Michael Henry Barckley - Letters From the Seventh Artillery - June 5, 1864

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY
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7th Regiment Artillery (Heavy), NY Volunteers Civil War Newspaper Clippings

Local Affairs.

Letters From the Seventh Artillery.

[Correspondence of the Albany Knickerbocker.]


IN THE FIELD, June 5, 1864.

Mr. EDITOR: The Seventh New York Artillery has been three weeks in active campaigning. Assigning some limit to human endurance, I think I speak truth in saying that "rarely have the energies of fellow mortals been more severely taxed than have those of this regiment since we issued from the fortifications in defence of Washington. Our experience has been one succession of forced marches, severe fighting or rapid entrenching. The New York Times correspondent correctly states the case in saying, "Whatever may be the determination of the enemy, there will be no change or let up in the resolve of this army; of its commander, and of the head of all the armies of the United States. That resolve is to put the matter through, cost what it may. In doing this we shall add to the already appalling list of losses we have experienced in this unparalleled battle of eight days' duration, but we shall end by crushing them to powder." This being the policy to which we are reduced, of course it is entirely out of place to complain of any excess in amount of toil, privation and suffering to which we may be subjected. The war has now approached that culminating state when no sacrifice must be spared to ensure rapid success; it is the policy of arithmetical computation, and there is no doubt that the price of human blood and treasure at which the accomplishment of this national object is estimated, is of a most unstinted liberality. Therefore, appearing as we do, as actors in this bloody drama, at this, its approaching catastrophe, we must summon up all our fortitude and patriotic endurance to reconcile us to the unspeakable sacrifices that are daily demanded of us.

After having executed some brilliant flank movements, we seem now to have brought our wary foe to bay; our advanced lines are within a few feet of the enemy's position, and one continual skirmish firing is kept up night and day.

The Seventh has already won an honorable record for itself; it has taken part in the most hazardous enterprises since its incorporation into the fighting Second Corps. But we have lost severely. On leaving Washington on the 15th ult., our morning report showed an aggregate strength of 1,850 officers and men; to day we report 932 men present for duty. Our loss in officers has been equally severe. Yesterday we suffered an irreparable loss in the death of our beloved commander, Col. Lewis O. Morris. He had just commenced a letter to his lady, remarking as he sharpened his pencil, "I must write home, or my folks will have me killed. At this moment the division commander, Gen. Barlow, approached to inquire about the construction of a field work, and desired Col. Morris to accompany him to inspect it. He had not advanced many paces when he was struck by a rifle ball, which entered at the shoulder, passed through the lung and rested in the spine. He lingered for five hours in great agony, and then tranquilly died.

The command of the regiment devolves upon Lt. Col. John Hastings, an officer of undoubted courage and good military capacity. In his hands the reputation of the regiment is safe, while his care and consideration for the interests of his men form a prominent feature in his character.

I subjoin a list of casualties among the officers which you have not yet received:

Capt. S. E. Jones, contused shoulder.
Lieut. E. G. McCleary, missing.
Lieut. J. B. Read, severely wounded and missing.
Lieut. Charles Ducharme, wounded in heel.
Lieut. C. Swaine Evans, wounded in shoulder, serious.
Lieut. Michael J. Barckley, wounded in leg.
Lieut. Thos. S. McClure, killed.

The weather is lovely, and our stay here in the trenches affords needful rest to the men.

Yours, truly, Nemo.