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[271] Fourth United States, Captain McIntyre, on the left. Long's brigade was formed in the rear of the first. The Third division was ordered to form in the same manner on the left of the road, and to charge simultaneously with Minty's, but it is said for some reason failed to do so.

While the various regiments were being manoeuvred into position to meet the onslaught of the rebels, who were sweeping down upon them, the men had time to comprehend the danger that surrounded them — rebels to the right of them, rebels to the left of them, rebels in the rear of them, rebels in front of them — surrounded, there was no salvation but to cut their way out. Visions of Libby Prison and starvation flitted across their minds, and they saw that the deadly conflict could not be avoided. Placing himself at the head of his brigade, the gallant and fearless Minty drew his sabre and his voice rung out clear and loud, “Attention, column — forward, trot — regulate by the centre regiment — march — gallop — march!” and away the brigade went with a yell that echoed far across the valleys.

The ground from which the start was made, and over which they charged, was a plantation of about two square miles, thickly strewn with patches of woods, deep water-cuts, fences ditches, and morasses. At the word, away went the bold dragoons, at the height of their speed. Fences were jumped, ditches were no impediment. The rattle of the sabres mingled with that of the mess-kettles and frying-pans that jingled at the sides of the pack-mule brigade, which was madly pushed forward by the frightened darkies who straddled them. Charging for their lives, and yelling like devils, Minty and his troopers encountered the rebels behind a hastily-erected barricade of rails. Pressing their rowels deep into their horses' flanks, and raising their sabres aloft, on, on, on, nearer and nearer to the rebels, they plunged. The terror-stricken enemy could not withstand the thunderous wave of men and horse that threatened to engulf them. They broke and ran, just as Minty and his troopers were urging their horses for the decisive blow. In an instant, all was confusion. The yells of the horsemen were drowned in the clashing of steel and the groans of the dying. On pressed Minty in pursuit, his men's sabres striking right and left, and cutting down every thing in their path. Tho rebel horsemen were seen to reel and pitch headlong to the earth, while their frightened steeds rushed pell-mell over their bodies. Many of the rebels defended themselves with almost superhuman strength, yet it was all in vain. The charge of Federal steel was irresistible. The heads and limbs of some of the rebels were actually severed from the bodies — the head of the rider falling on one side of the horse, the lifeless trunk upon the other.

The individual instances of heroism were many. Hardly a man flinched, and when the brigade came out more than half the sabres were stained with human blood. Among the cases of daring vouched for are the following:

An orderly of Major Jennings, Samuel Walters, Company F, Seventh Pennsylvania, rode upon a rebel cavalryman, who threw up his hand to guard the blow. The sabre came down, severing the hand from the arm. Another blow followed quickly after upon the neck, and over the rebel rolled out of his saddle, the head only clinging to the body by a thin fibre. Private Douglas and Captain McIntyre, of the Fourth United States, charged side by side, killed four or five with the sabre, captured a captain and lieutenant and thirteen men, who were turned over to Douglas by the Captain, who rushed forward into the fray. After the charge was over Douglas rode up to Colonel Minty, saluted him, turned over his fifteen prisoners, and remarked, “Here Colonel, are fifteen Johnnies, the trophies of Captain McIntyre and Private Douglas, Fourth Regulars.”

It was, all admit, one of the finest charges of the war. Fully one hundred men fell under the keen sabres of Minty's brigade. The praises of Minty and his command are upon every tongue. The Fourth United States, Fourth Michigan, First, Third, and Fourth Ohio regiments charged over a rebel battery of three guns on the left of the road; but no sooner had our men passed than the rebels again seized the cannon and, reversing them, poured grape and canister into the charging columns. General Kilpatrick, seeing this, with his staff and others, about thirty in all, moved forward to capture the guns, but found a high staked and ridered fence between him and the battery. Seeing the predicament in which the General was, private William Bailey, Company I, Fourth Michigan, an orderly to Colonel Minty, coolly rode up to the fence, dismounted in the face of a severe fire, tore down the fence, remounted, rode up to the battery, shot the Captain, took possession of the horse and arms, and rode out. He was immediately followed by a party of men who captured the battery and spiked the guns. In the charge, Minty's brigade captured three stands of colors — the Fourth United States taking two, and the Fourth Michigan one.

Long's brigade, being in the rear, were not able to participate generally in the charge; but they fought, when they had an opportunity, like Spartans. The General, who learned of his promotion on his return, was, I regret to say, wounded severely in the leg and arm while gallantly leading the brigade.

Colonel Minty, whose soldierly form was conspicuous in the charge, urging the men to follow him, had his horse shot under him, an orderly was shot by his side. and his Inspector, Captain Thompson, captured. General Kilpatrick is loud in his praise of Long and Minty, and the nameless heroes who fought by them.

Leaving the rebel dead and wounded on the field, preparations were made for the return. The Third division was ordered to move on the

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Robert H. G. Minty (12)
Stephen A. Douglas (4)
McIntyre (3)
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J. Kilpatrick (2)
Samuel Walters (1)
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