[Philadelphia Inquirer 9 March 1863 page 2]
FROM THE NINETY-FIRST PENNA. REGIMENT.
Correspondence of the Inquirer.
CAMP NEAR FALMOUTH, VA., March 2d, 1863.
As yours is the only paper sought after in this delightful abode of liquid mud, I thought I would take the liberty of informing you that there is a batch of Uncle Sam's nephews "down yer," yclept the Ninety-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Colonel E M. Gregory, who claim the Quaker City as their home. We have now been in active service over twelve months, a portion of the time on provost duty at Washington and Alexandria. In August last we were in company with the One-hundred-and-twenty-sixth, One-hundred-and-twenty-ninth and One-hundred-and-thirty-fourth Pennsylvania Regiments, formed into a Brigade under the command of Brigadier-General TYLER, of Ohio, in Ex-General FITZ-JOHN PORTER'S Grand Division, with whom we took part in that famous tramp through "Maryland, my Maryland." In November we were transferred to the care of Major-General JOSEPH HOOKER, under whose regime we passed through that terrible December 13th, at Fredericksburg.
After we had crossed the river our regiment was taken back of the city, and stationed at the foot of a ridge, which seemed to afford a partial protection from the artillery of the enemy; but the Rebs being a little better posted in the cover business than ourselves, had planted a battery to enfilade the cover, and no doubt enjoyed the joke hugely as they saw us file in and lie down to await our turn at the stone wall. After we had got nicely fixed, they sent us a despatch in the shape of a shell, warning us that we were trespassing. Not taking much heed of that, they repeated the dose, until our exposed condition drew remarks from many of our own Generals.
After losing Lieutenant MURPHY, of Company I, and five men by this piece of strategy, we were called off to the left side of the road and formed into line of battle amid a perfect hailstorm of shot and shell. The brave General HUMPHRIES, commander of our division, rode up and addressed us:--"Sons of Pennsylvania, yonder is the enemy! The honor of your State is in your keeping!--this means charge bayonet. Now show them how do to it!" Away we started, up the hill, across the meadow, over men lying in line of battle on the ground, through mud and obstacles of every kind we followed General HUMPHRIES, and planted our colors within thirty yards of that stone wall against which division after division had been thrown during the entire day only to meet with repulse and slaughter, and there we stayed until the shades of night gathered around us.
Early in the charge our Colonel's horse fell under him, having received seven distinct wounds. The Colonel was wounded in the sword hand, and found himself in a twinkling disarmed, dismounted and wounded, but seizing a sword from an astonished officer, he sprang again to the front, shouting, "Come on my Ninety-first," and hatless, his grey hair streaming in the wind, his coat covered with mud, he led the way towards the Rebel works. We lost our Major and many others in this charge. We regret them deeply, but they fell with their faces towards the foe.
Since the battle we have lost our Quartermaster, Lieut. GEORGE W. EYRE, after a very short illness. A perfect soldier and gentleman, endeared alike to rank and file, his loss is keenly felt.
The Colonel is now, and has been for some time past, in command of the brigade. On Friday, Feb. 27th, the division was ordered out on picket; advantage was taken of the appearance of the Colonel to present him with a horse, the gift of the commissioned officers of the regiment. The horse was presented by Captain JOSEPH H. SINEX. Immediately afterwards, Sergt. D F. MANSFIELD, of Co. F, on behalf of the enlisted men, presented him with a costly and beautiful sword. We are satisfied with the leader of our choice, and know that we will not be asked to go anywhere where he dare not lead.
We hear considerable down here about the demoralization of the army, that we won't fight under certain Generals, etc If citizens suppose that soldiers ask any questions when ordered to "pack up," they are "mighty much mistook." The advance on certain death at Fredericksburg ought to have stifled that cry forever.
As to our demoralization we ascribe it to the reports of those ex-veterans, who, seized with the earth-work fever, obtained their discharge on some trivial excuse and now act the part of parlor heroes, and lament over our demoralization.
Since the appearance of "ye green-back man" our complaints have all vanished, our tobacco pouches are filled, and the Army of the Potomac, in their lonely shelter tents, are willing to "forward" when ordered, and ask no better amusement than to meet the enemy on an open field and give them a lesson in morality.