20 June 1861: “…A severe battle was fought by the Lincolnites (I will not call them Federalists) at a placed called Bethel Church…”

Item Description: Rev. Overton Bernard recalls his perspectives of the Battle of Bethel Church in southeastern Virginia and the Battle of Phillipi in Barbour County, Virginia (now West Virginia).

[Item transcription and biographical information included below images.]

Item Citation: From folder 2 of the Overton and Jesse Bernard Diaries #62-z,  Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Thursday 20 June

On Monday the 10th inst. a severe battle was fought by the Lincolnites (I will not call them Federalists) at a place called Bethel Church some 12 miles from Hampton, the Confederate troops had only some 1200 men and the opposite party upwards of Four thousand from Old Point where Genl. Butler commands, the Lincolnites had taken the town of Hampton and committed many outrages and depredations, these marauders were met by Colo. Magruder of the Confederate Army assisted by Col. Hill’s Regiment of North Carolina and most awfully defeated, the Lincolnites retiring under the fire of the Richmond Howitzer and retreating in the utmost haste and confusion to Old Point, their loss in killed, wounded, and missing said to have been over one thousand – and strange to say we lost only one man (young Wyatt of NoCa) and had some four or five wounded. Well may we say in the language of Colo. Hill that God was on our side and to His name we should ascribe all the glory -

The Confederate troops met with a repulse at Philippi in Barbour County in the North Western part of the State where some Ohioians came over to assist the disaffected in our own state – Our officers suffered themselves, although warned by two patriotic ladies Misses Kerr & McLeod, to be taken by surprise, and had to retreat yet the enemy were worsted, as they have been in every engagement since the War commenced, having taken Alexandria and invaded the adjoining country, a party went out to Fairfax Court House where we were taken by surprise, yet the enemy was defeated and driven back with considerable loss – More recently a party of some five or six hundred went to a Station on the Rail Road called Vienna they were driven back with heavy losses, no one killed on our side.

About Overton Bernard: Overton Bernard kept his diary while serving as a Methodist minister in Edenton, N.C., 1824, and as a bank employee in Portsmouth, Va., 1858-1863.

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