Soldiers from Falls and Mespo write home

Capt. Norman A. Barrett of Newton Falls was a regular correspondent to the Western Reserve Chronicle during the Civil War, with reports of his unit, Company D, 6th OVC, and their action in the field. This week 150 years ago finds them in Loudoun County, Va., west of Washington, D.C.

Further west are five Virginia Cavalry regiments. The Confederate troops have been engaged by the Second New York Cavalry (the Harris Light Cavalry) who are in need of backup support from the 6th OVC.

Barrett reported the following information in a letter to the Western Reserve Chronicle:

“On the 17th we started from Manassas Junction towards Aldie. We reached that place about three o’clock in the afternoon and found the rebels in full possession. In fact they were just coming through the town to make a raid upon us.

”After a brief skirmish, we drove them through the town, but they planted their batteries and drew up on the hills beyond, determined to check our passage. The 6th was ordered to the front, and we dashed through the town in columns of fours.

“As we reached the further edge the rebels opened on us with four guns. On we went at a gallop – shells bursting to the right, the left, before and behind us, but strangely enough none struck our line. We formed a hallow out of range of their guns.

“There was a body of rebel infantry in a ravine beyond us, which the Harris Light Cavalry (2nd New York Cavalry) had vainly tried to dislodge. We were ordered to charge them and with a wild yell the regiment went in.

”Crack, smash, came the rebel shells as we rose the crest of the hill, but we heeded them not. Just at the foot of the hill was a gully from three to six feet deep and four to twelve feet wide. This was filled with rebel infantry, and a line of fire burst from it as we came on. We stopped not, nor faltered, most of our horses clearing it at a bound, though a few went done.

”Once over, woe to the rebels. We made sixty prisoners on the spot, and left several stiffening on the field. At dark the rebels withdrew, and we camped for the night on the battlefield.”

  • On June 18, 1863, Private Carlos P. Lyman wrote the following to a family member in his hometown of Mesopotamia:

“Our regiment made a splendid charge on some rebels who were behind a strawstack and a large ditch. Here we captured 9 officers and over 50 men – killed several of them. The 6th Ohio (Cavalry) lost two men killed and some 10 or 12 wounded, I do not know the exact number… Our regiment remained on the ground where they made the charge, buried the dead and picked up the wounded.”

“At dark we were relieved by some other troops and fell back into a ravine to the right of the town, and here are we now at 10:30 a.m.

“I feel to bless God for protecting me through the storm of iron and leaded hail, for though I was not in the charge, I was under strong fire. I could not get the horse I was riding along fast enough to keep with the rest of the Company (Co. K, 6th OVC).”

  • In a letter of June 22, 1863, Lyman wrote the following:

”Thank God I am alive, though I am very slightly wounded. I think it was done with a canister shot. The wound is in the top of my right shoulder and is so slight that there is not more than one inch between the place where it went and came out.

”Lester Blood (of Bloomfield) was killed at the same time. I do no know exactly how he was hit as I did not go back to him.

“It was the worst country to advance upon that could possibly be found. It is very hilly and almost every fence is a stone wall.”

Norman A. Barrett, the former superintendent of the Newton Falls Union Schools, was promoted to the rank of major on Aug. 3, 1863, and the rank of lieutenant colonel on Jan. 1, 1864.

Carlos P. Lyman of Mesopotamia was 23 years old when he enlisted in the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry in 1861. He was promoted to the rank of captain of the 100th U.S. Colored Troops on July 11, 1864, and served until late 1865.

As a Bristol Township resident, Lyman was a charter member of the Brooks G.A.R. Post No. 2 and served as a veterans advocate to help many Trumbull County veterans secure their Civil War pensions.

Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren’s Sutliff Museum.