Friday, April 1, 2011

Week 6 - May 27th - June 2nd 1861 - Discord in Camp and the Regiment Finally Advances Into Virginia

This was a pretty eventful week for the 1st Connecticut, which began with their Colonel, Daniel Tyler, promoted to Brigadier General and Lt. Colonel George S. Burnham succeding him as Colonel of the Regiment.  About this same time (May 28th) General Irwin McDowell assumed command of the Union Department of Northern Virginia. Private William H. Cooley of Infantry Company H wrote that the regiment was eating poorly because a cook was stealing food and selling it; however, the cook was replaced and the food situation improved.

The end of the week saw a minor disturbance as the Colonel of the 3rd Connecticut Volunteers, John Arnold, was forced to resign his command on May 29th. He was replaced by Major John L. Chatham of the 1st Connecticut. As a result of this change, Captain John Speidel of Rifle Company B was promoted the Lt. Col. of the regiment and Captain Theodore Byxbee was promoted to Major.

The next day, following skirmishes at Arlington Mills [Co. E, 1st Michigan Volunteers] and Fairfax Courthouse on June 1st, the 1st Connecticut Regiment moved into Virginia and set up camp at Roaches Mills, Virginia. They would not withdraw from Virginia until after the Battle of Bull Run in late July.

Cavalry Charge at Fairfax Courthouse - Harper’s Weekly, June 15, 1861
Entries from the journal of Pvt. Horace Purdy:

Saturday June 1st, 1861

A disturbance in the 3rd Regt. Capt. Bixbee [Theodore Byxbee - Meriden] and Co. [Infantry Company F were sent over by General Tyler to arrest their Col. [John Arnold - New Haven]. His men rallied around him to prevent his arrest. Our regiment were ordered under arms to go over and put a stop to the difficulty, but our services were not required. The disturbance was on account of a misunderstanding between their Col. and the Gen. Some unnecessary severity on the part of Gen. Tyler together with the misunderstanding nearly caused a quarrel between them. Their Col. finally gave himself up, and this eve Major [John L.] Chatfield of our regiment was promoted to Col. by Gen. Tyler subject to the sanction of our Gov. Buckingham. Tomorrow he takes command of the 3rd Regt.

Sunday, June 2nd, 1861

At 12 o’clock last night we were marched from our camp across Long Bridge and into Virginia. About 5 miles over the heights to Arlington Mills where the N. York 12th Regt. were on duty and relieved them, they returning to Washington. We arrived about 3 o’clock A.M. after a hard march. We had a hard shower last night before we left which made the roads very muddy and consequently it was hard to march. I was detached for guard duty as soon as we had breakfasted on the rations which we carried with us. The Regt. pitched their tents on a lot near by for temporary quarters. I was very tired and slept when I was relieved from duty. The day has been very warm. Capt. [Eliakim E.]Wildman being sick he did not march with us but arrived during the day.

Crossing the Long Bridge 1861 -

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