Excerpt of letter from Colonel William SIRWELL to his friend, William BROWN, Esq., of Kittanning
Headquarters of the Third Battalion, Second Division Centre, January 19th 1863. To WM. BROWN, Esq., Kittanning, Armstrong county, Penna.: Dear Sir:- You know I scarcely write any letters. Having a spare few moments, I thought it my duty to send you a few lines. The old Seventy-eighth Regiment has been in the battle of Murfreesboro’, known as the battle of Stone River. The brave boys have done their duty. Many poor fellows who left Kittanning something more than a year since, have been sent to their long home, bravely fighting for their country. Armstrong county may well be proud of the Seventy-eighth Regiment. It was terrible to be in battle and have torrents of bullets, shell and solid shot falling around us, to have your associates, that have been your companions in arms for so long, that have slept with you upon the hard ground in rain and sunshine, that have eaten hard bread and scant food, that have been your companions and equals at home, falling, killed and wounded, falling all around you and not in your power to help them. The wounded would say, “Colonel, I am wounded,” and all I could do was say, “fall back to the rear.” All this was terrible, not for one day, but eight long days and nights.
The entire long letter appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Headline: The Severnty-eight Pennsylvania at Murfreesboro. Date:02-07-1863, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania