previous next

[170] attack as soon as he could bring his troops into action. His force, amounting to about forty thousand men, consisted now of the corps of McDowell, Sigel, Reno, Heintzelman, and Porter. Unfortunately, Franklin and Sumner, at Centreville, had not come up, Burnside was at Fredericksburg, and Banks at Bristow's Station. These were heavy deductions from the national side. The corps of General Porter was on the left of the line, and at about three o'clock in the afternoon began the attack by an attempt to clear the enemy out of the woods in front. Our troops, however, were soon driven back with considerable loss. As they retired, the enemy advanced to the assault, when the battle became general along the whole line, and raged for hours with the greatest violence. It was upon the left that the enemy made his main attack. Heavy reserves were brought up and hurled against it, mass after mass, with overpowering effect, while a concentrated fire from Rebel batteries posted on a commanding position made terrible havoc in the loyal lines. By dark General Porter's corps had been forced back a half or three quarters of a mile, but was still unbroken and firm. So heavy, however, were the losses, and so prostrated with hunger and fatigue were the soldiers, that at eight o'clock orders were given to the corps commanders to retreat upon Centreville.

For its part in this battle the Eighteenth Regiment received great praise from the generals of both division and corps, for its steadiness and gallantry. It was the first of the division to advance to the attack and the last to quit the field. When it left Hall's Hill it numbered nine hundred and ninety-five enlisted men. The hardships and perils of its service had so wasted it away in five months as to reduce it to three hundred and twenty-five men, of whom more than one half were either killed or wounded in this battle. Among the former was Lieutenant Russell.

The period of his military service was a short one, too short to enable him to rise to a sphere of responsibility and attain a distinction equal to his powers. It was long enough, however, for him to have borne a part of the great conflict for freedom

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 Places (automatically extracted)
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.
Fitz-John Porter (3)
Charles Sumner (1)
Sigel (1)
Warren Dutton Russell (1)
Reno (1)
McDowell (1)
Heintzelman (1)
Franklin (1)
Burnside (1)
Banks (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: