Company H
12th Pennsylvania Reserves

Source:  The Indiana Democrat, December 24, 1862

Transcribed by Shirley Pierce

We have before us two letters from S. M. Elder of Co. H, 12th Reserve, addressed to Dr. R. J. Tomb of Armagh. We would be glad to publish them in full, but cannot, on account of the lateness of their receipt. One is dated the 15th, the other the 16th. From them we make the following extracts:

John P. Griffith was first wounded in the arm and afterwards killed, while falling back to the rear. His body was afterwards seen by a member of Co. I, who brought me some of his things, but it was left on the field. David Barkley was shot dead through the head, while lying loading his gun, about two yards in front of me. I saw his cap fly off when he was struck - think he suffered but little. His body was left on the field. Jas. D. Love was shot through the lower part of abdomen, and subsequently found dead on the field. The three mentioned above are the only ones known to be killed.

Capt. Bolar was shot through both legs and left on the field. I did not see him, as we got separated before it occurred. Gen. Robertson, who was shot through the thigh and left on the field, states that the Captain was within speaking distance of him, and was taken prisoner on Saturday night. Lieut. Kern was severely stunned by a cannon ball which struck the ground immediately in front of him, while we were lying between the rebel batteries and ours, before making the charge. It tore his cap to pieces, and knocked him senseless; but he recovered, and is now at the hospital doing well.

Privates Wounded:

James Tomb was last seen by Alexander Hart near the railroad--the farthest that any of our men went on the charge, and was either killed or taken prisoner, as nothing has since been heard of him.

Out of 39 men (exclusive of officers) who went into the fight, 21 are killed, wounded or missing. The wounded have since been brought in, but we cannot ascertain the extent of their injuries, not being allowed to visit the hospitals. Any information we can obtain will be furnished as soon as possible.

For my own part, I escaped unhurt, tho' momentarily expecting to be shot down. I remained on the field with Sergt. Maj. Myers until all had fallen back that could get back, when, to save ourselves, we crawled about 4 or 6 rods on our hands and knees.

The charge made by the Reserves was the most brilliant they ever made, but did not effect much, because we were unsupported. The reason why so many of our wounded were left on the field was, that we were unable to carry them off on account of the incessant firing kept up by both sides.

[We have taken the liberty to change Lieut. E.'s language somewhat, so as to condense his statements and put the contents of both letters in one. Our apology is, want of time and space.]






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