The following narrative is from the Baltimore American, of Wednesday:
, Monday Night.June 10, 1861.
For several days past General Butler
, commanding the military department of Virginia, had been advised of the movements of a considerable body of Confederate troops in the vicinity of a village called Great Bethel, which is about twelve miles distant from the Fortress, and near the road conducting to Yorktown
Believing, from reliable reports, that they had thrown up an entrenchment at that place, and were gradually extending their outer line of pickets, he determined, after consultation with other officers, to whip them away, and accordingly gave orders to several regiments to hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment's warning.
At the same time the Chief
of the Ordnance Department received orders to sent out forthwith a battery of howitzers, which was soon under line of march, comprising four 12-pounders, a detachment of United States artillery, with Lieut. Greble
and other officers.
A party of men belonging to what was known as the Naval Brigade
was also quickly mustered for the purpose of conveying troops across Hampton Creek
, which was done by means of fishing boats sent down on Saturday from the Susquehanna river
The detailed force of volunteers consisted of three regiments, viz: The Albany Regiment, commanded by Col. Townsend
; the New York Zouaves, Col. Duryea
, and the Seventh Regiment, commanded by Col. Benedix
, with companies of other regiments, the whole comprising a force of nearly 3,000.
The command moved at 12½ o'clock on Sunday night, with the Zouaves nearly one hour ahead, and owing to a most unfortunate misunderstanding in relation to signals, two of the regiments got into collision, when Col. Benedix
's regiment, mistaking that of Col. Townsend
for the enemy, fired into them, and did not discover their mistake until the dawn of day, when their supposed enemies left them masters of the field.
It is not known how many were killed and wounded, but the loss will not be considerable.
After an explanation and a mutual understanding, it was agreed to move for Great Bethel, and the entire force took up the line of march for that point, which is three miles from the place where the error was committed.
Soon as the right of the column got near the place, they were very soon apprised of the presence of the foe, who, strongly entrenched, opened a fire upon them with a battery of rifle cannon.
The Federal troops promptly responded, but volleys of infantry and a small park of howitzers were unavailing against such a formidable battery, and in the course of half an hour a retreat was sounded, and executed in good order.
The regiment moved well, and the men, it is acknowledged on all sides, acted with a spirit of determinedness.--The most melancholy feature of the action was the killing of Lieutenant Greble
It was almost impossible to tell the number of killed and wounded on the side of the Federal
troops, but I was told by General Butler
that his estimate was about thirty killed and one hundred wounded.
It was feared that Major Winthrop
, aid to Gen. Butler
, had been killed, as he could not be found.
When the news of the action reached the Fortress, the utmost sadness prevailed, and there was a mournful aspect visible throughout.
The first wounded man that reached the Fortress was private James Garbett
; he came in an ambulance, which was very carefully driven.
Soon as Gen. Butler
heard of the affair, which was about 7 o'clock, he mounted his horse and rode at the top of speed to Newport News Point, for the purpose of ascertaining all the fasts in the case.
also rode around the ramparts and inspecting the side near the land approach, ordered howitzers and mortars to be gotten ready.
About nine o'clock P. M. the steamer Cataline
reached the wharf with some of the dead and wounded.
In the meantime nearly all the armed fleet proceeded up the James river
to Newport News Point.
I have endeavored to get a full list of the killed and wounded in the affair at Great Bethel, but succeeded only partially, as but few of them reached the place up to the time of the departure of the boat.
The following are the names of those who first arrived: Joseph Richards
, of Company C, 3d Infantry New York, slight bayonet wound in the thing; Wm. C. Cady
, of Company F, same regiment, wounded by a Minnie ball in the abdomen, and supposed to be dying when I left his room; James Garbett
, of Company G, same regiment, sustained a comminuted fracture of the thigh; is very bad, and must suffer amputation even if he survives.
, of Company A, same regiment, shot in the knee of right leg, the ball not penetrating the joint.
, of Company C, of 3d Infantry, also sustains a very severe wound in the thigh, but may escape amputation.
Lieut. E. W. Stone
, of Company H, same regiment slightly wounded in the leg.
Frank A. Baker
, of Company A, shot in the calf of the leg; only a flesh wound.
Amongst the killed was Lieut. Greble
, of the United States Artillery.
He was struck upon the right side of the forehead by a rifled cannon ball, which fore away the upper part of the head.
He was an efficient officer and greatly beloved by his brother officers, who, as may be expected, are keenly grieved by the bereavement.
His funeral will take place on Wednesday, and his remains will be deposited in a metallic coffin specially ordered from Baltimore
Orderly Sergeant Goodfellow
, of company D, First New York Regiment, was struck by a cannon ball and dropped dead.
Three members of the same company were badly wounded.
It appears that the Albany Regiment
, under Col. Townsend
, was in reserve.
It was thought that Lieut. Col. Grinnell
had been killed, as he was missing.
Capt Judson Kilpatrick
, of Company H, of the Zouaves, was wounded in the fleshy part of the thigh by the bursting of a shell, but gallantly led his company across the field to the attack.
The Baltimore Sun, of Wednesday, in its ‘"latest account"’ of the affair, says:
Information was yesterday derived from a passenger on the Adelaide
that the slaughter of the Federal
troops was fearful.
The Confederates had a small battery of five guns in front of the heavy battery of rifled cannon, and that was supposed to be all they had.
The small one was attacked by the Zouaves, who fought bravely; but the Confederate forces, but few in number, yielded it without much resistance, and retired to the heavy battery, thus drawing the whole Federal column within range of their destructive fire.
The number of killed and wounded was estimated at Fortress Monroe
at one thousand at least.
Up to the time the Adelaide
left, 9 o'clock on Monday night, two hundred and eighty wounded had been brought to the hospital, and still there were more left.
The fire of the Confederates
was extraordinarily fatal, and they were so well protected behind their works that nothing was seen of any of them until after the Federal
column began their retreat, when some of them mounted on the top of their works.
Who was in command of the Confederates
was not ascertained, but it was thought that Col. Magruder
The guns are said to have been served with great rapidity and unerring aim, not one having missed its mark.
This officer, who is reported among the killed, belonged to the regular army, and was a relative of Mayor Henry
, of Philadelphia
Brigadier General Pierce
This officer, who commanded the troops during the engagement, is a Massachusetts man, and has held a military commission under the laws of that State for several years.