From the

81st Regiment



From the 81st P. V.

July 1863


Inasmuch as a goodly number of the 81st Regt. came from your town and neighborhood, the thought occurred to me, that a line from our head quarters would be interesting to your readers.   We are now encamped at Sandy Hook, Md., for a few days rest, which our tired boys much need after so much hard marching and such magnificent fighting.  Indeed, the old regiment has seen much hard service; it has been on the front in every important battle fought by the Army of the Potomac and though its number is small, having been reduced from 1460 to 163 men, 134 of whom were engaged, I am proud to say that no equal number of men ever did better work than was performed by the 81st on the bloody fields of Gettysburg.  After marching nearly 250 miles, night and day, though heat and dust, rain and mud, we came to the battle ground on Thursday the 2nd inst., and with the whole of our troops was soon in position in line of battle, under the command of Lieut. Co. Amos Stroh, (Col. McKeen being called to command in another department) whose gentlemanly character and kindness of manner had won him a place in the brave hearts of those he lead.  The ball soon opened with great determination on both sides, and continued to increase in vigor until the whole area of the field was likened unto a roaring sea of death, and there amid it nodding waving plumes of fire, driving and then being driven could be seen the dauntless 81st with her intrepid commander and I should not fail to add, her lion hearted Major T. C. Harkness with his gleaming sword pointing forward infusing fire into the boys and assisting the Col. In having his small but invincible force against the invading foe.  I looked on with unutterable feelings, wondering who among that brave band would ever return to the bosom of their homes, but strange to tell, after that and the following day’s conflict, just 75 men marched from the victorious field of Gettysburg with their old torn flag, active Co. and tireless major still at their head.


By the way I should not fail to make favorable mention of the Quartermaster John Brelsford, who I am glad to say is on of the truest, most thorough going, honest and indefatigable men in the army.


We will soon start in pursuit of Lee and we long to meet him again, believing that we will be able to wipe out the last vestige of treason and replace our glorious Stars and Stripes where once it so proudly waved.


                                                            V. L. M.





Return to the

Camp Correspondence

Home page


Text, research, transcription and web page


Jack Sterling

October, 2003