Nov. 15th, 1861
My Dear Wife
I will try to write by daylight and try to do better than before. I shall tell you some more about the affair at Ball's Bluff. Henry RICH is all right. He did not get back to camp till about the last one. He and a fellow named POPE (Charles or Horace of Co. B?) traveled some miles up the river and lay all night and part of the next day under a wheat stack and ate wheat to appease their hunger. The finally got a chance to cross the river in a boat and made their way back to camp being the last of our men who came back.
All that I know about Stone is easily told. When the order was given to retreat I did not know it for I was having a little shooting match on my own. I missed (George S.) Gilchrist and Brown (not identified; there are several in Co. B) from my side and turning to look for them, I saw the whole line marching precipitously down the bluff to the river. I followed but in the confusion I got mixed up with the Tammany fellows. I ran a short distance up the river and not finding any of our boys I turned back. I soon met Henry Whittemore who accosted me with, "For God's sake Eames, what shall we do?" I then proposed that we should try to swim to the island. He would not attempt it so I made him turn back with me to try and find the rest of our company.
Just then a murderous volley was fired by the devils on the top of the bluff and we both sprang behind a large tree. Here Whittemore sank down, completely discouraged saying, "I can go no further. I shall die here." I tried to cheer him up and make him do something for himself but could not, and then I left him. This is the last that was known of him.
A few paces from where I left him I met Lumen Stone who was also much discouraged. I proposed to him that we swim, but he would not try it. He said that he "hadn't strength enough to reach the island." I began to move away and he begged me not to leave him. "Come along then, " said I, "We have not time to waste."
Soon we found the Colonel, Major, and Lt. Eager standing together. They were preparing to try the water. I began imitating their example as poor Stone stood by looking mournfully. After I stepped into the water he said, "Are you going Eames?" I answered, "Yes. And won't you come too?" He shook his head, and as I struck off he burst into tears and cried, "Goodbye, Eames, good-bye!" The poor fellow, how I pitied him but I could not help him. I can write no more just now.
Your Affectionate Husband,
Walter A. Eames