[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Doubtless you have had various accounts of the signal victory, gained over "Old Abe's" forces near Leesburg
on Monday, October, 21 Just three months from the celebrated battle of Manassas
Shall I venture you a line?-- Brevity is a desideratam with editors.
I'll try at that.
The ball was opened about 8 o'clock, A. M., by Captain Duff
's Company of Seventeenth Mississippi Volunteers, who had been thrown out as skirmishers and, from that time, with occasional intermission, the firing continued during the day. Towards half-past 3 it became general, and from that time until dark, it was awful.
The 8th Virginia regiment, commanded by Col. Hunter
, (than whom a braver man tread not the soil,) supported by Captain Fletcher
a company, of the 13th Mississippi volunteers, gallantry led the charge.
Reinforced by the 18th Mississippi volunteers, Col. Burt
, and 17th Mississippi volunteers, Col. Feather
stone, the battle became general.
Fiercely was every inch of ground contested, but doubly did our brave boys bear themselves until at last, after having taken their battery of one rifled cannon (12 pounder) and two howitzers, the enemy gave way, and such a route it can only be compared to the famous run from the Plains of Manassas
In their precipitate flight many were disabled in leaping the blues and precipice that line the banks of the river; and when that was gained, they threw off their implements of war fire stripped themselves to their "mother skin," and plunged, muskrat like, into the billows deep, trusting rather the surging waves of the Potomac
than rebel bayonets.
As many as could accommodate themselves to boats old nor but in the fright and flight all could not be thus favored, and, in one case, at least, that failed to carry them safe to the Maryland
shore — that land they had so recently polluted by their unhallowed tread, and that now sighs, and groans, and shrieks to be delivered from the tyrant's heel.
I say the boat which was crammed beyond its capacity sunk near the middle of the stream, and ! scores, perhaps hundreds, found a watery grave.
Hundreds of others, in attempting to swim the Potomac
, were drowned.
Others may count the enemy stain on the battle field; I know not the number, but I guess
not less than 150; the wounded I guess
not less than 500, and 88 for the prisoners.
I know to be not less than 700, making in all of what I guess and know killed, wounded, and prisoners, to be upwards of thirteen hundred.
The Federal forces were led by Gen. Baker
, late Senator
of the United States
, who, as you have learned, was killed on the battle field.
Shall I? Can I have sympathy for any man who invades my home, and strives to lay waste the loveliest portion of God's creation, destroy my property, murder my wife and children?
And shall I go further, and record the "beauty and booty" principles of those invaders?
But my heart sickens at the thought.
No; I have no sympathy for such, and I thank God I have none.
was the tool of a vile despot, to curry out the subjugation--tation--of a people that never harmed him. We all recollect his boasted threat in the Senate.
But he has fallen; we therefore, let him rest.
Our loss has been published in the Dispatch
Let me say that is too large.
It is not more than 100, and I have the means of knowing.
The brave Col. Burt
, of the 18th Mississippi.
Volunteers, is dead.
He died Saturday evening, the 26th October. A braver and more popular officer belonged not to the Southern
army — his men were devoted to him and his loss is severely felt not only by the soldiers immediately under his command, but also by the citizens of this place.
By his gentlemanly deportment he had won upon the affections of all with whom he was associated; and the writer, who had the pleasure of his acquaintance, would pay a passing tribute of respect to his memory, and plant a flower upon his grave, and, without another word, there leave him with the noble dead.
All battles and combats have their interesting incidents and hairbreadth escapes.
I know of several in this.
One incident I must relate before I close, leaving the hairbreadth escapes for another communication.
When the contest became general, and in the thickest of the light, might be seen an elderly gentleman, not at all connected with the army, with no impulse, or motive, other than the same that warms the heart, and nerves the arm of all true Southern men in the glorious cause of our second independence, tiding in the rear of the line, encouraging the men to conquer, or nobly die on the soil of their "sunny South." I have heard it suggested by the soldiers engaged, that George Calvert
, of Fauquier county, Va.
, should have the commission of a General, for his bravery and happy influence on that occasion.
The old gentleman would halloo at the top of his voice, where "leaden rain and iron hail" fell thick and fast around him, to the men "Boys, if you fail, God grant you may a seat around the throne of the God of Battles — fight on, and the victory is ours in time and in eternity — fortune favors the brave--God will save the brave — fear not no harm shall come near you — not the smell of fire shall be upon your garments--
' In the God of Battles trust.' --
You are in a glorious cause — fight on, my brave boys!
and may the Lord
have mercy upon you, and bring you off victorious."
I will here venture an opinion, and belief, that these, with other pious ejaculations uttered by that good, pious whole-souled Southern gentleman, whose locks have been whitened by the frosts of three score years and ten, without disparagement, did as much, if not more, to encourage the men on the battle-field of Leesburg
to deeds of heroism, and to urge them on from "conquering to conquest," than did the General
in command with all his military skill and ability.
Such noble proofs and exhibitions of self-sacrificing heroism should be recorded, and with pleasure I chronicle the same.
P. S.--Col. Burt
's remains started for home this morning. L.