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John J. Evers Papers - MMS 1715

John J. Evers enlisted in the 13th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3 months' service) in 1861. That unit mustered out in August. Evers then joined the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (3 years' service). He was appointed corporal on November 20, 1861. Evers was killed in the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia on August 9, 1862.

With Company C, 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

March 30, 1862

Letter from Corporal John J. Evers, Company C, 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Camp Kimball, Strasburg, Virginia March 30, 1862

Subject:Battle of First Kernstown, Virginia March 23, 1862
1st Brigade (Colonel Erastus B. Tyler), Shields' Division (under Colonel Nathan Kimball)
Originally published in Wood County Independent April 9, 1862

Editor Independent-Dear Sir:

We were favored yesterday with another copy of your ever-welcome paper, thereby letting us know that you were alive and on duty as well as ourselves.

From Paw Paw Tunnel, where my last was written, Gen. Shields' Division took up its line of march toward an unknown region. Took the cars at the tunnel, passed down the road and the river by Hancock until we came to a little stream called Back Creek where the Rebels destroyed the bridge, of course, and did all the other damage they could think of. Here the troops were landed, but the general, being too impatient to wait until the bridge could be reconstructed marched them on to Martinsburg, 12 miles. This place has been the scene of a greater destruction of property than any other on the whole line of the road. 42 first class railroad engines stood there on the track, burnt so as the render them useless. Also, a train loaded with coal and many passenger cars-in all, some three miles long-were destroyed in the same manner. The engine-house and everything else of interest has shared the same fate. The place is about 90 miles from Cumberland, 20 from Harper's Ferry and 22 from Winchester. It numbers about 3,500 inhabitants, many of whom are loyal, both in word and deed, although the Rebel rule existed here until the 1st of March.

From that place we marched forward to within 4 miles of Winchester and pitched our tents. The country from Martinsburg to Strasburg, a distance of 40 miles, is the most fertile, productive, and beautiful character of any I have ever seen. The farms are large and owned by men who understand their business, and know, evidently, how to make slaves pay. Large stone and brick houses decorate the central knoll of each. The owners are nearly all sound for the Union.

Ere this, you have had full details of our fight last Sunday, and judging from newspaper accounts of it, you have had it over true. It seems on the whole, it was a work of strategy. Friday the 21st, General Banks stated to his men that they would soon be in Centreville. The report soon became current that all were going to leave except Shields' Division. According to report, Banks' force all left. The madcap Colonel Ashby in disguise entered the city, and seeing but one brigade, supposed that was our whole force. The citizens themselves where deceived, and urged him to use his influence in having the place retaken. Saturday, cannonading was heard distinctly nearly all day, but it was supposed to be but a reconnaissance on their part, and our troops were not all ordered out. During the firing, General Shields was wounded in the arm, and did not engaged in the fight of the next day.

The 23rd, about 10 o'clock, all doubt as their attacking us was removed. Jackson had been so credulous as to bite the bait held out to him. Skirmishing and engagements of more or less importance continued until 4 o'clock, when Colonel Tyler was ordered to charge on their batteries with his brigade, consisting of the 7th Ohio, 7th Indiana, 1st Virginia, 10th Pennsylvania, 29th Ohio, and 1st Michigan Cavalry as a reserve. The 7th Ohio was in the advance and received the enemy's first fire, which was terrific, but the other regiments came up promptly to our support. We found that before charging their battery, we would have to whip all their infantry, double our own. The 3rd Brigade was on the right of our force, and opposing the enemy's left.

After engaging them about a half an hour, receiving as good as we gave, we were overjoyed to see the 67th (Ohio), colors flying, marching on Jackson's center. The 14th Indiana, and parts of the 4th, 5th, and 8th Ohio accompanied them. The 13th Indiana and 81st Pennsylvania on their right. Before dark they were routed. I counted 180 of their dead next morning in a short time. 20 of our regiment were killed and 58 wounded. 40 men of our company were engaged. 3 were killed and 7 wounded, some of them mortally.

I believe none of the Wood County boys were hurt except G.N. Parsons, though all were engaged or entertained. The one mentioned was shot through the leg below the knee. As every one who writes from the battlefields tried to depict all the horror possible, I will omit it. To see man, or all that was left of him, his head being knocked off, and all such sights, are common occurrences at such times.

We chased the flying foe for 5 miles beyond this place, and are now ignorant of further movements. Banks is now with us, accompanied by his whole force. Jackson has received about 6,000-7,00 reinforcements, but let him come. More anon.

Yours, & c.,
Jim

July 1, 1862

Letter from Corporal John J. Evers, Company C, 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Alexandria, Virginia July 1, 1862

Subject: Retreat after Battle of Port Republic, June 9, 1862
Third Brigade (Colonel Erastus B. Tyler), Shield's Division (Brigadier General James Shields)
Originally published in the Wood County Independent July 9, 1862

Saturday June 21st, notwithstanding our many promises of rest, we were ordered to prepare immediately for a march. All conjectures as to our destination were soon dispersed as the trains of wagons and artillery were all ordered to Manassas Junction. McDowell's men having all gone by rail, we expected to do the same. Railroad riding with us had "played out" and the boys had it currently reported that "Old Paddy Shields" said he wasn't going to have his men jolted along in freight cars, they'd march first. Banks' vanguard, the 10th Maine Regiment, arrived in town, and our advance led off towards the Blue Ridge. In two hours our division had all cleared Front Royal, we hope forever. 55 miles was the distance to be made in 3 days. We came to time but had a rather tough one, as the weather was very warm and the roads so dusty that our line of marching might be traced for miles by the rising clouds of powdered earth. Quite a number were sun struck the surgeons said. A part of the route lay through a most romantic and beautiful country, the noted Manassas Gap is so gradual and ascent and descent that you hardly know you are at the summit of the Blue Ridge, except for the broad extensive plains appeared to a far better advantage than usual. Our first encampment was at Markham, the home of the late Col. Ashby. The first day was passed through Thoroughfare Gap, the place Gen. Geary was going to make famous as the American Thermopylae during Jackson's raid. The way he lit out of that though wasn't as slow as the remaining baggage clearly showed. Monday everything arrived at Bristor Station, 3 miles from the Junction. Tuesday was occupied principally in a thundering rain storm. Gen. Shields hearing of his treatment at Headquarters left immediately and has not been with us since. The men are a unit for him. Thursday a review was hatched up, and in accordance with the wishes of our certain "lone stars" the division was called out to be looked at by Gen. Ferry and Brig. Gen. Van Ranselaer, chief of McDowell's staff. Friday evening, our brigade (3rd) took the cars and came to this place, Alexandria, and Saturday was, with all its baggage, put aboard two transports North America and Georgia for Fortress Monroe or someplace else. We dropped out into the river and cast anchor for the night, and Sunday morning the 29th landed and marched to this hill nearly 2 miles from the city, and 6 miles from Washington. The 3rd and 4th brigades are promised a short rest, owing to our being so used up at Port Republic. The 1st and 2nd embarked Sunday and Monday and are far on their way ere this. The 67th (Ohio) is in the 2nd (brigade) Gen. Ferry and has gone. We will go soon. Yesterday all the troops in this vicinity who could be spared were sent down- about 12,000-15,000. Exciting news this morning from Richmond. The Capitol and White House are in full view. The men are now in good condition generally. The hospitals at this place and Washington are like a good home more than anything I have ever seen. More in due time.

Jim

*Corporal Evers was killed in action August 9, 1862 at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Virginia

MMS 1715 - John J. Evers Papers Guide
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