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Chancellorsville (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 21
ne brigade rested with its naked flank perpendicular to the enemy's line. All this was done, or neglected, within a few hundred yards of the foe. No works had been thrown up, and when the Federal force broke the lines, there was no expectation of battle or danger. The men hastily aroused, thought of nothing but safety in flight, and sauve qui peut was the order of the day. The conditions were reversed, but the stampede exactly recalled the day when Jackson turned Hooker's right at Chancellorsville, and sent his Eleventh Corps with great speed to the rear. This time, however, we were not the pursuers, but the pursued. The enemy made good use of his opportunity, and as the panic-stricken Confederates fled in great confusion before his advance, it was apparent that all organized fighting by Heth and Wilcox was at an end for that time. The day seemed irretrievably lost, and so it would have been except for the arrival of other troops. Moving rapidly through the entwining trees
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 21
For Longstreet, in himself a tower of strength, upon whose sturdy valor and fidelity General Lee leaned not less confidently, and not less worthily, than on Stonewall Jackson's, was taken from the field grievously wounded; while Jenkins, of South Carolina, and many other brave officers, had sealed in blood their devotion to the cause which their swords and their souls upheld. The Wilderness was a field well adapted, by the very nature of the country, to the operations of the sharpshooters; bu well served, officers encouraging the men, both by their presence and example. One battery to the south of the mine was handled with a degree of gallantry which challenged all honor. It was here that Lieutenant Colonel Frank Huger, of South Carolina, a young officer of great promise and of high personal courage, with his own hands worked one of the guns throughout the fight. The sharpshooters in this battle sustained heavy losses, having not only skirmished with the enemy during the ent
Balaklava (Ukraine) (search for this): chapter 21
ssed long lines of artillery going into bivouac, well-knowing from the nature of the country that their services would not be needed; while riding about in a restless and eager manner, Colonel William Johnson Pegram was to be seen, asking through many a courier, dispatched one after another, if he could not get in a battery, or at least a section, and highly disquieted that his pieces should be silent at such a time. He forcibly recalled, in some respects, the figure of Lord Cardigan, at Balaklava, chewing his moustache, and cursing the luck of Scarlett and the heavies. Colonel Pegram was invited to go in with us, and would probably have accepted — for battle had a powerful fascination for the calm, spectacled, studious, devout boy-colonel-but that he had been peremptorily ordered to remain with his guns and await developments. The sharpshooters moving in, found that the left of the road was clear; and Ewell, swinging laterally, soon filled up the gap which they had held, leaving
Appomattox (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 21
n was seen to be over, and when the bridge itself was in flames, the soldiers supposing him to be a vidette, shouted to him to ride across. Lee turned slowly toward them, ordering them to hurry across, and, adding, I am Fitz Lee, plunged into the river below the bridge. He gained the opposite bank in safety, but not without difficulty and danger, and the quick fire of the horse artillery from the other side soon gave assurance of his presence among the guns. Hemmed in on all sides at Appomattox, General Robert E. Lee's only hope was to cut his way through, and, by the abandonment of his guns and baggage, to force his path to the mountains. Having formed this resolution, Gordon was promptly dispatched forward, while the left flank was protected by moving in the four battalions of Wilcox's sharpshooters. Two of these were engaged, and two more were moving into action. But a period to the fighting of the sharpshooters and of all the rest of that incomparable infantry was now clos
Enfield (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 21
ger to learn and easily handled, not only became proficient in their drill and excellent shots, but from frequent practice could correctly measure with a glance the distance intervening between themselves and the objects at which they aimed. The drill was conducted by signals on the bugle, as the line when deployed was too extended to be reached by the voice, or, when silence was requisite, by the wave of the sword of the officer in command. The sharpshooters were armed with the improved Enfield rifle; the scouts with rifles of Whitworth make, with telescopic sights. In order to preserve the elan of the corps, and to make the service sought after, it was ordered that this body should be exempt from all regimental or camp duty, and from all picket duty except in the face of the enemy. They were also assigned to the right of the column — the front in advance, the rear in retreat. This freedom from the irksome and distasteful duties of the camp, which were always especially deteste
Lutzen (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) (search for this): chapter 21
ring the famous Light Division, and who handled the Third Corps of the army with the same vigilance, efficiency, and fidelity which distinguished him in lower commands, and which so singularly recalled his image to the dying eyes both of Lee and Jackson. In tone, in character, and in military force, he was strikingly like Bessieres; and his death may also be compared with that of the commander of the Old Guard, who lost his life in an insignificant skirmish on the eve of the great battle of Lutzen. His death was peculiarly unfortunate at this time; but even his magnetic presence-and no man's was more so-could hardly have redeemed the fortunes of the day. In fact, the army was so broken as almost to have lost its military attitude. With the beginning of the retreat began also the most arduous labors of the sharpshooters. To this body was assigned the duty of protecting the rear of the wearied and worn battalions of Lee that now moved slowly up the line of the Southside Railroad,
Marengo, Iowa (Iowa, United States) (search for this): chapter 21
d Wilcox was at an end for that time. The day seemed irretrievably lost, and so it would have been except for the arrival of other troops. Moving rapidly through the entwining trees and matted undergrowth, in all haste to find the rear, we caught the gleam of bayonets in front of our disordered and plunging mass, and soon saw the dauntless mien and heard the steady tread of Longstreet's Corps, marching up to the relief, under the composed direction of Old Pete himself. Like Dessaix at Marengo, he arrived just in time to win a victory. While some of the broken troops of Heth and Wilcox joined in the advance with Longstreet's column, others straggled back to the point at which they were first engaged the night before. The sharpshooters moved across the road, near by certain batteries of Poague's artillery, which had been planted on a slight plateau on the left of the road, and was at this time crowded with troops. General Hill and General Lee both occupied this position; the la
Farmville (Virginia, United States) (search for this): chapter 21
wearied and worn battalions of Lee that now moved slowly up the line of the Southside Railroad, contesting the way inch by inch with the determined pursuer. At Farmville a decided stand was made, and here the rear guard was joined by Fitz Lee and his cavalry. The fighting on the retreat, except in rare instances, did not reach the dignity of pitched battles; but one action that took place near Farmville deserves the record it has so far received from no pen or tongue. When the army reached this point, the conduct of operations in the rear was intrusted to Major General Fitz Lee, of cavalry fame; an officer who, after the death of Stuart, ranked first in f his own command as he was yet able to hold together, Fitz Lee stoutly guarded the rear of the retreating army. As the main column passed the bridge in rear of Farmville, Fitz Lee in person held the town, gradually diminishing his front, which was closely pressed by the enemy, till there remained with him but a handful of brave m
Vistula (Ohio, United States) (search for this): chapter 21
charm for the soldier, to which, to descend from sentiment to business, may be added the very general ambition at that time prevalent, and by no means confined to the line, to be among the first to handle the plunder of the enemy's camps. It was in this manner, as briefly above related, that the opening campaign of 1864 found every brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia provided with a body of picked troops to guard its front or clear the way for its advance. It was truly a spike-head of Toledo steel, which was not suffered to rust from disuse in the days that so quickly followed. It was kept bright and sharp by constant employment in the series of actions that lasted throughout that eventful year, beginning with the great battle of the Wilderness. Though the sharpshooters were not employed in this engagement with any exclusive or even special reference to the method and distinctive purposes of their formation, it was the first action in which they fought as a separate organiz
Weldon, N. C. (North Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 21
assaulted the left of Birney in flank and rear, carrying the line and capturing whole regiments and batteries. Penetrating further in the gap with one of his brigades, he struck the right of the Sixth Corps, and here rested, after vainly waiting for the expected support, which never came. After securing his guns and prisoners, Mahone returned to his works. We will now follow the division of General Wilcox. These troops, moving well to the right, took position at some distance from the Weldon road. When the sharpshooters were sent forward they soon developed a strong skirmish line of the enemy, which was speedily broken; and an advance still further disclosed an open field with no enemy in front except a skirmish line and the ordinary reserve. Evidently the left of the Sixth Corps was near at hand. Two brigades of the division were moved into position, and the inevitable intrenchments soon began to appear; but beyond a sharp picket fire in front there was no fighting. All the
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