35th Pa. Infantry Battle Letter Written by William D. Dixon Future Colonel & Brevet Brig-General – GREAT ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE OF DRANESVILLE, VA.
William Dunlap Dixon, a resident of Franklin County, Pa., enlisted in April 1861 as a Captain of Company D. The Battle of Dranesville would be the 35th Pennsylvania’s (also called the 6th Pa. Reserves) first battle. The forces of Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart met the forces under Brig-General Edward O. C. Ord on December 20th, 1861 in Fairfax County, Virginia.

The letter is written in nice dark ink on legal size paper. Dixon is writing his wife, Martha, from Georgetown, D.C. Here are some of the great lines:

• “…we were in a regular fight on last Friday at Dranesville. We were only there about fifteen minutes until the fight commenced. It lasted about one and a half hours.”

• “Our Regiment was in it from the beginning until the end. There was two men in our Regiment killed, and some 3 or 4 mortally wounded and about twelve not very dangerously wounded which will recover. I had one man in my Company that was mortally wounded and died in about 24 hours after the fight. It was William R. Vandyke, a son of old Mr. Vandyke from Mercersburg, and one man slightly with a bayonet in the temple but it only got through the skin. That was all in my Company that was hurt.”

• “The Emeny left about one hundred and twenty dead on the field and saw 25 wounded. Our whole loss in killed was from twelve to fifteen and about fifty wounded. The enemy carried off the most of their wounded which was said to be heavy. We took ten prisoners. There was three of the enemies regiments in the engagement, 1. South Carolina, 2. Alabama, 3. Kentucky. Also one battery of six pieces of artillery. It was called the Cute’s battery. We captured 3 of their Caissons…”

• “General Ord was the commander and done the work well He held the 10 and 12 Regiments in reserve. The Regiment that was in the fight was the Bucktails, the 6th, that is the one I belong to & the 9th all from Pennsylvania, which I think will speak well for the Keystone State.”

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