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5 Series I Volume LI-I Serial 107 - Supplements Part I

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Page 5 Chapter LXIII. ENGAGEMENT AT BIG BETHEL, VA.

The expedition was almost exhausting one for all under my command. In eighteen hours the men marched some thirty- five miles, and were engaged in the battle with very slight rest, and no food except a little hard bread. Before commencing the battle they had been under arms nine hours without refreshment. The strength of the companies with which I made the assault upon the works was at that time as follows; Vermont- Second Company, 50 men, 1 officer; Fourth Company, 52 men, 3 officers; Sixth Company, 46 men, 1 officer. Massachusetts- Company G, 39 men, 3 officers; Company H, 33 men, 3 officers; Company K, 55 men, 3 officers. Aggregate, 289. The killed, wounded, and missing are as follows: Killed, 3; wounded, 3; missing, 1.* The officers and men who were left under my immediate command behaved with perfect coolness and kept perfect order, both in the advance through the woods and in their attack upon the works. Everyone went into the engagement and fought manfully and without flinching. When all behaved so well, I cannot particularize any of them, under my immediate eye. It would be invidious to do so. I particularly noticed the coolness and bravery of Major Whittemore, of the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, who was my second in command; of Captains Pelton and Andross, and Lieutenant Webb, of the Vermont regiment, and of Captains Barnes, Curtis, and Gordon, of the Fourth Massachusetts. Captain Pelton was the first man who mounted the bank in face of the enemy, and he retained his exposed position during most of the attack. Captain Andross reports Privates A. H. Stover, George W. Flanders, Burnham Cowdrey, and A. J. Young, of the Fourth Company of the Vermont regiment, as entitled to commendation. The other captains report that all their men behaved with so much resolution and courage that they cannot particularize any. To Major Whittemore I was much indebted for the compact order and effective position upon the march in which the men were kept. in the attack he was int the foremost lines. I return herewith the reports+ of Captains Ripley's and Peck, of the Vermont regiment, and Captains Shepard and Clark, of the Fourth Massachusetts, who were taken from under my command by General Peirce, and who were not afterward with me until the action had closed. I regret to be compelled to report, also, the death of Lieutenant Greble. He occupied, with his guns, the most exposed position in the attack, and worked them with the most perfect coolness an bravery during the action. He was killed by h last discharge but one which way. The men under his command are justly entitled to great credit. They fought bravely, brought off all their guns, and also the body of Lieutenant Greble. From information received by me I particularly mention Corporal Peeples and also Private Bisgood, of COMPANY F, Third U. S . Artillery. From my personal observation I believe Major Winthrop, of Major- General Butler's staff, to have been killed during my attack. He came to me during the midst of the attack and rushed forward, and one of my men, describing his uniform, appearance, and arms accurately, states that he fell by his side.

I have the honor to remain, your most obedient servant,

PETER T. WASHBURN,

Lieutenant-Colonel First Vermont Volunteers.

Colonel J. W. PHELPS,

First Regiment Vermont Volunteers, Commanding Post.

[2.]

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*Nominal list (omitted) shows 3 wounded and 1 missing of the First Vermont, and 3 killed of the Fourth Massachusetts.

+Not found.

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Page 5 Chapter LXIII. ENGAGEMENT AT BIG BETHEL, VA.

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