previous next

[532]

The next instant and another gun was fired, this time opposite, from the other side of the Teche. We were the mark that both were firing at, for a shell whistled directly over us, and lodged in the centre of a bank not fifty yards distant, scattering the earth over several soldiers who were resting themselves at the top, and who scampered off in double-quick.

It was very fortunate that neither of these shells burst, as, if they had done so, several of the staff must have been killed or wounded.

“ It's becoming rather warm here, gentlemen, and as we are evidently the target they are firing at, I think we had better disperse,” said General Banks, as he quietly turned his horse's head and walked directly in a line toward the battle-field, where he was joined by his staff. The astonishing coolness with which the Commanding General and his staff acted in this case no doubt spoke well for their bravery, but poorly for their judgment. At least that was my opinion, for I was one of the party. When the order was given to disperse I expected to see them gallop off out of range at double-quick, but what was my surprise when I saw them walking their horses as if they were going to a funeral.

It was nearly five minutes before another gun was fired from the Diana. They calculated that shot by time from the other and the distance that a mounted man could ride, for the shell hummed far overhead, and struck the earth nearly a mile in advance, in nearly a direct line with the previous one. They evidently did not know General Banks. Had we ridden rapidly from the spot when the first gun was heard, we should have been very near where the shell struck, and, as I afterward learned, exploded.

It was about ten minutes past three o'clock when the General and staff rode into the field. The enemy had opened the whole of his batteries from behind the breastworks, and already rapid discharges of cannon, shells exploding in the air, and ploughing up the earth, were seen and heard. Our infantry in first and second lines of battle, creeping skirmishers and rapid posting of batteries, with the roaring cannon and bursting shell, formed one of the grandest spectacles imaginable.

The following was the position of the infantry and artillery at four o'clock P. M. on Sunday:

General Paine's brigade of General Emory's division, composed of the Fourth Wisconsin, Eighth New-Hampshire, One Hundred and Thirty-third New-York, and the One Hundred and Seventy-third New-York, advanced and formed the right of the line of battle, while General Weitzel's brigade formed the left, in precisely the same order as in the early part of the day.

A second line of battle was also formed of Col. Ingraham's command, and part of Col. Gooding's Thirty-eighth Massachusetts and Fifty-sixth New-York regiments. Captain Bradbury's First United States artillery, company A, engaged the enemy just above the obstructions in the Teche, while Captain Carruth's and one section of Capt. Bradbury's First Maine batteries, under command of Lieutenant Healy, engaged the enemy in front.

One piece of Captain Mack's Eighteenth New-York (twenty--pound Parrott) was ordered about the same time to take position between the road and the river — about the same place that General Banks and staff had formerly occupied — and open fire an the Diana. Twenty shells were fired at the vessel. She was struck several times.

There was something very singular in the actions of the Diana. She would suddenly appear every five or ten minutes, fire and then disappear. Captain Mack thinks that she was lashed to the side of the dock, when, by the loosening of the rope, she would turn by the force of the stream into the centre of the Teche, fire her guns, and was then instantly drawn out of sight. One shell from the Diana burst very near the gun. A piece of the shell brushed private Corson's cap, and lodged in a tree near by.

Soon our batteries replied to the enemy's fire, and a constant roar of artillery was heard, with occasional rapid firing sounding in the distance like heavy musketry. For more than two hours the firing was kept up.

In addition to the powerful guns on board the Diana, the enemy were well supplied with batteries and guns of large calibre, answering our rapid discharges with spirit. One, a thirty-two pound smooth-bore, at the left of the road and near the end of the breastworks, on this side of the Teche, was fired very rapidly, and no doubt did great execution. It was either a Parrott or a columbiad.

During the whole of this time General Banks and staff were under fire, riding from one portion of the field to another with apparent unconcern.

Ahead, behind, and on each side of us the shells were falling or exploding, the earth every instant rising in a cloud from where they struck, while the air was filled with flashes from the bursting missiles and white circling smoke, which curled and sailed upward.

Suddenly, while we were between the two lines of battle, a round shot struck the earth about forty yards ahead, just behind the first line, ricochetted over our heads but a very short distance, and, striking the earth again between us and the second line, bounded harmlessly over the latter.

A few minutes after, as the General and staff were moving between the lines toward General Emory, a shell from the Diana came cutting through the air, striking the earth not more than fifty feet ahead and about thirty feet from the first line, plunging deep into the ground, and throwing up the dirt in a huge shower, similar to what might be expected to result from a large, heavy body thrown with great force into a sheet of water. I noticed this one more particularly than the others probably because it struck much nearer, though from every portion of the field along our lines and the enemy's breastworks the earth every instant was rising in clouds.

As General Emory saw the shells striking all around us, he shouted: “Keep your staff and body-guard away, General; the enemy are directing their fire toward you.” We were all


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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
N. P. Banks (4)
Emory (3)
R. B. Mack (2)
Bradbury (2)
G. Weitzel (1)
E. G. Parrott (1)
Paine (1)
Duncan N. Ingraham (1)
William Healy (1)
O. P. Gooding (1)
Corson (1)
W. W. Carruth (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: