A Later account, direct from the Fortress — interesting details.
The following account is from the Baltimore Republican
of Wednesday afternoon. There are inaccuracies in it, one of which is the over-statement of the Confederate
The loss of the Federalists is put down at 400 in killed, wounded and missing, which coincides with the accounts we have received from Yorktown
, and is, we doubt not, correct:
By the arrival this morning of the steamer Georgeanna
, Capt. Pearson
, from Fortress Monroe
, we are in possession of additional particulars relative to the late battle, and the further details show that the defeat of the Federal
troops has been more complete and disastrous than was at first reported.
The details, as they come to hand from other sources, attest that the victory of the Virginians is one of uncommon brilliancy, and the repulse of the Federal
troops equally disastrous and disgraceful.
Among the regulars at the Fortress, great surprise and indignation were expressed that Butler
should have permitted so large a force to leave on this expedition, without himself accompanying them.
Both the officers and men of the regiments engaged, as a general thing, are the subjects of very uncomplimentary observations on the part of the regulars, who claim that all the fighting that was done was by the few artillerists who accompanied them.
‘"The mistake, "’ as it is officially termed by Butler
, through which Col. Benedix
's German Regiment defeated Col. Townsend
's Albany Regiment, the latter having ingloriously fled in the wildest confusion, upon the fall of three
of their men, is a subject of universal ridicule.
as the cause of their defeat, and Pierce
attempts to throw the odium upon Major Winthrop
, who, he charges, gave the order which exposed the troops to the fatal fire of the Confederates
--while all, except Butler himself,
should have led the expedition.
The fate of Major Winthrop
is yet a matter of doubt.
He was at
first supposed to have been killed, as he was missing when the repulsed.
Federal troops made an enquiry into the extent of their loss, upon arriving at Hampton
, after a rapid retreat of over eight miles. However, as no one, so far as can be ascertained, saw him fall, various conjectures now account for his absence — some think he was killed, some that he was taken prisoner, and others that he is hiding in the woods, near the scene of their defeat.
It is stated positively at Hampton
that Col. J. B. Magruder
was in command of the Confederate forces, which consisted of one artillery corps, with one hundred men and six pieces, a cavalry corps of one hundred, and three hundred riflemen and infantry--five hundred in all. All, save the cavalry, were an advance force from Yorktown
, and were engaged in erecting a battery where the engagement took place, to intercept the advance of Butler
About two miles from Great Bethel the forces of Pierce
discovered two of the cavalry, which was from Hampton
, doing duty as pickets.
They succeeded in capturing one of them, who proved to be Captain Whiting
, and who is said to have allowed himself to be taken, in order to enable his comrade to escape, to reach the camp, and report the approach of the enemy to Colonel Magruder
His comrade started at full speed to give the alarm, when the pursuers fired several shots at him, and although supposed to be wounded, as he fell upon the neck of his horse, he succeeded in reaching the Confederate
camp and enabled Col. Magruder
to hastily prepare for battle before his enemy came up.
He had previously burned the bridge, and his men were engaged in digging a trench and throwing up breastworks, when the wounded picket announced the rapid approach of the foe. Col.
M., then planted his six pieces near the bank of the stream--four in the front rank and the other two a short distance in the rear, on the hill side, with his riflemen and infantry in the unfinished trench, and his cavalry thrown back, as a reserve.
The Federal troops moved up to the opposite side of the stream, with three pieces in the front of the column, commanded by Lieutenant Greble
, apparently unaware of the position of the Confederate forces, until they had opened on them with their artillery, rifles and musketry.
The shock was so great that the column fell back in great confusion, leaving their dead and wounded where they fell.
then planted his battery in a piece of woods, on one side of the road, by which they had approached, and the principal portion of Pierce
's command rushed into this wood, where they were formed for battle.
's Zouaves took a position in and behind a barn on the opposite side of the road, where the land was cleared, but Col.
Magruder's artillery soon dislodged them, and drove them out.
The rapid and effective fire of the Confederates
into the woods soon threw the Federal
troops again into confusion, and silenced the battery of Lieut. Greble
. Col. Magruder
having moved two or his four front rank guns farther up the hill, so that he was enable to rake the Federalists, from three points, with a cross fire.
The Confederate loss, as reported, was three men killed, and ten or twelve wounded, while the loss of General Pierce
, is nearly or quite four hundred,
in killed, wounded and missing.
, and Captain Kilpatrick
, of his regiment, are said to have bore themselves with marked bravery, and in vain attempted to induce their Zouave Regiment to maintain their position.
was wounded in the leg by a cannon ball, the same ball having torn off one of Col. Townsend
's epaulette before striking Captain K. His wounds are considered dangerous.
The loss of the Zouaves was seven killed, forty-two wounded, and fifteen missing.
, of the Albany Regiment
, driven to desperation by the disgrace attached to his command from their ‘"brush"’ with Col. Benedix
's Germans, is said to have exhibited a reckless daring, in trying to regain the good name they bore before they had been tried,
and it was deemed wonderful that Col. Townsend
The Federal troops charge that the greater portion of their officers acted very badly, saving themselves by hiding behind the larger trees in the woods.
The stream which separated them from the Confederate forces is only some eighteen or twenty yards in width, yet no effort was made to cross over to charge Col. Magruder
When the order was at length given to retreat, the Federal
troops started in wild confusion, and Colonel Magruder
ordered his cavalry to pursue them, which they did with deadly effect, and also secured a number of prisoners.
The cavalry followed them several miles, seriously harassing the rear of the retreating army.
During yesterday no movement took place either at Fortress Monroe
, or Newport News, Butler
's command being entirely occupied in grieving over their defeat, and each Regiment endeavoring to shift the disgrace thereof upon the other.
The question to be settled among them is not which did the most to prevent defeat — but who were the greatest cowards.
All who were not of the party concede to the whole force this latter claim.
himself was so much occupied with his grief that he even omitted to ‘"sneer"’ the visitors yesterday.
came up in the steamship this morning, on his way to Washington
, as a bearer of dispatches.
As the Georgeanna went down, she rescued a negro who was clinging to a capsized boat, a short distance this side of Old Point
He was taken on board, when he told them that he was a slave of John Payne
, and that he had run away to avoid fighting.
When the steamer arrived, Butler
‘"confiscated"’ the negro, and retained him.
The reports in Hampton
show that the Confederate
troops are rapidly arriving in Yorktown
, and that there is now a force of over 10,000 there.
The New York Tribune's account.
The statements which we copy from the New York papers are marvellous specimens of mendacity.
They will amuse our readers, we feel assured; and in these stirring times a little amusement can do no harm:
, Tuesday, June 11--The fire of the rebel batteries was concentrated chiefly on our artillery, under the command of Lieut. Greble
Our guns silenced all but one of the enemy, which was a rifled gun. Our ammunition gave out about the time the order to retreat was given.
spiked one of the guns, and was about to retreat, when he was struck by a cannon shot, and the back part of his head was carried away.
The gun was rescued by Capt. G. W. Wilson
, Quartermaster McArthur
, and a squad from Col. Carr
They rushed forward, placed the body of Lt. Greble
on the gun and brought it from the field.
The body of Lieut. Greble
was brought to the fortress on his gun. He was a gallant young officer.
The enemy's battery was so completely masked that its precise locality was difficult to see. Opinions differ as to the number of guns.
At the time the Zouaves made the charge on it the rebels commenced flying, but were rallied.
The casualties are believed by some to be somewhat greater than previously estimated.
There were many feats of personal daring and extraordinary courage, and many narrow escapes Lieut. J. S. York
had his sword bent nearly double in his hand.
It saved his life.
Another man had his cap shot off.
The battle at Great Bethel commenced at 10½, and lasted till 3 o'clock. Had not our ammunition given out, the enemy's battery would have been silenced.
Not more than one-half of our force was brought into action at any one time.
Had a concentrated movement been ordered, it is believed that the result would have been different.
The wounded are doing well at the general and other hospitals.
The four prisoners captured are prominent rebels.
One of them is a Major, and one was recently engaged in the Fort
It is certain that the rebels sustained a heavy loss.
Our shells burst with excellent effect.
Our forces, when they were brought into action, were much exhausted, having been up all night, and performed a tedious march in the burning sun.
's Regiment was held in reserve under arms, to be ordered forward at any moment.
The same paper contains the following:
, Monday, June 10, 1861.
Last night about two o'clock quite a large force left camp, under command of Brigadier General Pierce
, with the design of breaking up marauding expeditions on the part of the enemy, for the purpose of running off the Negroes and white men to work on their batteries.
The forces were transported safely over Hampton Creek
in barges manned by the Naval Brigade
, under supervision of Lieut. Crosby
of the frigate Cumberland
The force had proceeded about three miles beyond the creek when they were fired upon by the New York Seventh Regiment, who had marched down from Newport News for the purpose of joining in the expedition.
The Seventh was established in a copse of wood, at an angle of the road, and their fire was quite destructive.
, of Company A, Colonel Townsend
's Regiment, was killed.
, of. the same regiment, a sergeant, and nine privates were wounded, some seriously.
The fire was returned, and the Seventh fired one charge of grape from a howitzer, which passed over the heads of the troops of the Third, doing no harm.
The precise state of matters was then mutually ascertained, and the forces uniting proceeded toward Little Bethel Church, five miles from Hampton
There they came upon the advanced guard of the enemy, defeated them, and drove them back, taking 30 prisoners, including one lieutenant.
Advancing toward Big Bethel, in York county
, they came upon the enemy in force, and a sharp engagement ensued, in which the artillery played an important part on both sides.
As far as I have heard, the object of the expedition has been accomplished, and before this our forces, which have been heavily reinforced, are in possession of Big Bethel, nine miles from Hampton
The enemy have been erecting strong fortifications at that point, but had not completed them.
No details have reached us of the action, and I must await them before I can give further details.
has no orders to hold.
Great Bethel, and it is thought they will soon return, after destroying the position.
was busy keeping open communication with the post.
The conduct of the men has been most admirable under the hottest fire.
The Naval Brigade received the highest compliment for their efficient conduct.
In working the boats they were of the greatest service throughout the night and day.
Later.--The contest at Great Bethel was more severs than was at first apprehended.
The enemy were so strongly entrenched in and protected by batteries that after more than two hours and a half severe fighting, our ammunition giving out, we were obliged to fall back, which we did in perfect order.
The details, as near as can be in confusion ascertained, are as follows:
Brigadier General Pierce
, with the 1st, 2d, and 3d New York, from this post, joined with detachments from Newport News from the 4th Massachusetts, 1st Vermont, and 7th and 9th New York, with two light field pieces under Lieut. Greble
, and a squad of regulars, drove into the enemy, numbering 4,000 men, and soon came on their position, protected by the fire of six heavy batteries, mounted with 6 and 12-pound howitzers and heavy rifled cannon.
The engagement immediately became warm, the guns under Lieut. Greble
returning the intensely hot fire from the enemy's battery.
After some time Gen. Pierce
gave the order to charge on the battery, and Col. Duryea
's Zouaves gallantly marched in quick time under a scorching fire up to near the ramparts of the battery, when a broad ditch intervened which could not be passed, and the gallant lads fell back.
's regiment also went nearly to the battery, but meeting the same obstruction, were also compelled to retire.
After over two hours hot contest the ammunition for the field-pieces and the muskets gave out, and the order was given to retire, which was effected in perfect order and safety.
Want of time prevents any details.
We lament the loss of Lieut. Greble
, of the United States Artillery--one of the most brave, gallant, and chivalrous officers in the service — who died bravely at his gun from a cannon shot, which struck him in the forehead, killing him instantly.
Our loss in killed and wounded is about 75.
The enemy's loss was heavy.
Every one on our side behaved most bravely and did their duty.
The New York Herald's account.
A letter from Newport News to the New York Herald, after relating the manner in which the Federalists peppered each other, goes on to say:
After this most unfortunate calamity the forces joined and marched towards Bethel
, before reaching which, and within two miles of the town, a locality called Little Bethel was searched, cleared of rebels, and burnt.
Shortly after leaving the place they fell in with the enemy's pickets, who were driven in, and as they were approaching the town and near the bank of a creek which separated them from the town, a concealed battery suddenly opened upon them with fearful effect, the first shot killing three of Colonel Benedix
's men. Our forces came up to the creek, the artillery in the centre and infantry on the right and left, and opened fire upon them across the creek, a distance of about one hundred yards. The rebels, thought to number eighteen hundred men, had rifled cannon and Minnie rifles, which they used with fatal effect on our men. A bridge formerly in existence had been burned, and the locality rendered it impossible for our forces to make a flank movement.
Our troops fought bravely, under great disadvantages of position.
After fighting for two or three hours in this way, the Federal
forces withdrew, and the firing ceased on both sides, our artillery ammunition having been exhausted.
The loss on our side is about 75 killed and wounded. Lieut. Greble
, aid to Gen. Butler
, is also supposed to be dead.
Upon our troops retiring, the enemy burned their works, apparently intending to fall back upon Yorktown
The whole affair — so disastrous, and by many considered impolitic — has spread a deep gloom over the regiments, each of which has a share in the killed and wounded.
Brigadier General Pierce
, who commanded the expedition, is blamed, and charged with lacking skill and judgement in the management.
The troops at Newport News are in fine condition and spirits, anxious for a fight, but are almost hopeless of meeting the enemy in an open field fight, where they are confident they could drive them to the four winds.
A Brigadier General
is badly needed at the Newport News camp, where five regiments are stationed, and no recognized authorized local commander.
The Richest of all.
The following appears in some of the New York papers.
It was evidently designed to remove from the public mind, by the publication of this monstrous lie, the sting of defeat; for there is no trick to which the New York journals will not descend:
Late and Highly Important — Capture of the Rebel Batteries at Great Bethel by Gen Butler--One Thousand Rebel Prisoners Taken!
,June 12--1 A. M.
A special messenger arrived an hour since from Fortress Monroe
, bringing the intelligence that Gen. Butler
this morning proceeded, with a large reinforcement, to Great Bethel, and after a severe fight, captured their batteries, one of seven, and the masked battery of fourteen guns, and also took one thousand rebel prisoners.