War of the Rebellion: Serial 018 Page 0083 Chapter XXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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ing a most unfortunate occurrence that happened as a closing scene to the crossing of the Shenandoah River. All the transfers across the river preceding the above have met with more or less impediments, but have been accomplished without accident; even the one mentioned could have been avoided if the leader of that company would have acted with that coolness and self-possession that ought to guide the commander of a small squad, and the more so that of a company. The captain has paid for this accident with his life.

The occurrence took place this p. m. at 4 o'clock, and I hasten to hand you this report through brigade quartermaster, Lieutenant John Weik, who was personally present while it happened.

Waiting your further orders, I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Berry's Ferry, April 15, 1862.

Brigadier General LOUIS BLENKER,

Commanding Division:

GENERAL: It is my painful duty to report to you that a serious accident occurred to-day in crossing the Shenandoah. Three regiments of my brigade had crossed in safety with their ambulances and staff horses on the floats we had improvised with our limited means, and one company of the Fortieth Regiment (Seventy-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers) had already passed the water in perfect safety on the old ferry-boat, which we had discovered 2 1/2 miles below here, and which we repaired this morning, when the second company of about 60 men and officers, on reaching the strongest part of the current, by pressing too much forward, caused the water to run into the boat, and commenced hauling on the ropes, running the boat against the current and increasing the pressure forward. There was no danger whatever of the boat sinking, but a panic struck the men and they rushed to the starboard side, causing it to keel over, precipitating its entire contents into the river. Only two small skiffs were at hand to save the drowning men, who were rapidly carried down the stream.

As far as can be ascertained 40 lives have been lost, amongst which Captain Wilson, brigade commissary; Captain Christian Wyck, Seventy-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Lieutenant Winter, Seventy-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers.

A list of the non-commissioned officers and privates will be furnished as soon as a correct one can be made out.

No blame can be attached to any one. The accident was caused by a sudden panic.



Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade.


Wheeling, Va., August 16, 1862.

Honorable E. M. STANTON,

Secretary of War:

DEAR SIR: I desire to call your attention to the great and increasing want of cavalry in this department. There are now scattered at some