duty and exhorting it to acquit itself of that duty bravely and nobly to the last. Immediately after, the column swept up the street toward the scene of action, headed by Col. Robert Nugent, of the Sixty-ninth, and his veteran regiment — every officer and man of the brigade wearing a sprig of evergreen in his hat, in memory of the land of his birth. The advance was firmly and brilliantly made through this street under a continuous discharge of shot and shell, several men falling from the effects of both. Even whilst I was addressing the Sixty-ninth, which was on the right of the brigade, three men of the Sixty-third were knocked over, and before I had spoken my last words of encouragement the mangled remains of the poor fellows — mere masses of torn flesh and rags — were borne along the line to the hospital of French's division. Emerging from the street — having nothing whatever to protect it — the brigade encountered the full force and fury of the enemy's fire, and, unable to resist or reply to it, had to push on to the mill-race, which may be described as the first of the hostile defences. Crossing this mill-race by means of a single bridge, the brigade, diverging to the right, had to deploy into line of battle. This movement necessarily took some time to execute. The Sixty-ninth, under Col. Nugent, being on the right, had to stand its ground until the rest of the brigade came up and formed. I myself, accompanied by Lieut. Emmet, of my staff, crossed the mill-race on foot from the head of the street through which the column had debouched. Trudging up the ploughed field as well as my lameness would permit me, to the muddy crest along which the brigade was to form in line of battle, I reached the fence on which the right of the Sixty-ninth rested. Here I remained in conversation for a few minutes with Col. Nugent. Lieut. Miller, of Brig.-Gen. Hancock's staff, dashing up on horseback during the conversation, and furnishing me with additional instructions, in obedience to which I directed Col. Nugent to throw out two companies of his regiment as skirmishers on the right flank. This order was being carried out, when the other regiments of the brigade, coming up with a brisk step, and deploying in line of battle, drew down upon themselves a terrific fire. Nevertheless the line was beautifully and rapidly formed, and boldly advanced, Colonel Nugent leading on the right, Col. Patrick Kelly, commanding the Eighty-eighth, being next in line, both displaying a courageous soldiership which I have no words, even with all my partiality for them, adequately to describe. Major Joseph O'Neill, commanding the Sixty-third, was as true that day as he has ever been. His command took position on the left of the centre of the line. The centre was assigned to the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts volunteers, commanded by Col. Byrne, this regiment having in its possession the only green flag under which the Irish brigade had the privilege that day to advance against the enemy. On the left appeared the One Hundred and Sixteenth Pennsylvania volunteers. A new regiment, it had but very recently joined the brigade; but in its conduct, from Bolivar Heights, where it was first associated with the brigade, to the present moment, when its gallantry is placed on record, it has proved itself worthy of the cause into which it threw itself with so much enthusiasm. Thus formed, under the unabating tempest and deluge of shot and shell, the Irish brigade advanced against the rifle-pits, the breastworks, and batteries of the enemy. I myself ordered the advance, encouraged the line and urged it on. Owing, however, to an ulcer in the knee-joint, which I had concealed and borne up against for days, I was compelled, with a view of being of any further service to the brigade that day, to return over the muddy slope and ploughed field to get to my horse, which had been left in charge of an orderly, along with the other horses of the brigade, Brig.-Gen. Hancock having advised us all to dismount and act on foot during the assault. On my way to where the horse was standing, I met Capt. Hart, of the Eighty-eighth, the Acting Assistant Adjutant-General of the brigade, moving up from the left to the right of the right of the line, with a bright calmness and an intelligent courage, steadying the men for the attack. Passing then through crowds of slain and wounded, all befouled with blood and the mud in which they had been struck down, and recrossing the mill-race, which I did with the assistance of two wounded soldiers, I reached the head of the street, from which, as I have already stated, the brigade debouched, and there took my horse. Having mounted, I started with my orderly to rejoin the brigade on the right, and with that purpose took the street over and beyond which the two companies of the Sixty-ninth, under Captain James Saunders, one of the sturdiest and bravest of our officers, had been thrown out as skirmishers. I had not proceeded many paces up this street before I met the remnant of the Sixty-third, carrying the regimental colors, coming toward me, headed by Capt. Gleason, than whom the brigade cannot boast of a more resolute and stalwart soldier. With these few survivors of the Sixty-third were some of the Sixty-ninth. Fearing that the enemy might assume the offensive and break through our lines along the upper part of the city, I halted this handful of the brigade on the second street parallel to the mill race. Here I remained, under the personal orders of Brig.-Gen. Hancock, who happened to ride up and communicate with me at the moment, gathering in the fragments of the brigade, until, finally. I was ordered by him to fall back and concentrate on the street from which we had taken up our march for the battle-field. In this street the hospitals of the brigade had been established, and to it, consequently, all the officers and men of the brigade who were enabled to do so instinctively returned. But while the
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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