All sorts of discouraging shouts met the ear as the regiment speeded onward, as,‘We're badly whipped!’
‘You'll all get killed.’
Still farther on was part of a disabled battery also going to the rear.
But through this rift and drift of conflict the tired and panting men pressed on, and led by Sergeant Cezar
of Company D, found breath to shout their battle-cry, ‘Three cheers for Massachusetts
and seven dollars a month!’
As the Fifty-fourth advanced, the field hospital of the Eighth United States Colored Troops was passed, which its coming saved from the threatening enemy.
relates that as he was riding over the field beside Colonel Hallowell
, General Seymour
rode up to that officer and told him in substance that the day was lost, and that everything depended on the Fifty-fourth.
When the regiment arrived at the battle-front, it was about four o'clock. Colonel Hawley
in his report thus describes the event:—
‘Colonel Montgomery's brigade had come up. The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, Colonel Hallowell, went into action on our left, the First North Carolina on our right between us and Barton's retiring brigade, halting and firing fiercely, with its right well forward so as to form an angle of perhaps 120° with the line of the Fifty-fourth.’
He further says,—
‘About that time an aid came to say that the general wished me to fall back, as the enemy were only feinting on our right, and were preparing to flank us in force.’
This, then, was the situation as the Fifty-fourth took position: Barton
retiring; the only other infantry—the Seventh Connecticut Battalion—ordered to fall back;