Memories of the War by General Robert C. Cox
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
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Continued from 1861 letters
Wellsboro Agitator, 22 January 1862, p3

From the Buck-tails
Buck-Tail City, Va., Jan. 13, 1862

Friend Agitator – ‘Tis midnight, and a bright moon is shedding her silver light down upon these Southern battle fields, as I take my pen to write the first page in the history of a new year. The campaign of 1861 has ended, and it will form a page in the world’s history that will be read with interest by those belonging to future generations; but the year which has just commenced its rounds, will form one still more interesting, and it will either be the darkest and bloodiest, that the nineteenth century ever saw, or it will again restore peace and prosperity to the land. The two mighty armies, which now stand face to face upon the banks of the Potomac, must soon meet, and when that meeting comes, it will leave these valleys stained with blood, and these hilltops, white with bleaching bones. Philosophers and politicians can prophesy and speculate, but that will never do the work, it can only be done at the cannon’s mouth, and with the bullet, and cold steel. There is a grand movement now on foot, and when this army is once put in motion it will not stop this side of Richmond. I believe if foreign nations will stand neutral, this rebellion will be wiped out, forever, before another cold winter rolls around. But the signs of the times now indicate that they will not; for already we hear the low growl of the British lion from beyond the sea, like the roll of distant thunder, before a storm. But in that case, as in this, let us forbear until forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and then let us again sound the war-trumpet, and call forth another half million of men into the field, and once more show that despotic power that beyond the sea, there is a free spirit that lives, yes, and will live when the very name of old England is forgotten.
One night last week, the snow fell about an inch deep, and the next morning after it fell, one of the most comical sights took place, that has transpired in this camp, for some time. – Some of the boys started up a rabbit – in a minute, more than 200 young buck-tails were out for a chase. They formed in line of battle – threw out their flankers and skirmishers, and then made an advance; in a moment, out popped the little fellow from a pile of brush, then the noise commenced, and of all the sounds I ever heard, this was the beater, and hundred hounds couldn’t strike the first note. The little fellow finding himself surrounded on all sides, soon give up the chase. Another, and another shared the same fate. The boys then took them into a large, open field, threw out their flankers, and then let them go, for the fun of taking them again. This was kept up until the rabbits were to tired to run, and if any of you ever saw a drove of boys after a greased pig, you can form an idea what kind of fun we had.
New years was a fine and pleasant day, but a lonely one to the most of us, for our minds went back to other and happier new years, when we were surrounded by loved ones at home, or sliding over the frozen snow, listening to merry voices, and the gingling of bells, or eating pies and turkeys. But here, our music was of a different nature: bum, bum, bum goes the old base drum, then that old familiar sound “fall in for battalion drill.” Snow, or no snow, mud, or no mud, we must come to it.
Dr. Humphrey is again with the regiment, his health is good. His presence brought new life into the boys.
There was a grand flag presentation here last Saturday afternoon; and although the mud was ankle deep, yet the whole reserve corps was not. We were all formed in order, for a review; then the booming of cannons announced the coming of the speaker, G.A. Grow. One company from each of the regiments that were in the battle of Dranesville, then went forth to receive, their flags, with this inscription [“Dranesville, Dec. 20th, 1861,”] inscribed with letters of gold upon one of the white stripes. The companies were the only ones that could hear the speaker, which was a great disappointment to all, for we well knew that the occasion was one that would call forth the greatest energies of that eloquent defender of the rights of man; and as I could see him make his easy gestures, and swing his old “stove pipe,” I could almost see his dark eyes flash, as he looked out upon that unconquered legion, and told them of the noble deeds they had done, and that he trusted in Heaven that the forests would not again put on their robes of green, until every stripe contained a victory that would be an honor, not only to the proud old Commonwealth that had sent us forth to wrestle with this great evil, but victories that would form a bright page in the history of America, to be read with interest, when we had passed away.
Our wounded prisoners are all doing well. – Capt. Niles is now able to walk around the house; he will soon be ready for another fight.
One of our Buck-tails [Magraff] is now a prisoner in Richmond. We supposed that he was shot, but have since learned that he is in Richmond. He was one day taken out before the great Southern tribunal, and questioned in regard to our army, and what kind of things the Buck-tails were, and what they could do, but he told them that he had only been with us three days, and knew but little about them. Bully for the Buck-tail! We intend to go down and take him out in a few days.
One afternoon last week, a little circumstance took place in our camp, which pleased the boys, and created quite an excitement. The first thing that attracted my attention was a hundred voices crying, Pies! Pies! Pies! Of course, I thought if there was anything in camp, in the line of pies, I’d have a hand in. So I jumped and followed the crowd that was making its way for the Sutler’s stand. When I turned the corner around my huge mason, I saw a crowd around the guard, taking down cranberry pies like a hungry dog would hot cakes. The Provost Martial camp up with a guard, the make an examination of all the Sutler’s stands in the reserve corps, and as pies are an article that they have no right to sell, they handed them out “without money, of without price.” Our Sutler lost about two hundred of the eatables.
We are to be paid off tomorrow.
I should not be surprised, if before your readers get this, you hear tell of thunder, for we expect to move this week.
It any of the rich old farmers in Tioga County, wish to serve their country, and have a lame back, or the phthisis too bad to come to war, they can do so, by sending the Buck-tails a nice firkin of butter, a cheese, or a few dried apples.
----Col. Crocket.

Wellsboro Agitator, 22 January 1862, p3
Camp Pierpont, Va., Jan. 16, 1862
Friend Agitator – Permit me through the columns of your paper, in behalf of the Westfield soldiers, to return to the ladies of that place, belonging to the “Soldier’s Aid Society,” a thousand thanks for their kindness and generosity, in sending us a box of goods, containing eight bed quilts, nineteen pairs of socks, towels, drawers, shirts, cakes, cheese, dried fruit, etc., etc. Ladies of Westfield, your benevolent acts, will, forever be remembered by those who have bid you a long adieu, and gone forth from your social circles to fight for a principle that will withstand the wreck of matter, and the crash of worlds. It there is any one thing on earth, that will gladden and stimulate the soldiers’ hearts, it is to know that the loved ones we have left behind, are banded together to supply our wants, and to shield us from the winter’s storm. Your noble deed are worthy of imitation, and when the war cry is hushed, and “Old Crocket” takes his pen to chronicle the events of the past, and the heroic acts of those who have played a part in this great drama, he will write upon the brightest page, the name of the “Westfield Soldiers’ Aid Society.”
---- Col. Crocket.

Wellsboro Agitator, 22 January 1862, p3
[From another Correspondent]
Buck-Tail City, Va., Jan. 12, 1862
Mid winter is upon us, and the grand army of the Potomac still rest quietly, almost within cannon shot distance of the enemy. When will there be an advance is the question asked hundreds of times in a day. Echo, answers when! Meanwhile, the press teems with conjectures, and rumors possible, and impossible, as to the movements and plans of Gen. McClellan; how near they are to the truth, time, alone, will determine. I, for one, give him more credit, then to suppose he will allow them to become common property, however much the people are interested in them. Let the friends of the Union have patience, for the work before out young Chief is one of great magnitude, and he should receive the hearty co-operation of every loyal heart. Rome was not built in a day, nor can an army composed of over half a million of men, be raised and placed upon a footing, to enable it to fight a campaign, to a successful close, without sufficient time be allowed. It is a huge machine, which requires a mastermind to construct, and put it in operation. Let the people wait with patience, and say to those who are clamoring for our advance, and raising the cry of “on to Richmond,” “peace, be still.” Let them wait the development of plans, which, if we can believe the rebels themselves, are already beginning to be felt. The Richmond Examiner, tells its readers, that their large army in front of Washington, is becoming thoroughly demoralized, in consequence of McClellan’s inaction, and that it soon will be no better than an armed mob. It complains, bitterly, of the incompetency of their rulers, and leaders, and much more in the same strain. All this comes before the campaign is fairly opened. – Let them tremble, for each succeeding blow shall be heard, and the folds of the great Union Boa Con-strictor, shall gradually tighten, until the monster, secession, is but a crushed, shapeless and harmless mass. The fights, when they come, will be desperate; but I have no doubt the issue will be in our favor.
Our armies are in a good condition, and the men are eager for the time to come when the leash shall be slipped, and the word given to go. They all say they wish they could have been with us at Dranesville. By the way, we have gained quite an enviable notoriety by our connection with that affair; it is regarded here as being decidedly the best thing of the war, so far, and to be a Buck-tail is to be a ----. The boys are proud of the confidence placed in them, and will do their best to maintain the position accorded them.
The reserve corps was reviewed on the 5th, by Gov. Curtin, Gen. McCall and staff; after whence the regiments that participated in the fight at Dranesville, were drawn up and addressed by Governor, in a short speech, in which he thanked them in the name of Pennsylvania, for their good conduct in that battle, and said that the word, Dranesville, should be inscribed on their banners. Accordingly, on yesterday, we had another review, which was the occasion of out flags being returned to us. The whole division was drawn up in line, and the banners were presented by the Hon. G.A. Grow, who made a few appropriate remarks. – The flags of the regiments of the third brigade, under command of Gen. Ord – the buck-tails, Col. Kane – and the first artillery, Col. Campbell – now bear the inscription, “Dranesville, Dec. 20th, 1861.” Long may they wave, and may victory always crown the efforts of those who fear them, is the wish of all.
---- Soger Boy 

Wa18620205- Bucktails
Wellsboro Agitator 1862 February  05
From the Bucktails
Camp Pierpont, Jan. 26, 1862
Friend Agitator – ‘Tis a cold winter night, the north wind is playing “Hail Columbia” with the top of my little domicile, as I fasten the door, build on a fire, and seat myself to record the events of the past two weeks. My only reason for not writing last week, is this: Sunday is my regular day for writing, and last Sunday morning our company went out on picket. I will give you a little sketch of that day, as it will serve to illustrate the dark side of camp life.
We left our camp about 7 o’clock in the morning, with a drenching rain pouring down upon us, and with the mud more than shoe deep to go to the picket line, about two miles from camp, in the Dranesville road. A little circumstance took place on the way worth mentioning. We had to cross a little brook where the water was eight or ten inches deep, and as many of the boys wore shoes, one of them thinking to cross in a better spot, went to a pile of brush out of the road a few rods; but when about half way over, his foot slipped, and away went a Bucktail into a hole of muddy water four feet deep; he paddled around a moment to find his gun, but the gun was not forth coming. If any of you were ever four or five miles from home fishing in a drenching rain, and fell in all over – broke your line – lost your hook and fish, you can partly judge the feelings of Mr. -------- when he waded to the shore amid the shouts of a hundred soldiers.
It rained nearly all day and night, and as we had no tents, or houses, [except for those who wore straps upon their shoulder,] there we must stand, or wade in the “sacred soil” of old Virginia, nearly knee deep, for twenty-four long hours. The day passed off very well, but the night was long and lonely; hour after hour was shortened by the yarns and stories which went their rounds, but at last, when all were too sleepy and tired to either talk or listen – the stillness of the night was only broken by “Corporal of the guard, no 1st, 3rd or 4th relief,” as the case happened to be. Once in the night, while standing around the fire, I spoke to “Uncle Johnny” who was standing near me smoking his pipe – said I: “Pretty tough, Uncle Johnny?” “Rather hard, yes,” said he, “but be G—d I can stand it if the d—d sceesh can.”
Late at night, as I passed the window of a warm and well lighted room, where a few officers sat smoking cigars, singing songs, and occasionally taking a little “o-be-joyful.” I could not but contrast their condition with those who were standing in the ice and mud on that dark stormy night, to guard the “rock of liberty.”
The weather for the past ten days has been disagreeable, beyond description; more than bad enough to make up for the fair weather of December. The snow has not been over two inches deep, but the mud is about as deep as the snow in Potter County.
A few morning since, our honest old Chaplain while distributing some religious “tracks” among the soldiers, called at a tent on 3d street, and said, “good morning boys, good morning; shan’t I leave a few ‘tracks’ at your tent?” “Yes,” says Ned, “ but leave as few as possible, and be sure and leave the heels towards the tent.”
One election for Colonel took place last Wednesday; the candidates were, Lieut. Col. Thomas L. Kane, and Capt. Hugh W. McNeil of Co. D. The day was an exciting one, but passed off much more quietly than was anticipated. Superhuman efforts were made on both sides to win. On the one hand was a man who could boast of his birth and relations, one who had gold and could buy friends in every department of life and control the press; and on the other hand a band of freemen, or a regiment of men, who have left all that makes life dear, to fight for the land of their birth, a regiment whose lives as American citizens, and their reputation as soldiers depended upon the vote they cast. The polls were opened at nine o’clock, and in order not to have any disturbance at the polls, and in order to detect all fraud, we voted by companies. Co. A, voted first, the names being called from the muster roll. Co. B, next, and so on in succession. As soon as the voting began the betting commenced. At nine, bets were offered and taken two to one on the fighting Col. Kane. At twelve, all bets were taken evenhanded, and piles were put up. The McNeil men worked with determination to win, and at three o’clock the scale had turned, two to one on the gallant Captain. At five o’clock ten to one, and hundreds offered that no one seemed willing to cover. At five the polls were closed, and at seven the news ran like wild fire through every street, 223 majority for McNeil! The camp then echoes with cheers which continued long and loud. Again we have a Colonel! And with such a man as Hugh W. McNeil at our head, we have no fears that we shall lose one iota of our former name, that we have worked for nine long months of toil and danger to gain. Col. McNeil is about 35 years of age, six feet in height, dark eyes and hair, long black beard and mustache, and in fact a noble looking man. He is a graduate of Yale College, and is a good lawyer, and was at the time when this rebellion broke out, Cashier of the Warren County Bank. And in the dark days of April last, when a deepening gloom hung over every true American heart, and every rail road car was filled with freemen flying  to defend the Capital of the Nation, a hundred men might have been seen, armed with their own trusty pieces, floating down the Alleghany in scows built by their own hands, with their heart beating high with the hope that they might soon serve their country with Hugh W. McNeil for their First Lieut. From Pittsburgh they came to Camp Curtin, where he was promoted to Captain of his Company, then known as the Raftsman’s Guard, and since that time he has commanded his company in a manner which does honor to himself and men. And today he is commander of a Regiment second to none that ever trod the American soil, and with him at the helm, we will fight as long as there is a Bucktail heart that beats, or a drop of blood winding through our veins for the Union that will stand united and be honored by every nation for ages yet to come! ----- Col. Crocket
Wellsboro Agitator, 26 February 1862, p4
From the Buck-Tails
Camp Pierpont, Va., Feb. 16, 1862

Friend Agitator – The past week has been one that will form a bright page in the history of the rebellion. It has brought new life into the longing hearts of this great army of “mortar mixers,” on the banks of the Potomac – deafening cheers through every camp – a thrill of joy through every tent, and food for the anxious millions of the North, whose only cry is onward, irrespective of the circumstances which surround us. Our camps had scarcely quieted down over the victories at Fort Henry, when the glad tidings reached us from the Burnside expedition, which made these old hills once more tremble with the shouts of joy, and the cannons thunder. But the wave of success did not stop here, it rolled onward, and is still continuing to roll, and it will only stop when the last traitor has paid his debt upon the hemp. – It is impossible to describe the intense excitement of these camps, when the wires brought the news that at Fort Donelson, the arch traitor Floyd, and 15,000 of his satellites, were prisoners of war, and the proud old flag of our fathers waved in the place of the black flag of despotism. Notwithstanding the snow which was fast falling when the news reached us, cheer after cheer went up – bands played, and cannons thundered, until old Virginia seemed inhabited by a race of freemen, whose very yells had put to flight the minions of slavery.
As I read the proceedings of the past week, I can not but draw a contrast between the present and the past. A few short months ago, Gen. Wish was one of the heroes of the South – he was a lion – he had all the pluck of a country bulldog. He dare stand up for Southern fights, and when surrounded by an army of soldiers, and protected by the strong arm of the law – hanged one poor, lone, solitary, broken hearted old man, whose head was ----- over with age, and troubled – for attempting to liberate the groaning millions of America. But where do we find him today? I fancy I can see him on the shores of the ocean, dressed in the garb of a Rebel General, surrounded by an army of soldiers, and protected by the embattlements of war, with a troubled mind and a faltering step, pacing his room as a sentinel walks, well known but pausing every few moments to listen or with his glass, look out upon the agitated waves, trembling like a midnight assassin, when about to be brought to justice. But hark! A low rumbling sound booms over the deep and far away upon the ocean, a strange flag looms up, it comes nearer and near, until he recognized the same old Stars and Stripes that he had long years before sworn to protect, a cold chill passes through his veins – but again that sound falls upon his ear, nearer and more deadly than before, it speaks in language too plain to be misunderstood, and tells him that his race is run, the hour of his death draws near – the spirits of the injured departed, cluster around him – his hair stands erect – his eyes roll in their sockets – his knees grow weak – he turns pale – calls for his physician, he is sick – sends for his Aide - tells him to fight as long as there are any hopes, and then run, and as he is unwell, he will start on ahead. And thus we see that he ---- times of peace, fleeing from his army when the storm of battle rages around him.
Last Wednesday evening, a band from one of the Vermont regiments [the best in the service] came over and serenaded Col. McNeil. ‘Twas a calm and lovely moonlight night, and every one seemed inspired with new life. After playing “Hail Columbia,” “Yankee Doodle,” the “Star Spangled Banner,” and all the rest of the good old tunes, they closed by playing “Home, Sweet Home.” Nothing could be more lovely. It took one back to the happy scenes of the past, when all was peace.
The roads are yet almost impossible, but much better than they were when I last wrote.
The weather for the past few days has been quite pleasant. The wind began to dry up the mud, and our old drill ground began to present a busy aspect, but yesterday [Saturday] the snow fell about two inches deep which will again thin up the mud.
This morning the fog was so thick that is was impossible to see a tent across our street. [25 feet] The sun is now shining bright, and the snow is fast vanishing away.
One of the hardest parts of a soldier’s duty at the present time, is to get wood enough to keep from freezing. The amount furnished us by Uncle Sam, is not half-sufficient, if we had good winter houses, it might do, but with our little tents stretched over a pen of poles, it is not enough. But what the Government don’s and us we get ourselves, and this we do by taking the straps from our guns and knapsacks, and go to the woods – full one half mile – and gather dry loads, strap them together and sling them on our backs, like a knapsack, and then wallow through the mire, back to camp. This may seem rather hard to those unaccustomed to the privations and hardships of a soldier’s life, but then ‘tis nothing for a Soldier.
There is one thing more, but it is one that I hoped that I should never have occasion to speak of. There are a number of cases of the small pox in this camp, and even two or three cases in our regiment, but all precaution is taken to keep it from spreading, The whole regiment has been -------, and as soon as one shows any symptoms, he is immediately removed from camp, and his tent torn down. There are no cases in camp at the present time.
----Col. Crocket.

Wellsboro Agitator, 26 February 1862, p4
[From another correspondent]
Buck-tail City, Feb. 18th, 1862
Friend Agitator – For the last few days, the most intense excitement reigned through the camp. The news of the many victories gained by our troops, keeps them in a high state of excitement. For three days, the camps have resounded with the shouts of soldiers, the firing of cannon, and strains of martial music played from a hundred different bands. – The press just gives the account of the capture of Fort Donaldson with fifteen thousand prisoners, twenty thousand stands of arms, and three thousand horses. This is glorious news for us. But now must the rebels feel with this sad news ringing in their ears. We can now plainly see through the mist, that has obscured our pathway for the last few months, and how bright does the future appear, like some dark cloud that has covered the sky for a few short hours is passing away and we can see the clear blue sky once more. And soon like the sun that would appear, the star spangled banner will wave in triumph throughout our land. – The rebellion now lies weltering in its own blood, like some gigantic elephant that has received the deadly bullet of some experienced hunters it falls to the earth with a mighty crash, makes but a few strangles, and then expires. – A few more such victories as Roanoke Island, Fort Henry, and Donelson, and the Southern Confederacy will be known no more forever. – How gloomy must the leaders of this rebellion feel. But before the setting of many suns, they will have more to feel gloomy about. The head of the monster is already broken, and ere long the disens will reach the vitals, and then death will soon take place. I suppose that as soon as the roads get so we can drag our artillery over them, we shall have to rout them from their boasted strong hold, at Centreville and Manasses. But until then, all we can do is to stand guard, stamp around in the mud, and cheer for the glorious achievement of others.  – But, when we do move, we hope you may hear something good from the boys of the old Keystone State.
----Gen. Putnam

Tioga Agitator
August 23, 1865
The following is a List of Battles participated in by the 45th Regiment Pa. Vet. Vols., in the war of 1861-2-3-4-5:
James Island, S.C., June 10th to 16th, 1862.
South Mountain, Md., Sept. 14th, 1862.
Antietam, Md., Sept. 17th 1862.
Fredericksburg, Va. Dec. 11th to 14th, 1862.
Jamestown, Ky., May 30th 1863.
 Vicksburg, Miss., July 4th, 1863.
Jackson, Miss., July 10th to 17th, 1863.
Blue Springs, Tenn., Sept. 11th, 1863.
Louden, Tenn., Nov. 14th, 1863.
Campbell Station, Tenn., Nov 17th, 1863.
Siege of Knoxville, Tenn., Nov. 17 to Dec.6, ’63.
Wilderness, Va., May 6th and 7th, 1864.
Spottsylvania Court House, Va., May 12 to 18, ’64.
North Anna River, Va. May 24th to 27th, 1864.
Telopotomy Creek, Va., June 1st , 1864.
Bethsaida Church, Va., June 2d to 3d, 1864.
Cold Harbor, Va., June 7th, 1864.
Before Petersburg, Va., June 16 to July 29, 1864.
Mine Explosion, Petersburg, Va., July 30th, 1864
Weldon Railroad, Va., August 18th to 21st, 1864
Peebles’ Farm, Sept. 30th 1864
Storming of the works in front of Petersburg, April 24, 1864
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 28 February 2011
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice
Page typed and submitted by Pat NEWELL Smith