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[167] wounded, and some killed. The regiment had been firing very rapidly; for many of the men, by jarring their pieces on the ground, sent the loads home without using the ramrods. It was observed that the musketry fire of the enemy was more effective than that of their artillery. Their shells were fired too high, passing over into the trees back of the Fifty-fourth. From the heavy gun on the railroad car came reports which dominated all other battle sounds.

This spirited movement into action of the colored brigade is acknowledged to have caused the enemy's right to give way somewhat, and imperilled the guns of Captain Wheaton's Chatham Artillery. Under cover of its onset Seymour withdrew his white troops to a new line some one hundred yards in the rear,—Langdon being forced to abandon three of his guns. This retirement was continued in successive lines of battle. A newspaper correspondent, writing of the action, said, ‘The two colored regiments had stood in the gap and saved the army.’ But the cost had been great, particularly to the First North Carolina, for it lost Lieut.-Col. Wm. N. Reed, commanding, mortally wounded; Maj. A. Bogle, Adjt. W. C. Manning, three captains, and five lieutenants wounded; one captain killed, and some two hundred and thirty enlisted men killed, wounded, or missing. Having maintained the contest for some time, it was withdrawn.

Every organization had retired but the Fifty-fourth, and our regiment stood alone. From the position first taken up it still held back the enemy in its front. What had occurred elsewhere was not known. Why the Fifty-fourth was left thus exposed is inexplicable. No orders were received to retire. No measures were taken for its safe withdrawal. It would seem either that the position of

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John F. Wheaton (1)
T. Seymour (1)
William N. Reed (1)
William C. Manning (1)
Archibald Bogle (1)
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