51st Pennsylvania Casualties


Four members of the 51st Pennsylvania died from wounds received at South Mills: Jacob Lennig, William Hoffman, Adam Robinson, and Benjamin Brouse. Hoffman, Robinson, and Brouse were buried on the battlefield. Lennig was evacuated to Fort Monroe, where he died on May 3rd, 1862


The three Pennsylvanians buried on the battlefield were not buried at the same place and time as the casualties of the other regiments. They were buried shortly after the battle in the edge of the woods by a large pine tree, near the location occupied by their regiment during the battle. The dead from the other regiments were buried the following morning near the road by members of the 9th New York. The men buried near the road were reburied in New Bern National Cemetery in 1867. There is no record of the Pennsylvanians ever having been moved


According to Capt. J. Merrill Linn of the 51st PA, "one of my company, Jacob Lenig, a gaunt man, with protruding teeth, that made him lisp, and he had a natural stutter, was in most jubulant spirits, which seemed to know no fatigue, cutting antics and playing pranks and sputtering out comic expressions. I heard some one say, no doubt tainted by that old Presbyterian feeling expressed in the saw - "laugh in the morning, cry before evening" - "Look out, Jake, you are in too good a humor, they'll hit you to-day," and he replied, "they can't hit me.


Later in the battle, Linn reports, "Some stood, others were on their knees, loading and firing in an automatic sort of way, blazing away in towards the front, regardless, some up close to the fence, peering over, or, resting their pieces on the rail, taking a deliberate aim and seeming to be looking for their game. Lenig was on one knee , his other foot advanced, his piece aimed and his head bend towards it as if taking aim, when he turned his face towards me, sputtered and spit out blood and a couple of teeth, put his piece down, and lay down. He was carried away on a stretcher.


Shortly after Hawkin's ill-advised charge, Col. Bell gave his officers directions to prepare to charge. "The field pieces of the enemy were in clear sight. The command rang out "Charge." A great six-foot corporal seized a stake of the fence, gave it a heave, two or three panels went down, and we all poured pell mell through the opening," said Linn. "A tall hand-some soldier of "E", Brouse by name, was making a clean run of it just in front of me. He suddenly bounded straight up in the air, seemed to roll himself in a ball, came down to the ground and stretched himself out with an ugly quiver. He had been struck fair in the forehead.


Earlier in the battle, Linn reported, "The fire followed the regiment into the wood, now with shell, and cannister rattled like falling nuts. A piece of shell struck a man of "E", William H. Hoffman of Miffinburg, cutting his side open and exposing his heart so that you could see it beat. Quarter Master Freedly, who had charge of the stretchers, stood there smoking his long pipe, looked at him as the men made a move to take him up, shook his head, "No use carrying him back." The young fellow, too much shocked by his grievous wound to feel any pain, said, " Oh yes, carry me back. I'm not much hurt." They lifted him on a stretcher gently and four strong fellows bore him away. Before they reached the field Hospital he was beyond all pain."