From Geneva Gazette 19 July 1861


Interesting Letter from Q. M. Suydam

We take pleasure in spreading before our readers the following interesting letter from H. L. Suydam, Esq., Quarter Master of the 33rd Regiment.  And we are gratified at his promise that we shall hear from him again:

CAMP GRANGER, near Washington
July 14, 1861
S. H. Parker, Esq., Editor Gazette

Dear Sir:

We - that is the bloody 33rd regiment N. Y. S. V. - have at last arrived on Meridian Heights, encamped about two and half miles from the Capitol, 829 strong.

The boys are all in good spirits so far as I can hear, but I can assure you they have had a very trying time of it.  We left Elmira July 8th, and had a most delightful ride through the country to this point, being cheered at every station - and especially at Williamsport where we were met by many an old Genevan, who did all in their power to relieve the wants of a hungry and tired body of soldiers.  As soon as we crossed the line into Maryland, the Rail Road was, as you may say, one complete line of defense, being guarded by the 12th Penn. regiment at every point.  Most of the bridges having been burned down are now rebuilt and strongly guarded, so that the travel on the road is perfectly safe.

On arriving at Baltimore the regiment formed and marched through the city, making not a very bad appearance with their excellent Band from Elmira and all colors flying, leaving me in charge of the train of baggage with a guard of 20 men to meet them at the Washington depot.

(It is now 12 o'clock at night, and Col. Walker calls at my tent and wants the Quarter Master to do his duty which is the "grand rounds" -- breaking off the thread of my discourse.)

It took us nearly two hours to get through the city.  One thing I could not help but notice, that when the ladies waved their handkerchiefs at us, (which was frequently done,) they left the blinds partly open and stood so far back in their rooms that their neighbors could not see them -- rather a bad omen.  But a number of citizens came to us and made enquiry as to where we came from, giving us the morning papers and wishing us God speed - and doing other acts of kindness.  Quite a crowd of youths, however, followed us giving cheers for Jeff. Davis.  I threw them a cop, and told them to give it to Jeff, he might want it before he got through with this unholy war.  On the whole, I was not very much pleased with Baltimore.  The guard on the platform of the car, with loaded guns, looked rather war-like for me.

On arriving at Washington, it was found our men, who had been supplied with three days rations by our friend, Billie Post of Elmira, (who by the by is a perfect gentleman,) not having the fear of famine before their eyes had exhausted the amount in the twenty-four hours.  The Quartermaster at once made his requisition on the Commissary, and drew on the next day two days' rations, consisting of hard sea-bread and dried bacon -- a very striking change from the princely fare of Mr. Post - then the Quartermaster must come in for his regular share of curses.  Up to this time the fare has been very bad, but I must say the boys have acted with a feeling that has sometimes surprised me.  It was raining when they left Elmira, and they arrived at Washington and went into camp without supper, tents or fire to comfort them, amid one of the severest pelting storms I ever passed through.  It has rained nearly every day since we arrived here; and the thermometer at this writing stands at 64 in my tent.

Washington is a city of magnificent distances, which if any one does not believe, let them take the appointment of Q. M. in a volunteer regiment, travel 2 1/2 miles to get a requisition for meat, 2 1/2 miles to get it signed by the proper officer, then break down his buggy and have to travel 2 1/2 miles in another direction on foot to the butcher shop, then home to camp to receive the curses of _________.

The men all think as much of their Colonel as ever; in fact he cannot be beat we think.  We have received many calls from old friends today - among them O. G. Judd, who is looking well and hearty, Capt. Baird and others.  Visited the forts on Arlington Heights, and today things look rather warlike.  No more at present, but you may again hear from the

                                                                            Q. M. OF THE 33D REG'T.

From the Geneva Gazette 26 July 1861

Letters were received last night by friends of Cap. Baird and private John H. Morrison, from those persons, which have been placed at our disposal.  They are highly interesting in details of the part taken by our brave Geneva boys in the battle of the 21st. We would fain publish both letters today, but have barely room for the following extracts from that of Capt. B. to his brother:

Alexandria, July 23d, 1861

Dear Brother;

Never did the men fight longer or with more determined courage than the 88th and the Fire Zouaves.  When we got within half a mile of the position to be occupied, cannon shot and bombs went whizzing by and over our heads at the rate of 12 a minute.  I took our my watch and counted them.

* *  I never saw a rifle pointed with more accuracy than they pointed their rifled cannon.  * * *  We were then ordered to a second position, and had scarcely reached it through a shower of musketry, heavy shot and shell, when our battery was
knocked all to pieces by a shot from a rifled cannon, which struck a wheel of a gun carriage, killed one gunner, took off a leg from another, and killed two horses.  The rebels made a charge on our right, coming out of the woods in front of us, 1,000 to our 688.  We were then unsupported.  Musket balls went through and through our ranks by hundreds.  We had to fall back, but in tolerable order; got loaded and formed pretty well.  Our Col. was sick and weak -- Lieut. Colonel unable to ride, took the field on foot.  Major was disabled by a shot in the ankle and he was taken prisoner.  The command fell on the Captains and some of them sustained themselves right well.

I mention particularly Harry Stainton, who had his right hand shattered by a musket ball, kept on loading and firing with his left hand, and did not appear excited or alarmed in the least; also Byron Stevens, D. W. Farrington, Theron Stevens, Peter D. Roe, Charles Dorchester, Wm. Barker, (shot through the knee, kept on loading and firing), John H. Morrison, Hugh Dunigan, (shot through the thigh, breaking the bone, had two fingers shot off, and was taken prisoner), Isaac Ritchie, (wounded by a musket ball in calf of leg, but walked with difficulty), John Hallam, (hurt with splinter in hand, still kept with his company loading and firing), John M. Robson, (shot in neck by a spent ball, not serious -- after he was wounded he shot one fellow;) Charles Stone, Charles Halsey, Henry Bogart, and Menzo W. Hoard.  All of the above men proved themselves capable of going into anything however desperate.

Our flag was carried in the centre of the regiment.  It dropped, some of the enemy started to get it.  Byron Stevens started for it, but it was got by one of our regiment before he reached it.  It had two musket balls through it, and it is safe in our hands.  There are many others in my company proved brave men; haven't time to give all names.  Not one but stood his ground and did his duty.  We rallied three times and drove the enemy back into the woods.  Never were muskets pointed with more deadly effect. They went down before us like grass before the mower, around one gun they were piled in heaps.

One rebel officer had been left on the field wounded in the leg.  One of the men of our regiment -- not one of my company, thank God - was about to bayonet him.  I rushed up and struck up his musket with my sword, seized it, put my sword to his breast, told him to stop or I would run him through.  The officer thanked me with a smile I never shall forget.  I gave him my name and rank, and threw him a canteen of water of one of his men, who lay torn to pieces by a cannon ball, his head 10 feet from his body.

We fell back, advanced again, but the enemy were reinforced with some 5,000 men, and we fell back on the main body.

I was near being shot by my own men in my attempt to catch a horse of one of our officers for him.

John M. Baker and John Welch are blooded boys also.

                                                                      From your brother,  W. H. BAIRD

(We will give the whole letter, which is highly interesting, next week.  We subjoin now all the casualties in Capt. Baird's company as given in his letter.)
John Orman of Geneva, killed.
Luther L. Mills, of Orcott Creek, Pa., both hands shot off.
Hugh F. Dunnigan, of N. Y., shot through the thigh and 2 fingers off -- taken prisoner.
Wm. Barker, of New York, shot through the thigh -- is in hospital.
Harry L. Stainton, Geneva, musket ball through the right hand.
John M. Robson, Stanley Corners -- shot through the neck -- slight wound.
Norton Schermerhorn, Flint Creek - hurt in the side by a spent ball -- not seriously.
John Hallam, N. York, an Englishman - cut on the head, not serious.
Isaac Ritchie, Ferguson's Corners - wounded in calf of the leg, not seriously.

From Geneva Gazette 16 August 1861

Co. H., 38d Regiment -
In a letter received by us from Capt. Wm. H. Baird, he gives us the official report he made to his Colonel of the losses and casualties which his company sustained in the action at Bull Run.  It shows a larger list than heretofore published by us:
John Orman - killed.
Luther L. Mills, both arms shot off, and taken prisoner.
Hugh F. Dunigan, in a leg and hand.
Wm. Barker, in a leg.
Harry L. Stainton, in right hand.
Hugh McLaughlin, in an arm and leg.
Barney Mulligan, in an arm.
John Robson, in the neck.
John Hallam, wounded by a splinter from a gun carriage.
Isaac L. Ritchie, in the leg, slightly.
Norton Schermerhorn, 2d Sergeant, in the side, slight.
George B. Stevens, in small of the back by a spent ball.
Robert T. Robertson, knocked down by the cavalry, badly bruised.
Robert T. Menzo W. Hoard, in the leg by a cannon ball striking the ground under his feet - lamed from the shock.
John Walsh, in the hand, slight.
Wm. Ross and John Lamphier - missing; (supposed to be taken prisoners.)
James Underhill and David Ostrander - missing; (supposed to have deserted.)
Capt. B. adds that his men are in good spirits and anxious for another "brush" which he thinks they will have soon.  Also, that Harry Stainton has a bad wound in his right hand, but thinks he will not lose it.

From Geneva Gazette 18 October 1861

Letter from Rev. E. C. Prichett, Chaplain to Col. Stuart's Regiment

We were gratified in the receipt yesterday morning of a letter from Chaplain Pritchett, of Stuart's Engineer Regiment, which contains many facts and relates many incidents that will prove interesting to our Geneva readers.

Camp Lesley, Hall's Hill, Va.
Washington, D. C. 14th October, 1861

Dear Sir:

Col. Stuart is just now suffering from the effects of a fall from his horse, which fell into a well that was apparently filled up.

Gen. McClellan is much pleased with our regiment -- says we need nothing but drill, which he will take care we shall have an opportunity to obtain before we are in danger.  We are to have rifled guns as soon as possible.  He says the men have behaved well with what have been furnished them, and that such men deserve to have good weapons.  At the same time, military men of experience say that for battle the old smooth bore are as good as any, if not better; for in the press of the fight, men do not take cool aim, and the ball and buckshot cartridge does more execution than the rifle bullet.  However, the Penn Yan company, Capt. Ford, and the Geneva, Capt. Smalley, the right and left flanks, are already armed with the rifled Springfield gun.

We are wishing for our blue uniforms, and Gen. McClellan says we shall have them as soon as possible.  He has ordered that grey uniforms are not to be fired at until the rebel flag is seen, as he has twenty thousand troops under him in grey.  The blue caps are also a protection by day  andblue overcoats by night.

We have two alarms, and the men turned out with cheerfulness and courage.  They improve astonishingly in their drill.  They deserve great credit for the cheerfulness with which they endure hardships, though they have had but little to encounter; but that little has been met so at to prove that their mettle is equal to what is yet to come.  They form a most attentive congregation on Sunday; are generally -- to me universally -- civil and well-behaved.  Prayer meetings are quite frequent in the camp.  Several will be held at the same time, as neither the men's tents nor my own are sufficient to hold those who assemble.

The mail is about closing.  I think I do nearly as large though not as profitable a business at the Post Office in Geneva.  The bag is going out with 360 or more letters in it.

The rebels are retreating -- very likely to strike somewhere West.  They can do nothing in this immediate vicinity.  So we think but know nothing, for which I am thankful.  In succeeding to positions of the enemy, we do not find any indications of tents or good lodging -- one reason why it may be difficult to make observations of them.  Tents are easy to count.  We may yet have to try the winter without them.  The greater part of the regiment have done it one night.  I was just about to do it, but got good cover with Capt. Smalley.  We laid on a blanket, with something like a table-cloth for cover; slept sound, and awoke refreshingly cool inside and out.  Asked my boy night before, if he knew where my shawl was -- "Yes sir," said he, "it is in one of the baggage wagons."

I must say that Col. Stuart is as anxious for the welfare of his men as if he were their father.  He is much beloved and respected. When ordered on the alert with two days' rations prepared Saturday night last, the Colonel, though bruised by his fall so as to move and even breathe with difficulty, was determined to ride with the regiment, "if he died for it."  He has many of the elements of the General in him, an eye for the Country, faculty of combination, executive power and strong will.  These, combined with regard for justice and benevolence, make an officer under whom I am proud to serve.  Our officers generally are good, and some of them capital.  Our Lieut. Colonel, Major, Quartermaster, may be mentioned, and more if there was room.

With good wishes and remembrance to all friends in Geneva.

                                                                              Yours truly,
                                                                                   E. C. PRITCHETT

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