Byrns, William – September 25, 1862

Michigan Civil War Collection Letters

Click here for this soldier’s biography:

Regiment: 1st Michigan Infantry

Battles Mentioned: Antietam, Maryland; Bull Run, Virginia

Historical Figures: Abraham Lincoln, Ambrose E. Burnside, Fitz J. Porter, George B. McClellan, Orlando B. Willcox

[twocolumns]Camp at Blackfords Ford Md.
Sept. 25th 1862
My Dear Florence
Two of your letters came this
morning. The first mail I have received since
leaving Washington. I know you must have
written. The letters for the [    ?    ] date of the
one that came today was the 13th [  ?  ].
You did mistake when you directed to [  ?  ]
[     ?     ] Corps but the letter came. We have
ever been in Fitz John Porters Corps + though
newspapers have placed him under arrest
he has ever been at the lead of his command
so far as we know. We do not ask to be
under brown + nobles Generals than McClellen
+ Porter [  ?  ]. Mc has never lost the
confidence of those rebs formed the “Army
of the Potomac” + his manly conduct through
the embarrassing + humiliating circumstances
which surrounded him when ordered to
send his command away from the
Jones has only tended to increase the
love + confidence of his army loved
him. We are laying quiet + resting
from the severe fatigue of last week.
We send reconnortering parties across the
river almost every day but they do
not meet the warm reception our Brigade did

last Saturday. This P.M. a Brigade of Cavalry have
gone over. I watched them cross + take up
their position a half mile or so out there
they massed in close column + sent out a
few squadrons. What the result of the recon-
nuisance will be we cannot tell. I think the
army have treated a few miles at least.
This position was such that they could be
surrounded [  ?  ] that Harpers Ferry is in
our position. What a disgraceful cowardly
act was the surrender of the latter place.
Col Miles memory cannot be reverned very
lightly by the American people. Had be
but held our with ordinary firmners, help
would have reached him but the abandon
ment of so strong a position with so little loss
can [  ?  ] be over looked.
We [        ?        ] that the world moves + that Abe
Lincoln is one great man. He dethroned Mc.
Wrote Gr[  ?  ] a letter reinstated Mc + issued his
proclamation. We think all will yet be well
+ that [   ?   ] long. We were visited by Gen Wilcox
a few days since. You remember he was our
Col in the [     ?     ] service + was taken prisoner at
the battle of Bull Run. Was held a prisoner
until Aug of this year. He has command
of a Division in Burnsides Corps + did [   ?   ]
fighting at the left in the battle of Anbitam

[  ?  ] of the 21st
I had just written “ane” on the other page, when
an orderly darkened the door of my tent + announced that
I was detailed for picket + the guard would be mounted
immediately. So I left unfinished this interesting document
+ went to take my position beside the Potomoc for the
night to amuse myself as best I chose provi-
ded I attended to my business. You have strange + incorrect
ideas regarding duty. You ask “do I have to pace back + forth?”
An officer on guard is expected to be awake to visit his
sentinels frequently to notice all strange sight + noises
+ to see that his men are active in the perfor
mance of this duties. While the enlisted men are
divided into 3 “reliefs” + only one is on duty at
a time thus allowing 2/3 of the time for rest
I think nothing of being deprived of a nights rest.
Our position last night + today was at the dam below
Sheppardstown. Our duty to allow none to pass from
this to the other side but to allow persons from the
other Va, side to come over-one by one- We
do not allow picket firing unless first fired upon.
We have a good position, in the O +C Canal, which
forms a complete [  ?  ] breastwork + protection against
musketry, but we are very careless + hardly
at any time could an enemies sharpshooter fail
of getting “good shots” if he were so inclined. The
The vision is about 400 yds across + voices can be
heard + distinguished easily. There is good fishings
existing [  ?  ] the pickets + some interesting skirmishes-vocal-occur.

I am so glad you write me so often. I know I do not deserve
it, but consider that at times tis impossible for me to write.
In this life unless one makes extra efforts the friends at home
must want for intelligence. Since our battle of Aug 30th I have
been in command of two companies + after an en-
gagement especially so severe a one as that. We receive
very many letters of inquiry which
should be answered. But amid all thear little affair I do not
[   ?   ] forget you. Were it not for you to cheer me +
frighten me I should grow heartsick + weary of such
toil, now I am assured that I am only in the line of
duty + I must not falter. I fear you have not
estimated me rightly think me far more than I am
+ that you do not see me as I am with many, many
faults perhaps vices. I try to do right so hard + tis so
right I should so do. You are with one ever. Last Saturday
when going into action I thought not of the loved ones. My
whole mind seemed centered on military points but no
sooner had we got into position [      ?      ] some cause
a piece of shell on my shoulder thanks to a heavy rubber blanket
I was hardly scratched. My first thoughts were, I am wounded
the next was of you. Was it wrong? but I soon found that
I was all right + opened my R eye which was retreating with
face toward the enemy. Write me as often as “propriety”
will allow. Tell me all of yourself,  your thoughts. Just as
you always do. I must close merely for want of time for
a great “stack” of unanswered correspondence waits + tis a
little late. Direct your letter as when I was on the Pennisla
Always darling Your Will Byrns

[  ?  ] this to [  ?  ]. Do not know how long you intended to try then Inform me

Doolittle bro in law of the Parsons’ is Col of the 18th Mich.

[On Envelope:]

Miss Florence Clark
Henry Co

Lieut Byrns
No 97
Sept 25’’ 1862
Blackfords Ind.[/twocolumns]