards the rear, but after going a short distance fainted. He was assisted to his feet, but soon fainted again, and the rebels coming up, his comrades were compelled to abandon him, and he was left upon the field. – His would was mortal.
D. S. Morrison was shot through the breast while retiring. The ball struck him in the back and came out at the breast. Both of these men were on the same gun with Mr. Pillsbury, the writer of the letter, and he says that two nobler men and better soldiers never stood by a gun.
Richard French, son of Mr. John French, of Centre Wheeling, was shot through the head on the field, and died soon afterwards.
Mr. V. B. Manners, son of Joseph Manners of this city, was killed instantly upon the field.
William Johnson was shot in the foot – not dangerously injured.
John Fennimore was wounded in the arm – not dangerously.
Levi Caswell was badly wounded and left in the hands of the enemy.
William Stone, son of E.J. Stone of this city, who belonged to the First West Virginia Infantry, was wounded in the foot, but not seriously.
The letter conveying this information was written at Camp Cedar Creek, near Strausburg, the day after the battle, and was forwarded from Martinsburg on the 18th.
Another letter states that the battery lost three guns.
May 20, 1864
From the First Infantry. - - A letter from Major Stephens, of the 1st West Virginia Infantry, dated Cedar Creek, the 17th, was received yesterday. It says our forces had a hard fight with Breckinridge at New Market on Sunday the 15th. The first Infantry suffered severely, and behaved most gallantly. The Major had only time to say that Col. Weddell and brother and himself were unhurt. We may receive particulars as to the killed and wounded before going to press.
Later. – A letter from Lt. Melvin Richards of Carlin’s battery states that Sergeant Geo. Connely, of Company A, First West Virginia infantry was left on the field, supposed to be mortally wounded. Alex H. Jefferson, son of Jermiah Jefferson, of West Wheeling, same company and regiment, was killed. The regiment lost about 200 killed and wounded.
From the First West Virginia Regiment.
May 21, 1864
From the First West Virginia Regiment.
We read a letter yesterday from Lieutenant Phil. Bier, company A, 1st West Virginia, giving some incidents of the New Market fight. He says that the rebels were 18,000 strong and that Gen. Sigel did not bring more than 3000 men into action. We are inclined to think this a mistake as respects both sides. Gen. Sigel in his dispatch to the Secretary of War, set the enemy down at 7000 and his own force, actually engaged, at six regiments.
Lieut. Bier says that the fight commenced at the west end of New Market and that our force was driven back seven miles under a very heavy fire. They made a successful stand, however, at Rude’s Hill. The rebel loss he sets down at not less than 2000 and our own at 700 killed and wounded. Very few prisoners were taken on either side. The First Regiment lost 10 men all told. Company A lost 17 killed and wounded: The killed were George L. Connelly and Alex Jefferson. Those who died from their wounds are H. P. Meyer, John Venaman, and Adam Rayder. James Simpson was wounded dangerously. Those wounded severely are Geo. Steuber, Frank Deitrich, J. Sheperson, and Wm. Cochran. Those wounded slightly are P.A. Bier, John Smith, A Gosney, F. Lewis, and John Beyer. Henry Foster is wounded and a prisoner. Alex. Manners remained with the wounded and was taken prisoner. One hundred and four of the wounded of the First Regiment have arrived at Cumberland . The balance of the wounded of that Regiment were left, some on the field, others at Mt. Jackson, and others at Martinsburg.
Letter from the First West Virginia Reg’t – Interesting Details of the Battle at New Market.
May 23, 1864
Letter from the First West Virginia Reg’t – Interesting Details of the Battle at New Market.
Camp 1st W.Va. Vet. Vol. Inf.,
Cedar Creek, VA, May 18, ‘64
Thinking that our friends, and sweethearts, at home would like to hear from the absent ones in the army, I take the privilege of sending a few lines for their perusal, hoping that you may find room for them in your excellent paper.
You are all aware that we left the railroad in our rear some time since, and took the line of march up the “Valley of Virginia.” We arrived at Winchester in due season where we disposed of all surplus baggage, and prepared for active operations. We left Winchester on Monday morning, the 9th inst., since which time we have been almost constantly on the march.
At Woodstock we had a few days’ rest, but on last Saturday, the 14th inst., the 1st W.Va. Infantry and two other regiments with a few cavalry and four pieces of artillery started on a forced march from Woodstock, moving south on the Staunton pike. We got along very well until our advance of cavalry arrived at Rude’s hill where a slight skirmish ensued between fifty Yanks and one hundred rebs, in which the latter were defeated, and our boys left in possession of the hill commanding the bridge across the Shenandoah river.
Nothing else occurred until we arrived at the hill one mile north of New Market, where the enemy three thousand strong under command of Gen. Imbodes, were posted in a good position, and opened on us with four pieces of artillery. Snow’s Maryland Battery, with the 1st West Virginia Infantry for support, was put in position and returned the enemy’s fire for one hour and a half, when the “Johnnies” pulled off. Our regiment was immediately sent forward, to occupy the position lately held by the enemy. We arrived after dark in the midst of a severe shower of rain, and I assure you the prospect before us was dark and gloomy enough. Major E. W. Stephens, proceeded forthwith to post pickets in our frost, which had gone but two hundred yards from our camp, when they were halted and fired upon by a line of rebel cavalry skirmishers, and after some resistance were driven back to our lines. In a few minutes the rebel line of infantry was seen coming slowly and cautiously toward us, but we were ready for them; every man clutching his rifle, determined to drive the dastard foe. Yet on they came within sixty yards of our front, when the gallant veterans of the list raised on their knees, and poured a deadly volley into the dark line just before them; and answering volley from the enemy was followed by an order from the Major, “fire by file, hold low,” and such a fire was poured out from our muskets was irresistible and the enemy broke to the rear. Again were our pickets sent out, and again driven back to the line, followed by the rebel infantry, and again were we forced to drive them back, this time, following them through the woods, and established a line of skirmishers in our front, and the 4th Virginia Rebel Regiment left us undisputed masters of the field. In this action, as spirited as it was, our loss was but two or three wounded, while the enemy had five killed and number wounded.
After the excitement incident on such occasions had worn off a little, we were permitted to lie down on our arms, in the rain, without fire, minus supper, and ditto dinner; this, too, after having marched twenty-four miles, and had a fight of three hours. Rough enough, wasn’t it?
At daylight on Sunday morning, the 15th inst., we were aroused, and after a hasty breakfast of cracker and flitch, were ordered to the front to support Snow’s Maryland battery, passed south of the road running west from the New Market. There we remained, with the exception of a few maneuvers to counteract those of the enemy in front, until after 12 o’clock M., when we were pressed back by over power____
In half an hour, however, the greybacks came charging down the valley in our front. Again was the 1st West Virginia Infantry destined to hold “the post of honor,” and, I may add, the post of danger. – We were stretched across an open field directly in front of the charging column of rebels; we were hidden from the view of the enemy by a slight rise in the ground, so that they could not see our position until within twenty paces of us. In this position we lay in breathless suspense, every trigger pressed by a steady finger, until the grey mass were but one hundred yards from us, when the order “Charge, boys!” ran along the line, and then came the shock. We raised up and charged forward, answering the enemy yell for yell, and bullet for bullet, as far as three hundred and fifty men could answer three thousand infuriated demons incarnate. – Our sudden dash checked the mass for an instant only, when they came on again with redoubled fury. Now came the final shock, for as we fell back on a line with the balance of our infantry force, two thousand muskets belched forth a shower of lead from our side of the field, spreading death and carnage in the rebel ranks. Our batteries, too, mowed them down in swaths – but all was vain, for on came the charging toe, heedless of destruction of life and limb in their midst. Our line was forced from it organization but for a few moments, and then closed up and fell back slowly and in good order, defying the enemy in his angry attempts to rout it.
At Rudes hill we made a stand, and held our position until everything had been safely crossed over the river. At the bridge the 1st Infantry, was detained to act in the capacity of rear guard, and to guard the Pioneer Corps whilst engaged in destroying the bridge. Our work here was finished by 11 o’clock P.M., when we started on the backward march down the Valley. At daylight the 16th inst., we halted at Edinburg to get breakfast while the bridge over Stony Creek was being destroyed, when we renewed the march and arrived at our present position in the evening of the 16th. I would not forget to mention that one the 14th inst., Major E. W. Stephens commanded our Regiment and to his coolness, caution and military skill is owing to a great extent the success of the day’s operations. In the hand of a less capable man all would have been lost. The Major deserves much credit for his conduct on the occasion. On the morning of the 15th Lieut. Col. Weddel arrived and assumed command of the battalion, and managed it with his usual courage and tact. It is useless to say that Col. Thoburn did his duty. Our color Sergt., Wm. M. Ross, of Co. “C,” carried the old flag through the battle, and although the banner is riddled and torn with shot and shell, not a bullet touched the bearer. As for the other Regiments in the battle I can but say they did their part like men and soldiers, as the record of casualties will show.
The 34th Mass., forward on our right, the 54th Penna., on our left and rear, the 12th W. Va. loft, and 123d Ohio on our right and rear, and the 18th Conn., served as skirmishers. All these Regts., lost many heroes. Carlin’s Wheeling Battery, a N.Y. Battery Ewing’s Battery, and Snow’s Battery, each did excellent work.
The soldiers in this command are highly pleased with the Gen’l Commanding, and all seem glad of an opportunity to “fight_______.”
The soldiers in this army are not demoralized over their late defeat, as they were not whipped, but overpowered by numbers; the enemy’s force being ten thousand or twelve thousand while the entire force engaged on our side did not exceed four thousand men. The officers and men alike deserve the gratitude of the nation for their conduct, their suffering and perils in this eventful expedition.
Col. Lockwood, of the 7th West Va. Infantry, arrived at his home in Moundsville on Saturday evening. He was wounded on the 12th by a musket ball which barely broke the skin upon the top of the head and did not inflict a dangerous injury. Col. Lockwood’s regiment fought five days in succession. The 7th has but four officers left. Capt. Fisher is in command.
Yesterday morning as a lot of exchanged prisoners were leaving the Baltimore and Ohio railroad depot to join their regiments, a woman, who to say the least of her, was no better than she should be, wept very bitterly and made some piteous appeals to be allowed to accompany one of the boys, who she said was her husband. Instead of being allowed to get aboard the train, she was committed to the Atheneum, the soldier whom she claimed as her husband gladly assenting to the arrangement.
May 25, 1864
Major K. W. Stephens, of the First Infantry writes a letter to a friend in the city, dated Cedar Creek the 20th. He says the first regiment stood well at New Market under the most terrible fire of grape and musketry he ever witnessed. The regimental flag was torn to pieces. Two cannon shot and a number of bullets passed through it. The Major came near being captured on Saturday night the 14th. He was riding beyond our lines for the purpose of posting pickets. Supposing our cavalry to be in front he was riding along unattended by escort and unsuspecting of danger, when he suddenly came upon a mounted rebel picket of ten men. He was halted at a distance of two paces, but preferred risking the shot to going south as a prisoner. They fired several times but fortunately none of the shots took effect.
Gen. Sigel had issued the following congratulatory order to the troops:
Headquarters Department West Va.
Near Strasburg Va., May 17th, 1864.
No. 25. The Commanding General desires to express to the officers and men of the command his satisfaction with their conduct on the march and on the battlefield,
Our retiring before greatly superior numbers does not reflect upon the valor of the troops evinced during the severe engagement at New Market; and the General hopes that an early opportunity may be offered to retrieve the momentary disadvantage.
By order of Major General Sigel:
Assistant Adjutant General.
May 26, 1864
Col. Lockwood. – This gallant officer is now lying at his home in Moundsville suffering from a very painful wound. In a former notice of the Colonel’s arrival at home we stated that his wound was only a slight one. In that we were mistaken. The ball struck the eagle on his cap and indicting a wound directly upon the top of the head which is of such a serious character as to require the most careful attention. It is hoped that by proper care and attention the Colonel may recover without suffering any serious permanent injury.
Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: May 1864