Saturday, August 13, 2005

Michael McCarty writes home after the Civil War Battle of Belmont Missouri

The two images above are the front and back of a letter written by Michael McCarty three days after the Battle of Belmont Missouri. There is also a mini-family tree written many years ago to establish the provenance of this letter by Louis Edward (Ned) Foley.
McCarty was in the Illinois 31st (Nicknamed the "Dirty-First") Regiment fighting in this and other battles until he was injured near Atlanta. I believe he was injured in the Battle of Bennington, the last significant fight by Confederates in the war. Michael was one of thirteen Union soldiers from the Third Division, 17th Army Corps under the direction of Major General Frank P. Blair, Jr.He died in a Civil War Hospital and is buried in Mariettta National Cemetery plot # G 7220, Marietta, Georgia. He was the Grandfather of Helen Bailie. A complete transcription of this letter is below. It was provided by Brendan Foley who would be his great great great grandson. (Thanks Brendan!)
From more information supplied by Don and Brendan Foley: Michael McCarty Marries Ellen Bradly at Salem, Mass. She is 20, he 25. Only lists his birth place as Ireland. Married by a Catholic Priest.

In Michael McCarty's words:

Camp McClernand and Cairo Illinois
November 10, 1861
My dear wife, I take my pen in hand in order to let you know that I am well and I hope this may find you enjoying the same. No doubt but that you have heard of the great battle, which was fought on last Thursday the 7th. I was there and done all I could for my adopted country. The battle was fought in Missouri at a place called Belmont opposite Columbus on the Kentucky shore. The gunboats began the battle about 9 o’clock in the morning and we infantry a little before 11 o’clock, which lasted until night. I can not give you a full account of whole fight as it would fill several sheets of paper but this I know that I never saw such a time in all my life and I hope that I may never see such another. But if I must, I must and therefore am ready. I escaped unhurt, but how it was God only knows for I am sure that I don’t. Cannon and musket balls flew around me as thick as hale. Cutting down trees bushes and tearing up the ground in every direction. Others of whom there were many were less fortunate and met a soldier’s doom – Death. The Sesh were badly cut to pieces losing a great many more than our side, but ours is bad enough and who the victory belongs to it is hard to tell but it is claimed by the Union troops. We captured and spiked their guns but had to retreat to the boats hotly perused by the enemy who were reinforced by many thousands from Columbus. We lost a considerable of clothing. Consisting of coats and other equipments.
I would have written to you before but was expecting to get paid off every day and will write to you again when we get paid, we are looking for it every day. Write to me how you and the children are getting on. No more at this time, but remain yours
Michael McCarty

A complete report on the Battle of Belmont was written by Brendan and can be provided by contacting the blogger.


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