was exceedingly hot and that made the marching in the thick dust very hard after we had left the pavements of the city.
When the sound of musketry reached us just before reaching Brightwood
, we saw General Wright
stopping by the road side with a gentleman whom we immediately recognized as President Lincoln
He answered our greeting and cheers by raising his hat. Instantly afterward we heard the sing of a bullet and we knew that the President
was under fire.
Moving up to the fort and deploying to the left in rear of our line of works, we found them swarming to suffocation, with all sorts of people, invalid reserves, convalescents, clerks, citizens, marines, any and everybody who could or would be able to fire a gun. Among them was Hank Johnson
, a Company D man of our regiment.
He ran over and saluted his friends in that company.
As soon as we were deployed, before in fact, General Bidwell
rushed forward with the 7th Maine, the 61st Pennsylvania, 43d, 45th, 77th and 122d New York regiments, and swept back the troops of Rodes
' division of Ewell
's corps, then under Early
, and pushed them down across Rock Creek
and beyond Montgomery Blair
's residence at Silver Spring
, losing quite heavily at the outset, but inflicting a greater loss upon the enemy.
Under the eyes of President Lincoln
, Secretary Stanton
and a vast multitude of soldiers and civilians standing upon the works, where they had for many hours fearfully awaited the advance of Lee
's choicest troops, the superb veterans of Bidwell
rushed upon their old time foes and pushed them from our front, under a devouring fire of musketry, but stimulated by the cheering of the spectators.
We were proud of our comrades, and glad that the President
had an opportunity to witness something of the terrible reality of war. ”