Byrns, William – August 4, 1862

Michigan Civil War Collection Letters

Click here for this soldier’s biography:
Regiment: 1st Michigan Infantry Battles Mentioned: Historical Figures: [twocolumns]Harrisons Landing Va Aug 4th 1862 My dear Florence My letter of Sat. + Sunday was not written for the reason that we were out on duty for more than 24 hours. You have probably read of the shelling of our camp by the rebel artillery on the morning of the 1st. We were awa- -kened about 1 oclk by the report of the enemy guns + the whistling + explosion of shells in our im- -mediate vicinity. I have been in some dangerous positions line in the service, but I was never more frightened in my life then when I first awoke. The enemy fired very careless + [          ?          ] shot very near us. Our Co. is now near the left. A man of the 13th N.Y. was struck, on our right was the Cols. Tent + mortally wounded. A “Li[  ?  ]ley” tent in the rear of ours not 3 rods away was shot through the ball striking struck the ground near the center of the tent + ricochetd passinng just over the ridge of ours. The ball tore a bed in pieces but luckily the owner had just left it. We took the matter very quietly. In our tent there are 7 of us, I not one left his bed. The next day a party of 4th Infantry + the 16th Mich went over + destroyed the buildings that had been the harbor of a nest of rebels for a long time. The next day the 4th Mich went over + did picket duty through the day. We relieved them at night + had the p[  ?  ] of establishing the first line of night pickets on the other side of the James. Early the next –Sunday– A.M. A party of some 400 Cavalry under Col. Aowill came over. We furnished a detail of 4 Cos. + they “put out” on a reconnosance. About 4 miles out they came up to the enemy cavalry who after firing a volley fled. Our boys unhorsed two + took them prisoner, a Lit. Col. + Capt. A singular fact connected with this affair is that the Infantry pre- ceded the cavalry all the time. We do not expect a notice from the N.Y. or Pa, papers it being their habit to overlook generally, all parts taken by Western troops. One of the best Regiments in this branch in this Army is the 8th Ill Cavalry, but one sees their name rarely in Eastern papers. We came back last night tired a good deal. We expect work on the other side all the time, but we are ready Matters at home are quiet too quiet for me. If a goodly portion of the able-bodied men of the north who should enlist could be with us for a week. I am sure they would take steps to end the matter. I will write noth- ing but war news, or of the Army. You will pardon me, but I was never before so whole -ly engaged in the work. Now all should renew their efforts + act instead of wait. We expect hard picket duty on the other side of the James.    We do not get news regular neither do letters come prompt. I have not read any of yours since the one of the 20th ult. I saw Charly Parsons this A.M. Jenny has been quite ill. No doubt anxiety the cause. It must be that our friends at home suffer more than we. We have the danger + exertion, but at the same time the excitement the more intense keeps us up + until all is over we do not cannot think cooly of the passing or surrounding horrors + dangers. With you it must be all different. I shall look for your letters often. My love to your Errastus. I shall try to leave next month if we are in a position to admit of it if I can I will come to you.              Always darling Your Wm Byrns [On Envelope:] A few years more a few years less What endless it any brother [  ?  ] duty done will fearless pass From this world to the other Miss Florence Clark Care A. B. Clark Yalesburg Illinois If we fall on the battlefield Friends let there be no sighting There is in all the universe No better place for dying. [  ?  ] No. 87 August 4th 1862 Harrisons Bar, Va.[/twocolumns]