Letters from 

Company B
11th Pennsylvania Reserves

Source:  The Indiana Democrat, December 24th, 1862

Transcribed by Shirley Pierce

We are permitted to lay before our readers the following private letters--one from Capt. D. S. Porter and one from Sergt. John Sutor--which give the fullest information that has yet been received from Co. B, 11th Reserves:

Dec. 14th, 1862.

My Dear Mother: - Again my life has been spared.  We had a terrible battle yesterday. Our division charged in the face of the rebel batteries and rifle pits, drove the enemy from them and gained the hill; but no support came to our assistance, and we were driven back.  Three hundred and ninety-three men in our regiment went into action--of these, 240 are killed, wounded and missing.  About one half of our division is gone.  I took 45 men into action--of these, 20 are killed, wounded and missing.  W. D. Kuhns, James H. Trible, and probably John Lewis are killed.  James Devlin, John R. Devlin, J. W. Howearth, Wm. Conner, Geo. Spauiding, Edwin Chesley, B. F. Laughlin, J. J. Oatman, James Stephens, Jacob L. Craig, W. K. Thomas, J. Milton Johnston, Joshua Allison, T. Henderson, Samuel Carbaugh, and probably G. A. McLain are wounded.  The wounds for the most part are not severe.  Lieut. Stewart passed throí safely and fought bravely.  The boys fought like heroes.  They were too brave I have little heart left.  My brave comrades have fallen without gain.  We were butchered like so many animals.

Your Son,  D[aniel]. S. Porter [Captain]

Fredericksburg, Dec. 14, 1862

Dear Parents:  You perhaps think the time long since I last wrote you.  We left Alexandria on the last Saturday week, and on Sabbath we arrived at the Regiment.  The next morning we took up our line of march for this place, where we arrived on Thursday morning.  Friday morning we crossed the river, and yesterday afternoon we had a hard fight, in which our Company lost, in killed and wounded, 19 men.  We had 45 men on entering the engagement.  Our regiment advanced into the woods and took some prisoners--say 100.  I never saw men fight better.

I canít give you the correct account of the killed and wounded in Co. B, but I am certain that Billy Kuhns was killed instantly, for he was just to my left, and once when I turned my head, I saw that he had fallen, and was pierced in the head, just above or along side the left eye.  There are two or three others who we think were killed, but we are not certain.  I shall not say who they are, until I know certain.  Milt. Johnston, the two Devlins, J. W. Hoearth, G. Spaulding, Jas. Stephens, J. L. Craig, S. Allison, T. Henderson, W. Conner, J. J. Oatman, Ed. Chesley, B. F. Laughlin, Wm. Thomas, J. Trimble, S. Carbaugh, J. Lewis--several of these are but slightly wounded, some are badly injured.  I canít say much about the extent of the wounds, only of those I saw at the time and since.  Milt. Johnston was near me, and told me when he was wounded.  He said he was wounded in the hand, but not severely.  I have not seen him since.

We lost heavily; but the boys fought like heroes.  We have no skulkers in Company B.  Capt. Porter is safe, but had part of his sword hilt shot away, the same ball passing through the pocket of his overcoat.  Lt. Stewart is safe.  Thank Providence, I am yet unscathed.  I helped take the prisoners I spoke of.  It was a grand little affair.  If we had been supported as we should have been, we could have just as easily taken a whole regiment, for we flanked them and drove them from their rifle pits; but we had to fall back.  But our army holds it ground.

I must quit.  Write soon.

As ever, your son, J[ohn]. S. Sutor [Sergeant]






U. S. C. T.

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