Hebb, Lewis Smith
Age: 21, credited to Cambridge, VTVITALS
Birth: 06/10/1843, Huntington, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Lakeview Cemetery, Burlington, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
Lamoille Newsdealer, August 16, 1861
LETTER FROM THE SEAT OF WAR
The following letter was written to Smith Edwards, of Cambridge. We publish it on account of the originality of its statements.
ALEXANDRIA, VA. July 3, 1861
Dear Cousin;---I received your letter last night about 9 o'clock, and was glad to hear from you and the rest of the friends. I will first answer your question; Co. H. went into battle with the 2d Lieut, (Chester K. Leach), the only officer that was not a coward. Our 1st Lieut. (Jerome B. Chase) was sun-struck, and before we got there our Captain( Wm. T. Burnham) had the belly-ache. Before we got within five miles of the field, we had orders to break into platoons, and he heard the cannon, and it frightened him so that he could not speak; but we went through. We gave it to the cowards.. I will tell you how we went into the field. We are now camped 5 miles west of Alexandria; we started from here the 16th, and marched to Fairfax. There were 1000 rebels there. We took them by surprise and they ran, leaving their tents and provisions. We marched that night till 4 o'clock in the morning, then formed into line of battle and laid down till 6 o'clock, we then started for Centerville. All we had to eat was some flour which we took from the secessionists. This wet up with water and baked on the ashes without salt or salaeratus, was pretty fresh. We marched that night till 2 o'clock, and then camped. It began to rain and rained till morning, and all the shelter we had was our blankets, and consequently we got very wet. We started in the morning about 4 o'clock, and camped in Centerville about 10 o'clock. All we had to eat until the 20th was pilot bread and fresh meat without salt.We camped out in the open air from the 16th till the 22d. We left Centerville the 21st for the field of battle at Bull's Run 15 miles distant. We started at 2 o'clock in the morning, and got there about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. We were marched 3 miles on double quick, which very much exhausted us, but excitement kept us up. We had no field officers except the Major;our Colonel having his behind a tree and, and stayed there until we had orders to retreat, and then he ran like the d---l. I believe he is from Michigan, and his name is Henry Whitney. Our Brigadier General said he was a disgrace to the regiment. We had the name of being the first regiment on the field. We were drawn from the brigade as Capital Guards, but our Col. got us back into the brigade by telling the General that we were the Vermont roughs, and that we should get drunk; but that is not so, there being but a few in the Regt. that drink at all. The reason was because he was ashamed of himself. They have got his likeness, standing behind a tree. I wish we had a Vermont Colonel and I believe we should fare better. There's not much use of of beginning to tell what I saw that day, for I have not got enough paper enough to write it on; but we got defeated and had to retreat. We marched 60 miles without rest or sleep. We retreated back to Centerville, the most of the way on double quick time, and from Centerville to Alexandria, which was 30 miles, the most of us blistering our feet very badly. You had ought to have seen us hobbling round the next day. We stayed in Alexandria till Thursday, then marched back to our old camp, where we now are. There are 50, 000 rebels within 8 miles of us. We have just begun to fortify ourselves. We have got 2 batteries near us, besides there is a company of 100 cavalry in the advance. We are about 2 miles in advance of Fort Ellsworth. That is a large fort, built by Ellsworth's Zouaves, and has 100 large cannon. I was up there the other day, and saw and saw three guns which I could crawl into. They are 16 feet long, and throw shell that weigh 150 lbs. I saw a few shell thrown, on the 21st, some coming pretty near; 3 or 4 of our boys were knocked down with one. There are only three of our company missing; our Orderly Sergeant, U. A. Woodbury, A. Parish, George Streeter. The rebels took a lot of provision. We have heard from some of our boys; three men who escaped from Richmond the other day, say that there are 3 of the 2d Vt. Regt. in jail there. A deserter from the rebels say that our dead lay on the field, the d---ls were to lazy to bury them. We expect an attack every day, our pickets being only about a mile apart. If they attack us they will find that we are not at Bull's Run. They had the advantage of us there, they had masked batteries in the edge of the woods all the while most; we drove them out once, them whittled them, but they retreated into another piece of the woods where they had more batteries.They had 12 batteries, 3 of which we took before we retreated. They had an overwhelming force, probably three to our one. They say that was the heft of their army, and the largest force they had.. The Black Horse Cavalry, 700 in number, were all killed, but 7.It is said that their Louisiana Zouaves numbering 1100, all got killed but 30. I saw in a Richmond paper that they lost 6000, and stated our loss to be 30, 000 when it was only between 4 and 5 hundred, and I am pretty sure I saw more than that fall, of their men.
You wanted I should write about our camp regulations, we get up in the morning at half past 4 o'clock and our Sergeant calls the roll; this is done to see how many are present, if you are absent he reports you to the Colonel, and when you come he will order you to the guard house, he will court marshal the order, just as he happens to feel, if he is pretty cross he will keep you there all day and sometimes longer, on bread and water. Has not had me there, and never will. After the roll is called in the morning, we form into line; and our Chaplain attends prayers, and then we have breakfast, after which, we we get ready for for a company drill; this lasts two hours, and then in the afternoon, we have battalion drill, from 3 to 5, and at half past 6 we have a dress parade, and then at 9 o'clock we have another roll call that you have to attend to, and then once in so many days we have to stand on guard one day and night. We are on our feet two hours and off four. I was on guard yesterday and last night. I went on picket guard; we went about one mile and a half; when we are on picket guard we stand still all the time, we don't even as much as whisper, but keep our eyes peeled, and shoot the first man you see without saying a word. After you have been on guard one day you are not obliged to do anything the next day, so I went on guard two days so now I can lay still two days and and go where I choose within the brigade. We are dressed in dark gray satinet woolen shirts and drawers, and have thick cowhide sewed shoes.
Captain Howard commands our company; he is a coward, more so than any one in our company. I don't know but he has got a brave heart, but he has got a cowardly pair of legs. Orson, Samuel, and myself camp with each other, and as for enjoying life, I do as well as the rest of them, for they all seem to find more fault than I do.
From Your Cousin,
Submitted by Deanna French.