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Harris Plaisted Transcript

Headquarters 1st Brigade
Casey’s Division, June 7, 1862

My Dear Governor,

A little business we have had on our hands for the few days past has prevented me from writing you before in regard to some vacancies I wish filled….

You have heard of the battle of “Seven Pines.” You have also seen McClellan’s dispatch, doubtless, saying that Casey’s Division “unaccountably broke” and “ran disunitedly.” 11th ME belongs to “Casey’s Div.” and 1st Brigade and I am proud to say it. Somebody simply lied when he sent that dispatch. The 11th was in the fight – the very first to go in and it went farthingest and stayed longest and suffered most. But our Brigade all fought well. I did not see the other Brigades in the Div. The 11th lost more than ½ of all engaged under me, and the whole Brigade lost 1/3 of all engaged. If when one out of every 3 has fallen Regts. may not retire, when may it be permitted? The truth is we did not retire soon enough before the thousands hurled against us. Our supports were so far from us that we waited for them to come up not a man of us could have escaped. But we stand before the world condemned as cowards! because we retired before support that could not come to us. But I suppose we must bear it, “Mc” will have to take that back – and yet how can we respect a General who will so hastily send the country such a sweeping accusation! When the truth is known, you will not be ashamed of the 11th ME. No other battle of the war shows such desperate fighting as was done by the 11th and by our Brigade – we suffered, but the enemy suffered more. With not less than 3 to one against us the men never have taken a step backward. In passing where 11th ME and 104 Pa., which was on our right, fought, we counted 196 dead Rebels besides 60 new graves side by side killed too by rifle balls—mostly artillery. Yet the 11th ME fought till everything gave way on its right and left. McClellan has offered to except 11th from his sweeping charge and say that it did stand, did fight – did not run. But no, says our Brigadier who was wounded , you first set one Brigade right , then you only say what you please of particular Regts.

When you are satisfied the 11th behaved like brave men and have not disgraced the State I shall ask to send you my colors and obtain from you another. These we value too highly to have remain here, besides for all practical purposes they are useless.

Can you do anything for me by way of recruits? I wish you could send us 2 or 3 full Cos. I should be willing for you to appoint 2 of the 3 Com. Officers – if you can do so. The vacancies I have mentioned not be filled perhaps just now. With a part of these vacancies they getting rid of 2 or 3 poor ones whom I now have I can make way for 2 or 3 full Cos.

The boys are all wide awake ready to fight – perfectly satisfied with themselves and their officers and ready to follow them, but our numbers are small.

I am in great respect
Your obedient servant
H.M. Plaisted