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The battle of Cold Harbor. [from the Richmond, Va., Dispatch, December 1, 1895.]

Touching reference to the death of Clarence Warwick.

In a former communication to the Dispatch I gave a short account of the part borne by our regiment in the Seven Days battles before Richmond, but I inadverdently failed to mention that we were at the battle of Cold Harbor. I regret this omission and wish to revert to that battle for the purpose of paying a tribute of sorrow and regard to a fallen comrade, the youngest member of our company, Clarence Warwick, a boy indeed, not twenty years old, full of enthusiasm for the cause, bold, active, and enterprising, and had he lived, would, I think, have won distinction in the service. He was the youngest of three brothers, all members of our company—brave soldiers—always ready to do their duty cheerfully, whether in camp or in battle, sons of one of the wealthiest and most respected families of this city, for one of whom especially, Major W. B. Warwick, I had a warm attachment. We shared the same blanket and ate at the same fire until he was promoted and left the company to accept a position on the staff of General Fitz Lee, and whose untimely death a few years ago all who knew him deeply lamented.

We had been actively engaged all day of the 27th of June, 1862, and about the middle of the afternoon were drawn up on the crest of a hill, sheltered somewhat by a thin and open wood, and preparing, as I understood, to charge a battery of four guns, which had for some time been firing on a column of infantry and doing considerable damage, when suddenly a ball came crashing through the trees and striking Clarence about the middle of the body literally severed it in twain, leaving scarcely enough tissue to hold the parts together. Death must have been instantaneous and almost without a pang.

We sent his mortal remains to Richmond for burial.

On fame's eternal camping ground
     Their silent tents are spread,
And glory guards with solemn round
     The bivouac of the dead.


A remarkable shot.

That was the most remarkable shot I witnessed or heard of during the war, and I have never yet been able to understand how it could pass between two sets of fours (the usual formation of cavalry) and across the front of three troopers on the left, and nearest and toward the battery, and strike only Clarence, who was on the right of his set of fours and farthest from the battery. I would state that these four guns were on our left flank, in plain view, not more than 300 yards distant. Finding that they had the range on us, we were hastily withdrawn and did not make the charge.

On the next day, the 28th, we marched to the White House and captured that place and a number of prisoners, and destroyed the supplies there collected-hundreds, it seemed to me thousands, of barrels of eggs, and boxes of sardines almost beyond computation—and rejoined the army, as I have before stated, about the time of the battle of Malvern Hill. And now let us return, if you please, to the field of Manassas, which, after supplying ourselves with all we could carry away, we left late in the afternoon of the 27th of August, 1862. Jackson's troops remained in the place that night and destroyed all the stores (and they were immense) which they could not use. We crossed Bull Run and advanced towards Fairfax and Centreville, but before reaching those places our company, which was familiar with that section of the country—having passed a large part of the previous year there—was detached from the line of march and ordered to proceed to the railroad, about a mile distant, and destroy a bridge, and thereby delay the progress of the troops who were hastening from Washington to Manassas. We found the bridge very easily, and drove off the forty or fifty men guarding it, and captured some prisoners, but the enemy were speedily reinforced, and in turn drove us off, and we could not accomplish the object of the expedition.

We had one man badly wounded, the late N. M. Wilson, well known in this city, and we were compelled to leave him on the field in the hands of the enemy.

Among the prisoners we captured was a physician, whom we released on condition that he would attend to our wounded comrade, and as an instance of the duplicity of these people, as General Lee was wont to call them, but who were commonly and popularly known among us at that time as ‘those Yankees,’ but who, I am happy to observe, are now greeted and welcomed everywhere as our dear [81] friends and well-beloved brothers, we learned afterwards that this doctor paid no attention whatever to Sergeant Wilson. Fortunately he found friends among our own people who had known him when we were among them the previous year, who took care of him and nursed him back to health and strength.

The Colonel forgot them.

We remained on the north side of Bull Run for two or three days, not less than eight miles in advance of General Jackson's corps, who, in the mean time, after destroying the stores at Manassas, had taken position near the Stone Bridge, where the battle of July 21, 1861, had been fought and won; and there awaited the approach of the enemy. General Pope had by this time recovered from the stupor into which he had been thrown by Jackson's advance to his rear, and was concentrating his forces to attack Jackson before the arrival of General Lee, who was hastening to his relief with Longstreet's corps. While we were on the north side of Bull Run we had one active, small skirmish with the enemy, in which not much damage was done on either side, as well as I can remember. On one occasion five of us were left on picket while the regiment was moving forward. The colonel forgot to relieve us, or, perhaps, could not because of the interposition of the enemy between us. The enemy were all around us. We soon found it was unsafe to remain where we were, and almost equally so to keep the road; so, unlike the boy on the burning deck, and remembering the old adage that ‘He who fights and runs away, will live to fight another day,’ we left our post without orders, and concealed ourselves in the woods for the balance of the night, and waited for the morning with some anxiety; and then continued our march, and, after passing several small parties of the enemy, whose acquaintance we did not stop to make, rejoined our regiment late in the evening, much to their relief. They had begun to think we were gone up. We recrossed Bull Run and joined the army, which was then fiercely engaged in the battles of the 29th and 30th of August, and did little more during those two days than guard the left flank of Jackson's corps and report the movement of the enemy.

In Jackson's corps there was a company of railroad men, which had been organized in 1861 at Harper's Ferry and its vicinity. When talking with some of them while we were lying around Manassas idle and inactive for so long a time—more than seven months— [82] they were asked how they liked soldiering. ‘Oh, very well, very well indeed,’ they said. ‘It has one great advantage over railroading: 'tis not nearly so dangerous.’ We think these battles of the 29th and 30th of August disabused their minds of such an erroneous belief. They were among the most obstinately and stubbornly contested of the war, and on one occasion at least, our men, when their ammunition was exhausted, hurled rocks and stones at their opponents. The losses were heavy, and many valuable lives were sacrificed—if any distinction can be made where nearly all were alike useful to their country.

On freedom's battle-ground they died;
     Fame's loudest trump shall proudly tell
How bravely fought—how nobly fell.

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