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[84] George C. Strong was a source of satisfaction, although it was accompanied almost immediately by one of the severest ordeals of the war. After a peculiarly fatiguing embarkation and night voyage, the regiment reached Folly Island at 9 A. M. on the 18th of June, had a toilsome march along the beaches until 2 P. M., and crossing the inlet of Morris Island reported to General Strong at 5 P. M. They had no rations, had had no food that day and little sleep for two nights, and in this condition were placed at the head of a night attack on Fort Wagner.1

Xix. Operations in the Department of the South.

Some minor engagements occurred in South Carolina in the summer of 1862 in which a few Massachusetts regiments took part; two companies of the First Cavalry at Pocataligo (May 29) under Maj. H. L. Higginson without loss, and the 28th Mass. Infantry at Legareas Point (June 2) under Lieut.-Col. M. Moore with only a few wounded men. At Secessionville (June 16) an attack of some force was made on fortified works at James Island, and in this the 28th sustained considerable losses (twenty killed or mortally wounded), the affair being an extremely rash assault upon a strongly fortified redoubt, and being described by one authority in the Department of the South, Judge-Advocate Cowley,2 as ‘an inexcusable blunder from beginning to end. They had to advance upon a narrow ridge of land not over two hundred yards wide, swept by grape and canister from six cannon . . . and exposed to a murderous fire from riflepits and sharpshooters.’

The 54th Mass. was under fire for the first time at James Island, July 16, 1863, aiding to repel an attack made by Confederate troops upon the 10th Connecticut, and behaved so well as to be complimented in orders by General Terry, who praised ‘the steadiness and soldierly conduct of the 54th Mass., who were on duty at the outposts on the right and met the brunt of the attack.’3 The following night James Island was hastily evacuated,

1 For a Confederate account of the attack on Fort Wagner, see Maj. John Johnson's Defence of Charleston Harbor, p. 93. His appendix gives the official reports of Union officers. For Union accounts see Emilio's admirable History of the 54th Mass. There are other descriptions in Gordon's War Diary, pp. 188, 198, 215, and elsewhere.

2 Leaves from a Lawyer's Life Afloat and Ashore, p. 60. The author gives a spirited account of the engagement and justly complains of its being slighted by historians. (See Putnam's Rebellion Record, V, 209-211; XII, 494-504.) ‘Resulted in disastrous defeat.’ (Crowninshield's 1st Mass. Cavalry, p. 62.)

3 Emilio's 54th Mass., p. 63, fully describes this affair. General Seymour also speaks of the 54th as ‘having conducted itself commendably a few days previously on James Island.’ (Official War Records, Serial No. 46, p. 347.)

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