“I shall endeavor to do my duty”

Frustration is clearly evident in this letter from Robert Patterson to Colonel J. F. Harrison in Dayton, Ohio.  The letter, sent August 7, 1862, is primarily about Union Army politics, the need for good leadership in the 61st OVI, and the upcoming campaign in Virginia.  This is also the last letter for 1862 from Robert Patterson in the Patterson Family Papers.  The next letter is not until September 8, 1863.  During the intervening year, the 61st OVI is involved in a number of major battles in the East, which will be traced in future blog entries. 

The 61st OVI left the following morning, August 8, for Culpeper County, Virginia, a distance of about 60 miles.  They did not reach Culpeper County in time to participate in the Battle of Cedar Mountain, which was fought on August 9.  This battle was significant in that Confederate  Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was forced to personally rally his troops when they began to flee under heavy pressure from Union forces.  Jackson rallied his troops by wading into the melee waving his sheathed sword in one hand and a battle flag in the other while under intense fire from Union forces.  This was “Stonewall” Jackson’s last campaign as an independent commander.  From this point on, he was Robert E. Lee’s strong right arm of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Roberts August 7, 1862 letter and transcript.   

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