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Augusta County: Adam Wise Kersh to George P. Kersh, December 16, 1861

Kersh describes the recent engagement around Camp Tip Top.

George P. Kersh

December 16, 1861

Camp Tip Top, Pocohontas County, VA

Dear Sir

I take this opportunity to write a few lines to inform you how we are getting along we had rather serious times here a few days past on the llth a squad of our men went down to Greenbriar river on scout camped near the river that night next morning they seen about 17 Yankees coming down the river our men ambushed until they come within shot of them fired on them killed about seven of them the rest run one run behind a tree and commenced firing a pistol at our men he was commanded to surrender by Major Ross he would not Major ordered our men to charge on him he undertook to run when Lieutenant Woodel fired and killed him no sooner had he fired when he spied about one thousand Yankees coming double quick after them our men had to take up the mountain through the brushes the Yankees fired after our men but hurt no one our men all reached camp safe that evening on the 13th - a big day here -Yankees fired on our pickets about - o'clock we were . . .

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. . . line of battle marched round side of the hill and returned the fire they fought about half an hour there until the Yankees fell back in the woods our men then retreated back in order to get the Yankees out of the woods they come out around above our men some in the field and some in the woods our men drove them back again & took after them and made them retreat doublequick the way they come the 12th Georgia 31st regiment and two battalions were in this fight the fight lasted about one hour and a half our men fought manfully the Yankees had the advantage in this fight had the upper side of the hill we had less men and whipped them out About the time this fight was nearly over About two thousand come up the greenbank road next to our fortifications Some come within 20 yards of us in the brush and timber that had been chopped down and fired on us about this time Captain [unclear: Andes] rode round there and was killed he was cheering us up I suppose the Yankees did not know that we had fortifications there else they would not have come so close they were very bold our men commenced firing on the Yankees the Yankees got behind old brush and logs stumps so our men had no - - - good chance on them when they would stick their heads - - - and up to fire . . .

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. . . Captain Miller fired his Artillery in the first fight a few times which made the Yankees scatter considerably he did not fire very often he did not have a chance the enemy being mostly in the woods he fired on some cavalry that were coming up the Greenbriar river railroad which done considerable execution which made them retreat after that awhile another body of men and an ambulance come up the Greenbriar road he fired on them made them scatter then they raised a white flag and he ceased firing on them they were coming after their dead and wounded they took all their dead and wounded they could with them and hid a good many about in the woods during this time the Yankees were firing on us in the fortifications he threw some balls and some grape amongst them they commenced retreating then pretty soon they doublequicked it back the way they came Miller than threw some shell after them which made them scamper like the plague the fight lasted about five hours in the entrenchment and the fight on the hill in the field and woods about one hour and a half the Yankees had no artillery with them none in our Company was hurt two out of our regiment were wounded they were on picket one man by the name of Welch was shot through the leg he had it taken off above the knee the others name is Baskins shot through the thigh and a man by the name of Abel has been missing they think he was taken prisoner none in the trenches were killed one Georgian was wounded on the cheek but not very bad they come in the trenches after the first fight was over about seventy of the men in the first open field fight were missing killed and wounded our men took three or four prisoners in the first fight and it is supposed that the Yankees got a couple of our men as to how many Yankees were killed is a hard matter to tell as they hauled a great many off our men buried about thirty Yankees and still finding them about in the woods it is thought about double the number of Yankees were killed then of our men four of Captain Millers Artillery were wounded and one killed the Yankees could get range on his cannon when he fired on them at the trenches with their long ranged guns five or six struck the cannon this is all I know about the fight I believe Jacob Harvey is tolerable smart. we had beautiful weather here for about a week I heard that Mother was complaining again tell her not to be uneasy about me I am well and fare very well we expect to leave here pretty soon we had orders to pack up our extra baggage and they have hauled nearly all the flour away from here where we will go I cant tell we expect to come in towards Staunton Nothing more at present but remain your affectionate Brother


AW Kersh

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