Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bates Letters - May 1862 Part 3

In the same place
two days later
Dear Parents,

Yesterday passed off, and today is likely to do so without the battle which everybody expects almost hourly. The fight I wrote about in my last was quite a lively affair after it once commenced. General McClellan rode over to the battle field yesterday and made a reconnaissance about 5 miles beyond Hanover Court-house without meeting any secesh except two parties of 260 and 190 men with a body-guard of the 2nd Cavalry to escort them. The General only had our squadron along; we returned to camp about half past eleven last night, and since I have been enjoying the luxuries of the soundest sleep that ever fell to my lot. Hanover Court-house the scene of the fight is not the scene of the fight after all; the battle ground is two miles this side, and about 13 miles from our camp. The dead men were nearly all buried when we arrived on the field but one of the burial party told me he thought our loss was about two hundred killed. The secesh, he says, he didn’t measure, but saw them piled up like wood, and judged there was about twenty cords of them. One hundred and ten were found in a space of eight acres. If you look at a good map you can get a better idea of the way they fought than I can give you. General Porter with 15,000 men started for Hanover Courthouse early the Morning of the 27th and on reaching it found they had passed the enemy, who were in considerable force behind them. Accordingly bout-face (sic) was the word, and back they came. Met the rebels, routed, and pursued them to the rail-road crossing and there whipped them again. I don’t know the full particulars, but you will get them in the papers before you get this.

I think I have the solution of the reason why McClellan don’t attack the rebels, it is my belief that he is going to extend his right far enough to get possession of the railroad running through Fredericksburg and thus kill two birds with one stone. Join McDowell’s force to his, and also get the famous Stonewall Jackson on the hip, but I am too stupid for writing to day so I conclude with love to all.

Affectionately your Son,
Charles E. Bates

In envelope – 50 Dollars:
Any thing you write direct as follows,
Co E 4th Cavalry
General McClellan’s HeadQuarters
Near Richmond Va.

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