Sid describes battle of Hanover Court House; later he was KIA Gaines Mill
May 29, 1862
Sidney C. Anderson was 24 years old when this was written.
Sidney C. Anderson died 29 days after writing it.
It was written 157 years, 3 months, 24 days ago.
It was a Thursday.
Near Hanover Court House Va.
May 29th, 1862
Before you receive this you will hear of the action our forces were engaged in yesterday. We left our camp about 20 miles from here yesterday morning under light marching orders, that is Blanket strung across our shoulders & haversack & canteen, and after a forced march arrived here about 2 o'clock P.M. when the ball commenced. The mud was about knee deep and the last part of the march the road was full of played out soldiers. Your undutiful son was among the number, I was completely used up. But what stood the march pitched in gloriously & drove the enemy before them about 4 miles.
Meanwhile the rebels were playing a cunning trick on us. They sent a Brigade around through the woods & took us in the rear. I had just come up to where our regiment had thrown down their blankets to pitch in, when our aid came riding up to Gen'l Morrel who was within 100 feet of me & sung out "Gen'l the rebels are flanking us." A Maine Regiment had just come up and the Gen'l ordered them to form a line of Battle which they did close by where I stood. A Battery of 2 pieces passing were turned around and had hardly got into position before the sport commenced. One Reg't of ours and 2 pieces of artillery against a whole Brigade of the enemy.
The firing had been going on about 5 minutes when back came the 25th N.Y. on a double quick from the advance & came up to the support of the Maine Reg't. The balls were flying around my head lively but I stood to see the fun. The rebels drove our men back inch by inch (like pulling a cat by the tail) into the woods close by & got our two pieces of artillery. After we had got into the woods we stopped & there those 2 Reg'ts stood their ground against overwhelming numbers. I should have said that there was a squadron of about 100 cavalry with us who made one charge that was repulsed.
After the fight had been going on about 1/2 an hour, the different troops began to come back from the advance & we drove Mr. Secesh back lively scattering them in every direction & capturing our 2 guns again & we are continually bringing in prisoners. It was one of the best of victories. Our regiment was way in the advance & did not get back in time to have any fighting.
We are camped on the battle field. I slept last night near 3 dead rebels. They were buried by our men this morning. I tell you our division done some tall fighting. I had a hearty laugh over a newspaper reporter when the fun commenced in the rear Mr. Reporter used his legs to good advantage. I joined the regiment just about dead last____field where we are was strewn with Secesh blankets & knapsacks & the boys are getting Secesh trophies all the time. The troops were North Carolina Vols.
I enclose this in an envelope taken from one of their knapsacks also enclose some letters from the same source & some confederate money. There was a train of cars here on the railroad which was full of coffee, sugar, tobacco & the boys have all they can carry away and the camp is full of the above articles.
I can't get any more on this sheet & will defer the balance until another time. We shall whip the rebels & have Baltimore soon.
Yours in haste