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[96] Quincy), as did also Brig.-Gen. Thos. Ruger, its brigade commander. In a prolonged contest, with successive lines of Confederate troops brought up to attack them, this brigade fought with great steadiness and bravery, much of the battle being in the midst of abatis and brush and ‘a regular handto-hand fight,’ as one officer says; and they had to protect themselves with their bayonets long after their ammunition was exhausted. Colonel Quincy is among those complimented as having ‘displayed great bravery and handled their regiments with skill.’ Col. S. Colgrove, commanding the 27th Indiana in this brigade, says, ‘To say that the three old regiments, the 2d Mass., 3d Wisconsin and 27th Indiana, fully sustained the reputation they won at Cedar Mountain and Antietam, is the very highest compliment that can be paid them.’1

It is interesting to notice that the remarkable qualities of Col. N. A. Miles (then of the 61st New York Infantry), although before recognized, came into notice more and more in the Chancellorsville battles, and are frequently mentioned in different reports,2 culminating in this remarkable bit of foresight on the part of Brig.-Gen. John C. Caldwell, his brigade commander: ‘I greatly regret to report that Colonel Miles was severely if not mortally wounded on Sunday morning while handling the picket line with masterly ability. I have had occasion heretofore to mention the distinguished conduct of Colonel Miles in every battle in which the brigade has been engaged. His merits as a military man seem to me to be of the very highest order. I know of no terms of praise too exaggerated to characterize his masterly ability. If ever a soldier earned promotion, Colonel Miles has done so. Providence should spare his life, and I earnestly recommend that he be promoted and intrusted with a command commensurate with his abilities.’3 Providence having complied with the kind suggestion of General Caldwell, the nation seems to have taken care of the rest. Apart from his ‘unexampled rapidity’ of promotion, it is to be noticed that he received a medal of honor ‘for distinguished gallantry in ’

1 Official War Records, 39, pp. 709-712. General Ruger also compliments Lieutenant-Colonel Cogswell (severely wounded) and Major Mudge of the 2d Mass. Colonel Quincy's own modest report is in Official War Records, 39, p. 714.

2 General Hancock, for instance, wrote that Colonel Miles ‘had great opportunity for distinction and availed himself thereof, performing brilliant services.’ (Official War Records, 39, p. 315.) Even as early as the battle of Fair Oaks, however, it is said of him by Gen. F. A. Walker that ‘a young lieutenant on the staff that day, fresh from civil life, showed there, to the admiration of all beholders, that address and gallantry which were to secure a progress of unexampled rapidity, and to make the name of Nelson A. Miles the pride of the volunteer soldiers of the Union.’ (2d Army Corps, p. 53.)

3 Official War Records, 39, p. 321.

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