This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
‘  and broken chain for grape, and rusty nails and the raking of the scrap-heap for canister. No part of the column ever passed beyond the abatis, nor was it even possible to extricate the troops in any order without greatly adding to the list of casualties, already of a fearful length.’1 Lieutenant-Colonel O'Brien was killed in this engagement and the greater part of his little party was killed or wounded. But the most conspicuous figure on the field on May 27 was Colonel Bartlett of the 49th, who, having lost a leg in the Peninsular, insisted upon advancing on horseback for the half-mile before the works, over the roughest possible field, repeatedly floundering to his horse's neck amid the roots and rubbish, and waving his sword to encourage his men. The only mounted figure among so many, he commanded such admiration among his opponents that the sharpshooters forbore to fire upon him, as was afterwards stated by his friend and biographer, General Palfrey.2 After he was wounded, Maj. Charles T. Plunkett took command of the regiment, and being a man of uncommon height, he too offered a good mark for the enemy, but escaped unhurt. Out of eighteen officers of the 49th who went into the fight eleven were wounded. In the second assault on Port Hudson (June 14), the chief loss fell on the 38th and 53d Mass. infantries, though it was also shared by the 4th, 31st, 48th, 49th and 52d, the 50th being held in reserve. Gen. H. E. Paine of Wisconsin led the assault, deploying the 4th Wisconsin and 8th New Hampshire as skirmishers, placing the 4th Mass. behind them with improvised hand-grenades, made of six-pounder shells. Then the 38th and 53d Mass. were formed in line of battle. At the head of the column the 31st Mass., likewise deployed, carried cotton bags to fill the ditch. At the onset, Paine fell by the first discharge; some of the 38th Mass. (with some of the two New Hampshire and Wisconsin regiments) gained the ditch and a few even climbed the parapet, but of these nearly all
1 Irwin's 19th Army Corps, p. 180. He continues: ‘Banks was all for putting Dudley over the open ground directly in his front, but before anything could be done came the bad news from the left, and at last it was clear to the most persistent that the day was miserably lost. When, after nightfall, the division commanders reported at headquarters, among the wounded under the great trees, it was known that the result was even worse than the first accounts. . . . Worse than all, if possible, the confidence, that but a few hours before had run so high, was rudely shaken. It was long indeed before the men felt the same faith in themselves, and it is but the plain truth to say that their reliance on the department commander never quite returned.’ The aggregate of killed, wounded and missing was nearly two thousand (1,995), with scarcely any loss on the other side.
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.