Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers

Company A, Inc.

Return to Manassas

August 28-29, 2010
Elizabethtown, Pa.

August 29, 1862
near Manassas Junction

Dear Friends,

We have been pushed around this Virginia seat of war willy-nilly, and have been engaged at several points. My most immediate impression of the service is the covering of our Union ranks with the thick and tenacious Virginia dust.

We arrived in the vicinity of Manassas Junction on the early part of Friday afternoon. Our troops were concentrating at the farm property hard by, and we made it through the provost and received orders and directions for finding our brigade and battalion camps close by. We set up our USV Third Regiment Headquarters, and received instructions from command on the formation of division streets in our camp. That was a single line of tents for each company, facing the next company in the line of battle. All arrived in due time before the sun was setting. The camp was in a fine field, bordered by a rail road, and opposite by a line of shady pines. Good water was available close by, and all seemed to be made for a pleasant camp. Yet the campaign was after the Rebels moving north, and they could be heard in the distance, and kept everyone on guard.

The evening brought an officers meeting in a barn that rivaled most residences back home. The plans of operation were discussed, and it was quickly apparent that the army had made all accommodations for the troops on the field very comfortable, but was deadly in their intent for the coming days.

The weather was pristine, warm, but not hot, and no bugs accompanying the Virginia landscape. All were provided for after the long march to this location, and the evening was spent in relative comfort and rest. It was almost a chill in the air overnight, but fleeting only. There were some shortages of firewood, but the wealth of the Virginia woods offered plenty of dead fall for the troops cooking rations.

The morning brought the continuation military operations. The battalion was formed and inspected early. The colors were honored and the orders were published. The 63rd Penn Vols were under orders for wearing the Kearney patch, and the color bearer was warranted on the site. The weapons were inspected and stacked. The efforts that would follow were a march to the rail road cut about a mile away, and we went into line there, and attacked straight on. We were repulsed once, and on the second assault, the Colonel Buffington was down. The Major brought the boys back again, and on that wave, Major Peacock went down. The command devolved on Capt. Roman, and we attacked again, but were only a mess of skirmishers at that point. We were brought off the field in a relative mass, and the boys were not stopped from going back on the field to bring back the wounded. Many a man was saved that way, yet others still were lost. Back in camp, the boys revived themselves, and got it up for the next engagement.

The evening brought the trials of the 56th Penn. Vols. at Brawner's Farm. We marched early. and participated in a sublime brigade parade, except the dress was not then proceeded directly down the Warrenton Turnpike. We were halted, and got a little water at a point, but then marched once more. The column to the front started balking, and deploying to the left. We were hearing the engagement to the left, and were directed to the same front. We formed a line of battle to the left, and were filled in as the troops came up. Up the ridge, the Rebels were deploying in the silhouette of the setting son, and came at us. We stood, held, fought, and died. This was the slug fight of the war. This was the first baptism of the 56th. We suffered greatly, but were able to retire in order. We were caught in the dark, and could not advance against the rebel lines. Our guns were not enough to disrupt them, and our lines had no reserves. We retired in the dark back to camp.

The night was very comfortable, and was spent in good spirits. The night was even cooler than the one before, so those that had their blankets were in first rate shape. The morning came as it always does, and the reveille, rolls, and reports were done as always. The battalion was pushed out to drill by company, and then formed in the the mid morning for a dress parade of the 11th Penn. Reserves. We were ordered to break camp upon the sounding of the General and be ready to march at a moments notice.

We were soon called out into column, and marched for the hill called Chinn Ridge. This was to be a defensive position to prevent the Rebels from sweeping us off the field. We arrived there in a cloud of dust, but were quickly pushed to the front, where we went prone, and laid in wait for the rebel onslaught coming our way. We rose up, and deployed in front of a fence line, and received the attack. We held for a time, but then were overwhelmed, and melted to the rear. Some of our panicked boys ran through the ranks behind us in support. Thus ended the engagement, and the operations.

We wandered back to our camps, put all the baggage on the trains, and started the march for the next objective. This campaign has been hard and long, and is taking a toll on the boys. We are all thirsty, hungry, and tired, but our will to continue and prevail is strong. Our losses and wounded are a testament to our dedication, and we will win it all for them.

It seems that the Rebels have some punch left, but we will surely take that out of them at every opportunity, and will prevent them from moving towards Washington or Maryland.

God preserve the Right & the Union, Lincoln & Liberty !

Your humble servant,

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Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.

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