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		before Yorktown.

[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
them.  The ambulances, meantime, under cover of
the woods, awaited their ghastly freight, and did not
wait long.
  The shelling of the Rebel battery on the right con-
tinued for three-quarters of an hour, when another
opened upon us, and from thenceforth a continuous
fire was kept up all along the line, the enemy in the
rifle pits and from behind his intrenchments endeav-
oring to pick off our men, who returned the compli-
ment under cover of the woods.
  At first the Rebels were very daring, springing on
the ramparts and cheering, but the deadly results of
this braggadocio speedily taught them caution.  Our
men could see them fall; could perceive their com-
rades catching or pulling them down from be-
hind.  The first Rebel killed, conspicuous from his
white shirt, fell while hurrahing and waving his hat
upon the breastworks.  He was picked off by Tru-
man, a sharp-shooter of eleven years  experience in
the Rocky Mountains.  So terrible afire did Ber-
dan s men keep up that the Rebels found it next to
impossible to load and man a gun.  They put up
planks and endeavored to effect it under their shel-
ter, and actually dismounted a piece, brought round
the parapets and sent its contents scattering through
the peach orchard with such savage haste that they
did not wait to remove the rammer.  Still they
could not dislodge the human hornets crouching
within its friendly shelter.  Ping!  ping!
ping!  spit!  spit!  patter!  patter!  went the
rifle-bullets, and boom! sounded the artillery, cut-
ting and crashing through the trunks and branches.
Col. Berdan estimates that at least 150 cannon-balls
tore through the peach orchard during the day s
fight.  One shell exploded in the upper chamber of
a house at the right, near Berdan s reserve.
These brave fellows, by the way, 150 yards in the
rear, were at one period, subject to a cross fire, in
which one man was killed, and the rest, amid a
storm of shot and shell, obliged to shift their posi-
tion.  I am informed by Lieut. Winthrop (brother to
the Major of that name, killed at Great Bethel), that

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
the dead man, Phelps, was a model soldier; also
that he expressed a presentiment of his impending
  As I have previously stated, my record is neces-
sarily imperfect, including all I could collect yester-
day and this morning.  I hear that the 4th Michigan
Regiment behaved nobly; that there were many acts
of heroism performed by others deserving mention.
There occurred one mistake, too, by which a com-
pany of the 22d Massachusetts were led into the
open field on the left, involving the loss of seven
killed and some wounded.  Exposed to a murderous
fire, they had to retreat at a double-quick run.  The
62d Pennsylvania, Col. Black, (Moorhead Rifles), had
better fortune.  When the attack commenced they
advanced up the road, and for at least an hour occu-
pied a dangerous position near the right of the Peach
Orchard, presently advancing in that direction and
permanently occupying it in spite of persistent shell-
ing on the part of the Rebels, with one man mortally
and two slightly wounded.  The 9th Massachusetts,
Col. Cass, were still further on the right and re-
mained there.  The New-York 14th on the extreme
right, in a hollow amid some pines, sheltered in some
degree by the inequality of the ground, occupied the
nearest position to the Rebel works, always except-
ing Berdan s sharp-shooters.
  At 4   o clock, p. m., the Stars and Bars were still
flying over the Rebel intrenchments.  At dusk,
their band struck up Dixie, and then played the
Marseillaise, while their men gave three cheers, fol-
lowed by the discharge of three pieces of artillery.
After that, the night was only broken occasionally
by stray picket firing, and the distant boom of can-
non, away to the left, in the direction of Gen.
Keyes s corps d armee.  We expect there has been
fighting in that quarter.  I add as com-
plete a list of the killed and wounded as I
have been enabled to obtain, conclude my letter, and
go in search of food and quarters for the night.
How I shall transmit this to you, or when you will
get it, I have at present not the slightest idea.

[Gunn s diary continued]
groes, who had plenty of oysters from the ad-
jacent York River.   So I rode off in search of
a meal, making a preliminary dash at a little
hut in which was a wounded and dying man.
All this time the cannon was booming heavily
and occasional shell bursting over the trees.  Down
a declivity and up a sleeping bank amid the
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nineteen: page one hundred and ten
Description:Includes newspaper clipping written by Gunn for ''The New York Tribune,'' regarding the first day of fighting in the Battle of Yorktown.
Subject:Berdan, Hiram; Black, Colonel; Casualties; Civil War; Food; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Keyes, Erasmus D.; Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 9th; Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 22nd; Michigan Infantry Regiment, 4th; Military; New York Infantry Regiment, 14th; New York tribune.; Peninsular Campaign (Va.); Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 63rd; Phelps; Siege of Yorktown (Va.); Truman; United States Sharpshooters Regiment, 1st; Winthrop, Lieutenant
Coverage (City/State):[Yorktown, Virginia]
Scan Date:2010-06-14


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nineteen
Description:Includes Gunn's descriptions of his experiences as a war correspondent for ""The New York Tribune"" in Virginia while traveling with the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsular Campaign; the Siege of Yorktown; the Battle of Williamsburg; his departure from Alexandria on the steamer Kent; the ruins of Hampton, Virginia, after it was burnt by John B. Magruder; touring the gunboat Monitor; the death of Fitz James O'Brien from a gunshot wound; Jim Parton's temporary separation from Fanny Fern; and seeing Robert E. Lee's house in Virginia.
Subject:Civil War; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marches (U.S. Army); Marriage; Medical care (U.S. Army); Military; Military camp life; Peninsular Campaign (Va.); Prisoners of war (Confederate); Siege of Yorktown (Va.); Slavery; Slaves; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Washington, District of Columbia; Alexandria, Virginia; Hampton, Virginia; Yorktown, Virginia; Williamsburg, Virginia
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2010 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.