previous next

[178] Taliaferro, ‘the omnious pause was understood—the supreme moment of that awful day had come.’ Wagner, which could not be conquered by shot and shell, must now be carried by assault. Anticipating that the smaller guns and the light battery would be destroyed or disabled by the bombardment, General Taliaferro had directed them to be dismounted from their carriages and covered with sand-bags, and the sequel proved the wisdom and foresight which suggested it. Again, in order to avoid delay, particular sections of the parapet had been assigned to the respective commands so that they could assemble there, without first forming in the parade of the fort, and thus ensure prompt resistance to the rush upon it which was expected. The enemy believing Wagner to be practically demolished, and its garrison too crippled and demoralized to make other than a feeble resistance, were rapidly forming to-make their grand assault. As soon as the firing had ceased, the buried guns were hastily exhumed and remounted. The Charleston battalion, which had all day nestled under the parapet, were already in their places, and when the order was given to man the ramparts, one regiment alone failed to respond. The bombardment of eleven hours had served to utterly demoralize the Thirty-first North Carolina regiment, and all the efforts of General Taliaferro and his staff to persuade or drive this command from the shelter of the bomb-proofs was unavailing, therefore the southeast bastion and sea front to which it had been assigned was left unguarded. While a faithful narration of facts requires me to note this incident, it gives me pleasure to state that this regiment fully redeemed itself the following year by gallant conduct on the field of battle in Virginia. When the order to man the ramparts rang like a bugle from the stern lips of General Taliaferro all the other commands, officers and men leaped to their feet and rushed out into the parade of the fort. Seeing the dark masses of the Federal infantry rapidly advancing, these veteran Confederates, still undaunted by the experience of that dreadful day, defiantly rending the air with enthusiastic cheers, sprang to their places on the parapet. The Roncevalle's Pass, where fell before the opposing lance the harnessed chivalry of Spain, looked not upon a braver, a better, or a truer band. It was a sight once seen never forgotten. Dropping on their knees, crouching low, their keen eyes glancing along the barrels of their levelled rifles, the whole face of the fort was suddenly transformed into a line of bristling steel, upon which the sinister red glow of the setting sun was falling. The Federal columns,

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
W. T. Taliaferro (4)
Thomas M. Wagner (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: