Thursday July 25, 1861
I received Laura's letter last night and was glad to hear from her you may be sure. I wrote a letter Laura last Monday after we came from retreat but did not send it until today. It was a rather poor letter and should not have sent it but I thought you and the rest of the folks would be anxious to hear from me and the rest of the boys.
We were in our first battle Thursday but it did not amount to much.
The one on Sunday was a hard battle the cannonading commenced at ten in the morning and lasted until Five
o'clock. We left the place where we had the battle Thursday. Sunday the battle was about two miles to the right of us. On the left there was one of the New York Regiment to keep the rebels from getting by us and they
They exchanged a few shots and they drove the rebels back so they went farther around. We had to go about two miles farther to the left to head them off. Just as they were coming out of the woods we came in sight of them. Our Regt. thought there were a good many more of them than there were of us so we turned and ran. Then we reformed into line of battle and ordered to stack arms and stop for the night.
About twelve o'clock at night we had orders to retreat back to the city. We got back about two o'clock in the afternoon. There seemed to be a mistake in the whole arrangements. We are now encamped across The river from the city on land belonging to a General in the Southern Army. His name is General Lee He has a very nice place. I don't think we will go back to that place until they have force enough to Whip them with out much trouble.
The Michigan First Regiment and the First Zouaves were in the latter part of the fight. They both were badly cut Up George Waldron saw Harto McKee after the battle so you can tell Bryant's folks he was not Killed, I have not hear from Lafayette French.
I do not think we will stay here but a short time, although we may stay for some time for they will leave a strong guard to protect the city.
I can't tell many of the particulars of the battle. The Zouaves fought like heroes. There is a company of cavalry in the Southern Army called Black Horse Calvary. They came out to attack the Zouaves eighty of them carting a Union Flag. the Zouaves were going to fire and they said, "Don't shoot we are Union Men" They came up near them, took down the Union Flag, raised the secession flag and fired at them all the time rushing on. The Zouaves charged on them and killed nearly all of them. There were but five that rode back to their lines.
This is a specimen of their fighting. You must not put to much dependence in what the papers say at first.
When we move I will write at the fist opportunity I have.
Laura wanted to know what we have to eat. I have not suffered with Hunger. We have hard bread, coffee, sometimes fresh beef, sometimes bacon and rice. We have good coffee, sugar twice a day, sometimes three. I don think there is much reason to find fault for there are a great many men to feed.
I almost forgot to tell you I saw a Colonel that was taken Prisoner in battle the other day, they went by with him in a buggy. They were taking him to the city to keep him as prisoner. When he went by the boys shouted "Shoot Him". I guess he thought he was poorly greeted.
You must be sure and write as soon as you get this. I got the money and was very glad to get it. I guess King is out of money too but we expect to get our pay any day.
I will send it back and maybe more. I will see how much I get.
I almost forgot to tell you I went to see a balloon go up yesterday.
It look very nice. Be sure and write all the news.