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[239] the morning, the day was hot, foggy and damp; the combatants were soon enveloped in dense smoke. The boldest among the Federals had penetrated into the entrenchments, and planted on them the flag of the Eighth Michigan, but they could not capture the redoubt, the guns of which, loaded with grape, swept the summit of the ridge, and opened several gaps in the ranks of the regiments which Stevens had sent to their assistance; these reinforcements became separated, and could only reach the enemy's works by following the edge of the swamps. The gun-boats had not advanced far enough to enfilade the Confederate works, but bombarded them from a distance without effect. The troops posted in the second line opened a murderous fire upon the Federals; the latter were driven back into the ditch, and after a struggle of half an hour they were compelled to retire and seek shelter behind the first hedge.

The attack had failed. Stevens, however, did not give up the contest; he sent for succor to Benham, who had remained with Wright's column, and had not met the enemy. This general despatched Williams' brigade, which, crossing St. John's Creek, came to take position on the western prolongation of the Confederate entrenchments, and opened an enfilading fire upon their defenders, while the only serviceable gun in Stevens' possession continued to cannonade the redoubt. The brave Lamar had been seriously wounded, and a large number of men had fallen by his side; his position was becoming critical, when two regiments, sent by Evans to cover his right, encountered Williams, arrested his flank movement, and at the same time the Confederate fieldpieces, posted en potence, riddled them with shell. Benham, deeming it impossible to carry by main force a position so well defended, gave at last the signal for retreat.

This was the first time that the small army which had been operating on the coast for the last seven months had a serious engagement with its adversaries. It was a costly trial. The losses amounted to nearly six hundred men, comprising more than sixty officers; they fell chiefly upon two or three regiments, which had been decimated in less than half an hour, during the first attack; the Eighth Michigan had lost two-fifths of its whole force. This encounter reflected more credit upon the courage of the soldiers

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