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This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

Maj. Charles Elisha Pruyn

Charles Elisha Pruyn was born in the city of Albany, Nov. 11th, 1840. He was the son of Col. Samuel Pruyn, a gentleman of superior intelligence and worth, and a descendant of one of the oldest and best Holland families in the city. On his mother's side, he claimed with just pride, descent from the Puritan family of Putnam, among whom was Gen. Israel Putnam. From the ancestors of both his parents he inherited the noblest qualities. To the firm and persevering characteristics of the Dutch, were united the energy, quickness and industry of the New England stock. To all these were added the unyielding integrity, the pure patriotism, and the high toned religious sentiments peculiar to both races.

His boyhood was passed amid the quiet and happy scenes of home, and was in no wise remarkable; though every careful observer could have detected qualities in the youth, that gave promise of a noble and useful manhood.

From his earliest childhood he was distinguished for strict regard for truth, and his detestation of everything mean or dishonorable. If he discovered such traits in his playmates or associates, he was disposed at once to discard them.

He was educated at the Albany Academy, and while he had a quick apprehension and retentive memory, and made fair progress in all his studies, he excelled in elocution and mathematics. He was very ambitious for a higher and more complete education, and it was a great sacrifice to him to relinquish his hopes in this respect, and at the early age of sixteen devote himself to business. He entered, at that time, one of the city banks as clerk, but the disappointment of his expectations in regard to his studies did not affect his outward conduct, or make him indifferent to the duties of his position. He gave himself to them with conscientious energy and perseverance, and, probably, not one of those who daily mingled with him, was aware of the struggle going on, in that young heart, between duty and inclination. Perhaps the discipline was just what he required, for it was evident that his character, about this period, became greatly strengthened, and his parents were often gratified by the testimonials of his employers' approbation, in regard to his capacity, fidelity and morality. The knowledge of business he thus acquired was very useful to him, and he realized and confessed the advantage of it afterwards.

In the army he was often banker and cashier of the regiment, and, being prudent and judicious in the use of money himself, he was very often the creditor of others, especially among the men who had families at home, and were grateful for the loan of a small sum of money. The kindness he showed in this respect was highly appreciated, and won for him the deepest gratitude. That he did not lose his regard for learning, by his business engagements, appears in the fact, that of almost the first money he received after he entered the army, he gave one hundred dollars, towards the endowment of Rutger's College, expressing his gratification that although he had never enjoyed the privilege of a college education himself he could assist others. He united with the Middle Dutch Church of Albany, when he was fifteen years old, and was, successively, a scholar, teacher and officer in the Sabbath School.

Though surrounded by many temptations, he so maintained his Christian character that several gentlemen felt it a privilege to have their sons associate with him. One gentleman, who had the best opportunity to know the purity of his character, made every effort to bring his own son, who was disposed to be very wild and careless, under his influence, hoping it would have a tendency to check him in his evil course. Charlie's mother, who greatly feared his contamination, plainly told the gentleman her apprehensions. He replied: "You may rest assured your fears for Charlie are groundless; he will never come down to anything vicious; his morals are impregnable, and I feel sure his course will always be to draw others up to his level."

His purity of mind was remarkable. His young companions felt the power of this, and his presence was always a check upon any indulgence of impurity. Probably to this, more than anything else, next to the grace of God, was he indebted for his preservation from the corruptions of the army. Nothing in his character is more worthy of imitation by the young men who read this sketch; nothing will so effectually furnish them for the temptations of life as to be like him, "pure in heart."

Not long, however, was he permitted to enjoy his pleasant home and the peaceful pursuits of life. The trumpet of war sounded through this once happy land; the hand of the parricide was lifted against the bosom that had fostered it, and every pulse of his ardent nature beat with the most intense emotion.

When the news of the fall of Sumter was received, his face glowed with shame and indignation. He seemed to feel it a personaI insult, and for many days he was too excited to eat or sleep. His first impulse was to enlist as a private at once, but his parents, though fully sympathizing with his patriotic spirit, were slower to feel that he was called to such a sacrifice. They counseled deliberation and prudence. They felt that his qualifications entitled him to a position of greater influence, and they hoped the terrible storm would soon be over, and then there would be no demand for his services.

He respected and yielded to the wishes of his parents, but it was evident he chafed under the restraint. His mother, who knew the decision depended mainly upon her wishes, and who was watching him with intense and prayerful anxiety, at last came to the conclusion that it was her duty to give her consent.

Hearing him restlessly pacing the floor one night, after midnight, she went up to his room and said: "Charlie, my dear son, why are you so excited?" He answered: "Mother, how can I help it; how can I remain here at home, and sleep quietly in my bed, when the country is in such a state? Why, mother, I don't want to go into the street any more; I am ashamed to look people in the face; a strong, healthy fellow like me, staying at home and enjoying all these comforts when the country is in danger, and needs my services."

His mother then told him, that God had made her feel that it was his duty to go, and that his parents had no right to interpose obstacles in the way. She engaged to obtain his father's consent, only stipulating that he should first endeavor to procure a commission; but if he failed to do so in a reasonable time, she would not object to his going as a private.

The change innnediately produced by this conversation was wonderful. He expressed the greatest delight and gratitude, and at once set himself to work to obtain a commission in some regiment already in the field. He went to Washington with letters of the highest recommendation to the War Department, and he received the promise of a speedy appointment. He returned home and waited with the greatest impatience, and learned then for the first time, how little reliance could often be placed upon the promises, or assistance of strangers. He finally decided to accept an appointment in a regiment then organizing at Plattsburgh. He was commissioned as First Lieutenant, Company A, Ninety-sixth Regiment, N. Y. S. Volunteers, Col. Fairman, October 17, 1861. The regiment did not go into the field till the spring of 1862, when it entered npon the Peninsular Campaign, under Gen. McClellan. But the time was not lost. He was ambitious to excel in everything he undertook, and spent every moment not necessarily otherwise occupied, in the study of military tactics. The same earnestness and enthusiasm which had always characterized him, now stimulated him to make himself thoroughly competent to fill any position. Every book that could be bought, every device that could be employed—such as miniature armies, &c., were brought into requisition to perfect his education. How well he succeeded, his after experience proved.

That he deeply felt his absence from home and his exposure to temptations; that his army life was a duty he conscientiously endured, and not a pleasure ministering to a roving and excitable temperament, his letters fully proved. Very few young men had such strong home attachments. Very few enjoyed more intensely the comforts, refinements and literary advantages of city life than he did, and yet in all those scores of letters, not one expression of regret is found; and when his privations and sufferings were mentioned, it was always with some modification, and gratitude for what blessings he had.

He was a very interesting and voluminous correspondent, and his letters were the delight of the home circle. Always happy, too, in the reception of letters from home, he seemed anxious to do all he could to make up for his absence from those who loved him so well, by giving them the most of the time he could command. A few of his letters will perhaps be interesting to the reader. They will, better than any words of ours, reveal his true character; his intelligence, his affectionate love for his friends, and warm devotion to his mother.

He participated in the skirmishes of James river April 23, 1862, and of Bottom's Bridge, Va., May 20th, and in the battle of Williamsburg, May 5th, an account of which he gives in the following letter:

Four Miles from West Point, May 12, 1862.
Dear Mother—I wrote you a few lines last night, but it was so dark that I fear I did not write plain enough for you to read. I will try now to write a more detailed account of our doings. A week ago Saturday, just as we were getting ready for inspection, orders came for us to fall in and march. As we were only about half a mile from the enemy's fortifications, which were concealed from us by a narrow belt of woods, we supposed we were going to attack them, and therefore left our knapsacks behind. We halted just before we cleared the woods, and there heard that the rebels had retreated, and we were to follow them up. After leaving the woods, we entered into the enemy's works. We traveled all day long, and at night rested on the ground. The next morning (Monday), we started again, and traveled very fast, hearing the sound of cannon all the time. About three p. m., turning a sharp angle in the road, we found ourselves in a large field where immense bodies of troops were drawn up in line of battle; and, advancing, we formed quickly into line. Immediately an officer rode up, and told us to load as fast as possible, the bomb-shells and shot at the same time whistling over and around us. I saw one shell burst and kill three men in the regiment right at the side of us. We were then ordered to advance on the double-quick, and support a battery of the Eighth United States Regular Artillery. This was a position of importance, and consequently of honor. I have been told that we were assigned this position by Gen. Sumner (who commanded, Gen. McClellan not being present, though he came up soon after), because we were so cool when forming and advancing into line of battle. We stood in this position the rest of the day, the shot and shell flying around us like hail; yet, very singularly, none of us were hurt. It rained hard all day, and we were wet through to the skin, cold and shivering. When we advanced, we threw off everything—such as blankets, haversacks, &c., and we had nothing at all to cover us, and nothing to eat. Just as it was growing dark, we heard that our forces had completely defeated the enemy, though our left had been terribly cut to pieces (we were on the right); that Banks had taken Richmond, and that the reliel army was flying in every direction. Cheer upon cheer went up on that battle-field from thousands of throats. But now came the hardest time for us. Tired, wet through, hungry, and cold, we were forced to lie down, as we were, in the mud, without any covering, and no fires. This was the worst night I ever passed in my life, and I do fervently hope I shall never be called to go through another like it.

The next day the sun came out warm and pleasant. As we did not march until afternoon, I had an opportunity to see a part of the battle-field. What I saw I cannot attempt to describe, but never, never shall I forget it. I thought, what a horrible thing is war! And as I saw men lying dead, torn into all imaginable shapes by cannon and grape-shot, I thought of the homes made desolate, and the hearts that would bleed, and the many who would remember this day when they were made widows and orphans, with sorrow as long as they lived. And I thanked God most fervently that my poor life was spared, and that in His great goodness He had not perrmitted me even to be wounded.

We marched on after the enemy, for the whole army was immediately set in motion to pursue and cut them off; but we only went about six miles, when we encamped for the night in a most lovely spot, although it was right among the abandoned forts of the enemy.

On Wednesday we joined the division, and continued on our march until we reached Williamsburg; there all but our brigade stopped, but we continued on. Williamsburg is quite a large place, and is beautifully situated. Now it is almost entirely deserted by its inhabitants; half the houses are occupied by our troops, and over a great many the red flag floats, denoting hospital quarters. The rebels must have had a vast number wounded, which their hasty flight compelled them to leave behind, so they are now prisoners of war in our hands. Not only is Williamsburg full of wounded rebels, but as we pass along the road, at almost every barn, the hospital flag is hung out.

Our brigade was thrown in advance, after leaving Williamsburg, and as we were the first Union troops that had passed that way, it was necessary to be very careful. So our company was detached and placed in front, to act as an advance guard, to scour the woods, &c., which gave me a grand chance to see the country just as the rebels had left it. All along the road were strewn clothing of every description, camp furniture, guns and ammunition, and occasionally a gun with the wheel broken, and caisson dismounted, thus showing that the "chivalrous southerners" had fled rather precipitously.

Towards night, we halted at a farmhouse by the road. Two other regiments of infantry (besides our brigade), two batteries of artillery and a squadron of cavalry soon came up, giving us a force of between six thousand and seven thousand. We killed some cattle, built fires (which, however, we had to extinguish at dark), cooked our food and slept. We remained at this place all day Thursday. The reason for our not marching on I do not know, but I think Gen. Keirn did not feel safe in advancing further into the enemy's country without reinforcements. Indeed, our position was one which demanded great caution, for we were far from the main army, and only seven thousand strong, while the enemy had been thirty thousand strong only a few hours before, and were probably near by. Besides all this, we had no provisions.

Friday, about noon, the remainder of our division came and joined us, when we started and marched on a few miles. Night coming on, we all turned into a field of wheat, or rather a wheat field, and halted for our night's rest. Here we were joined by the whole grand Army of the Potomac, and also by Gen. McClellan, propria persona. On Saturday a. m., we started. The army commenced moving at four o'clock a. m., and yet we did not leave till nine o'clock, and we are about in the centre, so vast is this immense army. On the top of a high hill, I had a chance, as we halted a few moments, to look around, and on either side, as far as my eye could reach, stretched this enormous column of men. It was a magnificent sight. We traveled all day, and at night stopped about four miles from West Point, where we now are. Gen. McClellan's head-quarters are just across the road from our encampment.

Late at night, we got some crackers, dry, tasteless flour and water, things made, as is stated on the box cover, October, 1861; and yet how good they were, better than the nicest pastry I ever tasted. Anything is good to starving men.

Sunday it was given out that we would not move, so we rested ourselves after this hard week's work. We had sugar and coffee Sunday morning, and by great management on my part, I got a few, dirty, nasty ginger cakes, such as in Albany I would not think it possible to touch.

I attended divine service in an adjoining regiment, and it was to me a rich treat. I rejoiced once more to hear the word of God read and expounded. We expected to leave here this a. m., but have, as yet, heard nothing of it.

I feel badly just now, for the mail has come in, and I have no letter from home. If you only could know how I miss your letters, and how happy it makes me when I get them, I am sure you would write very often, and ask the rest to do so too. And yet I know it is not your fault. There must be some mistake in the mail, for I am sure you love me too well to neglect me; but I do so long to hear from homd; two whole weeks since I have heard one word. Love to all, and to you as ever.

Your affectionate

On the 31st of May and the 1st of June, 1862, his regiment was engaged in the terrific battle of Fair Oaks. In this engagement the regiment suffered severely, losing one-third killed and wounded. Lieut. Pruyn had been quite ill and was entirely unfit for duty, but no selfish consideration could keep him from his post. He conducted himself with such bravery and devotion, that he was mentioned in the official report of his Colonel, as "deserving special commendation for his gallantry and soldierly bearing."

The Ninety-sixth were in the celebrated "Casey's Division," which was in the advance, and within sight of Richmond at this battle. By some strange and ungenerous misapprehension, Gen. McClellan was led to censure this division in his first dispatch, charging that it "broke unaccountably and discreditably." How unjust was this aspersion was abundantly proved, when the subject was discussed on the floor of Congress. In that discussion, the Hon. Mr. Van Wyck, of New York, "briefly recounted the movements of Casey's Division from the 5th of May till the battle of Fair Oaks; what losses it sustained from toil and exposure; that it was halted amid the swamps of the Chickahominy, where without tents, without blankets, without food, and without murmuring they lay down on the banks of that deadly stream. That Casey's Division had but 5,000 men fit for duty, while the enemy marched from 30,000 to 40,000 men against him; that Casey's men held the ground for three hours without being reinforced; that every rod of the retreat was covered with the rebel dead; that our gallant men fell where the sleepers are many, with their backs on the ground, and their feet to the foe; that nearly one third of Casey's men were killed or wounded, a larger proportion than any other division had lost in a single battle during the war; that while the history of centuries is being crowded into days, hours and moments, he felt that the records of the house should do justice to the bravery aud devotion of a gallant division, that deserved so much of their country."

Mr. Pruyn's letters written immediately after this battle, agree very remarkably with these statements.

June 3, 1862.
Dear Mother—Fearing you have heard of the battle of the 31st and 1st, and perhaps have heard that the Second Brigade of Casey's Division was all cut up, I just write a line to tell you that although our regiment is pretty well used up, your son is alive and well; and that though the secesh bullets came round thick and fast, killing and wounding our men without number, the nearest I received to a wound, was a piece of lead through my coat, but which never touched the skin. Thank God for my safety.

Not only our regiment, but the whole brigade are cut to pieces. Since the fight, several of our men have been out, and find that the place occupied by the force opposed to us, is literally covered with their dead, thus showing that our boys done good service. I cannot write more now; this is only to relieve your anxiety. The fight was right on our camp ground, and we have lost everything. Over 4,000 of our wounded have been sent off, and not nearly all are gone yet.

In haste, but affectionately,

The following, giving a more detailed account of the battle, is one of what he called his "journal letters." These letters were carefully written up from his memorandum book, and from first to last would furnish a concise, correct and interesting history of the movements of the portion of the army with which he was connected.

It is surprising that he could find time for letters like these, but they furnish one of the many proofs he gave of his desire to gratify and relieve his friends at home. His mother regarded it as a religious duty to keep him acquainted with every minutia of domestic affairs, believing it the surest way to keep alive his attachment to home. She was well rewarded by his carefulness and attention to her wishes, in regard to a knowledge of his daily movements.

In the Woods, near Bottom's Bridge, Va.,
Tuesday, June 8th, 1862.
My dear Mother—Beginning at the date of my last journal letter, Tuesday, May 13th, we left Rosser's Church about seven o'clock. The day was scorching hot, and we did not reach our final stopping place until two o'clock the next a. m. Just think, nineteen hours under, part of the time, a burning sun, with a heavy knapsack on your back. And yet we only marched twelve miles. If we only could have started and marched right on, it would have been far easier; but the trouble was, with such an immense body of troops the roads became blocked up, and we could only march a few feet and then stop ten minutes or more; and so on all day, not stopping long enough for the men to sit down to rest. It was a terrible march. This place is called New Kent Court House.

Saturday, 17th.—Had dress parade to-night, and just after it was over we received orders to march. Started just at dark, and marched till after midnight, when we stopped at a place called Cross Roads. Our march was not fatiguing, as it was night and cool, but a part of the way was through the woods, and so dark we could not see where to go, and often we got into mud holes. Laid down and slept this night with the bosom of mother earth for my resting place, and the star spangled heavens for my coverlid, and, what's more, slept sound and good. If I am spared to return, I am afraid I shall have to go out into the garden to sleep, for I don't think it will be possible to lie in a bed in the house.

Sunday, 18th.—No work to-day. A splendid day, though very hot. This evening, for the first time, the regiment had the word of God read and expounded to them by our Chaplain, who joined the regiment yesterday. It did my heart good, once more to join with others in praise to the Almighty for His goodness and mercy to us.

I have a new kind of bed, which pleases me very much. I take my banket and tie a rope to each end. These ropes I make fast to two trees, jump in, bring the two sides of the blaket together, get one of the boys to throw a rubber blanket over this ball of humanity, and I am fixed for the night. Unless, peradventure, said ropes should break, which verily doth often happen, in which case the young man, even he called Pruyn, doth receive sundry bumps and bruises on head and body, which doth not add to the serenity of his temper.

Monday, 19th.—Although it rained hard this a. m., we started and marched several miles to a place called Despatch Station, on the Richmond and York River Railroad. Are now about fifteen miles from Richmond, the goal of our exjpectations. Hung my hammock, and laid me down to sleep.

Tuesday, 20th.—Was awakened this a. m. early, by hearing some one say that "Capt. Lot" had arrived with his sutler's wagon. I tumbled (literally tumbled) out of my hammock, and started for the wagon. You must know that we men here are like quadrupeds; we take one good shake on rising and we are dressed. I have not taken off my clothes to sleep since I came to the war. I purchased some ginger cakes at two cents a piece, a can of oysters at a dollar, a few other things in proportion, and ate a breakfast which I tell you was good. Long before my breakfast was over, Capt. Lot had sold out, and started off for another load.

Wednesday, 21st.—Yesterday, about ten o'clock, we were ordered out for a fight. Started with our cartridge boxes filled with ammunition, and went at a rapid pace about two and a half miles, when, coming into an opening in the road, saw two or three regiments in a field popping away at some invisible enemy in the woods, and from the fact that bullets would occasionally and semi-occasionally whistle around our heads, we were led to conclude that said invisible enemy was popping at us. The further to convince us that our conjectures were right, said enemy let fly a few round shot and shell, which came in close proximity to the heads of several members of the glorious Ninety-sixth, and the hum of which has a very disagreeable sound to a man, reminding him of what might be the consequence, if he happened to be in the spot where said shot or shell struck. Well, we staid there, doing no good, for we were not ordered further, but having the pleasure of knowing that we were a good mark for certain little pieces of lead, which the enemy were prone to send us, with their loving regards.

Finally our regiment was put back in the woods, and Co. A, with Lieut. Pruyn in command, sent up to guard a house where lived a hoary headed secessionist, who, it was supposed, would give information to the enemy of our strength, &c., unless he was watched. He was not at all glad to see me, but that was none of my business. I told him to keep cool, and placed a guard around the house, after which I requested my friend, the host, to get me some dinner, for which, however, I paid him liberally, and which pay, notwithstanding his patriotism, he was very glad to get. This sumptuous meal consisted of coffee made of corn, parched and ground, without milk; bacon, fried, and corn cakes, made of corn meal and water without any salt. At night my friend had to give me supper, and, in the a. m., breakfast.

Thursday, 22d.—About noon this day was relieved, and the regiment marched back, but not to our old camp, for since we came down here the whole army has moved further down. We were sent forward to drive in the enemy's scouts and pickets. Fine weather in the a. m. and very hot, but in the p. m. rained furiously and hailed. I had pitched my tent in a hollow, and when the rain came I was flooded out, besides having my tent blown down. I got rather wet.

Friday, 23d.—Orders to march; started and crossed the Chickahominy, which don't amount to anything. From all you hear about it, one is led to suppose it is quite a large river, but it turns out to be a little, insignificant stream. We traveled on this day till night, and then encamped by the roadside, just as we had marched.

Saturday, 24th.—Rained hard all day. We heard heavy firing, and were shortly ordered forward to fight, but again the enemy had left before we came up, so we stopped and encamped regularly, but "no rest for the wicked." About eight o'clock at night the whole regiment was ordered out on picket, and wet, tired, hungry and cold, we were obliged to go and stand on picket all night.

Sunday, 25th.—A lovely day; cleared out in the night. As I am Acting Adjutant, I staid at head-quarters last night, which is an old house that has never been finished. About noon we were relieved, and marched back to camp, where the men had their rations dealt out to them, which they were sadly in need of, poor fellows, for they had had very little the day previous. Here we staid all day and that night, and our poor boys slept well on the damp ground. It is the greatest wonder in the world to me that any of us can stand what we do; 'tis true that two-thirds of the regiment have given out and are sick in the various hospitals, but the wonder is that any man can endure what we do.

Monday, 26th.—Were ordered suddenly this a. m. to fall in and march without our knapsacks—to "go forward and fight the enemy." The boys started in good spirits, and on we went for about two miles, when we found that again they had fled. With sorrowful faces we turned and came back, put on our knapsacks, and again went forward, till we came to a place called Seven Pines, where we stopped. We are now so near Richmond that it is impossible to make a long march unless we turn and go back, which we have not done yet, and I hope never will.

Tuesday, 27th.—Remained in this place; heard of Banks' being in retreat and defeated, which created a profound sensation in camp. We have made a detail of fifty men from our regiment to throw up earthworks, dig rifle pits, and cut down trees and form what is called an abattis.

Wednesday, 28th.—The regiment was ordered off on picket. As Col. Fairman is division officer of the day, Lieut. Col. Gray takes command. I feel miserably sick and wretched; hope I shall not have to give in.

Thursday, 29th.—A sad day for our regiment; our Major was killed. I wrote you about it the day it happened, and in the "Herald," of 4th of June, you will find an account of it. Save that paper for me. He is a great loss to us. We all loved him for his many excellent qualities, and he was a man of great military experience. I feel very badly to-day.

The place where we were was Fair Oaks Station. The name will be borne in history as the battle of the 31st of Fair Oaks. We were relieved near night, and marched back to camp—not our old one, but a new one, which had been laid out while we were out on picket. And now as this camp was the battle ground, I will tell you, as well as I can, how we were situated. Since leaving Yorktown, those divisions which were in the rear have been in front, consequently we have been in front. That camp was on the extreme left of our whole line of operations, and was exceedingly weak, so weak that we often used to talk about it, and wonder that our division was left so exposed. Our camp was close to our pickets, so that it might be said the whole division was on picket all the time.

The few days we were there, we were literally on guard the whole time. We sent off from each regiment one hundred men to throw up earthworks, to protect us on our front, but which were only partially finished at the time of the battle. We were called up once or twice at night by alarms. Three times the day before the battle we were out in line of battle; and every morning up at three o'clock a. m. and formed in line, so you see how we had to work.

Friday, 30th.—Hard at work, so hard that I could not stand it any longer; worn out; used up; it's useless to try to keep up, but I must try.

Saturday, 31st.—l was busy this a. m. making out the regimental reports, which must be sent in to the Brigadier General the last day of the month. I felt miserable but kept up, hoping to get some rest after that was done. Just after noon, I had stepped to the Colonel's tent, and was standing talking with him, when I heard the report of a cannon, followed by the whir of a round shot, which passed right over our heads and struck the ground about fifty paces to the rear of the tent. We looked surprised, and began to talk of '*What an excellent shot it was; " "It was a beautiful line shot;" "If it had been a little lower," &c., when the second report of a cannon and a second shot came whirring past, but this time a little nearer. The Brigadier General, whose tent was a few paces off, was standing near at the time; said he, "this will never do, if we don't get out of this some of these boys will get hit." He ordered me to form the regiment, (I was Acting Adjutant) but, before I could do this, the pickets commenced firing. We had had so many alarms the last few days, that we thought little of it, but still marched out and formed in line in the road. At our first position in the road, the bullets came around thick and fast, and one man was killed. From this position we were ordered across the field. But when we got part of the way there, we saw several little pufts of smoke at a little distance, and the Colonel, suspecting the enemy was there, formed us in line. The boys saw some men behind the fence, but they had a white flag, and the cry immediately was "don't shoot." But I remembered the treachery of the rascals, and shouted, "It's them, but they are trying to deceive you, take good aim and let them have it." If you could have heard the volley that followed this order of mine you would have heard something. As soon as our boys opened on them they rose up, and then we saw what an escape we had had. There were several thousand men there, and if we had gone down where we were ordered, it is not possible that one could have escaped alive.

Oh! how they opened on us. It is a miracle that any of us came off alive. Our boys dropped like sheep, but still they did not flinch. They stood right up to it till the regiment which joined on to us gave way, then our boys fell back to the rifle pits. Here we only staid a short time, for we found the enemy had what is called a "raking fire" on us, which swept down the ditch in such a manner that one shot would wound or kill several. Here it was that we lost the most, so we fell back to our former position and made our last stand. Our men fought nobly, bravely; never flinched under a murderous fire. I was proud of them. The man next to me was shot down dead with the colors in his hand. The Colonel caught them and looked around for some one to take them. I sprang forward and took and held them till a sergeant came and relieved me. The color carrier who was killed, was one that I had always taken a great interest in, for the reason that I had promised his father, in Phittsburgh, that I would exercise a care over him. He did not belong to my company, but that made no difference. Poor fellow, he died nobly, but how I pity his poor father!

Perhaps it was caused by excitement, but I really knew no fear; and although the bullets flew around me thick as hail, I thought no more of them than of so many pebble stones. You may think I want to brag, but it is not so; and this is not my ease only. If a man is going to show fear, he will do it before the fight. Once in it, and there is no time to think of self. How long we were here I know not. I was busy exhorting the men to stand up to it, "give it to them," "pop them down, boys," "take good aim and bring down one of the rascals;" until, finally, on looking around, I saw that, with the exception of the Colonel, two or three otficers, and about a dozen men, we were alone.

I looked across the open ground, and thought that my chance of getting over it safely was out of the question. Actually, at that moment, I would not have given two cents for my life. Thus I soliloquized : "Pruyn, my boy, it's impossible for you to get over there in safety. You haven't one chance in ten thousand; but then you know, my boy, the rebels don't give quarter, and they will be in here in less than two minutes; so, if you don't get there, you're done for any way. So here goes." I started; I did not run, mother—I never will do that; but I walked, and it did seem to me I never should reach the woods.

This ended my part of the fight. Our regiment was all gone in—broken and scattered. I met all that was left of it that night: fragments that the Colonel had collected together and marched about two miles to the rear. I reported myself to the Colonel, and was highly commended by him. I had spent the time, after the regiment was broken up till I reported to the Colonel, in helping wounded men to different hospitals. I met a party carrying Lieutenant Colonel De Forest of the Eighty-first New York, an Albanian, and showed them where a hospital was. He is dangerously wounded in the lung.

Sunday, June Ist.—The regiment was marched down to the woods, back of the second tier of rifle-pits, and there encamped as well as we could. Now we fought well in our regiment — losing, in killed, wounded, and missing, one man out of every four. The rebels have possession of our camp, so the men have lost everything. Luckily, my trunk was in tlie wagon on the other side of the river, but my knapsack and many other things are gone. I have been honorably mentioned in the Colonel's report for "bravery and soldierly bearing on the field," though I don't know for what, unless picking up the flag and holding it, and certainly that wasn't much. But now that it is all over, we are told by Gen. McClellan in his dispatch that the troops all did nobly, except Casey's Division. Or, in other words, because six thousand men did not beat back fifty thousand, they are cowards. This makes us all sick of fighting. To stand in front of such a superior force, and fight as we know we did, and then be branded as cowards, is certainly too much to bear. And then to have it go before the world over McClellan's signature, of course it will be believed, and we shall be sneered at forever. Why it would have been far better if we had not been in the fight at all, for then nothing would have been said about us. Oh, it does seem to me I can't get over this! If you see me coming home soon, don't be surprised. But enough of it. It makes me so indignant I don't want to think of it—if I can help it.

Monday, June 2d.—The firing has all ceased, and we are yet in the same place, but still they bring in the wounded.

Tuesday, June 3d.—Made a detail of men to go out and bury the dead. Several of our boys have been up to our old camp and report that the rebels have carried otf everything, or destroyed what they could not remove. They say the stench is so terrilble, from the enormous number of dead unburied there, that it is almost impossible to remain in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, 4th.—The rain came down in torrents. You folks north have no idea how it can rain down here. Notwithstanding the rain, we started to-day, and with sad and deeply mortified feeling, went back for the first time. In the afternoon, halted near the Chickahominy, about two miles from Bottom's Bridge. Oh! what a march this was. For some fifty yards we had to wade through water over four feet deep, and running swiftly. Some of the little drummer boys were almost drowned. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, still here. There is talk of sending us to Fortress Monroe, Norfolk, or somewhere. Our division is so reduced by losses and sickness, that we are not considered fit for service in the field.

But my job is done. I write all cramped up and am very tired, and I guess you are too, by this time.

I am, as ever, your affectionate son,

To those who knew Lieut. Pruyn, it was not surprising that to be branded as a coward, so unjustly, should be intensely painful and mortifying; although the above letter does not indicate the bitterness of the feeling that really existed in his mind. The more he reflected upon it the deeper those feelings became, and weak and depressed as he was, he had not strength to resist them.

Referring to this in a letter written a day or two after, he says:

"This regiment which left Plattsburgh with nearly nine hundred men, can now muster for duty only about one hundred and fifty. And yet we were willing to toil and suffer and die if need be, till since this battle. Now every one is utterly disheartened. How much a few words from one in authority can do. Those words of McClellan's so unjustly delivered—' The men all done splendidly except Casey's Division'—this is what has broken us down. For whatever others have done, the Ninety-sixth New York fought as well as men could fight, and only left the field when the enemy was on three sides of them, and then retired with their faces to the foe, loading and firing as they walked, for they did not run.

"If the public need proof of what we did, we can give the best of proof—our list of killed and wounded—one man out of every four actually on the field—did any other regiment do this? Our division hardly six thousand strong, held in check more than thirty thousand rebels. Did any other division do this? Oh, is it not hard after all this to be branded as cowards ?

'Tis true Gen. McClellan afterwards modified his report, and retracted his charges, but too late for its eftect upon this brave young heart. The injustice had done its work, and he resigned on the 17th of June and returned to his home, bringing with him garments perforated by the bullets—which, however, through the care of a kind Providence, were not allowed to touch him. It is only justice to his memory thus to explain the cause of his resignation, for by those who did not understand him, it was inexplicable.

But aside from these reasons, there were others which would have fully justified the step. His father's death had occurred the spring previous, and his mother had a great burden of care and responsibility, from which his presence might relieve her to a great extent. He felt deeply his responsibility in regard to her, and often debated what was duty. He had been willing, if his mother desired it, to resign before this; but finding her willing to sacrifice every personal consideration to her country's good, he decided that the claims of his country were paramount.

When Col. Fairman transmitted to him his discharge, he took occasion to write the following letter:

Camp Ninety-sixth Regiment N. Y. S. Volunteers,
Before Richmond, June 17, 1862.
Lieutenant Charles E. Pruyn:
Dear Sir—I herewith transmit your honorable discharge from the service of the United States, and in so doing would express my unfeigned regret at the loss of your companionship and service as a man and officer. I cheerfully give my attestation to your courage and devotion as a soldier of the Union, to which I was witness in the terrific battle of Fair Oaks, before Richmond, May 31st. And I shall ever remember you with peculiar interest as a soldier, who stood by my side while one out of four was killed or wounded, and one out of three of our regiment was lost in battle. With cordial wishes for your future success, I am truly yours, &c.,
Col. 96th Reg't N. Y. S. Vols.

Mr. Pruyn very soon, however, felt that he had made a mistake in resigning. Before he reached his home he saw clearly that the injustice of a man did not affect the merits of the cause, or the claims of his country upon his services, and he determined to return to the army. But the seeds of disease, contracted amid those fearful swamps, developed themselves immediately upon his arrival home, and a serious illness followed. Yet, even while prostrate with sickness, the old feeling came back that it "was a shame and disgrace for a young man like him to be at home in comfort while the country was imperiled, and he longed for returning health that he might go back to duty."

One little circumstance will show how real this feeling was. On the Fourth of July the procession passed his house, and he being then quite sick, went to the front door to look at it. In a few moments he came in, saying "that he could not stand there, and that it made him indignant to see that it was possible to get up so large a company of men in the city of Albany. No wonder the South can beat us, when the men of the North would rather stay at home and parade the streets."

While yet too ill to leave the house, he was oflered the position of Adjutant of the One Hundred and Eighteenth Regiment New York State Volunteers, then organizing at Plattsburgh. He at hrst declined, but being urged very strongly, he at length decided to accept it, and went for the second time to that place.

He received his commission as Adjutant of the regiment July 16, 1862. His services in the organization of the regiment were acknowledged to be invaluable—as, with the exception of one person, he was the only officer who had any practical knowledge of military tactics and discipline. His qualifications as a disciplinarian were found to be so desirable, that when the regiment left Plattsburgh he was very strongly urged to remain as Adjutant of the post, and promised the position of Major of a new regiment to be immiediately organized there. Colonel Richards strenuously opposed this, declaring it impossible to spare him. Adjutant Pruyn saw clearly the advantages of the offer, but feeling a just pride in the regiment which had grown into shape and order under his discipline, and having a strong attachment to many of his associate officers, he declined the proposition, and went with the One Hnndred and Eighteenth to the seat of war.

It is asserted by some of the officers who have had a good opportunity to know, that the set of regimental papers, prepared by him at this time, are the most complete and beautiful set now on tile in the Adjutant General's office.

The regiment remained in and around Washington, doing garrison duty, till the spring of 1863. At this time he was again highly complimented upon his regimental reports, and was assured, by the inspecting officer, that "he had the most exact, well kept and handsome books he had found in his whole tour of inspection." These little circumstances show that it was characteristic of him to do everything in the best possible manner. Exact and thorough in all he undertook, he established a character for system and reliability among all who had any dealings with him, rarely sustained by one so young.

Adjutant Pruyn was A. A. A. General, on Col. Wordrop's staff, commanding brigade from June 20th to July 13th, and was Post Adjutant at Gloucester Point, from July 14th to August 28th, 1863, when he received his commission as Major of the regiment, upon the nearly unanimous vote of the line officers, many of them with great magnanimity and from a true sense of justice, waiving their own claims in his favor.

In the latter part of October, 1863, a detachment of the regiment was sent out on several dangerous reconnoitering expeditions, under command of Major Pruyn. These expeditions were accomplished with great credit and success, and the appreciation of his character and services, by those under his command, may be known by the following letter.

The value of this compliment was greatly enhanced by the fact, that it was so arranged as to celebrate his twenty-third birth day.

Line Officers' Quarters, 118th Regt. N. Y. S. V.
Portsmouth, Va., Nov. 11, 1863.
Major Charles E. Pruyn, Commanding Detachment 118th Regiment N. Y. V.,
Intrenched Camp, Norfolk, Va:
Major—The line officers of your late command in Portsmouth, Va., highly appreciating your many good and noble qualities, both as an officer and a gentleman, have decided to honor you with a supper, and the pleasure of your company is respectfully solicited, to attend the same, at the American Hotel, Portsmouth, this evening.
We are, Major, yours, with the highest esteem,

From this time until May 4th, 1864, the regiment was encamped at Yorktown and the neighborhood. During this interval, they participated in several skirmishes, and attempted several movements which failed in their accomplishment. His health was by this time seriously impaired, and symptoms of heart disease were developed, which made it dangerous for him to continue in scenes of excitement. But no persuasion or advice could induce him to resign.

On the 4th of May, the regiment embarked, being in the Eighteenth Army Corps, for the James River, under Gen. Butler. One of his "journal letters" gives a diary of this period till the battle of Drury's Bluff, or Proctor's Creek, May 16th, 1864.

In this battle, the Colonel being absent, and the Lieut, Col. wounded in the early part of the engagement, the command devolved on Major Pruyn. How well he discharged his duty may be judged from the fact, that his regiment was the last to leave the held, and earned there a character for endurance and bravery, that placed them in the foremost ranks of the heroic defenders of our nation. In a letter written by Major General Devens to Governor Fenton, when the regiment was discharged at the close of the war, he speaks in the following terms of commendation: "Participating in various affairs previously, at the battle of Drury's Bluff, May 16th, 1864, this regiment distinguished itself for its great valor and pertinacity, and now the reputation it has since enjoyed, is that of being one of the most resolute regiments in the service. Out of about three hundred and fifty men engaged, it lost in this conflict in casualties, one hundred and ninety-eight men and thirteen officers; and it is a most notewortliy fact, that having taken two hundred prisoners from the enemy, the regiment had considerably more prisoners at the close of the action, than it had men fit for duty."

The night after this battle he wrote the following hasty letter to his mother, and, a few days afterwards, a long "journal letter," from which we will make a short extract, giving his description of the battle. The difference between these letters, and the former ones written when he first entered upon active service, is very marked. Three long years of experience and of suffering, had subdued the buoyant playfulness of his disposition, and the Holy Spirit had deepened his religious feelings, and taught him to look upon the solemn circumstances in which he was placed, in the light of eternity.

Near Bermuda Hundreds, May 16th, 1864.
My dear Mother—Thank God I am safe. Never before have I so felt the kind protection of my Heavenly Father, and with His assistance I will serve Him more faithfully than I have ever done before. I am worn out, used up, sick, sick at heart, but I trust a few days rest will restore me. We have been for eight days fighting all the time, (bushwhacking) and had worked our way up to within nine miles of Richmond, so that from the top of a high pine we could see the place. We carried their outer line of defences; but this morning they came upon us in overwhelming numbers, and, after several hours murderous fighting on both sides, they drove us back.

But our gallant regiment did nobly, and stood their ground till the last regiment had left the field. Indeed, they stood their ground till they were nearly all shot down. Oh, my heart aches so to-night! Some of my best friends are killed. Those I had learned to love so well are gone. Oh! when will this cruel, wicked war end. We have lost heavily, I fear, but know nothing except the thousand rumors that are floating around. But, still, there is something for which we may congratulate ourselves. This action has called away a large force, which would otherwise have been with Lee, so Gen. Grant reaps the benefit.

I was not hurt in the least. It was your prayers my dearest mother, that saved me. Oh, I know it; I feel it. I trust I shall live hereafter as a true Christian. Never before have I felt as I do to-night. I am not excited as I write this, though all worn out. Your good long letter just received; will study it. Yes, I will try.


The following is an extract from his journal letter:

"May 14th. —The enemy continued to shell us all this a. m. The Colonel pleaded sickness, and went into camp. Colonel Nichols, who really is sick, came out and took command. I was entirely used up, and was just going to report sick, when I was detailed to take charge of the skirmishers of the brigade. This being a post of danger, and of course of honor, I pocketed my bad feelings and went out. I had several men killed and wounded during the twenty-four hours. I was highly complimented by Gen. Burnham, because I kept my line in good order, and did not allow my men to fire unless they saw some one to fire at. The trouble is with men generally, they keep popping away when there is nothing to be seen, thereby wasting their ammunition, alarming our folks unnecessarily, and revealing our position to the enemy.

"To be in command of the skirmishers is very fatiguing; running around without a moment's rest, constantly under fire and great excitement, without a chance to eat or sleep.

"Saturday night I went out with some of our men and brought in a poor fellow of the Ninety-eighth N. Y., who had been killed on Friday, but lay in such an exposed position that it was impossible to get at him in the day time. We buried him right by our picket lines: a soldier's grave, with nothing to mark his resting place but a blaze on the tree near his head.

"My tour of duty was not off till Sunday afternoon, and when I came in I was so entirely used up that I fell asleep the moment I dropped on the ground, and slept through the heavy firing which was kept up all night.

"Monday, a. m., May 16th.—Just at daylight there was a very heavy fog—so dense you could not see six feet from you. Col. Nichols woke me, saying there was heavy firing on the right. I grumbled a little at waking so early, saying it was only a false alarm; but I soon found out my mistake. In a few moments Wistar's Brigade began to fire, followed by the Eighth Connecticut, and by the time we were up and ready for action, we saw a heavy rebel line within six feet of us, charging down upon us with tremendous fury. They had crept up under cover of the fog, hoping to surprise us, but were in this disappointed. Our boys gave them a tremendous volley, and, as they were so near, and our men took good aim before they tired, the slaughter was terrible. I could see whole lines of them fall at once. They immediately broke in great confusion and ran; but about ninety of them ran the wrong way (purposely), and came into our lines, and gave themselves up as prisoners. Lieut. Campbell, and a company of our regiment, were on picket when the fight began. The rebels passed him in the fog without noticing him. Shortly afterwards the Assistant Adjutant General on General Johnson's (rebel) staff rode up, and taking him for one of his own men, asked where Gen. Johnson's skirmish line was. Lieut. Campbell told him to get off of that horse, and he would show him the Yankee lines. The gentleman resisted, when Campbell pulled out his pistol, he then said, "no matter, he would get off," and Campbell, steering clear, in the fog, of the rebels, brought him and his company all safe into onr lines. I could tell of a dozen such adventures, but have not time.

"Heckman's Brigade was broken, and Wistar's followed, leaving the flank of the Eighth Connecticut exposed. They stood it for a while, when they broke and fell back. Then we had to take it. Imagine them all gone, and the rebels in their place, protected by our own rifle pits, and all firing into the One Hundred and Eighteenth, besides those out in front of us, and you can have some idea of our condition at the time. But our brave boys did not flinch in the least. They stood there loading and firing with the utmost coolness, until finally orders were given for us to change our front, and take up another position. Even this left us open to a terrible fire, and many men fell here. Just before we changed, Nichols was slightly wounded, and went to the rear, leaving me in command. After a while we received orders to fall back on a line with the other regiments of our brigade. Here we staid till every other regiment had left the ground, and then we fell slowly back about a quarter of a mile. Here we halted, and this time the rebels did not follow us. They had been severely punished, and been taught to have some respect for the One Hundred and Eighteenth New York. We formed in line and remained here till late in the afternoon, and the enemy shelled us, but did not do us much harm. Thus ended the battle of Drury's Bluff, in which fell, of Union forces, nearly five thousand men, all newspaper reports to the contrary notwithstanding. Our regiment lost one hundred and ninety-six men and thirteen officers—a little more, than half of all the men engaged.''

The modesty with which he here alludes to his own position at this time, and the utter absence of all attempt to magnify the important part he took in this engagement, is certainly very noticeable. Of the regiment—his "brave boys"—he was proud, and could speak in terms of unbounded approbation; but of self, not a word. His courage and patriotism were proved, not professed. And certainly they were most conspicuous in this instance, when it is remembered that he was, at this time, in a very suffering and precarious state of health.

The second day after this battle he was compelled to yield. The excitement of the battle, the responsibility of commanding, which he deeply felt, and the severe and exhausting labors, brought on a violent attack of heart disease, and he was taken to the hospital for the first time since he had entered the army. His great danger was apparent to every one, and the surgeons at once told him "it was his duty to resign, and that he could not possibly endure the excitement and fatigue of the army." He would not for a moment indulge the thought of resignation, and insisted upon returning to the regiment after only eight days rest.

About this time there was evidently a great change in his religious feelings. His letters indicated a depth of spiritual feeling, and a desire for entire consecration to the will and service of God such as he had not manifested before. The Holy Spirit made the death of his associates and his own precarious state, the means of impressing upon his mind the uncertainty of life, and he was brought to a very sweet and earnest submission of himself and all his interests to the will of God.

While in the hospital he wrote several letters, from which we make a few extracts:

"For the first time I am in hospital, but don't be alarmed. I am not very sick. The trouble is, just as soon as the long marches and fatigue attending them comes on, and the excitement of battle, then my old complaint comes back. All I need is rest and quiet, and it goes off again. I sometimes wish I could get detailed for a few months, and I think I could be entirely cured. But I hate to express such a thought even to you, for it is not right to wish to be away at such a time as this; nor would I do it, were it not that I know I am driving nails in my own coffin by staying in this constant excitement. I will not resign—that I have made up my mind to; but I have often, as I have been lying here, thought if I could be detailed to take charge of the Albany barracks, what a windfall it would be. But, then, I have put away the thought as unworthy. A soldier in the field has no right to be looking out for 'soft paces'. I am going back to camp to-morrow any way, for I can't stay here in a crowded hospital with wounded and dying men around. It is enough to make a well person sick."

On the 31st of May, the Eighteenth Army Corps reinforced the Army of the Potomac, and were engaged in the battle of Coal Harbor on the 1st, 2d and 3d of June. When the regiment was drawn up in line of battle, the tirst day of this engagement, Majoir Pruyn made an address to his men, which was said by some of the officers who listened to him, to be one of the most stirring speeches ever uttered; expressing the loftiest patriotism, and the purest, deepest religious sentiments.

In a letter written to his mother the day before, while on the transport, he said: "I have given up all speculations upon our movements and prospects. I begin to see clearly that we are in God's hands, and we must accomplish his purposes. Where we are going, and what is before us, I know not, but I am happy and contented. I have committed myself fully to the God of battles and I know he will do just what is right for me." Again,"We are all in the keeping of the great Creator, and when He sees fit this "cruel war" will end, and peace be restored to our land. I pray God that the time may soon come. It is my desire and purpose, if my life is spared, to remain in the army till the close of the war. But three years is a long time, and I do fervently pray that this year may bring peace."

During the first day's engagement at Coal Harbor, his horse was wounded and disabled; and on the second day, he received a wound in the foot; a ball passing directly through it. At the time this occurred the regiment was prepared to make a fearful charge. He went to the rear, had his wound hastily dressed, sprang upon his horse, rode as far back as possible, and then walked the rest of the way to the regiment. As he passed headquarters, Gen. Smith, who commanded the corps, saw him limping, and supposing he had just been wounded, sent an orderly to assist him to the ambulance. Major Pruyn thanked him, but told him he was on his way back to his men; he could not leave at that crisis. The orderly left, but in a moment returned with a glass of brandy, saying, "Major Gen. Smith sent this to you, and says you are a brave officer."

While he was at the rear, the General commanding seeing the hopelessness of the charge, had countermanded the order, but this was not known to Major Pruyn till he reached the regiment. Surely the history of the war does not furnish an instance of more deliberate and determined abnegation of self! Who can withhold his warmest admiration!

By night his wound became so painful that he was obliged to yield and go to the tield hospital. He was now urged very strongly to resign. His heart difficulty was greatly aggravated, and being disabled by a wound, it was argued that he had no right to remain any longer in the army. But no argument could convince him, neither could he be induced to remain in the hospital but a few days. Unable to be on duty, and yet determined to be near the regiment, he went back, and for a few days longer staid in the chaplain's tent. Of this period the chaplain writes:

"We tented together for a short time, and I am glad I had this opportunity to converse so freely with him as I did. For sometime there was a visible change in him—more thoughtful, more ready to converse on religious subjects. He often spoke of you, and your prayers for him; of the Sabbath school, and his early impressions there. I frequently found him reading his Bible, and he read very attentively the little book, 'The Victory Now,' which you sent him. One night, after we had prayed together, he remarked, that he had never lain down to sleep since he came into the army without prayer."

While in the hospital he wrote: "I write you from this hospital to-day, but I expect to leave it to-morrow. The doctor says it will be several weeks before my foot is well, and I cannot think of staying away from the regiment so long. I am needed there, and must go back."

He returned to the regiment on the 8th, and after staying with the chaplain two days, he resumed the command. On the 11th he wrote the following letter, the last he ever penned:

In the Rifle Pits, June 11, 1864.
My dear Mother—I received a few lines from you this a. m. * * * * I joined the regiment yesterday. My foot is not well, but I cannot stay back. It seems wrong for me to do so, especially as the doctors tell me it will be four or five weeks before it is entirely healed; but it is only a flesh wound, and if it was on my face or hand, would heal in a short time; but a wound in the foot, no matter how slight, always takes a long time to heal, as the circulation in that part of the body is so slow.

My general health is tolerable. Of course, I don't feel as well as if I was at home, and could get my sleep and meals regularly, and where I would not have the care and responsibilities which the commanding officer of a regiment always has, especially a young man like me, entrusted with the lives of more than two hundred men. But I do not mean to complain, but rather thank God that he has kept me alive, and from being severely wounded, as so many have been in this terrible struggle.

We had one poor fellow killed yesterday, our only casualty during the day. Our regiment has now been in the rifle pits, under constant fire, ever since we came here, ten days. Of course, we are protected by the breastworks, but "familiarity breeds contempt," and the men become so accustomed to it that they get careless, and in this way many lose their lives. Besides, it is impossible for them to stay in the pits all the time, they must leave once in a while.

I thank you, dearest mother, for writing to me so often. Even if it is only a few lines, it cheers me, and makes me feel better when I am thus constantly reminded that the dear ones at home think of me, and it seems to bring me near to you. As I lie on the ground at night and look up at the stars, I think those same stars are looking down on you, and I go to sleep, dreaming of home and mother. Don't think me romantic; the army is the last place for that; and although I do feel anxious that this dreadful war should end, and that I may be spared to return to you, yet I do not get homesick. I do not allow myself to do that. Love to all.

Your affectionate

Yes, this was the last letter of the dear boy to his dear mother; the last "love to all" from him who indeed loved all, and was ever ready to sacrifice his own interests for the welfare of others. His hour was approaching; he had seen thousands die, and now the moment for him to die is coming. His purity, his love of home, his undying affection for his Christian mother, his ardent patriotism, his sense of honor, his noble and unsurpassed bravery, could not save him. During the whole war, his mother, who is as eminent for her pure and exalted piety as was her son for his exalted patriotism, did all in her power for the benefit of our soldiers, with the hope that God would return to her, her own dear boy. Daily did she pray for his protection. Every moment he was on her heart. Every night she retired anxious what tiding the morning would bring; but she could leave him with God. She knew, by a blissful experience, the "secret place of the Most High," and she could trust her Heavenly Father.

It will require but a few words to describe the last scene.

On the 13th of June the regiment re-embarked for Bermuda Hundreds, and were immediately on their arrival ordered to march upon and assault Petersburg. On the 15th of June, 1864, Major Pruyn's regiment was ordered to make a charge on one of the most formidable works before the place. While preparing for the advance, the young Major stood erect before his men, his countenance radiant with hope, and his eye flashing with enthusiasm. Surveying the ranks, he uttered, in a clear and ringing voice, the words, "Attention, Battalion!" He was the next instant about to give the order, "Charge;" but, before the word had escaped his lips, a shell struck him on the breast and exploded. He uttered a single exclamation, "Oh," and instantly expired. His body was terribly mangled, and, as his comrades gathered around the lifeless remains, they wept like children.

The sad tidings fell upon the devoted mother like a thunderbolt, and for a time she seemed crushed. All the past, the days of his childhood, the period of his enlistment, his affectionate and graphic letters, his heroic deeds, came rushing upon her memory and overwhelmed her. But her Heavenly Father has graciously sustained her; and all loyal men and women throughout the land, all who love liberty and hate slavery, will thank her for giving to the American Republic such a son. History will perpetuate his memory, and posterity will applaud the name of Charles Elisha Pruyn.

The precious body was embalmed and brought to his home. On Monday, June 27th, 1864, it was my privilege to participate in his funeral services, and in the presence of a vast concourse of weeping friends, to bear testimony to his ardent piety, his noble patriotism, and his eminent services rendered to his country. His venerable pastor, the Rev. Dr. Wykoff, offered an appropriate and fervent prayer, and, from his own warm and sympathetic heart, commended the bereaved relatives to Him who alone could give consolation adequate to the hour. The remains were borne to their last resting place in the Albany Rural Cemetery, under the escort of his former companions, the Zouave Cadets.

The numerous letters received after he fell, bear most touching testimony to the grief his death occasioned; and it was a proof of the maturity and excellence of his character, that those who loved and mourned him most, were the oldest and best men, not only of his own regiment, but of the whole brigade.

One of the officers of the regiment, Capt. R. W. Livingston, whose opinion, from the dignity and excellence of his own character, was particularly valuable, writes thus: "Though we were so nearly at the extremes, he being almost the youngest and I quite the oldest officer of the regiment, I very early learned to admire his capacity as an officer, and esteem his virtues as a man; and, notwithstanding the disparity of our years, was proud of his friendship. I do not attempt to write words of consolation. While I have lost a dear young friend, you have lost a most dearly loved son—a son who deserved all your love, and fully justified your pride. His memory must be tenderly cherished."

Rev. Dr. Van Santvoord wrote thus to his mother:

"I met one of your sons several times in Washington, but am not positive whether it was Charles or not; but this matters little, as I learn from various sources the character of your deceased boy for truth, honor, and all manly qualities, and the deservedly high estimate in which he was held by all who knew him, and that the path which he loved and strove to walk in, was that which the Master pointed out and His own blessed footsteps trod. To lose a son of whom this may be said, is a loss only in name. To one fitted for heaven it is gain to die, and it were hardly wise or well for us to mourn the entrance of our loved ones, on the possession and full enjoyment of the heavenly treasure."

Nor were these the sentiments only of such as had known him in manhood, and after the development of his character. One of his earliest companions speaks thus of him :

"My Dear Mrs. Pruyn—The valuable gift which you have so kindly sent me moves me more than I can tell. Charlie's sword I feel unworthy of; and yet to no one out of your own family could you have confided it to whom it would be more precious. I shall cherish it as a memorial of one of the warmest friends of my youth; of one with whom I have passed many happy hours, and of one whose early death crowns a career so honorable, so noble, and so patriotic, that I feel proud in having been for many years his associate.

It seems but a few days since Charlie exchanged the oar of our pastime for the sword of the soldier; and the same earnestness and faithfulness that characterized the enthusiastic boy, honored and distinguished the career of the well-loved man.

As I look at the sword, I shall ever think of the bravery and patriotism of my former companion; and with the remembrance shall be linked appreciation of the regard that thinks me not unworthy to be the recipient of so precious a boon. Deeply sensible of your consideration,

I remain, truly and gratefully yours,
John E. McElroy.

The excellent officer who succeeded him in the regiment writes:

"I feel honored to occupy his position, and it is my highest ambition to emulate his noble, Christian patriotism. Oh, that he could have been spared to see the termination of this fearful struggle! No heart would have rejoiced more truly, for none served their country more unselfishly than he did."

Another writes:

"Major Pruyn's life cannot be measured by length of days, for there are few among us, hoary with age, who have such a record of duty and patriotism. The score of years and the early death completes his life better than a century of mere existence. To have been a noble boy, a dutiful, exemplary son, a Christian man, and a zealous patriot, throws a halo of glory around the sad, untimely death."

Soon after his death, the following tribute to his memory was received:

Headquarters, 118th N. Y. S. V.
In the Trenches, Before Petersburg, Va.,
July 20, 1864.
Mrs. Mary Pruyn, Albany, N. Y.:
Madam—Enclosed I send you extract from General Orders No. 80, Headquarters Department Virginia and North Carolina, just received at these headquarters.

It will assure yon that the name of your lamented son is still identitied with the struggle, towards the success of which he contributed his young life. The nobly fallen have not been forgotten—their memory has been most fittingly honored.

Along our outer lines their names have been set—gems of encouragement to ourselves—signs of warning to the foe.

It shall be our effort to emulate the brightness of their example—their devotion—that their sacrifices may prove to have been in behalf of a cause as gloriously successful, as it is gloriously righteous.

I am, Madam, most respectfully,
Captain Commanding, 118th N. Y. V.
Head Quarters Department of Virginia
and North Carolina, in the Field, Va.,
July 15th, 1864.
General Orders No. 80. In honor of the memory of some of the gallant dead of this army, who have fallen in this campaion, the redoubts and batteries on the lines will hereafter be known as follows, viz:— *******

BatteryNo. 6 is named Battery Pruyn, after Major Charles E. Pruyn, One hundred and Eighteenth New York Volunteers. * * By command of Major General B. F. Butler.

Major and Assistant Adjutant General.

Referring to this, an officer writes: "Yesterday I visited the battery which bears his name. It is one of the finest and most complete batteries on this whole line. It is the centre and salient battery, and in a very important position. At the point occnpied by this, ours and the enemy's lines are the closest together. A very neat board marked "Battery Pruyn" has been placed over the entrance to the work. I am glad I was able to visit this place, but you may believe I had many sad thoughts and memories, caused by the visit. Charlie was more to me then, than I thought him in life."

But these testimonials received, are too numerous to be further alluded to. Seldom has a young man died of whom less of evil could be spoken, or who was more afi'ectionately remembered by a larger circle of sorrowing friends. With a mind stored with useful knowledge, with principles pure and unyielding; with a power for influence, and a capacity for command rarely seen in one so young; and, above all, with a heart fired with the truest patriotism, he was eminently fitted for the times, and seemed destined to fill a higher position than he was permitted to attain.

But his young life has been freely given, with the many precious sacrifices this fearful war has demanded.

At a regular meeting of the Washington Lodge, No. 85, F. and A. M., held at Masonic Hall, September 24th, 1864, it was unanimously
Resolved, That the tidings of the untimely death of our lamented brother, Charles E. Pruyn, Major One Hundred and Eighteenth Regiment New York Volunteers, while in the discharge of his sacred duty, have caused feelings of the deepest sorrow. We mourn that a patriot so brave, so true to his country and just to his God; a soldier so valiant, a son and brother so devoted, so faithful and so beloved, should thus early be called from a sphere of hope and usefulness.
Resolved, That in his death, a link in the chain of our brotherhood is broken, and his memory will ever be revered by his afflicted brethren and associates, as a devoted, ardent and faithful brother, and warm friend and supporter of our institution.
Resolved, That we tender to the afflicted family of our deceased brother, our heartfelt sympathy, and assure them of our high appreciation of his noble qualities; and, while we bow in humble submission to the chastening rod, we remember that it is an act of that mysterious yet all-wise Providence which "doeth all things well," and, though removed from his earthly labor, our brother is called to higher service and angelic duties in that "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
W. E. MILBANKS, Secretary.

Mr. Pruyn inherited from his father a decided military taste, and he was glad to join the Albany Zouave Cadets, soon after their organization, as an amusement, never imagining that the knowledge thus acquired would ever be brought into requisition for any higher or more important purpose.

He enjoyed his connections with this company, and was ever ready to made any sacrifice to promote its interests.

The following resolutions, passed by the company after his death, express their estimation of him:

Armory Albany Zouave Cadets,
Co. "A," Tenth Regiment, N. G. N. Y.
At a special meeting of this company, held at their rooms on Friday evening, June 24th, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:

The tidings from the battle field before Petersburg, Ya., brings to us the painful intelligence of the death of our former associate, Charles E. Pruyn, Major of the One Hundred and Eighteenth Regiment N. Y. S. V., who fell while bravely discharging his duty in the service of his country; therefore it is
Resolved, That in the sacrifice of this noble young life, our Nation has lost a brave man and a devoted patriot, and this company, of which he was an honored member, a friend and comrade who was endeared to us by many ties of affection.
Resolved, That, though we have been called to grieve over his untimely end, we still have the consolation of knowing his death was the Christian's, his sacrifice the hero's, and that he yielded up his life in the holy cause of defending the rights of his country.
Resolved, That we tender to the ofiicers of his regiment our heartfelt sympathies for the loss they have sustained by the deathof their gallant officer.
Resolved, That, though we feel the insufficiency of human sympathy, we offer to the family of our departed comrade our sincere condolence in their dark hour of trial.
Resolved, That desiring to pay a fitting tribute of respect to the memory of our departed friend, we will attend his funeral obsequies in such a manner as may be acceptable to the bereaved family.
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions, properly engrossed, be tendered to the family of the deceased; that a copy be forwarded to the officers of his regiment, and that they also be published in the daily papers of this city.

L. U. LENOX, Capain.
W. N. S. Sanders, Secretary.

Other testimonials were received, equally earnest and flattering, with those already given, which our limits will not allow us to insert.

But higher than all human praise, is the approbation of that God whom our hero so faithfully served, and the love and welcome of the Saviour, in whom he placed his trust, and his hope of immortal glory.

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