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[p. 92] head of the olumn and marched u toward Whitehall and went into camp about 9 o'clock, in a cornfield, as usual. The ground was frozen, so Page and I went off to see if we could find a shelter, but could not. I found some boards and brought them to the field, and we laid our blankets on them and went to sleep.

On Wednesday, the seventeenth we took up our march through a thick wood. At noon an officer came back and said there were three regiments of rebels in a field ahead of us. The cavalry and artillery went ahead and we were ordered to close up in our places. The batteries were placed in position, and as the fifth was on the left, it brought us into the woods, when we formed in line of battle. Our brigade burnt the railroad bridge and tore up about five miles of track, burnt the sleepers, and spoilt the rails.

Then all was quiet for awhile. Then we were ordered to retreat. General Foster said he had accomplished all he intended. We gave three cheers for General Foster, and three for his staff, and started. Being at the left we were behind, except the batteries and cavalry. All at once we heard cheering. Colonel Pearson ordered us to halt. All but the fifth and third regiments had crossed a small brook. It rather astonished us all. All the batteries had gone except two pieces.

General Lee was sent for. Some said it was our troops. I stepped out of the ranks near the batteries and just then discovered a flag. Said I, ‘That's none of our folks, there's a secesh flag.’ The captain of the battery looked and said, ‘Yes, give them some, boys.’ Then our brigade was ordered back to support the two guns. The captain of the battery asked ‘What regiment is this?’ One hundred voices cried out ‘Fifth Massachusetts.’ He said ‘Good. You can support us.’ The third regiment was behind us on our right, and some other regiment was on the left. They fired the battery twice and the shot went over. Then the captain said, ‘Let me range that. Put in a double head of ’


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