Hall Brothers, Letter Excerpts Published January 11, 1862

[Editors note]1. We publish the following from R.D. and R.A. Hall, of this place, of the “Bucktails,” sons of Orris Hall, Esq., omitting considerable about the Drainsville fight, already very fully described in last week’s letter from our regular correspondent “Volunteer.” We extract from various letters addressed to different members of their father’s family:  

I suppose you have heard our big fight on the 20th Dec. Our Warren boys did their duty, and our regiment has the greatest fighting name of any in the service.

When we formed in line of battle at Drainsville, the enemy commenced cannonading us with shells. Our boys were ordered to fall flat on their faces, and the shots went over our heads. They shelled us in this way for half an hour before our battery came up. After our guns began to play on the enemy, orders came to “up and forward,” we arose and advanced about ten rods, when the rebel infantry commenced firing. We again fell upon the ground and loaded and fired in that position for three quarters of an hour. The whole fire of the enemy seemed to be concentrated on the Bucktails, but they only killed five and wounded 27; you better believe the balls whistled around our heads some! One poor fellow of Company K fell by my side. Says he to me “Give ‘em Hell! I’m wounded.” Just then orders came to charge and take their battery. We charged on the double-quick, shooting the rebels down as we went, and leaping over their dead and wounded. We cannot tell just how many they lost, as they carried away many of their dead.

Our boys went out next day and helped bury 164 bodies. We took eight prisoners, three of them from Louisville, with whom I was acquainted, we having been members of the same military company in that city. You may imagine my thoughts when I met them. They told me that many of the old Louisville company was fighting us on the day of battle. Little did I think of fighting them when marching through the streets of Louisville. So you see what change this war has made; friend fighting friend.

Old soldiers in our Regiment say they never saw a harder fight. Gen. Ord says all he wants is one more regiment of Bucktails. We treated the wounded kindly, giving them water or anything they wanted to alleviate their sufferings. They say they did not expect this but thought they would be killed as soon as we came upon them. One of them said, “why do you treat us so kindly? we never used your men so,” and another said he wished his brother knew how kindly he had been treated.

Robert was not with us in the fight. He was so mad about it he didn’t know what to do; but perhaps it’s best for him he remained in camp, or he might have accidentally been shot if some one didn’t shoot him on purpose. I began to think my dog’s hide was wanted!

We were not forgotten on Christmas as Mrs. Eliza Jane Smith sent us up some pie and cake from Washington. It was very nice.

Hall Family Letters2

  1. Warren Mail, January 11, 1862
  2. The Hall Brothers, Robert & Roscoe Hall, both served in the Raftsmen’s Guards, Company D, 1st Pennsylvania Rifles (13th PA Reserves.)