11th Mass. Infantry at the Battle of Bull Run – BATTLE LETTER
This letter is by John C. Roach, Company E, 11th Massachusetts Infantry.  The 11th Mass. Vols. known as “Boston Volunteers” was raised largely through the influence of George Clark, its first Colonel. It was one of 3 Massachusetts regiments present at Bull Run, and along with the 1st Minnesota, comprised Franklin’s Brigade. It suffered over 100 casualties at Bull Run and Daniel Blanchard was one of the 56 taken prisoner.

John Cockey Roach writes on beautiful patriotic stationery, headed, “Alexandria, Virginia July 28th, 1861” and states in his letter, “I went to Boston and enlisted in a Company there, but they did not go soon enough to suit me. I left them and enlisted in Colonel Clark's Regiment which was sent forward immediately.” He then proceeds to give a great description of the battle:

• “Our troops were marched about 15 miles in the morning before fighting and on our arrival at the Battlefield we had no rest, but were marched into the field and commenced the attack without delay. The fighting commenced about 11 o'clock with the Infantry and lasted until 5 o'clock p.m.”
• “Our enemy had a masked Battery in a thick woods which played grape canister upon us and killing us like a lot of dogs.”
• “It was shocking in the extreme to see killed & wounded lay upon the field and that red with their blood.”
• “Our killed & wounded number about 3 thousand and that of the enemy about double that number. The enemy had a decided advantage over us as they had ground for about 12 acres around us under minded so in case they had to retreat, they could set fire to it and blow us all up at once.”
• “Jeff Davis took command of his forces at 12 o'clock, and the command he gave them was forward, my brave columns, forward. Some soldier of ours was lucky enough to shoot a bullet through the house where Jeff Davis was taking his dinner which made the dishes rattle on the table.”
• “It was a pity it was not his head that rattled instead of the dishes. The Massachusetts Volunteers fought like tigers and would have won the day only for the odds that were against us, viz., the Southern troops numbered 80,000 and the Northern troops only about 12,000.”
• “They received reinforcements twice during the day, once 30 thousand, the other 20 thousand. At the close we were obliged to retreat.”
• “Our retreat was cut off by them while crossing a bridge at Bull Run and were fired upon by several pieces of Artillery and a volley from Infantry. This was all of this that I can give you with any certainty. It was supposed to be the hardest engagements in the United States with the same number of men. No more at present. Please give my respects to your family and greatly oblige. Yours truly, Cockey Roach. P. S. I should be happy to hear from you. If you write, you can address: John Roach, Company E, 11th Massachusetts Regt., Washington. D. C.”

The letter is in fine condition.

#L731MA - Price $795