previous next

[105] to the rear by their comrades, in their arms or on litters, passed our advancing regiments with a smile, and as much of a cheer as their faintness would permit them give, and never without an encouraging word, if they were not too much exhausted to speak. Heroism of the true stamp, courage of the most unquestionable character, and patriotism and devotion to the cause for which they were so fiercely contending, could alone support our men under the combined agencies of the perils of their position, and the depressing effect of the gloomy procession of mangled comrades passing continually.

At each flash of the enemy's cannon, our men were ordered to crouch down in order to avoid the flying missiles. The difficulty in executing such a movement was very great. Our men stood in many instances in water and mud to their hips, and to move in any direction required a scramble over a fallen tree, with jagged and torn branches to annoy and impede. The bodies of the dead and wounded, when they first fell, were in most instances covered with water, especially when they fell into the pits with which the field is cut up.

The column under Gen. Parke, sent to attack the left of the battery, had passed the central column, when a charge by the Ninth New-York, Hawkins's Zouaves, was ordered. Major Kimball at once headed the storming party, calling to his men to follow him and they would win the battery. The boys dashed off with the accustomed cheer, and at the double-quick, the Major invariably keeping considerably in advance. In the commencement of the charge, they were met by a hot fire from the battery and the muskets in the rear.

It was at this time that Lieut.-Col. Viguier de Monteuil, of the Fifty-third New-York, distinguished himself. He fearlessly exposed himself to the enemy's fire, thinking only of encouraging the men and contributing to the success of the charge. He deliberately loaded and fired a rifle he carried, taking a steady aim before firing. He spoke to the soldiers in the most cheering tones of encouragement, and when he at last was struck in the head by a musket-bullet, he sank to the earth without a struggle. A braver man could not be found. A more ardent defender of the cause of liberty need not be asked. He leaves a wife in New-York, whose protection should be made a special object by the country.

As the Zouaves neared the battery, Gen. Reno's column, headed by the Twenty-first Massachusetts and the Fifty-first New-York, appeared in the woods advancing on the enemy's right. Their bullets were already dropping the men inside the battery. The rebels soon found their great reliance on the impenetrability of the woods to the left was a mistake, and without waiting for the near approach of our men, they abandoned the work in the most precipitate manner, leaving a wounded captain inside the work. They cast off knapsacks, haversacks and overcoats, and what-ever else tended to retard their flight. Three companies of the Fifty-first New-York, (Lieut.-Col. Porter,) were the first to enter the battery, where they planted the Stars and Stripes. They were soon followed by the Twenty-first Massachusetts, when Lieut.-Col. Maggi planted the white flag of Massachusetts on the work. Hawkins's Zouaves next came dashing over the ditch and up the side, to find the work in possession of their friends. It was but a question of distance who should arrive first, for undoubtedly the Zouaves would have stormed the battery at the point of the bayonet, had the work not been evacuated.

Gen. Parke with the right column soon appeared, but the enemy had retired. The Zouaves who were in his column, having the left, were nearest the front of the battery, and were consequently ordered to charge.

The bodies of five rebels were found inside the battery, and the carcase of a mule. The gun-caissons of one of the field-pieces in the battery were riddled by the bullets from our rifles.

Lieut. Close of the Tenth Connecticut, was sent forward to reconnoitre, and reported to Gen. Foster, who ordered a charge, which Col. Russell headed amidst a storm of shot from the battery.

Col. Russell was killed while charging in front of his column, but no external wound was observed on his body. Col. Russell was esteemed very highly by all who knew him. He leaves a wife and family in New-Haven to mourn the loss of an affectionate husband and father, while his country has lost a brave man, a true patriot, and an honorable gentleman.

The Twenty-first Massachusetts, the Fifty-first New-York and the Ninth New-York, proceeded along the line of retreat of the rebels in pursuit. The path was marked by the clothes and surplus material of which the rebels divested themselves in their flight. The Fifty-first New-York and the Ninth New-York pursued the road leading to the east side of the island, where they supposed the rebels would endeavor to embark for Nag's Head. On reaching the shore, several boats were seen being towed away by a steamer, while two were just putting off from shore. Our men commanded them to return, but as they did not obey, they fired on the rebels. This had the desired effect; the boats immediately put about and the men came ashore. The boats contained twenty-five or thirty prisoners, among them several wounded men. One of the wounded was Capt. O. Jennings Wise, of the Wise Legion, who was struck twice on the field, once while being borne from the field, and again when our men fired on the retreating boats. Capt. Wise died the same night.

The Twenty-first Massachusetts advanced in the direction of a large camp of the rebels, which they were told by a negro woman was situated to the northward of the battery. A company was sent forward in skirmishing order, who came on a few companies of the rebel force. The rebels fired, without effect, when our men returned the fire, killing three and wounding five. The rebels retired, and our men steadily advanced. They were soon met by a rebel officer bearing a white flag, asking to see the officer in command. An officer was sent to bring him to Gen. Reno. who was advancing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
C. W. Russell (3)
O. Jennings Wise (2)
J. L. Reno (2)
Parke (2)
P. P. Hawkins (2)
Benjamin H. Porter (1)
Viguier Monteuil (1)
Albert C. Maggi (1)
Nathan Kimball (1)
T. S. Foster (1)
Close (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: