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[215] the advance was fired on by the enemy's pickets, and two at least of company H, Eighth Michigan, wounded. Silence was still preserved, no shots returned, but the four men of the enemy's pickets were captured and sent to the rear. The two advance companies were deployed into line beyond the hedge, and marched toward the enemy's works, followed by the Eighth Michigan, which came up into line on the march. Advancing with this regiment, as they formed into line in open field, in view of the enemy's works, and observing as well as practicable his position, I deemed it desirable to gain ground to the right, for the purpose of flanking his left in the assaults, and advancing the other regiments into position for effective fire on his infantry, supporting their works, and ordered an oblique march, which was executed promptly and in good order. I then despatched Lieut. Belcher, Acting Aid, to bring up the Seventh Connecticut, to form on the left of the Eighth Michigan, and Lieut. Brackett, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, to bring up the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts to the support of the two former, taking my position in the front and centre, to receive and direct the other regiments as they advanced.

The order not to fire but use the bayonet, was obeyed, and the advance companies reached the parapet of the works, at the angle on our right, and in front, engaging the enemy at the point of the bayonet. They were closely followed by the remaining companies of the regiment. During our advance, the enemy opened upon our lines an exceedingly destructive fire of grape, canister and musketry, and yet the regiment pushed on as veterans, divided only to the right and left by a sweeping torrent from the enemy's main gun in front. This brought a portion of the regiment to the left, near the tower or look-out, and a brisk fire of musketry was soon opened on both sides. The enemy's fire proved so galling and destructive, that our troops on the parapet were obliged to retire under its cover, and that of the ditch and slope on our right at the marsh, and slope and trees on our left. They maintained their position partially covered, doing good execution as sharp-shooters. Further details, and honorable mention of gallant officers, will be found in Lieut.-Col. Graves' report.

The Seventh Connecticut volunteers, Lieut.-Col. Hawley, formed into line as they advanced, reaching a point in the open field, in front of the tower, with their left resting in the bushes skirting the marsh, when I ordered their march by the right flank across the field, and up to the support of the troops on the right. I personally directed the movement, which was executed in good order under a continued shower of grape and canister, as well as musketry, on nearing the work.

In the mean time, one section of the Connecticut battery had opened on the enemy from our left, and the march of this regiment at first was between two fires. I refer for further particulars of the action of this regiment, and honorable mention of names, to the report of Lieut-Col. Hawley Commanding.

The Twenty-eighth Massachusetts volunteers filed through the first hedge, and came rapidly up, after the advance of artillery which preceded them, forming column of companies and then coming into line, and, arriving near the Seventh Connecticut, filed up to the left by the flank. For a short time the left of the two regiments were clustered together in the bushes, but the march of the Seventh Connecticut cleared them. The Twenty-eighth then filed up to the obstructions, a short distance from the enemy's intrenchments, near the tower, opening fire upon them. Lieut.-Col. Moore's report embraces further particulars of the action of this regiment, to which I respectfully refer. All the regiments behaved well, subjected as they were to the most galling and raking fire until they retired.

The storm of grape and canister, as well as musketry, continuing, and many of our officers and men being disabled, orders were received to withdraw the troops. My command was then withdrawn and re-formed behind the main hedge, from which an advance was again made to the cover of a ditch or second hedge, in support of a field-battery, which was pushed forward. In the woods on our right, near the angle of the Fort, were posted some of the enemy's sharp-shooters. They were also in rifle-pits, and under cover in the rear as well as in the house, which was filled with them. From these and other covers in and about the fort, and on its right, a constant fire of musketry was kept up by the enemy, who were in considerable force. The Second brigade of the Second division was promptly pushed forward to our support, and from all accessible points the enemy were vigorously replied to. I have no doubt they suffered a severe loss of killed and wounded. From the enemy's floating-battery or hulk, to our right and front, at least four shots were fired. When the order to retire was given, I sent Lieut. Fenton, Acting Aid, to our extreme right and front, to recall the men there. At this time he found them near the angle of the Fort, and directed them to fall back, which was done by most of the troops, but after the regiments were re-forming behind the hedge, one hundred or more of the Eighth Michigan still remained at the angle, and were recalled by Lieut. Belcher, who rode over the field to bring in all who were able to move. The field of battle was furrowed across with cotton ridges, and many of the men lay there loading and firing as deliberately as though on their hunting-grounds at home. All the horses connected with my command were either killed or Wounded, and all my aids and orderlies hit in some way. During the engagement the Eighth Michigan's colors were carried on to the parapet, and after the men first withdrew were unfurled to protect them from shots of friends in the rear.

While the fire was hottest, and during the day's action, through the efficient attention of Surgeon Francis Bacon, and Assistant Horace

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J. R. Hawley (2)
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