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[93] the ground too broken to admit of moving about except on foot, and a long line of works must be erected before morning. The regiment was halted at the point where the works were to be made, when the whole line, men and officers, sank exhausted on the ground. Presently Colonel Porter came along in the dark, calling out to one of his officers, ‘I want you to take charge of this work, and it is to be completed before daylight.’ The officer, exhausted by the fatigue he had undergone, replied, ‘Colonel, I am sorry, but it is physically impossible for me to do it; I am utterly prostrated.’ His commander came close to him, saying, ‘I know you are; I wonder you have stood it so long. I am nearly exhausted myself; but remain where you are, get what rest you can, and I will see that the work is done.’ Daylight found it finished.

On the 2d of June they reached Cold Harbor, and soon after noon occupied the front line of works. Colonel Porter had such information as led him to believe that a charge would be ordered that afternoon upon the enemy's works, situated within one hundred rods of the front. He gave his officers full instructions how he wished the duty to be performed, passing frequently along the whole line, a prominent mark for the enemy's sharpshooters. At length night came on, and with it a heavy rain. Major Willett, the senior surviving officer of the regiment, writes:—

The Colonel was vigilant in guarding against surprise, and I do not think he slept at all that night. My position was on the extreme right of our line, at a large frame-and-brick house. Near by was a small evergreen, under which I took shelter from the rain. The Colonel was with me there about midnight, but soon returned to his own position near the centre of the line. He called upon me again before daylight; and we sat down on a log of wood to drink our coffee, and talk over the charge we expected to make at dawn. Suddenly the sharpshooters opposite, taking advantage of the first ray of light, opened fire upon us. With a smile, and in a cheerful tone, he spoke a few kind words, and was leaving me when he turned about, reached out his hand, and with a shade of anxiety and sorrow on his face, said, “Good by, Major!” and was gone.

In less than five minutes a staff officer came galloping up and

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Peter B. Porter (2)
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