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[51] than some, for he died after two hours of intense agony. Bullets just grazed me as they passed over, and one entered the ground within an inch of my right eye. I could not go that. Our boys had run back occasionally, but got a volley as they did so from the rebels, who would curse them. I waited till our cannon fired a round at them, then up and ran across the road, and fell flat behind some low bush or weeds, and well I did. They saw my sword and fired several volleys after me. As my hand was very lame, I crawled several rods back, then under a big log, got behind it, and, for the first time in five hours, sat up. I bathed my hand, and after a while made my way to the rear, got it dressed, and was on my way back, when I learned that the men were to work in, by one and twos, so I staid. I then learned of poor Bryan's fate, and one by one came the tidings of my own men, and when the word came of them I cried like a child. Some of them passed me on the way to have their wounds dressed, and blessed me as they passed by. When night came, the troops came in and line was formed, and a small one we had. The Major's body was brought in to be sent home, and my pet favorite, Sergeant Fred. Mitchell, (who, as a favor to me, Colonel Benedict had made an acting lieutenant — he was so good a soldier and handsome and talented,) who, the last I saw of him, was his sword flashing in the sunlight as he urged the men forward; but he was brought in with half his head torn off, and it was hard to recognize him. But God bless him! He was true, for his right hand grasped his sword firmly in death. I have it stored to be sent to his friends. Colonel B. and Lieutenant-Colonel B. came out safe. The Lieutenant-Colonel had been sick for some time, and this finished him. So I took command of the regiment, brought it to the mortar battery, and bivouacked for the night.

On the eighteenth came the call from General Banks for a thousand stormers, and four officers and fifty men of our regiment responded to it. Yesterday our regiment went to Springfield Landing to guard against a raid, (it is our base,) and the “Stormers” came here to camp. The thousand are here, and we storm on Weitzel's front, on the extreme right.

The first officer in our brigade was myself, my Second Lieutenant is another, and Colonel Benedict leads us. It is, as you will perceive, in spite of the flattering order, “a forlorn hope.” Our position is critical. Something must be done. I am confident this will succeed. I pray earnestly it may, though I live not to know it. You will wish to know why I came when our regiment is so short of officers, and I am so easily fixed now. I came on principle. I did not come for the reward or promotion, but because I deemed it my duty to come.

Bold men are wanted. If I am not bold, God will make me so. I came, and am to have the honor of leading a company in this charge. If I am wounded, I shall come home at once, and I know you will not be ashamed of me or my conduct. If I die, you will think of me as one whose short life was not wholly without a purpose. I hope to come to you with honor — with the medal on my breast.


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