previous next

‘ [111] he was speaking, the 34th Mass. on the right, impatient at their constant great and increasing loss, sprang to their feet and started for the rebel battery alone; almost at the same moment the long-looked for movement was made, our whole line went forward with a cheer, and the rebels were driven from the wall in utter rout.’ This is the description given in the report of Col. G. D. Wells, brigade commander, and he adds, ‘I desire to call especial attention to the conduct of Major Pratt and his regiment in the last charge,’ and mentions also the death of Capt. G. W. Thompson, ‘for a long time commanding the regiment, and a most valuable and gallant officer.’1

In ‘the hurricane battle,’ as it has been called, of Fisher's Hill, Va. (September 21, 22), Massachusetts troops took an active part. Early had been already alarmed by the gradual approach of the Union troops, and was preparing, as he says, to retreat after dark, when at sunset the troops of Crook, who had been gradually approaching during the day, sprang upon him. ‘Had the heavens opened,’ writes one officer, ‘and we had been seen descending from the clouds, no greater consternation would have been created.’2 The 34th Mass. Infantry (Col. W. S. Lincoln) formed a part of the first attacking force; then Rickett's division, including Battery A of the 1st Mass. Light Artillery, had joined it; then came the rest of the 6th Corps, including parts of the 7th, 10th and 37th Mass.; and the 19th, including the 26th and 38th. These troops, ‘taking up the charge, descended into the ravine of Tumbling Run, with a headlong rush over fields, walls, rocks and felled trees. Making their way across the brook, they were soon scrambling up heights that it had seemed madness to attack, while Sheridan and his admirable staff were on every part of the line, shouting “Forward, forward everything!” and to all inquiries for instruction the reply was still “ Go on; don't stop; go on!” Formations were little heeded in the rush, but the whole Confederate line broke from its trenches.’3 General Early justly sums it up, ‘My whole force retired in considerable confusion.’ In this sudden attack and victory few men fell.

At Tom's Brook (October 8, 9), a purely cavalry fight, where Sheridan directed Torbert to set off at daylight and whip the rebel cavalry or get whipped himself, Lowell's brigade, including his own regiment (the 2d

1 Official Records, 90, p. 377. See Sheridan's Personal Memoirs (II, 14), for his opinion of the Massachusetts regiments at this battle.

2 Pond's Shenandoah Campaign, p. 177.

3 Pond's Shenandoah, p. 177.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
P. H. Sheridan (3)
Pond (2)
George D. Wells (1)
Torbert (1)
G. W. Thompson (1)
Rickett (1)
Official Records (1)
Pratt (1)
W. S. Lincoln (1)
Early (1)
Crook (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 9th (1)
October 8th (1)
September 22nd (1)
September 21st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: