Camp Lee Richmond Va
May the 15th 1863
Mr. Wm. Proffit
I take this kind opportunity of writing you a few lines which will inform you that I am again on the southern soil, well and doing finely. I am sorry to inform you that I unfortunately fell into the hands of the enemy on Sunday the 3rd inst. I will now try to tell you how it happened as we were on the march to the battlefield.
I with another corporal were appointed to guard the flag, one of the most dangerous positions in battle. On Saturday night there fell a bomb in my company & exploded in 4 or 5 feet of me & wounded the flag bearer and five or six of my co taking off one mans leg & wounding my lieutenant. When the flag of my country fell to the earth I grabbed it with my own hands. My colonel told me to throw down my gear and hold on to my flag which I did. That night the Yankees charged on us but we soon repulsed them. The next morning we made a charge on them & routed them from their first breast works & proceeded to the second and was ordered to charge them which part of us did. I carried the flag to the breastworks. We routed a long line of them & held our position but the 28th NC Regt on our right failed to charge them. The enemy commenced firing upon our lines and gave them a chance to retake their works again which gave us no chance to escape. I lay there with two lines of battle cross firing at me at a short distance & three batteries throwing grape at me no more than 3 or 4 hundred yards distant. The first I knew the yanks were in five steps when two jumped over the breast works & grabbed the flag out of my hand & said to me fall in John ha ha ha. John fell in but did no like to do it.
They took us to Washington and kept us about 13 days. They treated us with great respect, gave us plenty to eat. When they brought us from Washington we came down the Potomac through Chesipeak bay by fortress Monroe, then up the james river to citty point near Petersburg where we landed. We came here to camp Lee Richmond last night. I do not know when we will be carried to our regiments but I suppose shortly. I am unable to say what became of Alfred and William. Alfred give out the night before I was taken. We had had nothing to eat for a day or so & marched hard which made him sick & he was sent back to the rear. I think that nothing but fatigue & hunger was the matter. William was in the fight some of his co is here as prisoners. They say that he was not hurt the last they saw of him & I hope he was not. My Col was killed & my Lieut Col was wounded & the great Gen. Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men & is now dead.
Father I am getting use to all kinds of hard ships in warfare & though I say it my self I know nothing of cowardice & God forbid that I ever should. The lord has been very merciful to me & I fear I have no a heart to praise him as I ought. I want you & all my friends to remember at a throne of grace. I will no close. Give my warmest love to mother, Sis and all my friends. Write soon & direct to Co D 18th Reg. NCT, Richmond Va, I remain yours with great respect.
Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 2. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Original in Proffitt Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-CH.
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March 21, 1862
Special Correspondent Richmond Enquirer
Goldsboro, March 18
Major Carmichael, of the 26th North Carolina regiment was the only field officer killed in the late battle at Newbern. The brunt of the engagement fell on Colonels Campbell, Avery and Vance.– Col. Campbell cleared the trenches twice with the bayonet and re-captured Bram’s Battery. — The army was forced to retreat in consequence of the militia and Sinclair’s regiment giving away. The troops were posted disadvantageously by General Branch.
Col. Campbell held the bridge two hours to cover the retreat of the fugitives, and brought his regiment off in perfect order. Col. Avery is a prisoner, and has been engaged in burying the dead.
The flag of truce returned this evening, and reports our loss 400 killed, wounded and prisoners.
Burnside admits a loss of 1,500.
Colonels Campbell, Vance and Avery particularly distinguished themselves for gallantry and good conduct. This news is reliable.
Source: Suffolk Christian Sun, March 21, 1862, as found in Confederate Newspaper Project
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Uniform of Henry M. Shaw,LieutenantCol.of 8th Regiment, NC State Troops.
Shaw was captured atRoanoke Islandon February 8th, 1862. Born inCurrituckCounty, Henry M. Shaw was appointed colonel of the Eighth Regiment North Carolina State Troops on May 16, 1861. Shaw returned to returned to military duty after a prisoner exchange and later died in action nearNew Bernon February 1, 1864.
Grey wool Confederate Infantry uniform with gold braid on sleeves, Lt. Col. stars on collar (1 missing), and buttons with US staff eagle and shield, collar lined with green velvet.
Source:North CarolinaMuseumof History, 1914.236.9
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This returned Hatteras prisoner met with a cordial reception from his many friends on his arrival here yesterday. In reply to congratulations on his looking well, he stated that the rations served out to them were the common army rations, by adding to which $3.50 a week, each, they lived very well. The numerous prisoners formed a highly intellectual society, and they were allowed to get the New York and Boston papers daily. By some of the officers of the enemy, (of the regular service,) they were treated with great politeness, and even kindness. He confirms the statements heretofore made of the utterly defenseless condition of the Hatteras garrison, whose balls fell short of the enemy about 500 yards, whilst their shells, at the rate of 30 a minute, fell within the 60 feet square enclosed by the walls of the fort. The enemy had obtained the exact range of the fort, so as to place these shells with perfect accuracy. After getting on board the enemy’s ships, surprise was expressed to our officers that they had held out so long, in a contest that could by no possibility have any other termination than in a surrender.
It will be recollected that the Hatteras garrison were surrendered distinctly as “prisoners of war,” a point of great significance and which had not previously been conceded during the war. Col. Bradford states that Gen. Butler refused to grant this, but that Com. Stringham consented. Without this concession, the fight would have been renewed, at all hazards.
On one other point the Colonel’s information is important and interesting. It will be recollected that the enemy landed between 300 and 400 men on the first evening of the engagement, who took possession of Fort Clark, which a portion of our troops had been forced to evacuate. Col. Bradford states that a reconnoitering party was sent that night, who reported the force of the enemy thus landed at 1400, about double the whole force on our side.—Fay. Observer.
Source: The Greensborough Patriot, January 16, 1862 found on Confederate Newspaper Project
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