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[308] little service until the new line was formed.) Capt. Nim, Capt. Everett, and the battery on the right, and two pieces of the Fourth Massachusetts on the extreme left, opened a murderous fire from their batteries, which was returned with spirit by the confederates. The battle raged without a moment's intermission, and with great severity, for two hours. During this time nothing but a continual roar of artillery, the rattle of musketry, the shouts of the combatants, and the groans of the wounded and dying, was to be heard. Capt. Nim's battery was compelled to fall back, his guns being so hot it was impossible to use them. He took his position on the left of the Twenty-first Indiana, and ordered water to be brought to cool his guns. While thus engaged, three regiments of the confederates charged the Twenty-first Indiana, and one regiment charged Capt. Nims. General Williams, perceiving the perilous position of the regiment, and knowing the consequences of having the centre broken, took his position at the head of the regiment, and gave the command to prepare to charge. The regiment fired three volleys, (the battalion having breech-loading rifles,) and allowed the confederates to approach within a few rods. General Williams then gave the command, “Forward! Double-quick!” and with a deafening cheer they rushed to the charge. The shock of two such masses advancing, shook the entire field.

The struggle was fierce, and the killed and wounded on both sides numerous. General Williams fell, shot through the heart. This was the signal for a general onset on both sides. Capt. Nim lost two of his guns, but charged with his sabres and revolvers and retook them. The Twenty-first regiment repulsed three times their own number, and drove them back in confusion. I was at this time detached with the first platoon of our company, (Fourth regiment Wisconsin,) to skirmish on the extreme left of the line, to prevent a surprise on our flank. I took a position one mile outside the old picket-lines, in true Yankee style — behind stumps and trees. The rebels did not think it safe to honor us with a shot. We were fired at, however, by some of our pickets, who were driven in from the front, they mistaking us for rebels. They also reported us to the gunboat Essex as rebels, and she commenced shelling our lines: In riding in to correct the mistake, a shell burst directly behind me; my horse taking fright, I broke my stirrup, and fell heavily to the ground, and consequently was obliged to retire from the field.

The rebels were forced back one mile and a half, our forces occupying their original position. Our men lay on their arms during the day and night.

The confederate loss was heavy in killed and wounded. Our loss was about two hundred killed and wounded. Among them were several distinguished officers, whose names I did not learn.

On visiting a portion of the field on the morning of the sixth, I counted sixty-four confederate soldiers and a Colonel that were not yet buried, some twenty hours after the engagement. Prisoners taken report their force at from six thousand to ten thousand, while our force did not exceed two thousand five hundred.

The field-officers of the Fourth Wisconsin regiment showed great personal bravery. Lieut.-Colonel S. E. Bean, acting Colonel, retained his position at the head of his regiment during the entire battle. While standing with his hand on a fence, in a perfect shower of grape, a cannonball passed between him and the fence, and under his arm, but he did not change his position.

G. W. Porter, Corporal Fourth Wisconsin Regiment.

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