at the Episcopal church.
Here the gallant men and boys impatiently awaited the arrival of the enemy.
The Federal command consisted of a battalion of the Second Maine cavalry under Maj. Nathan Cutler
, of Augusta, Me.
, and several companies, of deserters, the so-called First regiment of Florida Union troops, and two full companies of ferocious Louisiana
negroes, in all about 600, under the command of Brigadier-General Ashboth
About two o'clock in the day the advanced pickets of the enemy made their appearance on the edge of the town, from the Campbellton
It was then too late to draw in Colonel Montgomery
's straggling line, so fire was opened upon the pickets about 200 yards in front of our men, under which the Federal
advance made a hasty retreat, inspiring the little Spartan band of defenders with hope of victory.
But presently the main body made its appearance and General Ashboth
detached a part of his command to flank the village, and advanced the main body directly toward the church.
An indiscriminate firing began from the Confederate
front and rear, the old men and beardless boys fighting like enraged lions, disputing every inch of ground.
The contest was fierce and deadly for half an hour, when General Ashboth
ordered the church, boarding-house and a private residence opposite burned.
The militia kept their ground manfully between the two walls of flames.
In the meantime the Federal
flanking party gained the rear of the militia and commenced an indiscriminate slaughter, giving no quarter to any one.
The negro companies in particular acted in the most fiendish manner.
Old men and boys who offered to surrender were driven into the flames of the burning buildings; young lads who laid down their arms were cut to pieces; others picked up bodily by stalwart negro soldiers and thrown into the seething, burning church.
The charred remains of several of the half-grown boys were afterward found in the ruins of the church.
and his staff made a very precipitate