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Letter. William Lafayette Barrier, Culpeper County, Virginia, to Mathias Barrier, Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina
Barrier recounts "the grandest raid of the war," the Gettysburg campaign. Though suffering from "a pretty sore head from a sabre cut," he is still "in the land of the living" and doing well. Within a few days of the battle of Brandy Station the regiment had decamped, crossed the Rappahannock River, and marched toward Warrenton, where they remained for two days. While there they had a brief encounter with enemy scouts. They marched to New Baltimore, Virginia and then to Upperville, where, on 21 June, they had a "severe contest with the Enemy:" Co. F suffered two dead and four wounded. They then rode toward Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia and, on 25 June, encountered a "heavy wagon train" near Thoroughfare Gap in Bull Run Mountain: "We gave it a few shell and grape and passed on." At Fairfax Station they again encountered the enemy. Barrier's regiment led the charge: "After a sharp skirmish, we routed them killing several and capturing about forty." The 1st North Carolina lost several men, including Maj. John Whitaker, and Lt. Ford had "another horse killed under him." They crossed the Potomac into Maryland on 27 June; at the river they "captured and destroyed about thirty canal boats loaded with forage and provisions for the army." On the 28th they began riding in the direction of Washington, D.C. Along the way they captured "about (150) one hundred and fifty waggons, fifteen hundred mules and horses, and over one thousand prisoners." Jeb Stuart "went down the road to within three miles of Washington City. He saw the flag floating over the capital." On 30 June they were at Hanover, Pennsylvania, and on 2 July at Hunterstown, "within five miles of Gettisburg where the great Battle was then going on." On the evening of that day they skirmished with the enemy. The next day, after reconnoitering along the enemy's left flank for five miles, they met the enemy cavalry. After fighting dismounted for several hours "our regiment and another one was called upon to support a third one in a charge." The fighting went back and forth. "About this time one of the bluecoats and myself came in contact with each other and each striking the other over the head we parted." Barrier left the field for the hospital to have his wound dressed; on the way his mare was shot in the head. Barrier reached the wagons evacuating the wounded on the evening of 4 July. He describes the two-day journey back to Williamsport on the Potomac, and the Federal attacks on the column. He was ferried over the river with other wounded that were able to walk, and on 8 July reached Winchester, Virginia. On the 9th he started for Stanton, but stopped at the house of a Robert Massee. "I found this a very pleasant resting place and consequently I am here yet." Barrier plans to travel to Stanton and then return to camp. He then relays various rumors: that Vicksburg has fallen, that Lee is once more advancing into Pennsylvania, that Lee has retreated back across the Potomac.