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[71] thrown ahead A slight reconnoissance revealed his position. The word came from Gen. Butterfield to advance, and forward out of those woods came the Seventeenth New-York and Eighty-third Pennsylvania in line, as compact and steady as in the many dress-parades they have made side by side. The skirmishers opened their fire and down bore the regiments upon the enemy, with the old Stars and Stripes flying high. No rebels could withstand this. The supports broke and fled, the gunners emulated their haste, and a twelve-pound howitzer of Capt. Latham's battery, abandoned in their flight, now attests the discipline and courage of the Third brigade.

The prisoners whom we took at this point were of the Twenty-eighth North-Carolina regiment, clad in the homespun “confederate grey,” and of an intelligence and manner far inferior to the same class of society at the North. There was none of the savage and brutal appearance about them, attributed to rebels of the Gulf States.

The enemy had fled and disappeared in the woods; a momentary halt and three rousing cheers from the regiments as Gen. Butterfield rode along the line, and thanked us for this spirited conduct, and forward we went again. The enemy's plan, as disclosed to us soon, and afterwards corroborated by a captured officer, was to lead the main body of our troops onward after the Twenty-eighth North--Carolina, if it escaped, while the rest of their forces, lying concealed in the woods, should, after our advance, come upon our rear, place us between two fires, and make us an easy prey. As the sequel showed, their bag was well made, but the material was hardly strong enough for such troops as Fitz-John Porter's.

Closely pressing the enemy, and capturing some thirty prisoners, among them a captain and half his company, the Eighty-third Pennsylvania hurried up the road in the direction of Hanover Court-House. There Gen. Butterfield received intelligence from Gen. Porter that the enemy was in our rear, and to return at once. Now commenced the marching such as no troops under the sun could have endured except those who had been subjected to their five months severe drill on the banks of the Potomac.

Meantime the Forty-fourth New-York, when the enemy made his appearance a second time for the purpose named, had been ordered up with a section of Martin's battery, and soon found itself subjected to a cross-fire from a much superior force. Clearly the enemy thought his work easy.

A fragment of the Twenty-fifth New-York, the Second Maine, and the Forty-fourth New-York, lying in the open road, were exposed to the galling fire of an enemy concealed and protected by a close fence in the woods, not two hundred yards distant, and yet here they lay receiving and returning volley after volley, until many had expended their sixty rounds of cartridges, and were obliged to borrow of the dead. So near were the Second Maine and the enemy at one time, that the men on both sides actually thrust their guns through the same fence, which here made nearly a right angle, and fired on each other. The conduct of the Forty-fourth was gallant in the extreme. Four times was their flag struck by a bullet to the ground and raised again by an intrepid hand. When the name of one of these brave fellows was asked by the Lieut.-Colonel, then in command through the absence of the Colonel, in consultation with Gen. Martindale, he gave it, and remarked: “As long as I live, sir, you shall never see that flag in the dust.” In the fiercest of the fight, when it seemed necessary to make a charge to keep the enemy off, a captain replied to the question of the Lieutenant-Colonel, “How many men can you muster to follow you in a charge?” “Every man, sir, will follow, save the dead.” By a strange coincidence the flag of the Forty-fourth was pierced with just forty-four bullets. The horse of the Lieutenant-Colonel was killed, the Major wounded, and the arm of the Adjutant shattered while his blade was waving. For more than an hour consecrated by bravery like this, that mere handful of men held the enemy in check. At length the sound of distant cheers was heard. It was the Third brigade hastening to their relief.

In line of battle, Sixteenth Michigan on the left and Eighty-third Pennsylvania on the right, they were pressing through the ploughed fields, straight for the heaviest fire. Up lode General Butterfield, whose uncovered head at this moment struck you as more than ordinarily like Napoleon's. “Ah! Here comes the little General,” says one. “Now for the double-quick.” “Yes, my boys, now you see the use of double-quick.” “Oh! Yes; oh! Yes.” “Well, then, three rousing cheers to encourage our brave fellows yonder.” The effect was electric. Those men who had already marched eighteen miles through drenching rain and bottomless roads, and chased the enemy two miles more, took up the double-quick, caught the General's cheer and sent it increased many fold through the ranks of the enemy, to gladden the hearts of our friends. As a prisoner stated to us afterwards, these cheers told the enemy his game was lost. His fire slackened perceptibly, and on went the regiments into the woods. The marks of a terrible battle were all around us. Dead and dying were at the foot of every tree; the trees themselves, splintered and torn by the bullets, were as mangled as the bodies beneath them. The sulphurous smoke made the air strangely blue. Here we captured, from the enemy falling back, more prisoners than we dared detach men to guard. One poor fellow jumped from the ground, evidently to deliver himself up, but unfortunately brought his piece too near a horizontal line; one of our skirmishers dropped on his knees and fired. The rebel whirled completely round, pierced through both sides. Two others came forward displaying a dirty handkerchief, once white — bearing between them a small pale-faced fellow, a mere boy, badly wounded — and asked us to spare their lives.

“We've been forced into this we're conscripts,”

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