, perceiving that the enemy held a strong position, directed General Potter
to put his troops into line, and the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh New York formed on the left of the road, then the Fifty-sixth New York and the One Hundred and Fifty-seventh New York on the extreme left.
To the right of the road he sent the One Hundred and Forty-fourth New York and Twenty-fifth Ohio. Lieut. George H. Crocker
, with the section of Battery B, Third New York, was ordered into battery at the turn.
Although it is difficult to establish the relative time of events, it is believed that these dispositions having been made, the Thirty-fifth United States Colored Troops, Col. James C. Beecher
, charged up the road.
It went forward with a cheer, but receiving a terrible fire, after severe loss, was forced to retire and form in support of the artillery.
, commanding the Second Brigade, with eight companies of the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts under Lieut.-Col. Charles B. Fox
, hearing volley firing breaking the pervading stillness, moved rapidly to the front.
There the leaders filing along the wood-road, three companies became separated from the regiment when Colonel Hartwell
ordered a charge in double column.
Twice forced to fall back by the enemy's fire, their brave colonel giving the command, ‘Follow your colors!’
and himself leading on horseback, the Fifty-fifth turned the bend, rushed up the road, and in the face of a deadly fire advanced to the creek.
But it was fruitless, for the pitiless shot and shell so decimated the ranks that the survivors retired after losing over one hundred men in five minutes, including Color Sergeant King
, killed, and Sergeant-Major Trotter
, Sergeant Shorter
, and Sergeant Mitchell
, wounded and pinned to the ground by his dead