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[40] Kinston, Whitehall, Goldsborough Bridge, and elsewhere; his last battle was at Drury's Bluff, near Richmond, Virginia, under Butler. The siege of Fort Wagner was an episode in his career, and he there showed indications that he was especially adapted for service so difficult. When ordered to the front, he wrote (March 21, 1863):—

We are expecting orders hourly to embark for the great trial of the war; and if I am fortunate enough to get out alive,—or with my right arm, for left-handed writing is sometimes hard to read,—I will give you an account of the battle of Charleston by an eyewitness; but never fear for me, for I shall come out all right; but if I should fall, remember 't is a soldier's honorable fate; I die for my country.

He participated in the affair of August 26, 1863, when the enemy's rifle-pits in front of Wagner were carried by a wellexecuted assault, in which Lieutenant James A. Perkins was killed. The brigade to which Rea belonged was assigned to the assault of the fort some time later, and first made the discovery that the enemy had evacuated in the night.

In the battle of Drury's Bluff (May 16, 1864), the enemy made a vigorous attack on Heckman's brigade, which occupied the right of our line, routing or capturing the brigade. This compelled Plaisted's brigade to fall back to a new position. A staff officer says:—

When half-way up a hill, the Colonel seeing the enemy's colors about fifty yards in the rear, faced the regiment (Twenty-fourth Massachusetts) about, and, after giving them two or three well-directed volleys, drove them back. . . . . Lieutenant Rea had just given the order “About face” to his company, and was standing behind the centre at about three paces to the rear, when he was picked off by a Rebel sharpshooter; the bullet passing directly through his head, he was killed instantly. . . . . Lieutenant Rea behaved splendidly in all the fights in which the regiment was engaged, and was especially noticed by Colonel Plaisted (Eleventh Maine), commanding the brigade. . . . . He had command of my company (Company I) during the entire expedition

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