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Eagle and ShieldTitle: Two Letters About Philippi

The following two letters appeared in the Toledo Daily Herald & Times on Wednesday, June 12, 1861. The first was written by Pvt. Albert Wilder of Company A. The second is identified only as being written by the brother of Dr. Jones's wife.


The following extracts from letters received from the camp of the gallant 14th regiment at Phillippi, Va., speak for themselves:

PHILLIPPI, June 5, '61.

DEAR PARENTS:--We left Clarksburg last Sunday about noon for this place. We came by rail to Webster (4 miles from Grafton and 13 miles from here) whence we started on foot at 9 o'clock P.M. and arrived here at sunrise. It rained all night and we traveled the hardest road I ever saw, up hill and down all the way and mud 6 inches deep. We had two pieces of artillery and an Indiana regiment in company, and seven companies of our own regiment--a strong force to march with on the enemy.

When we had arrived within a mile of the place of attack, we were ordered to throw away our trunks and strike into double quick time. When we got in view the cannons commenced their fire with cannister shot and the rebels broke and run like scared deer, so that we did not get a shot at them with our pieces.

You ought to have seen us before the cannons opened fire. We were the most tired and worn out lot of men you ever saw. I was chafed so that it was with the utmost difficulty that I could keep along, but when the cannons bellowed and spoke death to traitors there was not a man, but in a moment forgot his troubles and put in his best,--but we were just to late to get a shot at them. When we did get in the town we captured 600 muskets and rifles, 7 wagons and about 30 horses -- the Toledo Guards, our company made all the hauls--and when we got through you never saw a happier set of boys in your life--it was hoorah for Captain Moe, who had led us on and encouraged us in our march, &c.

We have got several secession flags. Col. Steedman is going to send home the best one so that you can have a chance to see one that was accumulated by the Toledo Guards. This is the hardest looking country I ever saw.--How long we are to stay here I don't know, but hope not long. There is talk about our going to Richmond to attend the Secession Convention, and deal them out some Union pills.

In the skirmish we had here there were 30 killed and wounded of the rebels and that all done by the cannons. Only one man was shot in the Union army--the Colonel of the Wheeling regiment, which came into the town in the opposite direction from us after we did--but he is not dangerous. They caught the fellow who shot him who is now in hail and I do not know whether he will be hung or shot.

We have had very hard living ever since we came here. We get coffee, hard bread and fresh beef, but no salt to eat it with. I have had one good meal--three of us went out and accumulated a lamb, dressed and roasted over our camp fire and it tasted good. The only way we could salt it was to cut some salt bacon into strips and interlarded it with the roast when cooking so that it relished first-rate.

We keep a picket guard for a circuit of 3 miles all around the place. My turn has not yet come to stand guard, but will probably to-morrow. Quite a number of the boys have not yet got over the march, but I never felt better in my life. After sleeping six hours I got up and shook myself and was all right again. Four of the boys gave out about half way and have not got into camp yet--they came three or four miles barefoot, having lost their shoes in the mud and their feet were blistered badly, but they hung to it like men. When we got settled in our camp I found my self about the best off of any, (my boots were perfectly sound) except that my heels were worn off some. We were awful dirty--mud from heel to crown---about the hardest looking set of men you ever saw, but there is a river running at the foot of our camp and we very soon took to sousing and plunging and having a general wash up. You would have thought it was general washing day, to have seen the shirts, drawers, stockings and handkerchiefs all hanging out on our clothes line, (a Virginia rail fence.) I must close. I will write again soon.

From your son,

Dr. H. Jones has handed us in a letter dated June 6, from his wife's brother from which we extract the material portion:

* * * * DEAR SISTER:--As visiting you is out of the question at present I can only bear you in mind. Since leaving Parkersburg we have worked out way through here as you have probably heard against all obstacles. On Sunday morning we left Clarksburg for Grafton--when within 4 miles of the latter place we were order to halt, as the enemy had left Grafton and moved back on Phillippi. We ate our supper, if you might call it such, while it was raining on us--fairly pouring down and I afterwards stood in the rain till 11 o'clock when we received marching orders to move on Phillippi 13 miles distant--mud knee deep. We reached Phillippi at 20 minutes past 4 o'clock A.M. Monday. In less time than I can write this line, the firing commenced from our cannons. The enemy fired two or three shots and then run, with the gallant 14th on their heels.

Up to to-day we have found 30 of their men killed; how many were wounded, we don't know. Not one of our regiment was disabled. We captured 480 muskets and rifles, 50 horse pistols, 30 swords, and a lot of tents, clothing, &c. Some 38 horses were captured by Co. A., (Toledo Guards). I have a handsome rifle and a Lieutenant's suit. I might have had a horse, but I did not know that we could have them if we captured them. I entered a stable where were 20 swords, one rifle and one horse.

One of our cannon shot struck the stable door just as one of the captains of cavalry was springing on his horse, and glancing, hit his leg and nearly took it off. He climbed upon the hay mow and was lying there as I passed underneath, when the blood came trickling down upon the floor. I concluded there was something above, so I went up the ladder, and spying him, I drew my pistol and called upon him to surrender, not knowing at the time that he was wounded. He told me that he was disabled, and could not help himself. Dr. Daniels came, and it was found that amputation was necessary. His leg was taken off above the knee, and he is now doing well. The young captain was not over 31.

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