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  • Writer's pictureDerrick

John F. Locke and the 1862 Northern Virginia Campaign

John Franklin Locke spent several weeks recuperating from his hand wound received at Seven Pines on May 31, 1862, and from the sickness he developed while at the various hospitals which included the Chimborazo Hospital outside of Richmond. On July 14, Locke rejoined the 14th Tennessee. The next two months would be some of the hardest and most constant campaigning Locke would experience in the war. The Army of Northern Virginia, now under the command of Lee, would almost constantly be on the move from the Peninsula to northern Virginia to Maryland. Suffering from the heat of the summer and the speed of their movements, large numbers of Confederate soldiers struggled to keep up with the quick pace of their regiments, Locke included. During the Battle of Ceder Mountain on August 9th, Locke had fallen out of line from exhaustion, with many others, and missed the fight. Consequently, the 14th Tennessee advanced well below their full numbers. The constant fatigues of the campaign, the marching and the fighting, drastically reduced and weakened Lee's army prior to the Battle of Antietam, just a couple weeks after 2nd Manassas. It is a wonder they were not completely destroyed there.

Campaign of July 19-August 28, 1862


14 July

The hospital is moved today down near the James River and near the brigade. I go to the company.

15 July

Very warm weather---We are very pleasantly situated and drill twice each day. The boys bathe and fish in the James River.

16 July

Very warm---Rained in the PM. The non-comb. Get their papers and send up for discharge.

17 July

We hear of the flight between the navy fleets at Vicksburg. We are paid two months wages. Rainy day in PM.

18 & 19 July

Very warm.

20 July

Sunday---Quite hot---I hear Parson Armstrong preach from the 116th Psalm 13, 14, and 15 verses.

21, 22, 23, & 24 July

Very warm weather. We are living very well.

25 July

Warm. TJM and I are on picket on the turnpike road leading to R. (Richmond)

26 July

Hot day, rained in PM. We are relieved from guard this AM. Hear of General Morgan’s success in Kentucky.

27 July

Sunday---Our brigade moved about 1 ½ miles and camped. Cooked 3 days rations.

28 July

Very sultry and dusty--We fall in and march into the city. We are halted near the VA. Gen. RR depot; at dark we get on train and start. Arrive at Gordonsville next morning.

29 July

We march out in the timber and bivouac. The boys nearly all go to sleep. I go on ex duty (my first time) General Jackson is falling back here. Our men still coming on cars from Richmond. I went to Mrs. ____ to get dinner.

30 July

Weather is very warm---We move camp 2 ½ miles. CJH and I took a stroll today in the country, bought some milk, bread, etc. It is said the enemy is treating the citizens in Madison County very badly.----16 miles from us.

31 July

Gloomy. We expect a fight in this vicinity soon. We move across the county and within 6 miles of Gordonville near Green Springs.

1 August

Very warm---JSS, CJH and I took a stroll today. This is beautiful country. We got dinner and bought some ham and cornbread and returned to camp very late at night.

2 August

The weather very warm--I am on Ex. guard duty today, and CJH also.

3 August

Sunday---Had inspection in the AM.

4 August

Get orders and cook rations before daylight to be ready to leave at sunrise, but did not go. Received orders and cooked rations in the PM, be ready to leave next morning.

5 August

Didn’t start still---I came off guard. We fall in, in the PM and march 10 miles, and lie down after dark on Madison C.H. road, in a wheat field.

6 August

We move into the timber on steep hill and cook two days rations and start at 5 PM and march until 11:00 and lie down ½ mile of Orange C.H.. The Col’s horse gets loose. I was on guard today.

7 August

We get up at daylight, march through town and stop in open place (awful hot sun). Gen Ewell’s men capture 15 prisoners today and sent here. It is said the enemy is retreating. Hear of fighting at Chattanooga.

9 August

Quite warm---We fell in and march 3 miles to the Rapidan River and halt 2 hours, then march on and meet several prisoners. I, with many others, play out and get behind with fatigue, dysentery and heat. Our men meet the enemy in 6 miles of Culpepper C.H. (The place where this battle occurred is called Cedar Run on Southwestern Mt.) and pitched into them. Our division having marched very hard during the day, was so fatigued and broke down there was a comparatively small number in the fight today, though sustained themselves admirably. We lay near the scene of action that night.

10 August

Sunday---We retreated back some 2 miles and camped. I see men who were killed with one cannon ball. I joined my company today. I see a great many dead, dying and suffering from wounds. Several hundred prisoners pass to the rear. It rains in the PM. I got wet.

11 August

We get up early to march, but remain all day, and at night build large fires and start on retreat. JB and [I] being unwell, get passes to march at will. We march all night.

12 August

I caught up with the regiment at 8:00 in bivouac on the South side of the Rapidan River. We lie down and sleep until late in the PM. We fall in and march nearly all night and camp within 6 miles of Gordonsville.

13 August

Pleasant day---I am still puny. We lie still and rest.

14 August

We move a short distance and camp. Our men captured 30 wagons today at the Rapidan River.

15 August

Pleasant weather---We cook two days rations.

16 August

We fall in at 6:00 and march through Orange C.H., then the plan toward Fredericksburg several miles, then turn to the left and march 2 or 3 miles and stop at brick church and camp 2 ½ hours by sun.

17 August

Sunday---Our regiment goes on picket at 11:00. We expect a fight.

18 August

Two companies from the regiment are on outpost. The enemy drove them in, two of our men were captured. Our signal corps was driven without hats, coats, etc. We are in three miles of Rapidan Station in a fine country. We came into camp in the PM and cooked two days rations.

19 August

Fine day---We remain here. The non-Com’s are getting their discharge today and leaving. We cook two day’s rations.

20 August

We march at daylight and ford the Rapidan River in 5 miles and pass the village of Stephensville (here the ladies cheer us). We are getting close to the enemy.

The cavalry are fighting in two miles of us. Several wounded and prisoners are coming back here. The enemy retreated across the Rappahannock River. We march two miles from Stephensburg and bivouac in the woods.

21 August

It is raining a little- We rise early before daylight and start on the march at 5:00. See quite a number of prisoners going to the rear. We only march a short distance today. There was a heavy cannon duel at the river this PM. We stop about midnight and lie down in a dark woods near the Rapidan River. It rained on us tonight.

22 August

We up early and marched up the Robinson River, cross at a mill. Here we see the enemy’s scouts. They fire at some of our men. Our wagon train is attacked today, a brisk fight ensues. The enemy was driven off, we turn back to relieve them, march short distance, stop in open field. I was detailed for guard. It rained hard on us. We lie here all night.

23 August

We march to the front again, go 3 miles and bivouac in the woods all day.

24 August

Sunday--- We remain here all day. We are under fire of the enemy guns all PM. Captain Braxton responding briefly (he lost one man). We move out into a large field late in the PM and cook two days rations.

25 August

Weather very warm. We march early and pass Jefferson, cross Hazel River, pass Amosville and Orleans and camp after a tiresome march until 2 hours in the night, (We cross mountain at Thoroughfare Gap), expecting a fight all day.

26 August

We march early and pass in 1 ½ miles, through Salem (200) on the M.G. We march 3 miles and rest at Plaines Station on the same R.R. We are very much fatigued and short of rations. A citizen brought in and gave the soldiers a load of provisions this PM. We march on through Haymarket and Gainesville. R. Lyman and I got some meat and bread at G. and lie down late at night at Bull Run, 4 miles from M. Junction.

27 August

We march early to Bristoe Station and find that General Ewell had accomplished all that was necessary there. We went on to the Junction. Here we found 2 brigades of Federals. After severe skirmish, we drive them back (one killed in the Reg) beyond the RR bridge over Bull Run which is some 3 or 4 miles. We got a quantity of knapsacks, blankets, haversacks and provisions that they dropped in their flight. We lay down and rested. At dark we fall in and march back to Junction. Find everything (a long train of cars, depot, etc) in flames. The estimated value of stores destroyed was $2,000,000 worth. This was a considerable sight. We lied down and rest for 2 hours, then fall in and march, arrive at Centerville.

28 August

At sunrise fine weather, very warm. Here we lie down and rest. Start at 10:00 in the direction of Haymarket . March 6 or 7 miles and come in contact with the enemy at 5 PM. Our batteries open on them and our brigade are to support them. A battery flanks us. We lie under fire for perhaps an hour. The fight begins on our right, very heavy at dark.

We moved on the field where the fighting occurred just before. We were halted (among the dead and wounded) and lay on arms all night without undoing blankets. The enemy was driven back.

The action at the Brawner Farm, which Locke heard on the 28th.

29 August

At daylight we are marched into open field and lie down to protect ourselves from the balls (which are passing overhead) of the enemy artillery and sharpshooters. The sun shone very hot all day on us. Late in the PM after the other brigades on the right next ours had heavy engagement, we fall in and march down on the battlefield (the dead and wounded lying thick all around). We stop in the RR cut. The enemy fire into us on the left. Are much confused, but we from and charge them three times and route them. I receive a slight wound in the neck with a spent ball, and go to the rear with RL. He was shot in the hand.

30 August

Gloomy--- The pickets are fighting--- 10:00 the heavy fighting begins and continues all day. Our troops drive the enemy some distance (and lay in the field) and take nine batteries and a number of prisoners. Our loss was heavy. Col. F. was wounded today severely and many were killed and wounded. Killed BW, orderly Co D, Lt. S, Co L, and GWH, Co E. and many others wounded.

Co. D, JSS and DP, Captain H stunned with concussion of shell, Captain M. Co. E in head. Lt. Brown Co L and many others.

Report of Brigadier General James Archer

August 28, after marching through Centerville up the Warrenton turnpike and across Bull Run, my brigade was formed in line on the right of and fronting a by-road, the direction of which was nearly parallel with the railroad cut. Branch’s brigade was formed to my rear and Field’s on my right, and two batteries in the open field about 300 yards in front.

About 5 p.m., when the engagement commenced, i moved forward to support the batteries, and remained under a heavy fire of shell and round shot from batteries to the front and left, but without sustaining any loss, until twilight, when the artillery fire ceased, and the whole division moved by the right flank into the railroad cut in the woods.

The next morning my brigade with Braxton’s battery, was posted on a hill on the extreme left of the division, with skirmishers thrown out to the front and on the left flank. In this position it was not actively engaged, although it was somewhat annoyed by shells from batteries in front, but not in sight.

About 3 p.m. I moved, by order of General Hill, to the right until my right rested on a road which crosses the railroad at right angles, and remained there within supporting distance of other brigades of the division which had been engaged during the day.

General James Archer

About p.m., during an interval of the assaults of the enemy, General Pender sent his aide-de-camp, requesting me to relieve him, and with the consent of General Hill, who was near me at the time, I immediately marched down and filed to the right into the railroad cut. As my leading files entered the railroad cut I perceived the enemy advancing up it from the left into the wood. Unwilling to commence the fight until my troops were in position, I did not call their attention to the enemy until half of my last regiment (Colonel Turney’s, First Tennessee) had entered the cut. I then pointed out the enemy on the left and ordered that regiment to fire, which it did with great effect. The first fire of this regiment was instantly answered by a furious assault upon my whole front. At this time my own brigade was the only one in sight along the whole line, but for twenty minutes or more it firmly and gallantly resisted the attack and maintained its position until other troops came on my right and left in time to save me from being flanked Soon after the arrival of these fresh troops we charged and drove the enemy back several hundred yards, and then quietly returned to our position. In a few minutes fresh forces of the enemy arrived and attacked us as vigorously as the first. They were as firmly resisted and as gallantly repelled by another charge. At this second charge many of my men were out of ammunition and charged with empty rifles. I did not average over two cartridges to the man. A third assault was met and repulsed in the same manner, my brigade charging upon the enemy with loud cheers and driving them back with their empty rifles.

It was after sunset when we resumed our position, and we lay upon our arms that night with a strong picket in front to prevent surprise; replenished our ammunition during the night, and next morning changed places with Early’s brigade, which had come on our left the evening before, and in front of which a heavy skirmishing fire had been kept up all the morning. I relieved General Early’s pickets with 130 men under the brave Lieutenant-Colonel [N. J.] George, of the First Tennessee Regiment, who is always ready and anxious for the most daring service. The firing between my pickets and the enemy’s skirmishers in the wood in front became so rapid and continuous that, fearing my men were wasting their ammunition, I sent my aide-de-camp, Lieut. O. H. Thomas, to ascertain what it meant and to stop unnecessary firing. He traversed the whole line of pickets exposed to the aim of the enemy’s sharpshooters, and returned to me, reporting the constant fire of my men as necessary to maintain the ground.

About — o’clock, the troops on our extreme right having become hotly engaged, I received orders from General Hill to draw out my brigade, if not already engaged myself, and go to the support of the right; but while I was receiving the order the enemy drove in my pickets and attacked my brigade. After returning his fire for ten or fifteen minutes I charged across the railroad cut and drove him back into the woods. 20 one joined me in this advance except Colonel Smith’s regiment, of Early’s brigade. General Early ordered him back, had my right regiment (Colonel Turney’s) returned with him. My regiment obtained a fresh supply of ammunition from the cartridge boxes of the dead Yankees and resumed their position in the line.

About 5 o’clock in the afternoon an order came through General Pender for a general advance. I advanced in line with General Pender’s brigade, which formed on my right, through the wood into the open field beyond, where the enemy’s battalions were posted. One battery of six guns was posted about 300 yards distant from the point where we entered the open field and a little to the left of the direction of my advance. I moved on in the same direction until about half that distance was passed, then swung around to the left, and marched in double-quick directly on the battery. My troops never for a moment faltered in their gallant charge, although exposed to the fire of two other batteries, besides the constant fire of the one we were charging and of its infantry supports. The enemy stood to his guns and continued to fire upon us until we were within 75 yards, when he abandoned three of his pieces, which fell into the hands of my brigade on the same spot where they had been served so bravely. General Pender overtook and captured the other three pieces. 1 left the pieces I had captured to be taken care of by whomsoever might come after me, and pushed on without halt against the infantry, who still made a feeble resistance in the edge of the wood. They did not await our coming, but had retreated out of sight by the time I entered the wood. Here I halted and reformed my brigade, and on moving forward again came up with General Pender’s, which had entered the same wood to the right of my brigade and had halted for the same purpose. During the movement through the woods our brigades had crossed each other’s directions, and I found myself on his right instead of on his left, as at the beginning. From this point our brigades moved on together to the Lewis house, when a little after dark we encountered in the field to the left of the house a body of the enemy’s infantry, whose numbers we could not ascertain for the darkness of the night, and with whom, after they had to our challenge answered u For the Union,” we exchanged a single volley and then drove them from the field. Here we found a large hospital filled with wounded, and during the night and next morning captured about — prisoners and collected a large number of arms.

In this engagement my loss was 17 killed and 196 wounded, among the former Captain Bush, commanding the Fifth Alabama Battalion, killed August 29, and among the latter Col. W. A. Forbes, Fourteenth Tennessee, mortally wounded on August 30 near the enemy’s battery* Colonel Forbes died of his wounds a few days after.

The regiments of my brigade were commanded as follows, viz: First Tennessee* Colonel Turney; Seventh Tennessee, Major Shepard; Fourteenth Tennessee, Colonel Forbes until wounded, and then by Major [James W.] Lockert; Nineteenth Georgia, Capt. F. M. Johnston, and the Fifth Alabama Battalion by Captain Bush August 29, and by Lieutenant Hooper August 30.

Among the officers whose gallantry I especially noticed in this action were Lieut. Col. N. J. George, First Tennessee, and Lieut. Charles M. Hooper, Fifth Alabama, and among the privates Dr. J. H. G. Turkett, of Captain-------’s company, Hampton’s Legion, detailed as courier at my headquarters, who after his horse was killed under him on Friday fought with conspicuous valor, and F. M. Barnes, of Company A, Fourteenth Tennessee Regiment, who seized the colors from the hands of the wounded color-bearer and bore them bravely through the fight.

My thanks are especially due to Aide-de-Camp O. H. Thomas, the only officer of my staff present (my assistant adjutant-general being absent sick since a few days after the battle of Cedar Bun), for most gallant, intelligent, and efficient service throughout the action.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

J.J. Archer

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

31 August

Sunday--- Dick and I find brigade hospital. Great suffering here. (Had been at division hospital) Some skirmishing this AM. The enemy falls back some distance. Our men taken some artillery from them while crossing Bull Run.

1 September

Gloomy---Col. Forbes died this morning and Lt. Brown, Co L, and others. I am laboring under severe diarrhea. We are very scarce of rations have a little beef soup, no bread. DF goes foraging today.

Colonel William Forbes, 14th Tennessee

2 September

Dick, John B and I out to get something to eat. Get dinner at Mr. Lynn’s, then went to Mr. Louis’ and bought some bacon and cornbread. Dick and I start to hospital, get tired and lie down under pile of straw and sleep all night.

3 September

Quite cool for season--- We go to hospital. B. Williams died today. I have dysentery very bad. The wounded are being sent to Albie (Aldie)- 12 miles. Dick and I start on late in evening. We travel 3 miles and camp for the night with Captain Bice of Gen. Hampton’s cavalry.

4 September

We go on toward Albie (Aldie). AT 8:00 stop and get breakfast after some begging on our part. We get along very slow today. We stop at an old widow’s late in PM and buy some milk and bread. We lie down in 2 miles of town.

5 September

Warm weather---We go on to Albie [Aldie], stop and rest. Find our division. The wounded are going to Middleburg, 5 miles. We get in a wagon and get to Middleburg that evening. We find a great many wounded here. We stop.

6 September

We report to Dr. and he sends on to Uppersville, 8 miles. We go on and get separated. I fall in with Murphy, Company H. We dine with Mr. C. Murphy and I then go on and get snack at Mr. Gipson’s. M (Murphy) stops. I go on and get my chicken cooked at Mr. Rector’s. Get my clothes washed, which were awful dirty by this time. Slept all night in hayloft.

7 September

Sunday---I walk on to Upper and find Dick. Find only a few wounded soldiers there and they were some of them leaving for Warrenton. Our army has now crossed over into Maryland. The people here are being kind to us. We live entirely on the hospitality of the citizens, as we draw nothing from the government for some two weeks back, only what was captured.

8 September

Quite warm---Got dinner with Mr. McArthur a tanner. Late in the PM Dr. Emory started us toward Warrenton, 7 of us, George and Henry B, Company F, Bub H, Company G, and Williams and GB, 7th Tennessee Regiment. We lie all night in a gentleman’s yard. They give us some milk. We meet a great many soldiers going to the army.

Maryland Campaign September 3-15, 1862.


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