The charge of the Fifty-fourth had been made and repulsed before the arrival of any other troops.
Those who had clung to the bloody slopes or were lying in the ditch, hearing fighting going on at their right, realized at last that the expected succor would not reach them where they were.
To retire through the enveloping fire was as dangerous and deadly as to advance.
Some that night preferred capture to the attempt at escaping; but the larger portion managed to fall back, singly or in squads, beyond the musketry fire of the garrison.
, the junior of that rank, succeeded to the command of the Fifty-fourth on the field by casualties.
After retiring from Wagner
to a point where men were encountered singly or in small squads, he determined to rally as many as possible.
With the assistance of Lieutenants Grace
, a large portion of the Fifty-fourth survivors were collected and formed in line, together with a considerable number of white soldiers of various regiments.
While thus engaged, the national flag of the Fifty-fourth was brought to Captain Emilio
; but as it was useless as a rallying-point in the darkness, it was sent to the rear for safety.
had bravely brought this flag from Wagner
's parapet, at the cost of two grievous wounds.
The State color was torn from the staff, the silk was found by the enemy in the moat, while the staff remained with us.
Finding a line of rifle trench unoccupied and no indication that dispositions were being made for holding it, believing that the enemy would attempt a sortie, which was indeed contemplated but not attempted, Captain Emilio
there stationed his men, disposed to defend the line.
Other men were collected as they appeared.