Letter from John H. Beighley, Co. F, from Battle Field near Fredericksburg, dated December 15, 1862

John H. Beighley, Curtin Rifles, Co. F, 10th PA Reserves,
December 15, 1862 [Beaver Weekly Argus: 12-14-1862]

On Battle Field, Near Fredericksburg –

Mr. Editor: I take the present opportunity of addressing you a few lines in regard to the operations of the army on the Rappahannock. I know the friends of our noble boys from Beaver county, especially the two companies in the 10th Reserve, will be glad to hear something from them.

They entered the field nobly, first supporting the engineers in swinging the pontoons over the river, then crossed over to rebeldom; were marched to the front on Saturday morning. In the evening of the same day encountered the enemy at the outposts near their batteries, on the railroad. They held the ground until relieved by fresh troops – firing sixty rounds, many firing as high as 75 rounds.

Noble boys! They stood shoulder to shoulder for the Union, until one-half their number fell. If our army was composed of such men as the Reserve Corps, rebellion would cease instanter. Many of them will leave their bodies on the plains of the Old Dominion; but may the passer by tread gently over the resting place of so noble a band. O, the horrors of so wicked a rebellion! May the time soon come when peace will be restored on a firm basis, so that our brave and patriotic soldiers may return to their homes.

To detail facts concerning deeds of valor would be useless; but suffice it to say that our Beaver company – Capt. Adams’ – commanded by Lieut. Joseph Reed, went into the fight with 33 men and came out 19 short. They were the bravest of the brave. Pen cannot describe the bravery of Co. F; also of Company K, formerly commanded by the lamented Saml. Miller. They went in 25 strong and came out 16 missing. Co. A went in 45 strong and returned with 12 men, all the others being killed, wounded and missing.

Talk of Chivalry, Mr. Editor. Such deeds of valor cannot be surpassed on any battle-field. The enemy was entrenched and under cover. We faced the foe under grape and canister, and their sharp-shooters. But we held the ground when nearly all our officers were killed. Our Brigadier, General Jackson, commanding the 3d Brigade of the Pa. Reserves, was killed; the Adjutant General also fell, as well as aids to the General. Many company officers were killed, but still the boys fought on until dark closed in.

The following is a list of the killed, wounded and missing of Co. F and K:

Company F:

Killed – Christian Holland, Henry Gull, John Edgar.
Wounded – John Purvis, Wm. Swager, Clark M’Connell, Edward Neville, Casper Gull, Sam’l Hamilton, Alexander Dawson, Wm. Kettlewood, Daniel Barto, George Lehmer, Henry Pheiter.
Missing – Ira Neville, J.L. Wilson, John Wilson, Jas. M’Gaughey, H. Reno.

Company K:
Wounded – John T. Once [?], Samuel Elder, James W. Reed, Robert M. Davidson, Wm. Bush, John M. M’Millin, Francis H. Gilkey, Andrew Miller.
Missing – Lieut. Alex M’Gilkey, Garrison Y. Edwards, Milton R. Young, Wm. H. Anderson, Wm. S. Shannon, David W. Park, Richard Parrot, Wesley Baker.

Yours truly,
John H. Beighley.