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Centerville, Va July 20, 1861 Dear Jennie, Tonight we march again. The enemy are strongly posted at Bull Run, almost 2 miles in advance. We expect a hard contested battle will be fought there. We go at 2 AM. I write you these lines just as the sun is going down. Afraid you are, since the telegraph has stopped giving reports, be improved upon by all kinds of rumors, ridiculous in the extreme. Don't believe any of them, wait as patiently as you can until you hear from me personally or some letter is had from the Company. Goodbye Jennie and if it should be so fated that we meet not again here, let us meet in another world where then will be no such a curse as war. The large full round moon has gone over the eastern hills. I promise tonight and tomorrow will be a sad day for many. The moon light evenings here are very bright and would be pleasant if not disturbed by such martial scenes. Goodbye again, Yours affectionately, Lt. H. Editor's note: At 2:00 AM, the 2nd Wisconsin marched with its brigade to the Stone Bridge on the Warrenton Pike. At 11:00 Sherman's Brigade crossed Bull Run Creek and joined the forces engaged in the Battle of Bull Run. The regiment advanced and engaged with a Confederate artillery battery and infantry. They fought with the enemy for some time before retiring. The regiment rallied and returned into the fight, firing four volleys at the enemy. The 2nd Wisconsin was uniformed in gray frock coats, the same color as used by the Confederates. As a result, a volley fired from a friendly regiment in their rear sent them into a retreat, where they became confused and mingled with other regiments. The regiment became separated and left the field of battle in two sections. They returned to Centerville and then continued their retreat to Washington. Casualties in Company E from Oshkosh were heavy: John Barton was killed; eighteen men were wounded and many left on the field as prisoners; and seven men were captured.
Letter from John Hancock to Jennie Reardon -THE CIVIL WAR -Copyright Oshkosh Public Museum

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