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1863 July 11: Second Battle of Winchester

July 5, 2013

The Second Battle of Winchester was fought between June 13 and June 15, 1863, in and around Winchester, Virginia.  It was part of the Gettysburg Campaign, leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg, and was a Confederate victory.  Even though it happened nearly a month early, it is just now appearing in The Prescott Journal of July 11, 1863.

The Disaster at Winchester.

A correspondent of the New York Herald, in giving an account of the disaster at Winchester, says the Union forces numbered but little over seven thousand men, with but three battries [sic] of field artillery, aside from six siege pieces in the fort, while the enemy was known to be fully 20,000 strong.¹

OUR LOSSES.

Our losses have indeed been terrible.—Not a thing was saved, except that which was worn or carried upon the person of the troops. Three entire batteries of field artillery and one battery of siege guns—all the artillery of the command, in fact—about two hundred and eighty wagons, over twenty hundred horses and mules, all the commissary and quartermaster’s stores and ammunition of all kinds, over six thousand muskets and small arms without stint, the private baggage of the officers and men, all fell into the hands of the enemy.  Of the seven thousand men of the command but from sixteen hundred to two thousand have as yet arrived here, leaving to be accounted for over 5 thousand men.  These comprise the list of horrors, except the names of the killed and wounded, which it is impossible to ascertain, as the slain remained unburied and the wounded unsurgeoned where they fell.²

OFFICERS LOSE THEIR WIVES.

Many of the poor bearers of shoulder straps are going around with exceedingly long faces, morning [sic], not like Rachael for her children, but for their other selves, who the exigencies of the occasion prevented them from taking away.  Quite a large number of the officers had their wives with them, and these unfortunate ladies are still in Winchester (if they have not been sent to Richmond), not knowing whether their husbands are dead or alive, prisoners, or safe among their companions in camp.

The 18th Connecticut regiment went into the fight on Saturday over nine hundred strong, and to day thirty-one men can muster—Major Henry Peal³ and Captain Frank A. Plamer,4 the last named being on Gen. Milroy’s staff [Robert H. Milroy].

1.  Indeed the Union forces were only 7,000, but the Confederate forces were 12,500 not 20,000.
2.  The list of Union casualties included 95 killed, 348 wounded, and 4,000 missing/presumed captured.
3.  Henry Peale, who had been captain of Company F and was just promoted to major on May 20, 1863.
4.  Frederick A. Palmer, who had been the 1st lieutenant of Company E and was promoted to captain when Isaac W. Hakes, Jr., resigned in December 1862.

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