Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

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Camp in the Fieldnear RichmondJune 19th 1862
Half past six PM

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Last night about seven the Mass. 16th Reg on our left advanced beyond the Picquet line to reconoiter for masked Batteries. They came suddenly and unexpectedly upon Rebel Rifle Pits one behind the other and glistening with six rows of bayonets. The first intimation our men had of the existence of Rifle Pits was a volley of bullets at four rods distance. Though taken completely by surprise they pounced upon the Enemy jumping right into the Pits in the face of ball and bayonet driving the Enemy back with heavy loss only a few rods further on

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they came upon another. Again they literally shoved the Enemy back with cold steel but went on only to find themselves confronted by a third. Here they being on strange ground and ground difficult to march over being miry and covered with underbrush and losing heavily they fell back at their leisure. Their loss - killed wounded and missing was seventy four. They took sixteen prisoners and killed many one man was seen to shoot one Reb then jump into the pit among the Enemy pin another to the bank with his bayonet then pouncing upon a third got his arm round his neck and dragged him in this position back to Camp without once losing his hold. One Captain also sprang over the bank into the Pit and with his Revolver shot three of the Enemy in their track when he was riddled by a Doz. balls. And thus is poured out the best blood of New England for the honor of the Stars & Stripes and may History render a just tribute to these Patriot Martyrs Our Picquets did not advance but a short distance yesterday before they were checked by the Enemy in force. Today has been a day of preparation with us. Rations cooked up Guns inspected Ammunition examined, the Sick sent back to the rear twenty rounds of extra Cartridge ordered for every man, and orders to be in readiness to move early in the morning

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Everybody guesses that we shall go out and fight tomorrow yet nobody knows Orders are often countermanded but there is a prospect for exciting times ahead But it is so dark now I cannot see.

Good Night Ransom