guarding camps, &c. The direct attack was made by Brig.-Gen. Isaac I. Stevens
with Col. W. M. Fenton
's brigade, composed of the 8th Michigan, 17th Conn., and 28th Mass., and Col. Leisure
's, comprising the 79th New York (Highlanders), 46th do., and 100th Pa., with 4 detached companies of artillery, &c.--in all, 3,337 men. Stevens
had these in position at 3 1/2 A. M. at our outer picket line, within rifle-range of the enemy, and advanced at 4--the morning being cloudy and dark — so swiftly and noiselessly that he captured most of the Rebel
pickets, and was within 100 yards of the main defenses, not having fired a shot, when Lamar
opened on him with grape and canister, plowing bloody lanes through the storming party, and destroying its compactness if not impairing the momentum of its charge.
The 8th Michigan--Col. Fenton
's own — was in the direct advance, immediately supported by the Highlanders
, with the residue of both brigades ready and eager to do and dare all that men might; and, if well directed valor could have carried the enemy's works by direct assault, they would have done it. But the neck of dry land over which it was possible to advance was barely 200 yards wide, completely swept by grape and canister at close range from six guns in the Rebel
works, as well as by their musketry; while insuperable abatis, a ditch seven feet deep, and a parapet nine feet high, rendered such an assault a simple squandering of precious lives.
The 8th Michigan lost here 185 out of 534 men, including 12 out of 22 officers; the Highlanders
lost 110 out of 450; and our total loss was at least 574, whereof Stevens
's two brigades lost 529--nearly all within half an hour.
The Rebel loss was 204; Lamar
and Lt.-Col. Gaillard
being among the wounded.
Though it was plain that the enemy's works could not be carried by storm, a second but feebler assault was made on them after the failure of the first, aided by a flank advance on the enemy's right by a battalion of the 3d R. I. artillery, Maj. E. Metcalf
, with the 3d N. H. and 97th Pa.; but nothing was accomplished; and our entire force fell back, unpursued, but leaving their dead and some of their severely wounded to fall into the hands of the enemy.
And this virtually terminated in defeat Gen. Hunter
's ill-managed advance upon Charleston
Four months afterward--Gen.
hunter having been succeeded in command of this department by Gen. O. M. Mitchel
--the latter planned an advance, not aimed at Charleston
, but due northward from Beaufort
, with intent to break the railroad connection between Charleston
, by destroying bridges, &c., about Pocotaligo
being prostrated by the disease of which lie ultimately died, the execution of this project was confided to Brig.-Gen. J. M. Brannan
, with an effective force of 4,448 men.
This force, embarked on gunboats and transports, moved2
up Broad river
to the junction of the Coosawhatchie
, where it was landed and pushed inland; first meeting resistance when 5 or 6 miles on