1st New Jersey Graphic Battle of Bull Run Letter Written by Sergt. Albert F. Sharp – Written on Scarce Patriotic Stationery – “The Southerners behaved more like barbarous than civilized men. Beside burning our hospital and bayonetting our wounded on the field.”
This 4 page letter in easy to read ink penmanship has crossed Union flags with an image of Robert Anderson and “Sumter” at the top. It was written from Camp Keys, Washington July 31st, 1861. Albert F. Sharp enlisted as Sergeant in company B in the 1st New Jersey Infantry, which was only a 90 day regiment. He would then enlist in the 10th Connecticut Infantry, be awarded the Gillmore Medal of Honor for fighting around Fort Sumter, August 23rd, 1863, and then mortally wounded at Deep Bottom Run, Va. on August 14th, 1864.

Here are some of the great lines:

• “A march of sixty miles, in a few hours, little food, little water, long continued and exhausting labor of the battlefield, innumerable privations and days of weary watching under arms has proved too much for me. I seek rest but find none.”

• “Our camp is situated in an open field where there is not a tree nor shrub to protect us from a scorching July sun.”

• “I have not been able to disconnect my mind with the scenes of the 21st inst. So appalling were many of the sights which met my gaze, whichever way I turned my eye. On this memorable Sabbath, my heart sickened and the impression received lingers with me in all the freshness of the hour which gave them birth.”

• “As we, Col. Keyes’ Brigade, were advancing by the right flank to sustain the first Conn. and fifth Mass. Reg. who were engaged with the enemy, we come upon several of the wounded of the Rebel forces. One was a Georgian who was badly wounded in the forehead, a cold clammy sweat covered his face, his lips were white and trembling, death was in earnest for his victim and there was no hope. I bent weeping over the suffering man and begged for him a cup of water. This revived him a little, but yet unable to speak. He smiled gratitude and then he died.”

• “We soon changed our position from that we had first taken and marched by the left flank. The original object of this was to charge on one of the largest and most important of the Rebels’ sand batteries. Subsequently, Gen. Tyler discovered that this could not be done except at a great sacrifice of men on our side. Consequently abandoned his purpose, and continued to march us as at the first to reconnoiter the enemy’s positions. During this march we took several prisoners and killed a Col. of a South Carolina Regiment. [THE ONLY COLONEL FROM SOUTH CAROLINA THAT WE KNOW WAS KILLED AT BULL RUN WAS BARNARD E. BEE. HE HAD NOT YET BEEN CONFIRMED AS BRIGADIER GENERAL BY CONGRESS. IF IT WAS NOT BEE, IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN CHARLES F. FISHER, BUT HE WAS LEADING THE 6TH NORTH CAROLINA OR FRANCIS S. BARTOW BUT HE WAS FROM GEORGIA]. This was an awful event. God forbid that I shall ever witness it repeated. After this we were for an hour exposed to an awful cannonading. It is a miracle that any of us escaped death.”

• “About 5 o’clock P.M. order come to retreat which we did from the field in order, our ranks being confused only when the N.Y. Troops broke through out line. Having reached our hospital half a mile from the battlefield, many of my fellow soldiers were crying in agony, some with their faces downwards to the earth, others reeling for support across the fence, and others crawling on their hands and knees for some place of safety from the Rebel Cavalry.”

• “In the retreat many of our wounded troops mingled with the throng. I saw on horseback one man with a broken leg, another with his arm pierced with a musket ball. Far to the rear and on foot come others more or less afflicted, among the number was a young man streaming with blood. When we arrived at Germantown, a good Union woman comforted the young man as much as possible, then bade him God speed, and with weeping which amounted almost to wailing, urged the troops to stand by the old Flag.”

• “The Southerners behaved more like barbarous than civilized men. Beside burning our hospital and bayonetting our wounded on the field, they took nearly all our Sergeants prisoners, thereby depriving our suffering troops of the little means of relief they had to hand. God will not always suffer this to be so. He will avenge His own elect and that right early. My confidence is strong in final triumph of our arm and suppression of the ungodly rebellion. Yours exalting, Alie.”

Very rarely does a soldier give specific examples of the horrors of battle like Sharp does. A wonderful battle letter.

#L699NJ - Price $895