The Road to Red House - Buy the Book

Excerpts from Francis Strickland's letters give the reader a soldier's eye view of some of the major early battles of the Civil War. Francis was wounded and lost his arm on July 1st, the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

" …The next morning we started along towards Manassas, we crossed the Battlefield of Bull Run (of) July 21st 1861. We saw but little of the effects of that fight excepting the bullets and guns scattered over the ground, and broken gun carriages Caissons & which were burnt & left in the panic. We traveled over the second battle field of Bull Run (of) Aug 1862, where we saw the effects plainly. About a mile before we arrived on the real field of strife we saw dead men scattered along the sides of the Jubilee Highway only partly covered from the storm and sunshine. They were buried by the rebels of course. Some of the rebel officers were buried in graves and fenced in with rails: the bodies of our soldiers were just covered where they fell. We saw graves & bodies covered, for several miles along the road after we left the field of deadly strife…."

"…The  Sergts. are to keep the men in their places. In battle they are not expected to shoot unless the men fall out and refuse to keep their places. Then you are to shoot your own men. Hard aint it?..."

Bodies on Gettysburg battlefield

"…We were stationed on the North bank of the Rappahannock River about a mile above our camp. The Rebs were on the opposite side in plain sight and in talking distance of us. The privates are very social, before the fight they used to come over and train with our boys, trade tobacco for coffee, shoes, clothing, and knives, etc…"

"… Squire Payne was here yesterday to spend New Years with us. He is in the Division Ambulance Corps so he is mostly out of danger, he says that during the slaughter on Saturday General Burnside was behind a large brick building on the side of the river with a spy glass watching the movements of the troops and got out of Brandy and had to send an Orderly to Headqtrs after some more. What is our Country coming to?..."

"…We started with the train consisting of 45 waggons mostly drawn by six horses or mules each. About 5 Oclk. P.M. we started for the river supposing that we should be there soon after dark and have the bridge ready to cross on in the morning. About dark it commenced raining, and the Captain in charge of the train got so drunk that he got on the wrong road and led us on through the rain and darkness up hill and down through the woods untill 3 Oclk. in the morning when the men and teams became so exhausted that they couldnt go any further…"

"…I confidentially believe however that should I live until this Hydraheaded Rebellion is put down, and the old flag flies on all the territory now in arms against our common country and the supremacy of our laws acknowledged by all, I shall then return to the place where I first enjoyed your society, and where I hope to find you and those little blessings given us by our Heavenly Father. And in whose welfare I feel so much solitude to spend the residue of my days with my family & friends in civil life, and enjoy the freedom so dearly bought by the Fathers of this Republic & rebought by us in the present struggle..".

"…We lay in our rifle pits all day, a portion of us at a time until about six Oclk P.M. when we heard musketry firing immediately in our rear. When we looked round we saw the Rebels merge from the woods and saw Shurz Div. drawn up in line of battle. The firing was simultaneous the whole length of the line but the Rebs infuriated with gun powder & whiskey marched fearlessly along their lines being filled up by reinforcements from the rear as fast as they were broken by our Infantry & Artillery…

"…As dark was approaching, Dr. Corydon Rugg, assistant surgeon of the 154th Regiment, found Frank Strickland and managed to completely stop the bleeding. He returned at midnight with a horse and wagon and carried Frank to a church in town and laid him on the floor between two pews…."



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