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Augusta County: James B. McCutchan to his Cousin, October 29, 1862

McCutchan describes a skirmish near Shepherdstown in which his brigade was heavily shelled and had to retreat to Bunker Hill.

Oct. 29th 1862

Camp in Clark County - Near Berryville

Dear Cousin,

I don't remember whether I answered your last letter or not. but don't think I did I recon you think that I am a very careless kind of felow, well I acknowledge that - I am. I will just tell you how it is, I have almost quit writing letters and I scarsely know who I do owe letters. I have found time to write home and that is about all, we have been moveing about so much, and are so poorly fixed when we are in camp that one has no satisfaction at all in writing. I have made out to write home occasionaly and that is about all. We have a pretty nice camp now, and I will try and write some letters. We came to this place yesterday, came from Bunker Hill. I am very well satisfied with the change if they will lett us stay here. We are camped in a larg and beautiful forest, and in a beautiful and wealthy country. Well we have have had a pretty hard time of it for the last two or three weeks. It consisted in marching tearing up and burning railroad, burning public buildings (in Martinsburg) fighting &c. Our Brigade had a pretty sharp little fight on the 19th near Shepherdstown, but the yankees were too strong for us, so we had to retreat. not much [unclear: don] on either side. we lost several men kiled and some wounded none in our company. They sheled us at a tremendus rate. I thought at one time that we would nearly all be cut down but we got orders to retreat in time. our dead was left in the field, but were got and buried the next day. We had a terrible time that night. It got dark soon after the fight

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was over and it was not long until it commenced raining very hard then it got dark indeed. The 4th and 5 companies of the 5th regiment was cut off from the rest of the Brigade and had to retreat on a different road. We marched on through the dark, mud and rain, until we got within two miles of Bunkerhill when we received orders to march back about 5 miles and throw out pickets. We started back and had gon about two miles when Col. Williams, (who was in command) found that the men could not stand it much longer, stopped and sent a dispatch on to know what to do. Then received orders to camp or go on to Bunker Hill. we had then made fires so stayed all night. Started in the morning, stiff, sore and hungry. got to camp cooked a days rations and started to Martinsburg that evening, had a big time down there. Oh how I wish that I could be with you for a while. I know I could tell you more than I can write and I know that it would interest you a great deal more. We will have to be content with things as they come, perhaps there is a better time coming for some of us it is to be hoped any way. We have no war news now everything is quiet. It seems that we are doomed to stay in camp another winter. It is beginning to feel a good deal like winter now. The nights are pretty cold, cold enough to have tents, don't know whether we are going to get any or not. Well I must stop for the present I hope I will find time to write oftener hereafter. Give my love to all inquiring friends, reserve a portion for yourself. Write soon and Direct to Winchester

As ever your Affectionate cousin

Ja's B. McCutchan

[note added by recipient] Rec'vd Nov 11 1862 Pa brought it from the [deleted: ]

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