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PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2024 8:09 pm 
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Location: Old Northwest (Michigan)
Hudson Gazette
Saturday. November 28, 1863

From the Sharpshooters particular of the fight at Kelly’s Ford


Camp near Brandy Station Va. Nov. 21st 1863
Editor Gazette

Dear Sir

We received the Gazette last night, but says nothing pertains to the fight or skirmish at Kelly’s Ford, the 7th inst. I neglected writing, for the reason that other members of the company had kept you posted, and supposed some of the boys would have written the particulars of the skirmish.

(B)broke camp about 5 o’clock A.M. the 7th inst. and took up our line of march toward Kelly’s Ford, on the Rappahannock; we arrived and halted at Mt. Holly’s Church about 12 M. Orders were given that no shooting or fires would be allowed. Just then the pontoon train came up and we began to think there was soon to be work for Berdan’s boys as we led the Corps. Not we long in doubt.

Our regiment was called to attention and ordered forward, we moved cautiously under cover of the woods, crossed a small stream into an open field. Three companies on our right and three on our left, were deployed as skirmishers, leaving C, I, H and G on the reserve. We were then half a mile from the river. Orders were given to forward. Our skirmish line advanced but a few rods, when they began to exchange shots with some half dozen or the Johnnys who were on the east side river. They were posted there as pickets or lookouts to give the alarm, but they staid too long; four of them were taken prisoners and two were wounded.

Our skirmish line was then on the bank of the river. As our reserve moved up in line of battle, the Johnny’s opened a heavy volley of musketry from the rifle pits on the opposite side of the river. We were then ordered to move by the left flank and take cover in an old canal. Sergeant E.J. Southworth, of Co. C fell, shot through the right knee; also Sergeant Charles Monroe of Co. E, killed. Our friend Southworth was carried from the field to Mt. Holley’s church, where amputation took place. We regret very much the loss of our friend Southworth as he had many friends throughout the regiment, and always distinguished himself as a gentleman and a soldier.

Capt. Nash, of Gen. Wards’s staff, and our Adjutant had their horses shot under them at the same time. Support of the infantry came up, batteries were put in position, and opened which soon drove the Johnnie’s into their rifle pits, earthworks and behind buildings. The enemy then being concealed in their rifle pits orders were given for us to charge their works; which was about ten rods distant, and six of it in water, from one to three feet deep. We were then fording by the left flank. They opened a heavy volley, doing but little damage; however most their shots went over. Two or three fell just as we struck the water.

A part of the regiment remained on the bank to cover our crossing. They would cut the dust from the top of the pits, so it was not safe for them to show their head. They (the Johnnie’s) would stick their guns over the top of the pit and shoot at random. Albert Jewell of Co. I fell within 25 feet of the pit.

The next moment and our colors was floating over their works. As soon as (we) struck the bank it was every man for himself. We deployed without waiting orders and into them we went. The Johnnie’s could be seen in every direction swinging their hats and running. We charged into the village, and your humble servant captured horse, saddle and bridle belonging to the Colonel of the 30th North Carolina regiment. The sharpshooters took in all, between five and six hundred prisoners, principally from the 2d and 30th North Carolina regiments. And I must say that our friend R. H. Wirts formerly bugler of Co. C. distinguished himself in that bold charge. Infantry then crossed and our skirmish line advanced through an open field.

Henry Townsend, of Co. C was killed, shot through the head. He was a fine boy as there was in the company; also many of Co. F was killed. The enemy appeared in force, darkness set in and that closed the scene of this cruel war. Meanwhile the pontoons were thrown across and the balance of the troops crossed; cold and wet, we lay on the skirmish line till 10 o’clock at night. Then we were relieved went back and by the fire, made our coffee and lay down for the night. Morning came and to our surprise, we found the enemy gone; Followed up their retreat and are now in the vicinity of Brandy Station camped on the plantation of the Hon. John M. Botts, within 75 rods of his residence, patiently waiting for orders; as we expect to move soon. But where or which way I know not.

Your obd’t serv’t T.B.


Thomas B. Humphrey. Wheatland. Enlisted August 28, 1861, at Wheatland, for three years, age 29. Mustered Sept. 10, 1862. Promoted Corporal May, 1863. Promoted Sergeant June 28, 1864. Transferred to Company K, August 20, 1864. Commissioned Second Lieutenant May 25, 1864. Commissioned First Lieutenant Nov 15, 1864. Mustered out in front of Petersburg, Va., Jan 9, 1865.


Michigan Sharpshooter Casualties at Kelly’s Ford

Edward J. Southworth. Hudson. Aug 30, 1862 at Hudson, for 3 years, age 25. Mustered Sept 12, 1862. Promotion Sergeant. Wounded Chancellorsville May 3, 1863. Wounded Kelly’s Ford. Discharged at Washington D.C., June 28, 1864.

Elbridge B. Jewell. Hudson. Enlisted Co. I, Aug 19, 1862, at Hudson, age 27. Mustered Sept 10, 1862. Killed in action Kelly’s Ford, Va.

Henry Townsend. Nankin. Enlisted Co. C., Aug 21, 1861, at Detroit, age 20. Mustered Aug 26, 1861. Killed in action Kelly’s Ford, Va.


Bill Skillman
Michigan Companies
Berdan Sharpshooters Survivors Association


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