Benjamin F. Boring Collection


Letter from Benjamin F. Boring
to William C. Jones

September 12, 1862

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                                                                       Jackson Tennessee
                                                                       September 12th 1862

    Friend Jones.
                       You will please pardon me for my delay
and I trust when you hear me through. you will not
think hard of me for not writing sooner.  I received
a letter from you not long since.  But tired sore and almost
worn out with long marches and a little hard fighting
it is not until the last few days that I have come to myself again
and got my thoughts collected.   I presume you have heard about
our fight on the first  [?] ere this but as there is nothing of much interest
transpiring in this vicinity for one to write about.  I will give
you a few of the details.  On the 1st of August our Regiment and the 20th
[went?] direct to [Estenauld?] on Hatchee river about 28 miles
south from Jackson.  On the 31st of August we wer prepairing to Muster
for [pay?] when we wer informed that an overwhelming force
of Rebels was coming against us. that they had already crossed the
Hatchee and would ere long have us surrounded and cut off
from all reenforcements.  Col.. [Danmis?] of the 30th was in command and
he immediately ordered out all the axes in the Regiment and  men
to use them in felling trees and making prepairations for defence.
When he received a dispatch from Genl. [Logan?] to withdraw from
[Estenaulor?] and come to Jackson.  We then for the first Burned our
Commissary Stores and all our bagage that could not to hastily
and conveniently transported  away and put for Jackson in a
Double Quick.  At night we received another dispatch for
the 30th to go back to [Estinauld?] and the 20th the mouth of [Cloves?] river.
which would separate us about 12 miles which did not
look verry well as our forces wer verry weak only about [500?]
in all and we knew there was a large Rebel force in persuit
of us 10 men to one when wer all together.  We countermarched and
came back to Estenauld road as far as [Denmark?] when it appears
Col.[Dennis?] not liking the move altogether took the [Midin ] round
with both his Regiments.  When about 6 miles from [Denmark?]
our advance came in contact with General Armstrongs Rebel pickets.
they wer  of course fired upon And a considerable of a Skirmish
ensued.  The way we wer marching then was. a small squad of
cavalry in the extreme advance the 20th Regiment next then our
trane of bagage wagens and the 30th in the rear as we was expecting
an attack in the rear as much as we was in the front we wer
marching in this order to protect our trains and pervent a sirprise.
we had one Section of Artillery [2?] Guns which was also in
[?[ advance.  When the engagement opened we wer about one
[mile?] behind.  And therefore had to Double Quick in order to
prevent the 20th being [baged?] and all taken in .  The Artillery had
opened and gave them 4 rounds of [Grape.?] we loaded our Guns
[as ? ] we run and when close enough to begin to smell the gunpowder
and see what was going on we [raised ?]the yell And entered
the field every man yelling at the top of his voice like so many
Indians we wer even into a line of Battle on the left of the 20th.



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Just in time to meet a charge made by about 3000 Rebel cavalry
Our Enfield rifles wer discharge in quick succession and we had
made so much noise coming up the [hill?] The rebels supposed
likely they had met the whole Western Army instead of the 30th Ills.
I dint think there was ever before mor fuss  made by 250 men
At this [clash?] the Rebels silenced our Cannons and caused the horse
to run away and disperced all the Cannoneers. Our artillery was
then of no mor use to us.  By the time we had our guns reloaded
Bayonets fixed and our lines formed. the  emense cloud of dust
down the lane told us another charge was coming.  Presently they
were in sight and approaching in Mass like a Legion of Devils
but this onset was met better than the first and not a horse
passed us with a man on only now and then a dead
or wounded one hanging with his foot in the Sterip un fastened
in some way.  The[boys?] every fellow picked his man and
took a [bead?] and when we discharged our Rifles the Shot gun
cavalry fell from their Saddles like so many bricks set on end
and tiped over.  Horses without riders ran through our ranks and
scattered in all directions this was the third charge and this
time they took away our Cannons.  Next came their fourth and last
charge we repulsed them as before covering the ground with
their dead and wounded men and Horses.  All this time a
sharp firing was going on in our rear.  There was such a small
squad of us And so many of them they wer all around us And
fighting going on in all directions On account of the [Boys?Baze?] being
tired and not able to keep up with us they wer all captured
And then with our [teamsters?] wer made prisoners.   The
firing now ceased and no signs of any enemy was visable.
We then began to look about to see if any one was hurt.
we found in the lane l86 dead Rebels and more than three
times as many wounded men and horses.  The [lane?] was
so full of them that we could not count them or get through without
climbing over them.  Men shot in all ways some with their
heads busted open.  some with insides [passing?] out and then crying
for watter.  Others with Arms. legs. And hands shot off
the worst mangled set of men I ever saw.  The horses we in
the same condition where ever on e of our Rifle Balls hit a
man or a horse there was a hole big enough almost to put
your fist in.  And to tell the truth I felt for the poor suffer
ing Horses more than I did for the men.  We found 5 of our Men
dead. 2 from the 20th and 3 from the 30th about 40 wounded
in both Regiments.  Though we lost a great many prisoners.
96 from our Regiment and about as many from the 20th
12 wer taken from our Company and one more wounded
several of our wagens wer burned And a great deal of
valueable books and papers distroyed Among the rest was the
Commissions And uniforms of some 8 or so of our Captains and
Lieutenants.  a good joke on the commissioned officers wasent it Will. [I?]
a little box in our wagon with Helens Likeness and all
my [jewels?[ in And when I heard the old Shot guns bangin
down there I [thot?] of my little Box And how some
Secesh would laugh and boast on the capture of my [?]
And all my letters [?]  But as good luck would have it



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did not get our wagons and nothing was gone except our
[diver?] he was a prisoner.  We had about 150  Niggers in both
Regiments they wer all captured And Among the Missing.
That was a benefit instead of an injury to us for I had been
wishing for something to happen that would rid us of so many
Niggers And was truly glad when I learned they wer all gone.
some of them have come up nd some of the have not
We captured a great many Shot Guns And Sabers  Almost every
body had a Double barrelled Shot gun or a Saber there are
several in our company I would send you one if I could but I
have no way of doing so.  We collected our wounded And
buried our dead  And at night slept on the battle ground
conquerers of the field.  we left for [Me den?] Station in the
morning and gave the task of burying the dead Secesh  and
taking care of the wounded  on to the citazens  who flocked
in for that purpose.  We passed out across the battle ground in the
morning and while the citazens wer weeping wailing
over their dead and wounded friends  We passed through
in high spirits singing Merry songs.  And making all
kinds of remarks about the dead men that  was piled up
along the road side.  Holloring out here is [you ?]  dead   Secesh
here is the man I killed.  And other things that it  dont become
me to speak about.  But I did not engage in this kind
of amusement as bad as I hate Secesh I cant abuse their dead.
or help taking care of their wounded And going all in
my power for their comfort.  Our boys that wer taken prsiner
wer marched about 40 miles And parolled  And
all came back to camp they have been sent off to Benton
[Barach?] Mo.  Doc Maxfield [Oss ?] [Be-s.?] [Oss?] Mc Donald and
Dick [Parker.?] John Murphy. I believe are all that you are
acquainted with.  Maxfield And Dick was not parolled
they let Maxfield off on account of his being a Medical
sargeant.  And Dick becaus hs was too little they tried
to pursuade Dick to stay with them but he would not. him
and Captain Langton are gone home. probably you will see
them and Dick can tell you all about. it.  I have now given
you a brief history of the Batale of Britton[?] which
was fought on.  [Monday?] the first  day of september 1862. where
the Bloody 20th  And 30th Illinois [?]  And defeated
General Armstrong Army of 8000 Rebels.  Dont you think that was
doing rather extraordinary. Will.  I get to thinking about it
sometimes And almost say if it had been any other but the 30th
And 20th the rebels would of took them in.  but that
looks a little too much like braging  I dont like to brag
you know.  But I will tell you what I will say.  that if
they will give the 30th Regiment One Section of Artillery
And gunners that will stand to their post we can
250 of us all told. [whamp?] 1000 the best men in the Rebel
Army.  I dont believe this war will ever be settled
until this western Army is sent east.  Those yankees in
Mclellens Army is poor mettle.  The Secesh have joined
another victory and drove an Army under [Peps?] and [Banks?]
back to Centreville.  Things look very [glomy?] in Virginia



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And unless there is a change in affairs soon there will
one of the worst defeated Union Armies in Virginia that
was ever heard tell of.  The troops are all being with
drawn from below here every train of [ours?] [that?]
came from below are loaded with troops and
Army Stores And if those new Regiments are not
soon put into the field I would not be surprised
if our whole Army was back to Cairo before
Winter.  We are building a fort here And making
prepairations for defence  The Rebels have threat
ened us here And we have Jackson fortified
with cotton Bales.  Will I expect I have told you
about enough dont you think so.  I am glad you like
camp life so well.  And would like if you could come
down in Dixie And see me.  Camp life here and in
Illinois is differnt  I  hope you will write to me
soon and if there is anything you want to know
that I have not told you I will tell you if I can.
We are expecting an attack here all the time And is
bad as I want to come home.  I would rather the
secesh would attack us here than to have a 25 day
furlough. we could [more?] than take them in here.
the long roll was beat last night And we
supposed we wer going to be attacked but it was
a false alarm caused by some refugee Niggers coming
to our picket and refusing to hault when the guards
told them too.  It makes a fellow feel sorter
wolfish to hear the long roll.  It reminds me of
that declamation I have heard so often.  O! wer
you nere a school boy And did you never trim
And feel that swelling of the heart you nere
can find again [Vc?] 

                                  Respectfully Yours              
                                                   B. F.Boring
                                             Act. Orderly Sergt. .D. 30th.     



  *Note to researcher:  This letter has been transcribed by Archives staff verbatim
as the words appear on the original written page.  The spacing, punctuation, and
capitalization are identical.  Words that are unclear have been enclosed in brackets.