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[141] with the most terrible effect. They were over-matched, however, and the guns could not be saved. The captain of the battery spiked one of his guns as the enemy reached his parapet, and his gunners, with rare presence of mind, secured all the friction-primers, so rendering the battery utterly useless to the enemy. Part of the stragglers rallied at the foot of the hill, between batteries C and D, and made a firm stand, where they were promptly supported by parts of two regiments, and the remainder retired to Fort Curtis to act as sharp-shooters in protecting the gunners.

In possession of battery C, and flushed with apparent certain victory, the enemy turned the captured guns upon our main fort, and loaded them with shell. Then gathering together his scattered companies, who were pillaging the camp of the two companies that garrisoned the battery, with one wild, self-confident yell he charged down the hill immediately in front of Fort Curtis; charged, not in line or in column, not with fixed bayonet showing a glittering line of polished steel, not as the Old guard charged at Waterloo, but charged en masse, or worse yet, en mobbe, every man being in himself a small host with a leader of its own.

The crest of the hill was six hundred yards from Fort Curtis, and the base five hundred. Five twenty-four pounder siege-guns, and one thirty-two pounder columbiad swept the entire base of the hill, from crest to base. Although the enemy had loaded our captured guns with shell, he could not use them; there were no slow matches, no friction-tubes, and the guns were so much useless brass. Without well-posted artillery, how could they hope to live upon the hill with the light guns of A, B, and D, playing upon their flanks and rear, and the big guns playing upon their front?

Nothing but madness could have driven them on; nothing short of omnipotence could have saved them from destruction. Yet, with the howl of demons, the last mad, defiant, impotent howl of baffled but still determined traitors, exposed to history, to nations, and to themselves; whipped, naked and hungry, on they came, cursing, firing, rushing, like the “Light brigade,” “into the gates of death, into the mouth of hell.”

No hurrying, no excitement, and yet no hesitation in the Fort and batteries, but steadily the shell, case, grape, and canister flew, with the swiftness of lightning and the precision of fate, straight in the faces of the infuriate mob. Heads, trunks and limbs hurled asunder by bursting iron, flew into the air, nauseating and sickening all who must witness the horrible sight. No body of men on earth could long endure such a tornado of iron as was hurled upon them. Their shots all fell short, or passed harmlessly over the gunners of the Fort. Not a man was even wounded. Slow to receive convictions, but at last satisfied of the hopelessness of their assault, the mob turned about, as if by common consent, and broke into squads of twenty, ten, two, and at least each man for himself, “and devil get the hindmost.”

Grape-shot and canister, round-shot and shell, followed them mercilessly, bore them down and battered them to pieces. Still they had not enough, but once more sought to approach through a ravine, protected by flanking sides from artillery fire. As they passed from the battery to this ravine, one point which the line must cross was exposed to fire. The guns succeeded shortly in getting such perfect range of this point that nothing could pass it. The regiment, and more, that had passed into the ravine, could not return, and the brigade could not pass in to its support. A Federal regiment of infantry was so posted at the mouth of the ravine as to rake its length, another took a position on a ridge on the enemy's right flank, and the two poured in their fire. Cross-fires from the Fort and batteries, aided by the gunboat, broke and scattered what of the brigade remained upon the ridges, compelling them in their precipitation to leave the guns they had captured uninjured, and the gallant regiment that had led the second charge, with their arms, officers and colors, prisoners of war.

Not less than three hundred killed and wounded, besides nearly four hundred prisoners, were left by the enemy in the vicinity of this battery.

Shortly after the attack was commenced upon battery C, a second and similar one was made by Fagan's brigade in strong force upon battery D. As at the first battery, only a portion of the brigade succeeded in passing through our lines. The remainder were driven back by a murderous fire from the guns of the work, and also from our sharp-shooters, who were in greater force than at C, and well protected by rifle-pits, which almost entirely concealed them from the enemy. Those who succeeded in getting through, took position in a ravine to the left of the battery, out of range of its guns, but raked from the mouth by part of another battery and the reserve of an infantry regiment.

They made a short fight, when they threw down their arms and were formally surrendered. While they were still fighting, a Lieutenant-Colonel, who commanded the rebels, was standing upon a log waving his sword and cheering his men. The captain of battery D called out to him: “What in — do you keep swinging that sword for? Why don't you surrender?” “By what authority do you demand my surrender?” asked the confederate officer. “By authority of my twelve-pound howitzer,” replied the Captain. The confederate looked about him, and could see no chance of escape, so passing his sabre-blade into his right hand, he held it out, humbly saying: “Very well, sir I surrender.” Perhaps at that moment it would have been very difficult to cite a more competent authority upon the question of surrenders than that under which the cool captain claimed to act.

The enemy lost at this battery nearly two hundred and fifty killed and wounded, and between

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