Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lucius E. Bidwell Co. B, 14th Connecticut Infantry KIA at the Wilderness May 5 1864

Lucius E. Bidwell Co. B, 14th Connecticut Infantry KIA at the Wilderness May 5 1864
Battlefield of The Wilderness
In camp on North side of Rapidan, Feb. 7, 1864

My Dear Mother—

Our Heavenly Father has again saved your son Lucius safely through another battle and one of the worst kinds of a battle too. It was a night fight. Yesterday morning about 5 o’clock we were routed out of our beds with the orders to pack up and fall in. We took up our line of march for the River Rapidan at about nine o’clock in the morning and reached the river about an hour after. We crossed the Rapidan by fording it about noon. We had to ford it, it was up to our breasts and it was a very rapid stream, so much so that if we had accidentally slipped, we would have been carried down stream, and stood a very good chance of finding our graves at the bottom thereof. But as far as I know there was no accident of the kind happened, only now and then one would slip as he was crawling up the opposite bank, which was very steep, but no serious harm was done to my knowledge, but givng them a good dunking, and wetting their cartridges.

The water was very cold--it makes a fellow’s feet and legs ache, I tell you! But go it, we must follow our leader through fire and water. The regiment known as the Garbaldi’s Guards, a New York Regiment composed of Dutch, Irish, and Italians refused to wade because they said it was too deep. But General Hays, knowing of it, jumped from his horse without saying a word, and left his horse this side of the river and waded across to the other side, picking out good footing, and then waded back after his horse. They saw that he got over safe, so they finally plunged in, and arrived safely on the other side. I tell you what he is - a regular tiger! I suppose you have heard of him before. He is in command of our Division, and goes by the name of 'Fighting Ellick'. He rides along the line of skirmishers with his hat in his hand, cheering the men on, crying, 'Give them hell boys give them hell.’ He is an old tiger, he is most always a little tight when there is fighting going on and then he is in his glory.

He thinks the Old 14th is about right he is always pressing us up. He was with us in the thickest of the fight crying out 'give ‘em hell, 14th--Bully for you! Bully for you, go in, boys, go in 14th!’ and so on--the balls flying around his head like hailstones without flinching in the least. He is a regular dare devil!

We marched to a hollow facing the rebels breast works, and remained there until about 5 o’clock within rifle shot of their rifle-pits. They sent a few shells over to us, but most of them passed over harmless. But two or three took effect, killing three or four and wounding several. They had only fired several shots when it was ascertained that the Rebs had ...a solid line of battle advancing on us. We were ordered to advance. The bully 14th taking the load, and charged at the double quick time. They met us half way and poured an everlasting fire into us which caused us to waiver for a moment, and with a deafening yell we made a rush, pouring a volley of blue pills into them which they won't soon forget and put them to flight, and drove them to their rifle pits.

By this time it was dark as pitch, we could not see our foes until we met them face to face, some shot at one another and knocked each others brains out with the butt of the musket. We were fighting in squads most of the night, each man for himself. 

Continue reading the rest of Lucius Bidwell's letter at

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