Tells of Battle
Andrew Brown writes of his comrade Jay D. Pruyn
Published in Kendall County Record, July 15, 1914
Jay Delos Pruyn was born near Syracuse, New York, in 1839, and died at Oneonta, New York, June29, 1914, at the age of 75 years. He was connected with the G. A. R. and the Presbyterian Church. He leaves a widow and two boys.
Comrade Pruyn spent his boyhood years in his native state, but as soon as he reached manhood he came to Bristol, Kendall County, Illinois, where he had an uncle, Simeon Pruyn. May 1861 found him working as a farm hand in Little Rock Township. The rebellion had broken out and the country was in a state of war. Armies were organized for the conflict. The Twentieth Illinois regiment was forming at Joliet, and K Company of that regiment was from Kendall County. About the middle of May, right in the rush of the Spring's work, Comrade Pruyn very abruptly and unceremoniously left his employer and went over to Joliet to enlist in this company. The formation of the regiment was soon perfected and in a short time we were in Missouri confronting the enemy. Pruyn was in every march and in every battle. As a man he was honest, honorable and clean. As a soldier there was none better. I stood beside him on many bloody battlefields. I will give here a very brief account of one of which I have a most vivid recollection.
It was at Raymond, Mississippi, on May 12, 1863. We had broken camp early in the morning and moved on toward Jackson. Some cavalry with a light battery was in advance. The Twentieth Illinois was leading the column of infantry. Early that forenoon the cavalry encountered the enemy. When we heard the firing we went forward on a run to the scene of action and swung into line to the right of the road behind a big rail fence. Other regiments were forming for battle. General Logan galloped along the line. As he passed us he reined up and shouted: "Twentieth Illinois, hold this position at all hazards till reinforcements can be brought forward. Hold it Hold it!" The Confederate line came upon us with a rush. It was their evident intention to break our formation, to double us back upon the advancing troops and if possible to stampede the whole army. However, every Union regiment held its ground and beat back the oncoming Confederates. In front of the Twentieth Illinois it was a close, desperate face to face fight and the slaughter was fearful. Eight Kendall County men were killed; they were Benjamin Adams, David Barrows and William Reed of Newark, John Woodruff and William Shoger of Oswego, Robert Taylor of Lisbon, Israel Waters of Plattville and Henry Mitchell of NaAuSay. Many were wounded. Sam Hagerman had his collar bone broke by a rebel bullet. A soldier lying behind the rails firing was shot in the leg. Dazed perhaps by the pain and shock he jumped up and immediately fell to the ground. He jumped up again and again he fell. He then lay helpless upon the ground in the whirlpool of battle and his wound was bleeding fearfully. He took off his suspenders and was trying to tie them around the leg. Comrade Pruyn saw this and went to his assistance. He tied the suspenders around the bleeding leg. Then taking a big red handkerchief out of his own pocket he put it around the leg just above the wound, then put his knee upon the leg and drew the handkerchief very tightly and tied it. He gave the wounded soldier a good drink out of his canteen and the picked up his gun and commenced firing.
And now this soldier who lay upon the battlefield fifty-one years ago, bleeding and helpless, lives to testify of the valor and devotion of a true comrade and to mourn because of his departure. Signed Andrew Brown.
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