previous next

Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch
the battle at Bethel Church.
additional particulars.

Yorktown, Va., June 14th, 1861.
In the various letters written from Yorktown giving an account of the late battle at Bethel Church. I see no mention of the battalion that was first on the field that occupied Bethel a week before the battle was in the heated the engagement, and received the thanks of Col. Magruder himself for its mootness — I refer to the Virginia battalion, under command of our gallant Major E. B. Montague, consisting of the Halifax Light Infantry under Capt. John Grammer; Chatham Grays, Capt Werth, and a part of the Old Dominion R tl s. Capt. Dickerson. Tuesday evening, June 5th. Capt. Werth was ordered to Bethel Church with his company, and one Howitzer, Capt. Brown commanding, and on the morning of the 6th, Major Montague followed with Capt. Grammer's company, a part of Capt. Dickerson's company, one Hawitzer; Nottoway Cavalry, Capt. Jones; Charles City Cavalry, Capt. Donthat On the evening of the 7th our commander, Major Montague having heard that the enemy were landing on Pocosin River, at the distance of some eight miles from Bethel, immediately ordered his battalion to that post, where it remained until Col. Magruder visited us on the 8th, and ordered the battalion to the Halfway House, two and a half miles from Bethel. On the morning of the 10th. Major Montague, at 1 A. M., marched his battalion to Bethel Church Immediately on reaching the Church, the battalion threw up a small breastwork to the right of the Church, to defend the interior of our camp, and a howitzer battery placed parallel some fifty yards to or left Immediately before the commencement of the action, Capt. Werth's company was ordered to assist Col. Hill, and a North Carolina company placed at our breastwork. We were thus for an hour and a half in the most exposed position on the field, exposed to an enveloping fire from the enemy's cannon, and a diagonal cross fire of musketry. The shot and shell, canister and grape, fell thick around us. A horse was killed a few yards from our entrenchment, and but for the interposition of Providence our company would have been cut entirely to pieces. Shells burst around us and cannon balls fore the trees to pieces in every direction. The Halifax Light Infantry, under Capt. Grammer, was on the extreme, right, and a North Carolina company in the same entrenchment to our left. The name of this company I have not learned. Our gallant Major walked several times up and down the line, counseling coolness, and added his example to precept. When the howitzer in the field was accidentally disabled by the breaking of the vent wire in the touch-hose, and had to be hauled in the woods and abandoned, and Col. Stuart's command was ordered in, Col. Magruder ordered Major Montague to take Capt. Grammer's company and the Wythe Rifles to the south of our former position, to prevent a flank attack on the Howitzer Battery--The battalion advanced for half a mile, exposed to a dangerous cross fire, in perfect order, Major Montague on foot heading his command, eliciting for their perfect order and coolness the praise of Col. Magruder himself Whilst all behaved with coolness, the Halifax Light Infantry, under command of Captain Grammer, and the North Carolina company stood unflinchingly for an hour and a half exposed to a most dangerous enlaluding fire and diagonal fire of musketry, unable to fire a gun; and, in the movement to protect the flank of the Howitzer Battery, the Halifax Light Infantry were exposed, for half a mile, to a cross-fire. They at least deserve mention. Colonel Magruder, in his official account of the battle, his done this battalion justice; but, as only a few will see this account, I ask, as a simple act of justice, that this be published Colonel Magruder, since the battle, is certain that we were attacked by upwards of five thousand men, and between three and four hundred of the enemy killed and wounded.

As a piece of interesting news, of which you have not yet, I believe, become possessed, I will mention that, on the 12th, Captain Davis, Lieutenant Lea, and Dr. Martin, of the New York Firemen Zouaves, came with a flag of truce from General Butler to our out-post, to treat with Colonel Magruder in relation to their dead, wounded, and prisoners. The result of the interview has not transpired, except that one of their prisoners was exchanged for one of ours. It is said by military men that this is a positive recognition of us, as a belligerent power, and will be so regarded by the nations of Europe.

A Participant.

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)
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.
7 AD (1)
May, 6 AD (1)
6 AD (1)
June 14th, 1861 AD (1)
10 AD (1)
12th (1)
8th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: