‘It was believed that the Fifty-fourth was in every respect as efficient as any other body of men; and as it was one of the strongest and best officered, there seemed to be no good reason why it should not be selected for the advance.
This point was decided by General Strong and myself.’
In numbers the Fifty-fourth had present but six hundred men, for besides the large camp guard and the sick left at St. Helena Island
, and the losses sustained on James Island
, on the 16th, a fatigue detail of eighty men under Lieut. Francis L. Higginson
, did not participate in the attack.
The formation of the regiment for the assault was, as shown in the diagram below, with Companies B and E on the right of the respective wings.
, Lieutenant-Colonel Hallowell
, Adjutant James
, seven captains, and twelve lieutenants,—a total of twenty-two officers,—advanced to the assault.
and Quartermaster Ritchie
were present on the field.
Both field officers were dismounted; the band and musicians acted as stretcher-bearers.
To many a gallant man these scenes upon the sands were the last of earth; to the survivors they will be ever present.
Away over the sea to the eastward the heavy sea-fog was gathering, the western sky bright with the reflected light, for the sun had set. Far away thunder mingled with the occasional boom of cannon.
The gathering host all about, the silent lines stretching away to the rear, the passing of a horseman now and then carrying