McClellan’s Wild Indians (March 22, 1862)

unioneagleCamp Tennalby.

Washington. DC. Mar 22d 1862

Dear Cousin Hen.

I received your most welcom letter of the 18th and was very glad to hear that you with the rest of my friends are all around as yet. I should think that it fetches some of the folks around on the Island now that the oldest inhabatance is leaving for parts unknown, or over Jordan as some calls it, but if they was not here they would get ust to it. As soon as enny of our friends Dies out here the Sergant of the Company they ust to belong to Sends Three men to dig a grave in the nearest Churchyard and they then they put the corpses in a coffin, 8 men puts him on thare shoulders, as many more follows with reverse arms. . . a fifer and drummers makes up the Persesion, puts him in the hole, fires 3 rounds over the heap of dust, then leaves him alone to his Reflections. Hen, we left Camp Tennalby on the 10th and marched over in Virginia about 20 miles to Manases in the Rain and Mud. . . to get a pop at the Cowardly. . . but as soon as they heard that we was in Virginia they left dam quick, only leaving behind them some old wagons and 20 wooden cannons painted black. After staying in Manases about 5 hours we marched back to Prospect hill about 4 miles and halted for 3 days and nights. While on Prospect hill I thought I had a dam good prospect to starve to death and drown, for it rained . . . for 2 days and one night and us poor Beggars was in it without any Shelter. Then we started to join the Burnside Expedition but when we reached long bridge thare was no Conveyances to take us to Richmond, Virginia, whare they was then. So we camped in the field until Sunday the 16th when we marched back to Tennalby whare we have been ever since. Now we are under Marching orders with 5 days rations ahead, reddy to leave at any moment. I am now in the Commorsaryes department as I was tired of doing nothing. The only thing I ust to do was to cary the Colors out on a Battalion drill or a Brigade drill or Inspection. So perhaps I would not go out for a week to a time as there is only Companies drills now once a day witch the Flag does not appear on the grounds. I am pretty well ingaged now, all my time giving out Rations for the Cook w cook for the men and drawing 5 days Rations to a time from the Quarter Masters. All I do is oversee it, and I have got a very nice little fellow with me that does all the work. So all I do is to keep account of what comes in and what is giving out. Big thing in dress parade last night. The Adjutant of the Regt read in the Orders that Gen. McClellan was going w send us on a march to settle this Rebelion as we are tired fooling with them, but he has kept the army of the Potomack for to wind up this dam mess with and if he gives us orders we will do it dam quick. The biggest part of the Division has imbarked all redy, and as soon as they get out of the way we are going to follow suit. So in two or three weeks. . . you will hear that the Andersons Zouaves or McClellans wild Indians as he calls us have give the. . .all the fight they wanted. . .

Letter of Abraham T. Perine to his cousin Henry

See: “In love and friendship, by Marjorie Kerr”. Staten Island Historian XVI (1955) 28-30.


How to Become a Zouave (March 23, 1862)


Sgt. Robert F. Beasley

[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]


PROSPECT HILL, VA., March 16th.

On the March–Clear Weather and Cedar Huts–Rain–Off Again in Another Direction–Camp Misery and its Pleasures–How to Become a Zouave.

 On the 10th, at 10 o’clock, the regiment marched from Camp Tennally to reinforce General McCall, at Manassas. Before we got there we got orders to halt. The weather cleared, and the boys made cedar huts, and we stayed there until Friday, and then we marched back to Camp Misery ; and we halted again, and we got orders to prepare for the night. The hills were soon illuminated with camp-fires, and it began to get cloudy. On Saturday, at 1 o’clock. P. M., it began to rain in torrents : and there we were, without anything to keep us dry, for we had to leave our tents at Camp Tennally when we marched. To-day (the 16th) at ten o’clock we were formed into line of battle, and we marched back to Camp Tennally, where we got orders to be in readiness to march to-morrow, the 17th. It is said we will go to re-inforce the Burnside expedition. I hope we will have better weather than we had in Camp Misery. We had to stand up all night.

If you want to be a Zouave you must not eat for three weeks, and must not drink for two weeks, and must not sleep for one week, and then you will be a Zouave.

Yours, C. F. B.

P.S.–There are two more members of Hose 43 that I did not mention before : Norman Provost, Sixth Connecticut Regiment, and William V. Malloy, Ninth Regiment, N. Y. S. M.

Letter to the Sunday Mercury, March 23, 1862.

Note: Despite being signed “C. F. B.” it is clear from its content that this letter was actually written by “R. F. B., Co. A.” (which is assumed to be Sergeant Robert F. Beasley of Co. A)  – John Tierney

For biographical information on Sgt. R.F.Beasley see:

Private Timothy Kelly, Co. K.

unioneagleTimothy Kelly was a soldier in Co. K of the 62d NYSV, who held the rank of Private. He was wounded at Malvern Hill (July 1, 1862), Fredericksburg (December 11-15 , 1862) and at Chancellorsville (May 5, 1863). One of these wounds is recorded as a slight face wound. Not much more is known about Timothy Kelly.

An existent Provost Marshal’s Office document relating to Timothy Kelly reads;

“Provost Marshal’s Office,

Sixteenth Congressional District,


Plattsburgh, N.Y. July 20 1863.

To Cham Trans Co.

Please furnish transportation from Plattsburgh to New York City for Timothy Kelly (Private Co. K 62d N. Y. Vol)

George Clendon Jr

Pro. Marshal”


The Anderson Zou-zous (March 16, 1862)

sunday_mercury_title_1865[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]



Anderson Zouaves All Ready–Wild with Joy for a Trip to Dixie–The Name of the hero of Sumter not Forgotten–Another New Soldier Paper. 

It was my intention to have kept you posted in all matters of importance regarding the Anderson Zouaves, but we have been kept in a continual state of excitement for the past two weeks, owing to orders having been received to prepare ourselves for an instant march ;  and, although we as yet remain here, still we are packed up, and ready to start at an hour’s notice.

Our men are perfectly wild with joy to think that we should have the good luck to see some actual service in the field, for we have lain so long here that we were under the opinion that we were to be kept in charge of the chain of forts at this place to protect the Capital of our beloved country. Although it is one of the most particular points around Washington (as it was by this way the rebels intended to attack the Capital), still we could gain a name which would strike terror to the hearts of the Southern foe. With such leaders as Col. J. Lafayette Riker and Major Oscar V. Dayton (who, by the way, is called by the boys “Little Put”), we cannot fail in making our mark. All we want is a chance to meet the enemy, and we will show them that the name we bear has not been forgot, and the attack upon Fort Sumter has yet to be avenged by the Anderson Zou-Zous.

We have just issued the first number of the Anderson Zouave, and I send you by post several copies, to show you what your brother-typos are about in the army. Of course, you must excuse this our first attempt in the newspaper line ; and it is our intention hereafter to make this as useful an organ of its kind as possibly can be, and an instructor for officer and soldier alike.

But I must close this, hoping the next time I write I will be able to furnish the readers of you valuable paper an account of how the Anderson Zouaves behave on the field of battle.

J.L. S.

Letter to the Sunday Mercury, March 16, 1862.  

(Note: This letter was most likely written by James L. Shields, the Sergeant Major of the regiment at the time, however, it is also possible it could have been written by James L. Silvey, a 19 year old private in Capt. Edwin P. Davis’ Co. D  – John Tierney)


Private Jacob Grainor (Greiner), Co. F.

unioneagleJacob Grainor served as a Private in Company F. He was wounded at Battle of Williamsburg, 5th April, 1862.


Washington’s Birthday (March 9, 1862)


Sgt. Robert F. Beasley

[Special Correspondence of the Sunday Mercury.]


CAMP TENNALLY, D. C., Feb. 25.

How the Anderson Zouaves Celebrated the Twenty-second – A Big Blow – Taking the Tents Down – More Firemen Volunteers. 

I take this opportunity of letting you know how we kept Washington’s birthday in our camp. The day being, at two o’clock the regiment was called together, and the Rev. Mr Harvey made a short prayer, and then read Washington’s “Farewell Address,” to which the men listenned very attentively. Col. Riker then made a speech on the present war, which was very much liked by the men. After the speech was finished, the regiment was dismissed, and the boys g(a)ve three cheers for the colonel and major, and went to their quarters.

Yesterday–the 24th–the wind began to blow, and it blowed so hard, that we had to take down all of our tents to keep them from blowing away. It was … fun to see the men running in all directions to get out of the wind. But to-day it is very fine.

R.F. B., Co. A.

P.S. – I saw in your last week’s paper that you would like to know the members of hose Co. No. 43 that have enlisted for the war. I will let you know who they are: Charles W. Sheffield and George W. Falkner, Anderson Zouaves ; and William Thompson and John Thomson, Baker’s California Regiment. I don’t know of any more.

Letter to the Sunday Mercury, March 9, 1862 

(Note: The letter is signed “R. F. B., Co. A.” which, assuming that the roster of the Anderson Zouaves is complete and correct, could only be the initials of Sergeant Robert F. Beasley of Co. A. – John Tierney).

For biographical information on Sgt. R.F. Beasley see:


Sgt. William Dragit (Drager, Dreger), Co. F & Co. G.

unioneagleWilliam Dragit mustered in as a Private and served in Co. F and Co. G. At the time of his death he had attained the rank of Sergeant. He died on 8th January, 1862 and is buried at the Military Asylum Cemetery (Washington D.C.).


Private John Dirkas, Co. F.

unioneagleBorn c. 1841, John DIRKAS served as a Private in Co. F. John deserted the Regiment (along with a number of others, included James Dean of Co. F) in early September 1861 after the Regiment received its pay at Meridian Hill, Washington D.C.


Dare-devil Dick (February 27, 1862)


Capt. Silas Titus

…We have been out to Camp Tenallytown, where Brig.-Gen. Peck’s Brigade is stationed, and we must say that the happiness of our excursion culminated at his headquarters. We found the General well, and everything in order of battle, ready to enter the “deadly breach,” and destruction betides the foe that meets him. It is known that the General is very thorough in his command, and thorough generally; but as be is ever gentlemanly and generous to old and young, great and small, soldier and civilian, his brigade do not fail to recognize and appreciate him, and acknowledge his true-heartedness as a friend, his ability as a strategist, and his integrity as politician, statesman and soldier. His staff, Maj. Spencer, Surgeon; Capt. Morris, A. A. General; Capt. Silas Titus, A. D. C. and Quartermaster: Capt. Green, Commissary; Lieut. Charles Sterling, A. A. D. C, and Lieut. D. Lodor, A. A. D. C , are all agreeable and unanimous in the great work before them, and for courtesy, energy, bravery, and all the requisites for a belligerent or beatific life, as the case may arise, they need no advisers or reviewers. We had the pleasure of riding through the brigade with a portion of the staff, Capt. Titus leading off, which was a treat few outsiders ever get in this “vale of tears,” or any other vale. We were greatly amazed at the order, style and discipline of the different regiments, and especially the “Anderson Zouaves,” Col. Riker, and should “consolidate” with that regiment soon if long in its vicinity. The whole brigade call Capt. Titus “Dare-devil Dick,” which needs no interpretation. I would only advise those who follow him up steep banks to never mind the bridle, but put both arms around the horse’s neck, and they-will manage to keep up and come out as well as we did.

The “Pennsylvania Thirteenth,” a nice little sheet published in camp, contains the following:

“Capt. Silas Titus, our worthy Brigade Quartermaster, was made the happy recipient of two handsome Presents, one of which was a beautiful meerschaum pipe and box of fragrant Turkish tobacco, the present of a well-known citizen of Pittsburg, Mr. V. H Garrard. The other, a beautiful and highly decorated bridle and breast strap, a present from the Quartermaster of the Thirteenth Regiment, Lieut. A. C. Day. May the worthy Captain long live to enjoy the rich fumes of the tobacco from out of his meerschaum bowl, and rein his noble horse with his beautiful bridle.”

Long live the Captain!

– The Subsciber

Syracuse Daily Courier & Union, No. 7, Thursday, February 27, 1862.

Image credit:

Original extract courtesy of John Tierney



Sgt. George Diehle (James Diehl), Co. F.

unioneagleGeorge J. Diehle served Company F., enlisting as a Private and mustering out with the rank of Sergeant. After the War, George was a member of the J.L. Riker Post #62 G.A.R. He died on the 4th March, 1915 and was buried at the Lutheran All Saints Cemetery on the 7th March, 1915., Row 9 Grave 2. Alternative name: James Diehl.