While the regiment had been under fire nearly all the time since arriving in Yorktown
, this was the first square fight in which it had been engaged.
There had been no opportunity for the use of tactics, as the woods were thick and little of the enemy could be seen.
‘Never did I know before how hard it is to fight,’ wrote Sergeant Major Newcomb
to his brother after this battle.
‘It is not the marching or the firing that wears men, but the suspense of the slow advance and frequent halts, the increasing rattle of musketry, the devilish yells of our merciless enemy; till finally, when at once the storm of bullets whirs over and on each side men begin to fall, and orders come thick and fast, the sweat oozes from every pore.
It is not fear, but uncertainty that so strains the nerves and makes men live days in every moment.’
says in his report: ‘My regiment performed to my satisfaction, there being no exceptions to the general good behaviour of officers and men in the performance of the difficult and trying duties required of them.
I may, however, without injustice to others, acknowledge my indebtedness to Major Howe
and Adjutant Chadwick
for their assistance and gallant bearing upon the field under the heaviest fire, and particularly commend the bravery of Corporal O'Rourke
, of Company E, who gallantly siezed the color (the flag of our Commonwealth) when its bearer, Sergt. Samuel H. Smith
, was shot down, and continued to bear it through the fight.’
Moses Short, of Company G, died of his wounds.
He was shot in the corner of his mouth, the ball passing down the neck, over the shoulder, down the back and lodging in the thigh.
It shattered his jaw and broke almost every bone in its course.
David B. Ash
was shot in the breast.
The ball glanced off and struck his arm just above the elbow, shattering it so badly that it had to be amputated.
, of Company C, had a terrible wound in the shoulder.
Benjamin H. Jellison
had received two bullets in the chin where a minie ball had gone in one side of it and out the other.
The wound of color Sergt. Samuel H. Smith
was a peculiar one.
Manfully steadying his color during the advance, he felt something strike