Civil War

Mexican Operations

Post Civil War and Mexican Operations


        Arch was caught up in the Second Battle of Winchester following the Battle of Brandy Station when General Lee ordered the Army of Northern Virginia’s Second Corps under the command of General Richard S. Ewell to clear the lower Shenandoah Valley of Union forces as the Confederate army continued its invasion of Pennsylvania.   The young soldier wrote about his experiences during the opening phases of the Gettysburg campaign as Ewell’s army struck hard at Winchester’s Union garrison under General Robert H. Milroy.

June 21, 1863.
Harpers Ferry – Fight at Winchester
To Mother.

                                                                                    Harpers Ferry
                                                                                    June 21st/63

Dear Mother

            As it has been sometime since I have heard from you I thought I would write you these few lines so as to learn what has become of you.  I suppose you have seen an account of the battle at Winchester.  We were forced to retreat before overwhelming odds.  In the fight of Sunday our company was laying to the left of the main fort in which was Gen’l Milroy and staff.  The Rebels sent shells and railroad iron pretty thick in amongst our company when the Gen’l sent orders for our Company to move to the right of the Fort we would not be so much exposed to the fire of the enemy.  The shells would come over our heads causing the boys to dodge pretty often.  The 87th Pa. Infantry arrived here with 132 out of 800.  They done the most fighting the best than any other regiment on the field.  On last Monday morning when we evacuated the forts and started to retreat we had not gone far before we were attacked in the front by a heavy force of Infantry with one Battery of Artillery numbering fully 5000 to this we had but three regiments of infantry, the 87 Pa., 18th Con. And [blank] our brave boys charged three times each time driving the enemy back.  At one time the 18th Con. Had the Rebel battery but not being supported by our Cavalry had to fall back.  Gen’l Milroy sent four times after our Cavalry which had taken to the left of us but they would not return.  The Gen’l seemed crazy for awhile when told the Cavalry (the 1st New York and 12th Pa.) would not return.  He cursed and swore like a madman while grape and canister and shell were flying all around for awhile.  He seemed perfectly indifferent whether he lived or not.  He was at all times with the Infantry.  He would urge them to charge the Rebel Battery playing on him with shot and shell all the time.  The General was at all times in the thickest of the fight.  He had several narrow escapes.  At one time a shell grazed his leg and took the left hind quarter off of his black horse.  There was three of us just behind him the shell that struck his horse knocked the man’s horse down on the left of me.  I being in the middle at the same instant a shell took off the leg of Pat Farley who was on the right of me, but I escaped safe through all.  When the Gen’l horse was shot I asked him to take mine which he did, telling me at the same time to lead his off and get his white horse from his servant.  I went and got his horse and rode up and gave him his horse, as he dismounted from my horse he gave it a great compliment, as it is more profane than pleasant I will not mention what it was.  There are 14 of us here.  Out of 76 I heard that the New York Cavalry came Maryland and some of our boys were with them.  I wish all of the missing are with them.  Uncle West is a prisoner, he being too sick with typhoid fever to remove.  Aunt Lydia was with him.  I learnt from Aunt Lydia that Mollie Beazle of Martinsville, O, was married she brought me the paper with the marriage notice in it.  (Bully for Mollie)

            I wrote to Father on my arrival here has he received my letter did Ace receive a record of the Company which I sent him.  I had intended to come home the latter part of July if (“these if’s are always in the road”) we had remained at Winchester.  I think it doubtful now if I come home then.  On last Tuesday Lieut. Dawson wrote to Gov. Pierpont of Va. And U.S. Marshall Norton at Wheeling to try and have our Company that part which is left of us to Wheeling to reorganize and recruit.  We have strong hopes of being ordered there as we are here no use to the Government or ourselves without any clothing, blankets or anything whatever or money.  I have had coffee to drink but four time since last Friday night a week.  Today (Sunday) I had coffee and crackers for dinner.  I was thinking while I was eating what you all had at home for dinner.  I had a very serious countenance on one of the boys noticing it asked me what was the matter.  I told him.  There was a hearty laugh all around, I joining in.  I have not got over it yet as I write one line and then take a laugh and scratch.  Tell Ace to get five dollars for me and send it by return mail as we expect to leave here in ten or fourteen days from now.  I lost everything but the clothes on my back and pocket book.  It would not have been much loss as it is an old one and only one cent in it.  I had everything in the wagon it was left behind and so everything is “gone up the spout.”  Have you heard from Nancy Reed lately.  She has quit writing to me.

            Mrs. Long has been kind enough not to write to me.  I guess she has “no girl” and has no time to write.  If we get to go to Wheeling it will not be many days before you see Old Arch in Allegheny on a pleasure trip.  Tell Ace to send me some postage stamps.  You are all scared to death in Pitts. about the rebel raids ain’t you.  This is written under a tree on the Maryland Heights.  Love to all.

            Write by return mail.

                                                                               Your loving son
                                                                               Archie H. Rowand

A. H. Rowand
Care Lieut.  Dawson
Caval Co. K. Ist Va. Cav.
Harpers Ferry, Va.     

Related Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Reports


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