previous next


Battle at Bethel Church!
more Northern accounts.
the killed and wounded.
&c., &c., &c.

The Baltimore Sun of Saturday contains news from Fortress Monroe to 9 o'clock Friday morning, by the steamer Georgiana.--Among the passengers were Dr. Townsend and Lieut. Reynolds, U. S. A., and Mrs. Jones and four children, and Miss Carmine, of Hampton.


[Correspondence of the Associated Press.]

Fortress Monroe, June 13.
--6 P. M.--There are no military movements of importance to-day to report. The statement in my communication of yesterday that the Confederates had retired from Great Bethel, is true, so far as their main body is concerned, but the place is still held by them, and can be occupied by a large force at short notice.

Capt. H. E. Davis, son of Judge Davis, Lt. Chas. H. Seaman and Dr. Martin, of Duryea's Regiment, yesterday entered the enemy's lines with a flag of truce and went to within half a mile of Yorktown. They saw a formidable battery at Great Bethel, but were not permitted to examine, the works, and from there to Yorktown were conducted by bridle paths. They were escorted by a Sergeant and four troopers, who met them at Newmarket Bridge, three miles from Hampton, to which point the Secession pickets now extend.

They were courteously treated by Col. J. B. Magruder, who commanded at Great Bethel. There was a large encampment of Cavalry at Yorktown, and the place was being strongly fortified. There are also batteries between Great Bethel and Yorktown. The Confederates report one killed and five wounded, and expressed a hope that Gen. Pierce may be retained in command. Major Winthrop was shot by a Louisiana rifleman while leading a vigorous charge. He was buried by the Confederates, who greatly praised his heroism. I have just brought his cap and spurs from the Zouave camp.

Two Zouaves died prisoners, viz: Benjamin F. Hopper and Joseph S. Taylor, nephew of Moses Taylor. The Confederates represented that they had other prisoners whom they were willing to exchange. Captain Phillips has to day visited the Fortress with a flag of truce in reference to the same. There was an alarm last night. The whole garrison turned out. General Butler and Quartermaster Tallmadge have this evening gone to Newport News.

Reconnoissances have been made from Fortress Monroe and Newport News.

It is reported that Jefferson Davis was at Richmond last week.

The weather continues hot. The thermometer stood yesterday at 92 in the shade.


Account by a Zouavr who was there.

One of the Zouaves from New York, who participated in the fight at Great Bethel, thus describes what he saw:

‘ The centre and right of the skirmishers kept moving on until they got to where they supposed they were on the enemy's flank, but very much to their surprise, for no one dreamed of the strength of the position, they found that there was not only one entrenchment, but another and a bigger one in the rear, and of course nothing to do but the best they could under the circumstances, and pop off just as many men as showed their heads above the embankment. In the meantime the left section of the skirmishers, hearing Gilpatrick's sharp shrill command constantly repeated, ‘"Skirmishers, advance,"’ kept constantly moving forward in an open field, and while in the act of making a further advance of about 600 feet to the front and up to a very unsuspicious and harmless looking fence, house, cow shed and barn, the curtain fell and a masked battery of mountain howitzers was exposed to full view, and they did not lose any time in opening. Grape and canister fell like driving hall right into our faces, and men dropped right and left. We gave them one round in return and retreated fifteen paces, and throwing ourselves flat on our faces, loaded and fired as fast as possible, until, finding there was no reserve, no main body, no nothing to fall back on, we got out from under this awful fire and got back to the two field-pieces on our right. This did not take a great while, for our men only fired five or six rounds, and then only when they could sight a man as he jumped above the embankment and fired, and before he could jump back again.

In the meantime, our regiment, under Col. Duryea's special and personal direction, had marched to position on the right, and opened a heavy fire, and Col. Townsend's regiment, 3d Albany, had come up, marched in column directly in front of the enemy's batteries, and at point blank range got handsomely into position on the left and opened fire. They flanked the masked batteries on the left and silenced them, and then formed in line of battle front to the enemy's batteries. All these movements took time, and in the meantime our battery, commanded and served by Lieutenant Greble, 2d regiment U. S. Artillery, kept up a galling and successful fire upon the enemy's batteries, and although grape, shell, canister and solid shot rained all around and about him, he was as quiet and gentle, both in manner and speech, as if he had been in a lady's drawing-room. I never saw greater coolness in my life.

I cannot say as much for some of those under his command. There were men with him who emphatically stood by their guns, but as the enemy kept improving their range, and danger increased, so many left that there was not enough men of those whose duty it was to be there.

About 12 o'clock, Col. Townsend's regiment made a movement to the left, and then coming to the front, we made general charge of the two regiments right up to and in the face of their batteries, and drove them from their first entrenchments. And here the enemy must have suffered great loss, for the men of both regiments, maddened by opposition, fairly sprung on their entrenchments, but were stopped by the second with their heavy guns. This was straightforward, hand to-hand fighting, and at the point of the bayonet; but their position was too strong, although I think after we had once got it we could have kept it, had we had any support at all. We were obliged to retire.


Captain Kilpatrick's report to Gen. Pierce.

The following extract from the report of Captain Kilpatrick to General Pierce seems to show that there were more killed in that action than the official statement of General Butler represents. Captain Kilpatrick was in command of company H. His report says:

‘ I advanced at eight A. M., met with and drove in the picket guards of the enemy. I then detached a portion of my command, made an armed reconnoissance, and found the enemy with about from 8,000 to 5,000 [a monstrous lie] posted in a strong position on the opposite side of the bridge--three earth works and a masked battery on the right and left; in advance of the stream thirty pieces of artillery, and a large force of cavalry [another] all of which information I reported to you at once. I was ordered to advance and engage the enemy in throwing out skirmishers on the right and left of the road leading to the bridge. We rapidly advanced, supported by the advance guard of Col. Duryea and three pieces of artillery under Lieut. Greble, of the First Regiment United States Artillery. The enemy soon opened fire on us from the rifled cannon in front. We answered his discharges by a cheer, and continued to advance, clearing all before us, till we reached a point just on the edge of the woods, where the fire was so hot and heavy that we were compelled to halt, and there we remained as directed by Lieut. Col. Warren, till that gallant officer had made dispositions to turn their flanks. The enemy's fire at this time began to tell upon us with great effect. My men were falling one after another, as was the case with the rest of the command.

After remaining in this position about two hours, and our object having been accomplished, numbers of our men being killed and wounded, having received a grape shot through my thigh, which tore off a portion of the rectangle on Col. Duryea's left shoulder, passed through my leg, and killed a soldier in the rear, I withdrew my men to the skirts of the wood. We managed to reach Lieut. Greble's battery, and bring to his aid several of my men. The charge was then sounded; Lt. Greble opened fire with grape and canister, within two hundred yards of the enemy's lines. Capts. Winslow, Bartlett and myself, charged with our commands in front, Capt. Denike and Lieut. Duryea, (son of Colonel Duryea,) and about two hundred of the Troy Rifles upon the right; Colonel Townsend, with his men, to the left; the enemy was forced out of the first battery, all the forces were rapidly advancing, and everything promised a speedy victory, when we were ordered to fall back. Where this order came from, I do not know. We maintained our position till Col. Townsend began to retire with his whole command.--Being left thus alone, and no prospects of receiving aid, we ordered the men to fall back, which they did, and in good order, forming their line of battle about one hundred and fifty yards in the rear. A few minutes afterwards orders came from Gen. Pierce to cease firing and retire.


Gen. Pierce's orders for the battle of Great Bethel.

The following is the order issued by Brigadier General Pierce before the movement on Great Bethel. Although this order was, of course, promulgated by this officer, yet we have no doubt it emanated from Gen. Butler:


General Pierce's orders.

Headguarters, Camp Hamilton, June 9th, 1861.
A plan of attack to-night is here with enclosed and forwarded to Col. Duryea, commanding the Fifth Regiment New York State troops, who will act accordingly, Col. Townsend, commanding the Third Regiment New York State troops, will march his command in support of Col. Duryea, Col. Carr,

commanding the Second Regiment New York Volunteers, will detach the artilley company of his regiment with their field-pieces, caisson, and a suitable supply of ammunition, and take their position at the burnt bridge near Hampton, Colonels Allen, Carr and McChesney will hold their entire command in readiness, fully prepared to march at a moment's notice. All the troops will be supplied with one day's rations, and each man with twenty rounds of ball cartridges.

That no mistake may be made, all the troops, as they charge the enemy, will shout--‘"Boston."’

Colonels Allen, Carr, Townsend, Duryea and McChesney will take notice and act accordingly. By command of

E. W. Pierce, Brig. Gen.

R. A. Pierce, Brig. Major.


From Fortress Monroe.

The following rich and racy summary is from the New York Herald, of Sunday last:

Fortress Monroe, June 14,

Via Baltimore, June 15, 1861.

The list of the killed and wounded of the Federal troops at the fight at Big Bethel is not yet complete.

No information has reached here to-day relative to the movements of the rebel troops.--Fortress Monroe is in reality invested. In gress and egress by the sea, and a few miles in extent of the James river, are open to us; but no aggressive movements can be made with safety without double the present number of troops and means of transportation.

The camps near Hampton are now confined to a narrow space.

An exchange of prisoners is to be made today. Those in the Fortress will be produced, but as yet Colonel Magruder has falled to respond.

The affair of the New York Naval Brigade is culminating. Some fifty of them yesterday received their naval accoutrements.--Probably not three hundred of them will remain here. They complain of the army pay, they having been promised twenty dollars per month instead of eleven.

The large rifled cannon, brought by the Naval Brigade, is now mounted on the Rip Raps, only three miles from Sewell's Point.--Its range will be tried in a few hours.

The Cumberland this morning fired one or two rounds with a rifled gun at a tug boat which is seen every morning at Sewell's Point, reconnoitering our movements. There are many vessels in the Roads, and immense supplies daily arriving.

Fortress Monroe, June 15, 1861.--It is understood that a movement is on foot, and that an expedition will leave to-night, accompanied by heavy artillery.

Gen. Pierce will not command.

The Naval Brigade are being sworn. It is expected that about five hundred will be mustered under the following officers: H. D. Whittemore, Colonel; James Millward, Jr., Lieut. Colonel; D. H. Burtnett, Major.


Official report of Col. Allen, First Regiment, N. Y. V.

Camp Hamilton, Va., June 11, 1861.
Maj. Gen. B. F. Butler: Sir:
I have the honor to report that, in accordance with orders received from General Pierce on the night of the 9th inst., my command was ordered under arms at 11 P. M., and marched to Hampton creek to support Cols. Townsend and Duryea. I returned to this camp at 4 A. M. of the 10th inst., and was again ordered out at 6 A. M. to proceed forward to Big Bethel, where the enemy was reported to be stationed in force. After a rapid march of twelve miles I reached the ground and found the action going on. Upon reporting to Gen. Pierce, he directed me to proceed to the front and deploy my regiment in front of the battery, which I did, and so remained for one hour and forty minutes under a heavy fire of at least twenty guns, some of them rifled and about four shell guns, the enemy deploying in my front with about 1200 men and two guns. but made no advance. They, however, threw out two heavy flanking parties on my right and left, the former with two guns, and completely out flanked the entire brigade, at which time Gen. Pierce deemed it proper to retire.--From the most reliable information, I am certain there were at least four thousand of the enemy on the ground, with constant reinforcements from Yorktown.

Very resp'y,
Wm. H. Allen, Col. 1st Reg't.

A colored man has just come in from about two miles beyond Big Bethel, and reports that immediately after our retreat the rebels, anticipating that we would return with heavy pieces and give them another try, destroyed their batteries, burned the Big Bethel Church and other buildings, deserted the town and retreated to Yorktown.

At 12 M. to-day I was in Camp Hamilton and saw three Secession women under an escort, and with permission from Gen. Butler, searching the tents of the First regiment for property which had been taken by the scouts Upon inquiry, I found that the husbands of these women, and the women themselves, had fied and left their habitations, and the scouts finding the houses deserted, had taken the furniture and brought it into camp. The bedding and most of the furniture were carefully stored away in the Quartermaster's Department; but the boys had taken some of the chairs and looking-glasses and put them in their tents, and were feeling quite comfortable in their well-furnished quarters, and did not much relish the presence of the fair ones of Virginia with their horses and carts.--Nevertheless, everything was yielded up quietly, because that was the order; but they seemed to think it was an easy way to conduct a war — the husbands of these women one day firing upon them, and the next day sending their wives to search the tents and carry away whatever they claimed belonged to them. Of course they have every opportunity to learn the position and force of our army, and they were shrewd and sharp enough to do it; for I noticed that two of them looked after the property, while the third with a pencil and piece of paper, was sketching the position of things. I thought at first she was only taking a list of articles; but, inadvertantly stepping behind her, I discovered that she was sketching instead of writing.

The heat here is intolerable during the middle of the day, but at evening balmy and sweet. A few of the troops are sick.

I understand, from very reliable authority, that Gen. Butler intends giving the boys some more work soon, in the direction of Norfolk and Richmond. Upon telling this to a squad of the men to-day, they all cried out, ‘"That's good! we shall have the privilege of seeing some more of their ladies after the battle is over."’


The latest Northern account.

From the Baltimore Sun of Monday we copy the following:

The steamers Adelaide, Capt. Cannon, and Georgiana, Capt. Pierson, arrived on Saturday and yesterday morning, from Old Point Comfort. They bring intelligence that a movement was to have been made on Yorktown on Saturday night by a large body of troops, under command of Major General Butler, and it was expected that they would reach it by Sunday morning, if there was no opposition by the Confederate forces.

There are now one hundred sick and wounded in the hospital at Old Point, and deaths among the wounded frequently occur. A young man named Cady, from Philadelphia, wounded at Great Bethel, died on Thursday. His mother went down in the Adelaide, but he was dead before she saw him. He was an only child.

Miss Dix, with three nurses, went to Old Point on the Adelaide, but she returned and has gone to Washington to attend to some wounded in that city. Quite a number of persons have reached Fortress Monroe to see their wounded friends.

The U. S. sloop-of-war Vandalia arrived at Old Point on Friday and exchanged salutes with the flag-ship Cumberland. The S. R. Spaulding also arrived from Boston, with a large quantity of ammunition.

The big gun ‘"Union"’ was safely taken to Fortress Monroe, and was carefully guarded by seventy men and a force of artillery officers.

All visitors to Fortress Monroe continue to be sworn to support the Government by the Provost Marshal.

The result of the expedition towards Yorktown is looked for with a good deal of interest, and it is expected that a desperate battle will be fought. The Confederate forces are thought to be about ten thousand strong, and they have good fortifications.

A number of soldiers, Zouaves and others, came up on the Georgiana on Saturday.--Most of them are on the sick list.

The captain of a sailing vessel which was lying near Hampton on the day after the battle of Great Bethel, has arrived at this port. He reports that a large number of killed and wounded were ferried across in the Susquehanna fishing boats, but he could not ascertain the number.


[Correspondence of the Associated Press.]

Fortress Monroe, June 15,
--6 P. M.--The steamer Alabama arrived here this morning, with Col. Max Weller's German Regiment.--They go into encampment near Hampton.--Among the fifteen additional regiments expected at Fortress Monroe, is an efficient corps of artillery from Fort McHenry, and a regiment of mounted riflemen. The latter are greatly needed to operate against the Virginia Light Horse. On the arrival of these regiments the troops now here will extend their lines several miles further from the Fortress. The Peninsula will soon become an immense entrenched camp. Telegraphic communication is being opened between the several camps and the Fortress.

The artesian well has been sunk to a depth of 100 feet. Means are also being employed to bring a large supply of fresh water from Hampton.

The headquarters of Gen. Butler, Quartermaster Talmadge and Commissary Taylor are daily crowded by an army of defunct politicians, place-seekers, importunate contractors and modest individuals, with very large axes to grind. Every stranger must take the oath of allegiance on landing, and a sharp look-out is kept up for ‘"contraband of war."’

A great part of the clothing furnished the New York volunteers is nearly worn out. Paper garments would have served almost as well. Col. Townsand, whose command has not been three weeks in the field, has made a requisition for nearly a thousand new coats, pants and shoes.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (12)
Hampton (Virginia, United States) (5)
Old Point (North Carolina, United States) (4)
Sewell's Point (Virginia, United States) (2)
Richmond (Virginia, United States) (1)
Hampton Creek (Virginia, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 15th, 1861 AD (2)
June 11th, 1861 AD (1)
June 9th, 1861 AD (1)
1200 AD (1)
June 15th (1)
June 14th (1)
June 13th (1)
10th (1)
9th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: