“One of the Most Awful Battles that Has Ever Been Fought” (Hall Letters #2)

John Green Hall enlisted as a private in Company C, 35th Regiment North Carolina Troops on September 12, 1861. He served with the Thirty-Fifth until May 31, 1864, when he transferred to Company G, 51st Regiment NCT. On the day that Private Hall wrote this letter, Union troops made an ill-advised frontal assault on dug-in Confederates, resulting in the loss of between 3,500 and 7,000 men in one hour. (The John G. Hall letters are part of the W. P. Hall Collection, PC551, North Carolina State Archives.)

Richmond, V. A  Coaled Harbor

June 3rd//64

Dear Father

                     I seat my self this evening to try and write you a few lines to let you know that I am still in the land of the liveing we have seen dreadful times [ILLEGIBLE] hear since we have been hear we left Deroys bluff the last day of May we got hear that same evening and soon as we got hear they run us right in among the yankees we had a very hot ingagement for about an hour our Regiment was sent to the left of the brigade there was nothing on our right but some dismounted cavelry they shot a while and when they saw the enemy coming pretty large force they all run away that left our head right exposed to the enemy they were a flanking us on the right and left so we were compelled to fall back and in falling back we lost a good many killed and wounded we fell back about too or three hundred yards and formed a line of battle and stayed until the next morning then we fell back about fifty yards lower down the hill and formed again and commenced fixing us a little breast work we had nothing to work with but our baonets and hands we done the best we could until the evening we got us a right good breast work the yankees charged us about three or four Oclock in the evening and we ran them back about half a hour [ILLEGIBLE] they flanked our men on the left and came up in our rear they killed and took a good many of our men prisoner they came up in ten steps of us before we knew any thing about them they ordered us to lay down our arms and some did but we dident the 61st Regt reinforced us and we charged them back killing and wounding a great many of them I have escaped so far and Marsden* too he gave out in charging about so much I took his gun and helped him off of the field and he hasent been with us since I hear he is getting better He is with the doctor they relieved us yesterday morning and sent us a little in the rear where we are now they commenced early this morning a general engagement all along the lines and have been fighting all day and are still fighting and now it is three or four Oclock in the evening the yankees has charged our lines some five or six times they broke our line once but our men charged them back they say they are lying in files in front of our breast works ther minies and Bums are flying so over my head I cant write you any more this time so I will half to bid you adue for this time we are all under Lee at this time I think this will be one of the moast awful battles that has ever been fought in this war the hole of Grants armey is hear and all the Confederate army too I think I am in the 51rst Regt now and have been ever since the last of May we are at a place called coald harbor about ten of Richmond give my love and best respects to Mother and all the children and ask them all to a write and I want you to write soon as this comes to hand I have writen you some three or four letters and haven’t received any answer to any of them yet I want you to write and let me no whither you got them or not write soon and when you write direct your letters to Richmond V. a. 51rst Regt Clingmans Brigade in care of Capt 51rst Regt Co. G.

I remain your dear and affectant Son John, G, Hall

Click HERE to see images of the original letter.

* Sergeant Marsden King, John’s brother-in-law.

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