from The Webster Weekly Times, 2 Nov 1861 (Volume 3 #34),
| The Balls Bluff Affair
J. A. Spaulding, Editor
Another week has passed away, and we have learned all the particulars of the last and most terrible blunder of the campaign. Scores of letters have been received in this as well as almost every other town in Worcester County, full of thrilling recitals of marvellous escapes, or bearing the half expected news that dear ones were lost in that unfortunate engagement. So far as known deaths are concerned, Webster is fortunate in the loss of but two of her men; yet when the list of prisoneers shall be made known it will doubtless appear that the cold waters of the Potomac deprived us of more soldiers than the bullets of the enemy.
During the past week our people have had time to thoroughly digest the statements of witnesses and participants in the battle. The opinion seems to be general that disasters of this kind are not essential to the campaign, that there is a way to purge the army of inefficent leaders without the sacrifice of one half the men under their command. The blood of hundreds of the flower of Massachusetts soldiery is crying from the ground, and the voice demands that the slaughter be stayed. The wounds upon the heart of our commonwealth have thrice been opened afresh, and they have not been the skillful probing of a friend, to hasten their permanent and effectual healing, but the cuts and thrusts of an enemy who severs the heart-strings with a feigned dexterity.
Our people will no longer look hopefully for an advance of the army, for it is proved that an advance can be made only through rivers of blood and over the heaps of our slain.This is the inference which the past forces upon us: Bull Run brought the promise of no more hurried and half planned advances; that promise we have seen meant nothing; for this last affair was more unwise and needless even than its illustrious predecessor. Experience is profitable; in the name of humanity, havent our leaders had enough of it. If anything more in the way of offensive operations is to be done, let it be commenced while the remembrance of Balls Bluff is fresh; for while the disasterous results of ineffiiciency are staring us in the face, if ever, can it be expected that the means and material for successful warfare, will be furnished at the time when and the place where they may be needed.
Casualties in Co. I.
B. Taft, Worcester
Of these Augustus Remick and Francis Gellan are in the hospital, the former with a shot in the breast ,from which he will not recover, and the latter with a shot in the leg, not fatal; three were shot dead, one was known to have drowned----leaving twentyseven of the company missing.
The letter containing the above list bears date Oct 27th, and is quite as late as any intelligence received from our boys.
We understand that of Company E, from Oxford, there are about thirty missing.