it was impossible to rally to effective resistance. The condition was indeed critical Our troops came out of the woods in confusion and poured in the barricade and towards the guns. The enemy's skirmishers appeared at the edge of the forest and then the batteries' thunders spoke. Shell and shot whistled so keenly about the rebels' ears that they did not care to expose themselves in the open field. Marching by right flank Stewart led his forces under cover of the ridge, the rebels' lines started and reformed in line of battle, and determinedly pushed forward to take the battery. The rebel command to charge rang out on the evening air; as I anticipated, the remnants of the flight that were gathered behind the barricade to support the guns, fled without firing a gun. Fled did I say? No; there was one who did not flee, and his name should be treasured in the reports among those of the hero boys who at times of sorest need have shown by their unflinching firmness, amid dangers that appal the hearts of men, that they are worthy the honors that men wear. Jonas Perkins, Company D, of the One Hundred and Eighth Ohio, performed an act of heroism on that occasion that entitles him to an acknowledgment from the General commanding, and to whatever mark of confidence and esteem he in the exercise of his influence can secure for him. Huddled, not aligned behind the rails near the battery, were at least a hundred men who had been driven there by the officers on duty after having been demoralized in fight. When the rebel line a second time started on a charge — this time to take a battery and destroy the last hope for holding the left — they gave way and ran. Jonas Perkins, a boy about seventeen years of age in appearance, but a full-grown man in action, stood alone and at his post. The cannoneer at post No. 3 was struck by a Minie ball and disabled. Young Perkins leaned his gun against the barricade, and there amid the thunders of six guns when stout hearts were failing and all seemed lost, when that little cove darkened by the smoke of battle was ringing with the lusty cheers of the enemy, he stepped up and asked the Captain if he might take the post of the fallen man, and throughout the action bore himself as nobly as the noblest. Simonson, the very embodiment of bravery, stood firmly at his guns and hurled across the plain his double-shotted canister. A cheer is heard at last, and down the gorge comes Robinson's brigade of Williams' division, who, on hurrying to the barricade, soon thrust back the eager assailants and closed the contest. At five and a half o'clock in the evening, General M. L. Smith, with one brigade on the right, and General Osterhaus, with Wood's brigade on the left, descended from the hills, and charging across the undulating country in his front, carried the first line of the enemy's rifle-pits between us and his main works around Resacca. The rebels retiring to their main line, are reinforced, and returning with cheers, charge up to the very ditch, but are repulsed. At nightfall, finding that the enemy's guns, from a fort to the left of the town, enfiladed the lines, it was determined to add to the depth of the pits and throw up traverses. So determined had been the charge of the rebel line to retake their works, that one fell with his head actually hanging over the edge of the ditch. In deepening them the dirt thrown up buried him, save his feet, and to-day his shoes may be seen sticking from the breast-works, in attempting to storm which he became a part. About ten o'clock at night French's rebel division stole stealthily towards our line, and advancing by column, attempted to turn our left. A fresh brigade from the heights was hurried across the rolling ground below, and succeeded after a desperate conflict in driving the enemy back. The struggle seen from the hills was grand beyond description. Lifted above a line of battle the musketry seems like hammers, and the sea of sparks that fall from the flame as it leaps from the muzzle like so many sparks from an anvil. To see a whole line firing, not by volley, but as rapidly as the men may load, and at night the line of flame looks like glowing chain-work that artisans are welding at the forge. Listen to it attentively and one would say that there are anvils employed of different weights. Some have a tinkling treble, and others have a hoarse dull bass. Mingle with this now the bellowings of the artillery, and the chime makes real music. With the object of throwing Garrard's cavalry across the Oostanaula, the second division of the Sixteenth was ordered down to lay pontoons. The enemy was found on the opposite bank, and a sharp fight ensued. Artillery was brought up, the enemy was dispersed, and at four o'clock the pontoons were down, and the cavalry was crossing. The cavalry once across, General Sweeney crossed with his infantry, and threw up good works to protect the beats. Thus closed the fighting on the sixteenth. As I pass around the camp, even among those who have come out from the fiery ordeal unsinged, are not a few making the hours speed in hilarity as though Momus were indeed holding court instead of Mars. Operations on the fifteenth. Musketry begins at daylight again. I hear it last when I go to sleep and first when I waken. There is a haze floating through the atmosphere, and the sun this morning is the blood-red orb that rose on Chickamauga. May its setting leave to rest and night our troops victorious, was said more than once that morning, for we all knew there would be fighting — hard, bloody fighting, done that day.
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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