Dow (Byron E.) Papers, 1862, 1 Item

Administrative Information

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Copyright: The copyright of these letters is held by Navarro College Archives, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave., Corsicana, Texas. Internet:

Cite As:Byron E. Dow Papers, 1862, Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas

Forms Part of: Pearce Civil War Collection

Location: 1-E10-b

Transcription(s): Yes

Scanned Copies on File: No

Accession Number: 2000.186

Processed by: Emily Brickhouse, June 2002

Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.

Abstract: Byron E. Dow of the 4th Rhode Island Infantry Volunteers wrote a letter (April 10, 1862; 8 pages) to his mother describing the battle of New Bern in North Carolina on March 14, 1862. “Away we went a midst a shower of lead and iron hail over the breastworks and into their battery. We drove them at the point of the bayonet. They ran like race horses. We planted the flag on the breastworks. Gen Burnside and 8 regiments and gave the Rhode Island boys 3 cheers.”

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Byron E. Dow enlisted as a private on September 9, 1861 in Providence, Rhode Island. On October 30, 1861 he was mustered into the 4th Rhode Island Infantry, Company C. He was part of Major General Ambrose Everett Burnside’s Expeditionary Corps that carried out operations in North Carolina during the spring of 1862. While there, Dow was involved in the battle for Roanoke Island (February 7 and 8, 1862), the first engagement in the campaign. From the Island, Burnside’s forces met Union gunboats and sailed up the Neuse River to New Bern and on March 14 the Union forces attacked the city’s defenses using the railroad as their line. The defenses were captured and continued to remain in the Union's possession until the end of the war. From New Bern the Expeditionary Corps fought the battles of Fort Macon (March 23-April 26), South Mills (April 19; Dow’s regiment was not involved) and Tranter’s Creek (June 5). Dow continued his military tour with the Army of the Potomac, and the Departments of North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington D.C. On February 1, 1865 Dow was transferred into the 7th Rhode Island Infantry, Company D, and mustered out with the regiment on July 13, 1865 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Scope and Content Note

The letter written to Dow’s mother on April 10, 1862 (8 pages), describes the battle of New Bern (March14, 1862) and makes references to the battle of Roanoke Island and the coming battle of Fort Macon in North Carolina. In his letter, Dow wrote about the many charges the regiment made and the failure of two regiments to support a charge from the railroad bed. “They opend A masked battery on us And A rifle pit which was 3 Miles in length we was orderd to Charge them out the 8 Conn and 5 RIV was to suport us but they did not do it they had laid down on the rail road and along the ditch they were cowards after we had drove them out they came up and they said that they did not know that we was going Charge it Many of the Boys fell in that Charge.”

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