Recollection by C. Stuart Patterson of the Union defense of Carlisle, July 1, 1863

    Source citation
    Reproduced in George W. Wingate, History of the Twenty-Second Regiment of the National Guard of the State of New York ... (New York: Edwin W. Dayton, 1896), 214-219 
    Original source
    Letter, C. Stuart Patterson to George W. Wingate, date unknown. 
    Author (from)
    C. Stuart Patterson
    Date Certainty
    John Osborne
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
    I shall not tell you the story of the march, for we have both read our friend Wingate's admirable description of it, but will resume the broken thread of my story about five miles from Carlisle. Fatigued by the march, for it seemed long to raw recruits, and the day had been sultry, we had halted in column on the road. I threw myself on the ground and was in a semi-asleep state. How long I had been thus, I know not. When I heard the noise of a horse galloping at speed, I half opened my eyes to see, pulled up almost on top of me, a horse, white with foam, having for his rider a young officer in an irritatingly nice uniform, and whose face was almost as white as his collar. He hurriedly asked for the brigade commander, and then for the captain of the battery. I informed him that he would find him in the rear of the column, and received for my reply an order to push on to Carlisle with the section of which I was temporarily in command, as an attack was expected there. I got ready to move, and by the time the men were mounted, the captain and Corporal Rosengarten, the chief of our section, had come up, and off we started at a gallop. ... It was almost dusk when we rode into the market-square in Carlisle, received by the cheers of the inhabitants, and, what was more grateful, by their good cheer so generously set out in the markethouse. The market-square is the centre of the town, and is formed by the intersection of the Harrisburg-Baltimore Pike with the main street, on which is laid the track of the Cumberland Valley Railroad. Around this square stand the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches, the courthouse, the jail and the hotel. We found then that the first section of the battery, with the first brigade of infantry, had been sent down the Baltimore Pike in search of the mysterious enemy,, to repulse whom our march had been so much accelerated. We halted and dismounted with alacrity that would have done credit to veterans. The streets were crowded with women and children, the latter gazing with open mouths or making minute investigations into the contents of the limber and caisson-boxes, and the former mostly engaged in dispensing the generous cheer they had provided. I distinctly remember sitting on the curbstone, with a young lady on each side of me, a piece of bread and butter in each hand and a cup of coffee on my knee. About this time Gen. Smith and staff rode in, the General dressed in a gray walking suit and looking like a country gentleman riding out to inspect his farm. Our friend, Dr. Will's, soldierly appearance caused him, as he was at the head of the staff, to be taken almost universally for the division commander. While I did ample justice to the good fare provided by my fair friends, they reciprocated by telling me of their confident expectations that Gen. Lee could never face the invincible Philadelphia Battery, and that his whole army was undoubtedly in retreat at that very time. I think that comforting assurance had just been given me when I heard quite a loud explosion, and a whiz, as if somebody had been popping off a sky-rocket, and that a tolerably large one, over my head. I think I should hardly have known what it was if an obliging cavalry soldier had not come down the street, apparently in some hurry, and informed everybody thereabout, as well as most of the inhabitants of the neighboring houses (for he spoke loudly), that the "rebs" were firing at us, and then evinced his unfaltering belief in the entire accuracy of his own statement by moving off at a rapid pace in a direction that, if pursued long enough, would have placed him in much closer proximity to the North Pole than to the rebels. What became of him I can't say. But, if Sir John Franklin is ever discovered, I shall make it my business to fit out an expedition in search of my friend of the cavalry, for I have never seen him since. Shot after shot followed in rapid succession, the first few being fired at a considerable elevation and apparently going over the town. Their first effect was to clear the streets of all non-combatants and of some who, if they had had any sense of honor, or even ordinary courage, would have been active combatants. I have in some of the plays and pantomimes, which it has been my good, or ill fortune to see, witnessed some rapid changes of scenery, but no scene in any play, however sensational, was ever transformed with the rapidity they displayed, and no stage-clown or ghost ever vanished from the stage with greater celerity, than that of my fair friends, who, in their hurry, forgot to say " goodbye." As my gun was the nearest to the main street, I had the good fortune to wheel into position before my brother sergeants could have time to turn. Gen. Brisbane then directed me to go into battery on the railway track. Thus upon us devolved the honor of opening the ball on our side. I found that the enemy's battery was in position on the outskirts of the town, apparently about 300 yards away from us; my gun was pointed toward them; on my right, and direct at right angles from my gun, so as to command the Baltimore Pike, were Hart and Williams with their guns, and on my left was Rosengarten, with his gun pointed toward Harrisburg. The limbers and caissons of our four guns were drawn up in rear of my gun and almost filled up the square. In line on the main street, and with their right resting on the Baltimore road, was the Gray Reserve Regiment, and immediately on my right was a company from the interior of the State, who broke, and who were seen by me no more that night. We fired, as you know, but three shots. If they did any execution, the credit is solely due to Capt. Landis, for he sighted the pieces. Just as I had given the order to fire the third shot, some ten or fifteen minutes after the commencement of the action, I received the wound which consigned me to the hospital for the balance of that fight and sent me home two days afterwards.
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