Records from the Twentieth Massachusetts Regimental History and from Adjutant Charles Peirson's journal reveal a contradiction in the fate of Sergeant Emery Mellen of Company G at Ball's Bluff. In the Regimental History the casualty list from Ball's Bluff reports that Sergeant Mellen was captured, while the roster in the Appendix states that Sergeant Mellen drowned in the Potomac River on October 21, 1861.1 Charles Peirson's journal clearly states that Sergeant Mellen was captured at Ball's Bluff and imprisoned at Ligon Prison with other soldiers from the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment. Mellen contracted consumption during his imprisonment and was released from prison on January 3, 1862.2
1George A. Bruce, The Twentieth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1861 - 1865 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Riverside Press, 1906), 60-61, 486.
2Diary of Charles Lawrence Peirson, "Memorandum of the Battle of Leesburg," Association of Officers of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment, Reports, Letters and Papers Appertaining to Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, vol. 1, p. 103, 123, 129, Twentieth Massachusetts Special Collection, Boston Public Library, Boston, Massachusetts.