very edge of the woods which concealed and sheltered the foe, so that their sharp-shooters picked off the artillerists and shot down the horses as though enjoying a sportsman's bat-tue; while our infantry, half formed, and not well armed, were pushed into the slaughter-pen with equal stupidity.
Had our line been formed half a mile back from the enemy's, and there simply held while our gunners shelled the woods, we might not have achieved a brilliant success, but we could not have been beaten; but Hamilton
's battery went into action, under a heavy fire of musketry, barely 150 yards from the Rebel
front, and in 20 minutes had lost 40 out of 50 horses and 45 out of 82 men — when what was left of it recoiled; leaving 2 of its 4 guns where its life-blood had been blunderingly squandered.
And this was a fair specimen of the generalship displayed on our side throughout.
's cavalry (40th Mass.), with Maj. Stevens
's battalion, and the 7th Conn. (infantry), Col. J. R. Hawley
, were in the advance, and drew the first fire of the mainly concealed enemy.
, finding his regiment falling under a concentric fire, ordered up the 7th New Hampshire, shire, Col. Abbott
, to its support; Hamilton
's, and Langdon
's batteries also coming into action.
The 7th N. H. was a tried and trusty regiment; but it had been lately deprived of its beloved Spencer
repeating rifles, and armed instead with Springfield
muskets which it pronounced in bad order and unfit for service; so it was not in good condition for maintaining a position in which it was rapidly losing at least ten men for every one of the enemy it had even a chance to hit. It was soon demoralized; when Hawley
ordered up the 8th U. S. colored, Col. Chas. W. Fribley
--a regiment never before under fire.
It held its position in front for an hour and a half, losing 350 killed or wounded (its Colonel
mortally); when Col. Barton
led his brigade, consisting of the 48th (his own), 49th, and 115th New York, hitherto on the right, into the hottest forefront of the battle.
, of the 115th, was among the first of his regiment disabled; 7 of its captains or lieutenants were killed or wounded; one of its companies lost 32 out of 59 men. The 47th had its Col.
) wounded, and 6 captains or lieutenants killed or disabled.
Our left column, Col. Montgomery
, came last into the fight, just in time to stop a Rebel charge.
The 54th Mass. went in first, followed by the 1st N. C. (both Black). They were of course overpowered; but the latter left its Col.
, and Adjutant, dead on the field.
It was admitted that these two regiments had saved our little army from being routed.
— who had fought with reckless gallantry throughout, rushing from point to point, wherever Rebel bullets flew thickest — profited by their charge to reestablish what remained of his batteries farther to the rear; and now, giving four parting volleys of grape and canister, he ordered a retreat; which was covered by the 7th Connecticut, and executed deliberately, and without effective pursuit.1
We brought off 1,000 of our wounded, and probably left 250 more, beside