Fighting is Becoming Quite Fashionable in Jackson’s Army: With the Stonewall Brigade at Port Republic

 Two months of marching up and down the Shenandoah Valley left Captain Joseph Carpenter of the 27th Virginia happy about the army's success, but worn out and angling for a transfer to the artillery service.

“We have had three days’ rest in the last two months; the balance of the time we were either on a forced march or fighting, one or the other,” he wrote his father. “It was amusing in the last two fights we had to see how Old Jack euchred Fremont and Shields. He pitched into Fremont on Sunday and Shields stood in supporting distance and looked at us whipping him. We then crossed the river, burnt the bridge, and pitched into Shields on Monday and Fremont had to stand in full view and see us completely use Shields up without being able to come to his support. A few more such marches and fights will ruin his old brigade unless he allows them to recruit a little now, but the enemy appears to be determined to push us hard in our unorganized condition. But thank God we have been able to overcome them on every occasion as yet.”

          Less than two months after writing this letter, Captain Carpenter was wounded during the Battle of Cedar Mountain and died of that wound the following February. Captain Carpenter’s letters resides within his personal papers at the Virginia Military Institute.

 

Daniel M. Shriver of Wheeling, West Virginia suffered a wound while serving as major of the 27th Virginia at the Battle of Port Republic. Promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, he later resigned his commission in 1864. 

Camp near Port Republic, Virginia

June 16, 1862

Dear father,

          I wrote some time since but have not as yet received the first scratch of a pen from you. I suppose that you are now at home. ‘Tis useless for me to tell you of the fights that we have had as no doubt you already know. But it appears to me now that fighting is becoming quite fashionable in Jackson’s army. We have had three days’ rest in the last two months; the balance of the time we were either on a forced march or fighting, one or the other. A few more such marches and fights will ruin his old brigade unless he allows them to recruit a little now, but the enemy appears to be determined to push us hard in our unorganized condition. But thank God we have been able to overcome them on every occasion as yet.

          It was amusing in the last two fights we had to see how Old Jack euchred Fremont and Shields. He pitched into Fremont on Sunday and Shields stood in supporting distance and looked at us whipping him. We then crossed the river, burnt the bridge, and pitched into Shields on Monday and Fremont had to stand in full view and see us completely use Shields up without being able to come to his support.

One of Captain Carpenter's men: Private Andrew M. McGowan of Co. A of the 27th Virginia. The former engine driver survived a wound in his right arm at Payne's Farm in 1863 but died while a POW after being captured at Staunton, Virginia in September 1864. The Irishman died of consumption February 17, 1865 at Point Lookout, Maryland. 

          Both battles were sharp, especially on Monday and we were in an open field fighting five hours. I was in it first and continued until the Yanks began to run when my ammunition gave out and I had to stop. Ben was wounded as was Tom Jordan and four or five others slightly. I wrote you about trying to get me a situation in the regular service. General Echols has given me a letter which I will send you. I could get others if necessary. The situation I desire is a commission as captain in the regular service. The reason that I seek it now is there is some talk of taking my company to fill up the 27th Regiment; if they do that, I shall not accept the commission as captain of this company. I was elected almost unanimously. The lieutenant colonel of the 27th Battery has declined accepting the appointment because I preferred my battery. Notwithstanding the severe labor to that position in infantry, but since the authorities seem anxious to get me into infantry after all the trouble that I had had, I am just as anxious not to gratify them if I can help it and I suppose they will grant me the same privilege as other officers of my own rank.

          I am tolerably well at present. Write soon.

Source:

Letter from Captain Joseph Hannan Carpenter, Co. A, 27th Virginia Infantry, Joseph H. Carpenter Papers, Virginia Military Institute

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