The island upon this side was merely an open plain, without trees or shrubbery, and the frowning bluff opposite seemed near enough to throw a stone upon.
The wounded men crept down the bluff during the night, and, those who could swim, ventured across, many never reaching the island, because they were swept away by the rapid current and drowned.
‘It was the season of moonlight nights, but, on this occasion clouds providentially obscured the moon.
The detail worked away, digging their holes, until a break in the clouds occurred, the moon shone brightly for a few minutes, giving us ‘dead away’ and we were ‘peppered’ from the Virginia
No rabbits ever hunted their holes quicker.
We dropped into them, behind the dirt already thrown up, crouching in a heap like lumps of putty, until the clouds again shut out the moon and the work was resumed and completed,’ said Lieut. Reynolds
, in telling of the affair.
No one was hurt, and when the digging was completed, the men replied to the rebels' shots, and the shooting of the wounded was, in a measure, stopped.
A detail from Company F was sent out on picket duty during the night, under command of Lieut. J. G. G. Dodge
, who found a narrow path along the shore of the island, on which he posted his men at the usual intervals.
No one could approach without being seen, and the river, on its surface, would show any boat or moving object.
As the pickets were being placed, the voices of men were heard and several were seen running toward the bivouac of the Nineteenth. Lieut. Dodge
gave chase and hailed them, but they would not stop until he threatened to shoot.
They said they had just crossed from the Virginia
side in a small boat.
The lieutenant tried to get two or three of them to row back again and rescue some of their wounded comrades on the other side, but no one would venture.
Although he could ill be spared, one man from Company F was sent over three times with the boat and he rescued fifteen men. Out of this number not one could be found who would return for his comrades.