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[410] base, only covered, the railroad embankment as the perpendicular line, and the series of swamps as the hypothenuse, will give a clear and remarkably correct outline of the field. The rebel right and left flanks were amply protected by the swamps. There was also a strip of low marsh land in the enemy's front, and perhaps creation affords but few positions that an enemy could occupy to greater advantage. Our army passed into this triangle through the upper part of the hypothenuse, and occupied a position a little below the apex. This dirt road, which was our line of march, passed, between two swamps, and was so narrow that many of our men had to wade the swamps knee-deep in mud and water to get into action.

As stated above, the skirmishing commenced at the time our advance-guard crossed the railroad. The Fortieth Massachusetts cavalry, Colonel Henry, the Independent battalion, Major Stevens, and the Seventh Connecticut infantry participated in this preliminary action. Our skirmishers were halted till Captains Hamilton and Elder, with their batteries, came up. As they move on together, two guns are brought into battery and throw a few shells into the woods (pine barrens) in our front, but no response is elicited. The skirmishers we have driven in have disappeared, and they were, in fact, nothing but decoy ducks to lure us on and show the way to the ambuscade.

Occasionally a squad of a dozen or so are to be seen in the roads and other exposed points to encourage us in the pursuit of our prey, and on we go, cavalry, infantry, and artillery as near together as possible. No enemy of any importance, nor signs of a camp are to be seen anywhere. No sound is to be heard but the solemn tramp of our army, and the trembling murmur of the winds among the huge and lofty pines. We move on, the Seventh Connecticut in the advance; we pass the swamps, and emerge into the open space beyond, when suddenly a concentric fire from the enemy's curved line is poured upon us. Colonel Hawley, seeing the hot work in which his advance is engaged, orders up the Seventh New-Hampshire; by the way, one of the best regiments in the service. On this occasion, however, it was not possible for it to appear to the best advantage. Arms had been taken away and bad ones given to the men. In the terrible roar of battle, orders were not understood, and in deploying it got into inextricable confusion. It did but little execution, lost heavily, and did well to get out of the way as soon as possible. Hamilton's battery was posted in the centre, Elder's upon our right, and Langdon's on the left. When the Seventh New-Hampshire regiment became confused, Colonel Hawley brought forward the Eighth U. S. colored, Colonel Charles W. Fribley. A part of this regiment came into action with empty guns, and being under a terrible fire, and cramped for room, it was found impossible to form a line of battle to the best advantage. Considering that this was the first time the regiment had been under fire, it behaved haved remarkably well. The reports that it got into confusion and ran from the field are certainly false. I cannot account for its good conduct, considering that the men were raw recruits, only on the ground that they were under the command of superior officers. As the Eighth fell back, having been under fire an hour and a half, Colonel Barton brought his brigade into action. The Forty-seventh New-Yrok was posted on the left, a part of the Forty-eighth New-York to the left of Hamilton's battery, the other part on the right, and the One Hundred and Fifteenth New-York formed the right of our line. This brigade did nobly. The enemy's left pressed hard upon the One Hundred and Fifteenth, but every man stood his ground like a veteran. The Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth held the centre firmly. The battle has now raged furiously for two hours, and our losses in officers and men have been terrible.

Colonel Montomery, with the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts and the First North-Carolina (colored) regiments, was left back at the crossing of the railroad with the train. Hearing the constant roar of artillery and musketry in front, he sent, forward his aid for orders, but, without waiting for him to return, he moved forward with the Fifty-fourth, and, as he passed the swamps, received orders to take position on our left, as the enemy was pressing us hard in that quarter. This was done, and, as General Seymour said afterward, to his entire satisfaction. The Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth New-York are nearly out of ammunition, and have been in action about two hours and a half. The colonel of each regiment and many other officers are badly wounded. Some are killed. Colonel Montgomery brings the First North-Carolina, Lieutenant Reed commanding, into action. It passes between the Forty-Seventh and Forty-eighth on the doublequick, and is cheered by those retiring regiments as it goes into battle. The coming of these fresh troops upon the field, and the manner in which it was done, rather staggered the enemy for a moment. But the cars came thundering in, bringing him reenforcements. These North-Carolina colored, soldiers and the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts now held our left, aided by the artillery, and even pressed the enemy back. The battle rages furiously all along the line, and the slaughter is terrible. Every man seems determined to do his whole duty. No regiment went into action more gallantly, fought more desperately, or did better execution than the First North-Carolina (colored) troops. Their white comrades generally take pleasure in awarding to them this honor. Men were dropping constantly all along the line, but the living fought all the more bravely. These freedmen evidently preferred falling on the field of battle to falling into the hands of their barabrous foes. This regiment was not in action over two hours and a half, and yet its loss in officers and enlisted men was very nearly as heavy as that of any other regiment.

The battle having now raged for four hours, from two to six P. M., it appears the god of war

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