THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIII. The Rebellion, 1849-1861., continued ...

In the ensuing summer we again discern him in Kansas, and his advent was signalized by renewed agitation and conflicts.

Soon after his return. Brown entered the state of Missouri with an armed band, and by violence liberated twelve slaves.

He led them into Kansas and by a slow and scarcely disguised progress conducted them through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan, and placed them in security upon the shores of Canada.

This extraordinary and lawless act astounded the country through its whole borders, and was severely reprobated by many of his own sympathizers.

The governor of Missouri offered a reward of three thousand dollars for his arrest.

The president of the United States proclaimed an additional reward of two hundred and fifty dollars, with the same object.

Brown subsequently avowed, that a prominent motive which suggested this action, was the desire of demonstrating the practicability of a forcible liberation of the American slaves.

By the sole authority of his own name and influence, he assembled a secret convention at Chatham, Canada, composed of all classes of his associates.

Its proceedings were private, and have never been clearly disclosed.

A colored minister presided, and we are authorized to assume that an early invasion of the south was on that occasion discussed and arranged.

From this convention emanated the constitution that proposed to establish within the United States a provisional government.

Although this instrument professed in one article to denounce all interference with the existing state or federal political organizations, it was calculated to subvert both.

The negro preacher, who presided over this assembly, was constituted president of the contemplated government.

This fantastic and extravagant chimera, was accepted by Brown as an actuality.

In his brief subsequent career, he professed to act under the obligations of the oath it imposed, and holding the appointment by its provision of a commander-in-chief, he signed with that designation the commissions of his subordinates.

Large numbers of printed copies of this document, designed to be disseminated, were found in his possession at Harper's ferry.

The movements of Brown from this period, until the final catastrophe closed his turbulent career, were more disguised than they had been, but were not less active or zealous.

Occasional glimpses are detected, where he appears inflaming the abolition sentiment, haranguing public meetings, and never slumbering in his assaults upon the existence of slavery.

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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIII. The Rebellion, 1849-1861., continued ...

In the month of April, 1859, he was in Essex county, enlisting associates.

Like Mahomet, he found his first and firmest proselytes in his own household and among his own kindred.

Five certainly of the youth of North Elba, three sons, a son-in-law and a brother of the latter, embraced bis views, and all but one son died amid the terrible scenes at Harper's Ferry.

Brown devoted, it is believed, most of the eight months preceding the invasion of Virginia to the military organization of the escaped slaves, that had gathered in Canada.

He caused several hundred spear heads, a weapon peculiarly adapted to the hand of an undisciplined negro, in the service he meditated, to be fabricated in New England and transported to Harper's ferry.

That position had long before been designated in the plans of Brown as the point at which to initiate his proposed occupation of slave territory, and it was selected with unusual skill and forecast.

He had been for many years perfectly familiar with the topography of that whole region.

This sierra he designed as the base of the guerrilla war he proposed to maintain.

Harper's Ferry was easily accessible from Canada and in intimate communication with the entire north.

The seizure of the guns and munitions deposited at the arsenal would furnish, he conceived, all the means necessary for arming the slave population.

A large unoccupied farm, embracing three dwelling houses, and situated within a few miles of Harper's Ferry, was hired by Brown, under the name of Smith, and afforded a convenient rendezvous to the initiated, and a safe receptacle for the arms and ammunition which were actively but cautiously collected.

The unusual deportment of these men excited no small attention and comment, but suspicion was eluded by the pretext, that they were preparing to form an extensive wool-growing establishment.

The presence, among other females, of a daughter, and the wife of a son, attached plausibility to these professions.

With the prudence and care which so singularly contrasted with his reckless and violent schemes, the safety of these women was secured by their secret return to North Elba, directly preceding the outbreak.

Brown had designated the 24th of October, as the day on which to strike a blow, that he hoped would secure the fruition of all his dreams and toils.

Either alarmed by a suspicion of treachery among his followers, or from a natural fear of detection, he was induced to anticipate the movement a week.

This change in his plans, his friends allege, was fatal to their primary success.

It deranged a concerted movement of the slaves, and defeated a cooperation from Canada, Kansas, and New England.

Brown, himself, did not sanction by his language at Charlestown, this assertion.

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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIII. The Rebellion, 1849-1861., continued ...

The details of his designs are shrouded in profound and impenetrable mystery.

He was too shrewd and cautious to leave anything to the revelations of paper, and maintained after his capture an inflexible silence, which he earnestly enjoined on his associates in their final interview.

This course was the promptings of a determination not to prejudice by any disclosures the cause he had so earnestly cherished, and to shield his secret coadjutors from the consequences of a complicity in his acts.

The dreams and purposes that excited his feverish mind are buried in his grave, and we now can only speculate upon the nature of designs, which, to the calm judgment of history, seem to have been suggested by a wild and insane fanaticism, that inspired the attempt, with seventeen white and five negro followers, to uproot a system the growth of centuries, and to oppose and defy the forces not merely of the southern states but all the powers of the federal government.

The facts which have been disclosed warrant the inference, that the plans of Brown embraced the design of the surprise of Harper's Ferry; the capture of the arsenal; the seizure of prominent citizens to be held as hostages and ransomed by a supply of provisions or the liberation of slaves, and an escape to the mountains with the arms and ammunition he might secure.

He hoped to maintain himself among the fastnesses of the mountains until he should be supported from the north and relieved by the general servile insurrection he believed his presence would enkindle.

He would possess ample means, with his rifles and spears, to arm the slaves.

His schemes were admirably conceived, and the execution attempted with equal courage and skill. 2

All his designs were accomplished, as far as he advanced, except the last and most essential step.

He failed to retreat into the mountains.

For hours he held the ability to execute unopposed this measure; but his wonted vigor and promptness abandoned him, and while he hesitated, lingering in doubt, his foes enclosed him and the opportunity was lost.

Brown asserts that this hesitation was prompted by motives of humanity; others conjecture that he cherished the expectation of an uprising of the slaves.

Enveloped by an overwhelming force of the militia of Maryland and Virginia and federal marines, Brown sustained his position with a mere handful of men in the arsenal building, until the second night, and when the door was at length burst open, he and three others alone survived.

One of these was instantly killed and Brown himself cut down by frightful sabre wounds.

A son and daughter's husband were dead, and another son expiring under a mortal wound lay before him.

A small party, including a third son of Brown, which had been left in charge of the farm buildings, effected an escape.

The remainder of the band were either slain in the streets or captured.

Several citizens were also killed or wounded in the conflict.

2 "It is in vain to underrate either the man or the conspiracy" * * * "Certainly it was one of the best planned and best executed conspiracies that ever failed." — Mr. Vallandigham.

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thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIII. The Rebellion, 1849-1861., continued ...

When the arrest of Brown, and the few followers who escaped immediate death had been effected, the popular exasperation was controlled by the authorities; no outrage was committed against them.

Brown was removed to the jail at Charlestown, his wounds were nursed, his wants relieved and to his friends a free access allowed to his prison.

Brown complained of the precipitancy of his trial; but under the circumstance it appears not to have been urged with any ungenerous haste, and although the weight of incontestible facts rendered it a mere form, it was conducted with justice and fairness.

He was legally convicted and justly executed, but no indignity offended the solemnities of justice.

His body was respectfully delivered to the tender care of his wife and friends.

The ruling passion of the enthusiast was illustrated in his progress from the prison cell to the scaffold, when he paused to kiss and bless a negro infant.

The transcendant and eccentric tone of his sentiment was exhibited in the desire expressed to his wife, that she should collect the bodies of their two sons and his own, place them on a funeral pyre, consume their flesh, transport the bones to Essex county, and inter them on the farm at North Elba.

With just sensibility she removed the purpose from his mind.

Mr. Washington, one of the hostages held by Brown, attested to his humane solicitude for their safety during the assault.

The high intelligence and elevated sentiment disclosed in his conversations while in prison; his heroic resolution; and the steady firmness and unfaltering spirit with which he encountered his fate, extorted the admiration even of the enemies, upon whom his designs were calculated to inflict the direst woes. 3

Romance rarely delineated a more impressive scene than is described by Mr. Washington: "Brown was the coolest and firmest man he ever saw in defying danger and death."

"With one son dead by his side, and another shot through, he felt the pulse of his dying son with one hand, held his rifle with the other, and commanded his men with the utmost composure." 4

3 "He is a man of clear head, of courage, fortitude, and simple ingenuousness." "He is cool, collected, and indomitable, and he inspired me with trust in his integrity as a man of truth." "He is a fanatic, vain and garrulous, but firm, truthful, and intelligent." — Governor Wise's speech at Richmond.

4 Idem.

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thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIII. The Rebellion, 1849-1861., continued ...

It is not my province to discuss the character or aspect of these events.

Glancing at them as they constituted by the action of its citizens, a fragment of the history of Essex county, I have discharged my duty and yield to others their defense or denunciation.

Deluded and stimulated by a frenzied zeal and blindly reckless as he was to the consequences of his enthusiasm, Brown apparently fostered, in the prosecution of his designs, no aspirations of personal ambition, nor was he impelled by any lust of wealth or by individual hostility to those he assailed.

He believed himself to be a chosen instrument in the hands of God ; and to the imaginary behests of duty he devoted his own life, and sacrificed the blood of his sons and the happiness of his family. 5

With feelings not insensible to the domestic affections he witnessed without regret, the deaths of his disciples: he felt no remorse for the blood of unoffending citizens by his acts, shed before their own peaceful homes, nor did he recoil from the certain horrors of a war of races, that he hoped to arouse.

His mind, under the dominion of the wild visions and extravagant hallucinations that inflamed it, rejected all fealty to the federal constitution.

He did not accept its paramount obligation; he did not recognize its sanctions and guaranties.

A regard to social order and the restraints that secure protection to life and property were powerless to control or modify his course.

All these emotions, sacred to most minds, were extinguished or subverted in the pursuit of his one great dominant passion.

The invasion of Brown will hereafter be recognized as an active cause in accelerating, if it did not produce, events which subjected the institutions of the Union to that ordeal they were predestinated at some period to encounter.

The inherent jealousies of the people of the south were inflamed; they naturally regarded this attempt as a manifestation of a determined purpose in the north of armed aggression, while the very hopelessness of its audacity was calculated to intensify this alarm and excitement.

They saw in this movement the barriers of the constitution crumbling in the progress of the abolition spirit.

The death of Brown supplied fuel to the enkindling fires of the anti-slavery sentiment in the free states.

He was regarded by the disciples of his faith, not as a felon, but as a martyr, whose blood had consecrated a sacred principle.

5 In one small school district, hidden among the mountains, where we might hope that the strifes of the great world would never enter, and composed of scarcely twice that number of families, five were made widows by the tragedy at Harper's Ferry.

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thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIII. The Rebellion, 1849-1861., continued ...

The hour of his execution was solemnized by a large class of the northern people with religious exercises and the tolling bell, and as his body was borne through many a village the solemn knell proclaimed the deep sorrow of his sympathizers.

An immense concourse formed from every grade of society, dignified his obsequies.

Such exhibitions of adverse feeling tended to deepen the alienation between the sections; to excite stronger antagonisms, and to hasten the appeal to the terrible arbitrament of arms.

The presages of Brown were singularly accomplished when, before even the moss had gathered upon his solitary mountain grave, the armed tread of thousands was moved by an anthem inspired by his blood, and which so often sounded above the clangor of the conflict and the shoutings of the battle-field.

The tide of patriotic enthusiasm which rolled over the northern states, when the national banner had been fired upon at Fort Sumter, rose high among the mountains of Essex.

No section of the state responded with superior zeal and alacrity to the requisition by the government for aid.

When counties subsequently found it expedient to claim credit on their military quotas, it was ascertained that Essex county had been prejudiced by this promptitude, and had in the early stages of the war supplied troops much in excess of her just proportion.

Neither was the county surpassed in the fervor and decision by which the popular sentiment sustained the military measures of the government.

Public meetings were immediately assembled in most of the towns to promote enlistment by both influence and contributions.

Women of every class combined their labors to furnish clothing and every requisite for the comfort and efficiency of the volunteers.

Few families declined to impart from their household goods, when called upon by committees who visited every district, to relieve the wants of the soldiers, which the government at that period could not adequately supply.

The national flag or patriotic symbols floated from nearly every dwelling.

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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIII. The Rebellion, 1849-1861., concluded ...

The proclamation of the president announcing the call for the first seventy-five thousand volunteers had scarcely reached the county when in various sections the enlistment of five different companies was simultaneously commenced.

These companies were in a large proportion, but not exclusively, recruited from Essex county, while numbers of her sons enlisted in different organizations both in New York and other states.

A company was recruited in Keeseville, and composed in about equal proportions of residents of Essex and Clinton counties.

Gorton T. Thomas was elected captain of this company, and Oliver D. Peabody Ist lieutenant, and Carlisle D. Beaumont 2d lieutenant.

Another company was raised in Schroon from the southern towns of Essex and parts of Warren county.

The officers elected were Lyman Ormsby, captain, J.R. Seaman, Ist lieutenant, and Daniel Burgey, 2d lieutenant.

A third company was recruited in Moriah, and other eastern towns, and elected Miles P.S. Cadwell captain, Edward F. Edgerly and Clark W. Huntley, first and second lieutenants.

These companies were distinguished as Companies C, I, and K, of the Twenty-second regiment New York Volunteers, in which they were incorporated on its organization upon June 6th, 1861.

On the promotion of Captain Thomas, Lieutenants Peabody and Beaumont were respectively advanced a grade, and Charles B. Pierson appointed 2d lieutenant of Company C.

A company raised in Crown Point and the adjacent towns, embracing one hundred and eight men, of which Leland L. Doolittle was elected captain, Hiram Buck, Jr., 1st, and John B. Wright 2d lieutenant, was mustered into service as Company H, of the Thirty-fourth regiment of New York Volunteers.

Before the departure of this company for Albany, it was supplied with every equipment except arms, at an expense of $2,000, by the characteristic patriotism and munificence of the people of Crown Point.

The fifth company, recruited in Elizabethtown and the central towns of the county, was incorporated as Company K, into the Thirty-eighth regiment, and was the last company accepted from New York by the government under the first proclamation.

Samuel C. Dwyer was elected captain of this company, William H. Smith 1st, and Augustus C.H. Livingstone 2d lieutenant.

To describe adequately the services of these troops, and the other organizations which the county yielded to the exigencies of the country, would demand a narrative of the campaigns in which they participated.

I can only attempt to present very summarily a general view of the endurance, the toils and achievements of the volunteers of Essex.

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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers.

The Twenty-Second New York Volunteers.

On the 16th May, 1861, this regiment was accepted by the government, and Walter Phelps, Jr., of Glen's Falls, commissioned colonel, Gorton T. Thomas of Keeseville lieutenant-colonel, and John Mc Kee, Jr., of Cambridge, major.

It left Albany for Washington on the 28th of June, and while passing through Baltimore on the night of the 30th, was assailed at the depot by an armed mob.

A private 1 was killed, but the regiment was promptly formed, and returned the fire, wounding several of the assailants.

Order was soon restored by the city police, and the troops proceeded on their march without further molestation.

The 22d was employed until the April following, in garrison duty and occasional reconnaissances in the vicinity of Washington.

Through the several months following, it was occupied in services, that most severely try the spirit, the constancy and endurancy of the soldier.

It was constantly engaged in marches and changes of position amid rain and darkness, or rushed from station to station, upon open and comfortless cars, and upon tedious and fruitless expeditions.

At length, the ardent aspirations of the regiment for active service seemed about to be gratified, when as a part of McDowell's corps it was ordered to advance in support of the army of the Potomac, but arrested on the threshold of this movement, McDowell was directed towards the Shenandoah.

After the battle of Cedar mountain, the regiment participated in the continuous engagement, which extended through several successive days in the vicinity of that field.

On the 27th of August, it marched with its divisions from Warrenton in the direction of Gainesville with the design of intercepting the retreat of Jackson, who had attempted to penetrate to the rear of the Union lines, and of breaking up his command.

Ignorant of the position of the enemy, the divisions advanced slowly and with extreme caution.

On the second day of its march Jackson was discovered near Gainesville in great force.

The federal troops consisted of King's division, and were commanded by McDowell in person.

The line of battle was promptly formed and an action immediately and about an hour before sunset, commenced.

McDowell's position was upon the Gainesville pike, while the rebels occupied a wood about a half a mile in front, with open fields between the two armies.

The engagement was opened by a furious cannonade on both sides.

The rebels had secured an accurate range of the road, and swept it by a continual storm of shells, and with fearful accuracy.

A battery, supported by the Twenty-second regiment, was silenced and almost instantly annihilated.

A ditch running parallel to the pike afforded a protection to the regiment, while the shells and shot, passing just above them, completely furrowed and tore up the road.

1 Edward Burge, Company I, of Pottersville, Warren county.

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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers., continued ...

For an hour this firing was maintained with unabated vigor, when the enemy emerging from the woods in a magnificent line a mile in length, charged, uttering the wildest yells as they rushed upon the Union position.

All the Federal batteries directed by McDowell personally, which could be brought to bear, opened upon them, with grape and cannister.

At every discharge, broad gaps were visible in their ranks.

The Wisconsin brigade attached to this division poured upon them a terrible volley, and along both lines the fire of musketry was incessant and severe.

The rebels paused in their advance, but stubbornly sustained their position until dark, and then slowly and defiantly withdrew, leaving the Union troops in possession of the field.

They remained on the ground until midnight, and then, in order to receive rations, fell back to Manasses Junction.

The Wisconsin brigade lost nearly half its strength in killed and wounded; but the Twenty-second regiment owing to its protected position, escaped with only slight casualties.

While the Twenty-second with its brigade, was reposing in this brief bivouac, Fitz John Porter's corps, early on the 29th, marched past them to the front, and was soon after followed by the brigade.

The fighting raged through the day, Jackson gradually falling back, towards Thoroughfare Gap.

The Twenty-second was not engaged, until towards evening; King's division was then ordered to charge the retreating enemy, and to complete their fancied defeat.

With loud and exultant cheers, they were pursued the distance of half a mile, in apparent great disorder, when the Union troops were suddenly arrested by a withering discharge of small arms.

The division, instead of being deployed to meet this attack, was massed in solid order and attempted to advance at double quick.

In this form and unable to fire except in the front, it received destructive discharges, in front and from a wood upon the left flank.

The troops by their formation were rendered almost powerless for offensive action.

Darkness was approaching; the men began to give way, and the promise of victory soon converted into an utter rout.

This engagement was known as the battle of Groveton or Kittle run.

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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers., continued ...

After this disaster, the division was attached to Porter's corps.

Cannonading and skirmishing continued along the whole front, through the 30th, until about two p. m., when the entire line was ordered to advance in a simultaneous charge.

The brigade, to which the Twenty-second belonged, was in the van of this division.

The charging column of the division was two regiments deep; the Fourteenth New York, on the right, and the Thirtieth New York on the left, and followed by the Twenty-second and Twenty-fourth New York, at a distance of about twenty yards, Burden's sharp-shooters being deployed as skirmishers.

This force constituted the brigade.

The Union troops charged through a wood into an open field.

The rebels were entrenched about two hundred yards in advance, behind a railroad embankment, and immediately opened a heavy fire with grape, cannister, solid shot and shell, supported by a terrible discharge of musketry.

The roar of cannon was deafening, and the air was filled with missiles, but the gallant brigade rushed forward.

The Twenty-second became intermingled with the Thirtieth, when within fifty yards of the enemy's line, and was compelled to halt.

At that moment the rebels were abandoning their works, and scattering in every direction; many throwing down their arms, came into the federal ranks.

But the pause was fatal to the promised success.

The troops of the brigade hesitated to advance, and commenced a rapid and disordered firing.

The confidence of the rebels was restored by this hesitancy, and they immediately reoccupied their strong position.

The fire of the enemy, which had been partially suspended, was now resumed with increased intensity.

The Union troops were rapidly falling, and it was next to impossible to remove the wounded from the field, as both flanks were swept by the enemy's guns.

At this juncture, a brigade was ordered to the support of the troops, in their perilous and terrible position; but it had scarcely emerged from the wood, fore it broke and fell back.

The firing on both sides continued rapid and unremitting. 2

The remnant of the brigade able to fight continued to fire until their ammunition was all expended, and then slowly withdrew, closely pursued by the enemy.

The whole army soon after fell back upon Centreville.

On the retreat there was neither panic nor rout, but the troops sternly retired, fighting as they retreated.

2 It was a bright and clear day, and the smoke disappeared rapidly. On looking back upon the field, it appeared like the surface of a pond in a rain storm; the dust being kept in continual agitation by the pattering of the bullets. * * * The roar of cannon was so great that a man could not hear the report of his own gun. Indeed, instances occurred of soldiers continuing to load after their pieces had missed fire, until they were charged to the muzzles and rendered useless. There was no difficulty in procuring others, as the ground was strewn with them. Many changed their muskets, as the barrels had become so heated by the rapid firing, that they could not be held. — Captain Edgerly's letter.

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