The second installment of the Barr letters covers the movement of the regiment from the York River side of the peninsula to Harrison’s Landing on the James River.


Columbia Spy     August 2, 1862   page 2

Head Quarters 6th U.S. Cavalry,

Harrison’s Landing, Va.,

July 15, 1862


Friend Spy,

Since my last letter, we have had to “skedaddle.”  Doubtless, your readers have heard of the  retreat , of a part of Gen. Stoneman’s forces, therefore, I think it is hardly necessary to give a full account of it, only, that we made good our retreat to Camp Hamilton, near Fortress Monroe, arriving there on the Fourth of July.  We remained there until the 11th, when orders were received to march to Fortress Monroe, arriving there at 7 o’clock A.M., we embarked on the steamer Thomas A. Morgan, one of the most beautiful boats now on the James River.  At 10 o’clock we left the dock and steamed up Hampton Roads.  On arriving at Newport News it began raining, making the trip very unpleasant.  About 10 miles above Newport News is Jamestown, which consists of some half-dozen houses, and the corner of an old church, which, it is said, has been standing since the first settlement.

When about five miles above Jamestown, we met a gun-boat, the Captain of which took up his trumpet and told our commander to keep his men low, as the Rebels were drawn up in line on the banks of the river.  That instant the boys were seen flying in every direction over the boat, filling every hole and corner that could be found, some rolled up in small heaps on the cabin floor, while your correspondent struck a bee line for the lower deck, expecting every minute to hear the dogs of war sending forth their missiles of death; but we passed unmolested.

Our gun-boats are shelling the banks every day.  A good many steamers coming up the river at present, have their pilots protected from the rebel sharp-shooters, who are lurking around the river, by placing bales of hay around the pilot-houses.

We arrived at our destination, at 5 o’clock P.M., disembarked, and marched to Harrison’s landing.  Business of every description is going on as lively as ever.  The songs of the contraband can be heard throughout the camp, as they pitch the “hard bake” and the “old jake,” from the boats.  Mr. Editor, we have a regular “Tow Hill” here, “Sawneytown,” nothing to compare to it.

On the 15th I paid a visit to Company K, of the 5th P.R.V.C., and found them all in good spirits; also the 23d P.V., who are now in the front.  Some I found busy throwing up entrenchments.  They think of nothing but success, under “Little Mac.”

Good bye,