As the summer of 1862 ended, Confederate forces were driving Union troops away from Richmond and back toward Washington, D.C. On August 27-30, the two sides clashed for the second battle at Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia. More than 130,000 soldiers took part. This included regiments from Wisconsin and Indiana that a month later would earn the nickname, "Iron Brigade." Corporal Levi B. Raymond of Company G, 6th Wisconsin Infantry, describes the action on August, 27, 1862, for his hometown newspaper.
Our brigade, under the command of Brig. Gen. Gibbon, came suddenly upon a division of Ewell's army, about half past four in the afternoon, and immediately attacked them. They were about six miles northwest from Manassas, and not [far] from the Warrentown and Centerville pike. The 2d and 7th, and the 19th Indiana, engaged the enemy first, and the 6th [Wisconsin Infantry] afterwards came to their support…
Col. O'Connor was mortally wounded late in the fight while gallantly leading his regiment, and died about three hours afterward. He passed away quietly, without a struggle or a groan. Major May of the 19th Indiana, a gallant and brave officer, was also killed. All the field officers of the 7th , Major [Thomas] Allen of the 2d, and Col. [Lysander] Cutler of the 6th, were wounded. The action lasted but an hour and ten minutes, but was terribly severe. Not a man swerved or faltered, but as the Herald says, "Right nobly did the Wisconsin Brigade sustain their reputation." …
While our boys were yet in the hottest of the fight, Gen. McDowell rode up and said to Gen. Gibbon, "General, you went there of your own accord, you are at liberty to fight it out or withdraw from the field." Gen. Gibbon turned to Gen. McDowell, and with the tears streaming down his cheeks, said, "General, there are men in there that will fight it out, even to the bitter end."
The Rebel officers displayed great gallantry and bravery. A portion of the force engaged was the famous "Stonewall Brigade," which boasts that it never has been beaten. Three rebel regiments of this brigade were in succession brought up against one regiment of our brigade to overpower them and drive them from the field; but it was impossible.
[View another story on the death of Colonel Edgar O'Connor.]
Source: E.B. Quiner Scrapbooks: "Correspondence of the Wisconsin Volunteers, 1861-1865," Volume 3, page 261.
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