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Doc. 13.-siege of Port Hudson.

attack of June 14, 1863. Major-General Augur's headquarters, before Port Hudson, Monday, June 15, 1863.
Here we are still, among these grand old magnolia forests, with the almost incessant roar of artillery and musketry in our ears ; the desultory firing, kept up night and day, being enough to keep the beleaguered rebels, one would imagine, perpetually without rest. They must certainly attach a deep importance to this stronghold, or human endurance could scarcely hold out against the dreadful ordeal to which we have subjected them for the past two or three weeks.

Since the twenty-seventh, on which day occurred the attacks of which I have sent you an account, there has been nothing going on here of a nature to be made public, or which could be said to go beyond mere preparations for future operations, and investing the enemy more closely than ever. The bloody results of that day taught us what the people of the North are not always ready to believe, namely, that it is far easier to talk of taking a strongly-fortified place than to do it, and our brave fellows are now paying the dear penalty of that insane supineness which ever permitted such a fortress as Port Hudson to be built, when we could at one time have prevented it with scarcely more than a corporal's guard.

All that the twenty-seventh of May left us we not only retain, but have gone far beyond. Along our whole line, from the extreme right to the extreme left, we have been gradually gaining upon the enemy, dismounting their guns as fast as they are remounted, picking off, by our splendid sharp-shooters, every man who dared to show his head above their ramparts, and by these means rendering their armaments almost useless, as we steal up closer and closer to them. In some places we have got our batteries to within three hundred yards of them, and it is really terrible to peep through the embrasures of one of them, [44] and almost look down the throats of the enemy's missiles, so close to us in front.

Thus matters continued until yesterday, when the Commanding General, deeming the time had arrived to give the rebels another strong dose, gave the order for one more simultaneous attack.

It was as late as ten P. M., of Saturday, June thirteenth, that General Augur, who had just returned from the headquarters of General Banks, told his staff that they were to be in motion at three A. M. of the next day. We all immediately hurried off to snatch a few hours' rest, and when I awoke at three o'clock, I found the General and his staff already at breakfast. In half an hour afterward they were all off to the field, whither I speedily followed them.

Before dawn the most terrific cannonading commenced along our whole line that ever stunned mortal ears. The shells bursting over Port Hudson, mingled with their own firing and that of our fleet, and the dense clouds of our artillery, gave the place the appearance of one vast conflagration just about to burst into flame.

After two hours of this dreadful cannonading there was a comparative lull, and the sharp and continuous rattle of musketry told. where the work of death was going on most furiously. This was at the right, where General Grover's division was placed, and under him those gallant and fearless soldiers, Generals Weitzel and Paine.

If Weitzel had the larger share in the work of the twenty-seventh, that duty seemed to-day to fall upon the command immediately under General Paine.

The forces of the latter consisted of the Eighth New-Hampshire, Captain Barrett, and the Fourth Wisconsin, under Captain Moore, who were in advance as skirmishers. Behind these came five companies of the Fourth Massachusetts and the One Hundred and Tenth New-York, under Captain Bartlett, followed by four companies of the Third brigade. Closely upon these came the Third brigade, under Colonel Gooding, and composed of the Thirty-first Massachusetts, Lieutenant-Colonel Hopkins, Thirty-eighth Massachusetts, Major Richardson, Fifty-third Massachusetts, Colonel Kimball, One Hundred and Fifty-sixth New-York, Colonel Sharpe, and One Hundred and Seventy-fifth New-York, Colonel Bryan, who was killed. Then the Second brigade, under Colonel A. Fearing, and composed of the One Hundred and Thirty-third New-York, Colonel Currie<*> and the One Hundred and Seventy-third New-York, Major Galway, the rest of this brigade being detailed as skirmishers. After the Second came the First brigade, under Colonel Ferris, of the Twenty-eighth Connecticut, and composed of the Twenty-eighth Connecticut, the Fourth Massachusetts, Colonel Walker, and four companies of the One Hundred and Tenth New-York, under Major Hamilton. These were all followed up by the necessary number of pioneers and Nim's Massachusetts battery.

At half-past 3 A. M. of Sunday, June fourteenth, the column formed.on the Clinton road and commenced moving. At about four A. M. the skirmishers moved right up to the scene of action, General Paine being with them in advancing, and the deadly work commenced, the enemy pouring in upon them the most terrible volleys, and our dauntless men combating their way right up to the enemy's breastworks. For hours the carnage continued furiously; our determined soldiers, in spite of their General being seriously wounded, and in spite of the fearful odds against them of fighting against men snugly screened behind their barriers, keeping up the fight with the most indomitable bravery. It was impossible for any men, under their circumstances, to show more reckless disregard of death.

But Port Hudson was destined not to be carried this time — at that point — at any rate. Owing to the horrible inequalities of the ground, and the impediments which the overwhelming slaughter of our advance had created, the whole column was not able to come up as expected, and late in the afternoon our troops had to be withdrawn. During the intensest part of the struggle, it is only fair to say that Colonel Kimball, of the Fifty-third, and Colonel Currie<*> of the One Hundred and Thirty-third New-York, advanced most gallantly with their men to reenforce those in front.

It is impossible to overrate the courage and endurance which General Paine showed on this occasion. Although so severely wounded in the leg as to be quite disabled, he would not consent to leave the field, but remained there during the long sultry day, to cheer on his men, at the momentary risk of being killed by some rebel shot.

Various efforts were made by his men to get him off the field, or at least to get refreshment to him, and two gallant fellows, on two separate occasions, lost their lives in the attempt. One was E. P. Woods, private, of company E, Eighth New-Hampshire, and the other John Williams, company D, Thirty-first Massachusetts. I happened to be at the hospital when the latter poor fellow was brought in. He had been shot clean through the breast, and lingered but a few minutes after his arrival there.

While at this hospital, witnessing the horrible spectacle of the wounded being brought in — something more painful to contemplate than the battle-field itself — a personal incident occurred to me which was deeply impressive. I was dismounting from my horse, when a soldier, who was gazing at me most intently, said, “The owner of that saddle is dying within a few feet of you, over there” --pointing to where two or three dozen men were lying on the shady greensward, in all forms of mutilation. “Do you know me?” I asked. “No; but I know that saddle was Lieutenant Bond's. I've sat in it too often not to know it.” Hurrying to the spot indicated, I found it was indeed too true. There lay the young and gallant Lieutenant N. F. Bond, of company D, Thirty-first Massachusetts, flat on his back, and — as if proud of his wound, as he well may be — with his broad, manly bosom bared, and showing a rifle-shot wound in the centre of his right breast. [45]

Learning from his attendants, who were bending over and fanning him, that he was still conscious and might be spoken to, I bent forward and took his cold, clammy hand in mine. “Who is it?” he inquired, looking up languidly. “A friend — don't you remember who bought that saddle of you near the sugar-house?” “Yes, I remember. Ah! sir, you will have to set me down among the items.” “Oh! No, Lieutenant, I hope not,” I replied, although my heart belied my speech, for death seemed stamped upon every lineament. I left him as another glorious martyr to his country's cause; but I am glad to say that, at this moment of writing, I hear the ball has been extracted, that he is doing well, and hopes are entertained of his recovery. Judging from what his own men say of him, (and I find this one of the surest tests of merit,) a braver young man does not live in the United States service. Before leaving this hospital, I cannot refrain from bearing my testimony to the unceasing and faithful attention toward the wounded which I noticed on the part of Surgeon L. C. Hartwell, Medical Director of the Third division.

Before General Paine was wounded, he had succeeded in getting five regiments within three or four rods of the enemy's works — some of the skirmishers actually getting inside.

Our loss on this occasion was very great — the killed, wounded and missing of Paine's command reaching to nearly seven hundred. A number of officers and privates (among them Captain Stamyard, of the Eighth New-Hampshire, Lieutenant Harsley and Lieutenant Newell, of the same) being wounded, were ordered in as prisoners, under threat of being shot from the enemy's works. General Paine was shot below the knee of the left leg, shattering both bones, but hopes are still entertained of saving his leg. He was not brought off the field till night-time, when his wound was dressed and he immediately conveyed to New-Orleans.

While this was going on in one portion of General Grover's command, the remainder, if not so hotly pressed, were scarcely less actively engaged.

At two A. M. the troops under General Weitzel's immediate command got into motion from their present locality, (which they so gallantly won on the twenty-seventh of May, and have held ever since,) and advanced round to the left to Colonel Dudley's front, leaving five companies on picket-line. The attack — for assaults these demonstrations can scarcely be called — was made by two columns in two different places. The column on the right was composed of Grover's division and Weitzel's brigade, under command of General Weitzel, while the left was composed of General Emory's division, under command of General Paine--whose doings I have just recorded. Colonel Dudley's brigade, of Augur's division, was held in reserve.

The forces under General Weitzel comprised his own brigade, formed of the Eighth Vermont, Lieutenant-Colonel Dillingham; Twelfth Connecticut, Lieut.-Colonel Peck; Seventy-fifth New-York, Lieutenant-Colonel Babcock; One Hundred and Fourteenth New-York, Lieutenant-Colonel Perlee, and two regiments of Grover's division — the Twenty-fourth Connecticut and Fifty-second Massachusetts.

The history of the action on the part of General Weitzel would be but a counterpart of that of General Paine--the same obstacles to overcome, the same indomitable bravery in opposing them, the same temporary suspension of hostilities in the face of opposition too elaborately difficult to be surmounted for the moment.

Of what was going on at the extreme left, under General Dwight, I am not yet so well informed, for correspondents cannot be omnipresent, though many would have them so, and I would rather tell your readers nothing than give them incorrect information. I therefore do not feel myself in a position either to support or oppose the rumors which I hear everywhere — and among officers of very high rank — that the right wing did not come up <*>s promptly to the mark as it was supposed they would have to do, if we would divide the enemy and keep them from concentrating their power, as they certainly did, upon our valorous and devoted right wing. The very same complaint was made — with what amount of truth time alone will decide — against our left wing in the great attack of our right wing on the twenty-seventh May.

To whatever cause it may be attributed, it is certainly lamentable to see any thing like a want of complete cooperation in moments of such intense consequence to the nation. Go where we will, do what we may, it seems to be our everlasting fate to be allowing ourselves to suffer for want of concentration and cooperation. The very same portion of the enemy who were so desperately contending with our right wing under Weitzel, on the twenty-seventh May, are actually asserted to have — at a later hour of the day — opposed us at other portions of our line, which could not have been possible had our movements been simultaneous. With a plan so well concocted, it is quite impossible to suppose that such an oversight could have formed part of the scheme, and therefore we are driven — in both events of the twenty-seventh May and the fourteenth June--to ascribe failure to some lack of punctuality in carrying out directions, somewhere or other. All I can answer for is that that portion of the line which had been most immediately under my own observation, (I mean Major-General Augur's,) on both those occasions, came squarely up to the orders given to it.

New-York herald account.

near Port Hudson, June 17, 1863.
At early dawn on Sunday, the fourteenth instant, we commenced another advance movement on Port Hudson, with a force which was thought to be equal to any emergency, but which, as the result will show, was entirely insufficient to accomplish the object of the original plan.

As I have before indicated, in speaking of the conjunction of our right and left, the rebel de [46] fences form nearly a right angle, both the lines of which extend to the river, inclosing a sharp bend in the stream by which our gunboats found it so difficult to pass. The most accessible approach apparently to the rebel earthworks is over a clear field, about six hundred yards in width, and which at first sight presents the appearance of an almost perfectly level piece of ground. This spot, however, since our last assault, has been determined to be, although the most inviting, the most treacherous place along the entire line of rebel defences. Our soldiers in their charge found it to be filled with deep, narrow gullies, too small to cover a large body of troops, and too large to make a passage over them, even for infantry barely possible. Horses are out of the question, and were not used at this point. These artificial ravines are completely covered with fallen trees and vines; which are so arranged as to nearly obscure them from sight, and make an advance over them a matter of extreme difficulty. In our charge upon the enemy's lines at this spot it was impossible for our soldiers to keep in regular order of battle. Frequently whole squads of men would sink out of sight only to be resurrected by the assistance of their comrades. Down the right line of the enemy's works all approach to the fortifications is made exceedingly difficult by high bluffs and deep, irregular gullies. The enemy's rifle-pits are, although bearing the appearance of very wide constructions, built upon the most approved modern engineering skill. Here, again, fallen trees have been so arranged as to make it impossible to move artillery or troops in line of battle. The entire distance of rebel works presented for our reduction are nearly eight miles in extent.

Last Saturday evening the order of attack was determined upon at headquarters and communicated to the Generals who were to command the assaulting columns. Most of the details were arranged by General Grover. The point of attack was the extreme north-easterly angle of the enemy's breastworks. Five or six days previous to the assault several pieces of the enemy's artillery, which had been in position behind their fortifications immediately in our front, were dismounted by our guns and abandoned. Those still in position were rendered useless to the rebels by our sharp-shooters. Rebel deserters and prisoners brought into camp speak of our artillery practice as splendid, and say that they were not able to fire a gun more than five or six times before they had to move it, as the accuracy of our range would work it certain destruction. As before mentioned, we commenced preparations for the attack while yet it was scarcely daylight. The plan of the assault was briefly as follows: The Seventy-fifth New-York, under command of Captain Cray, and the Twelfth Connecticut, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Peck, were detailed as skirmishers, forming a separate command under Lieutenant-Colonel Babcock, of the Seventy-fifth New-York. The Ninety-first New-York, Colonel Van Zandt, commanding — each soldier carrying a five-pound hand grenade, with his musket thrown over his shoulder — followed next in order. The skirmishers were to creep up and lie on the exterior slope of the enemy's breastworks, while the regiment carrying the grenades were to come up to the same position and throw over the grenades into the enemy's lines, with a view to rout them and drive them from behind their works. The Twenty-fourth Connecticut, Colonel Mansfield, with their arms in like manner to the grenade regiment, followed, carrying sand-bags filled with cotton, which were to be used to fill up the ditch in front of the enemy's breastworks, to enable the assaulting party the more easily to scale them and charge upon the rebels. Following these different regiments came, properly speaking, the balance of General Weitzel's whole brigade, under command of Colonel Smith, of the One Hundred and Fourteenth New-York. This command consisted of the Eighth Vermont, Lieutenant-Colonel Dillingham, the One Hundred and Fourteenth New-York, Major Morse, and the One Hundred and Sixteenth New-York, Lieutenant-Colonel Van Petten. Next came Colonel Kimble's and Colonel Morgan's brigades, the last of which, with another brigade, (the name of which I was unable to learn,) was under the general command of Colonel Birge. This force was held to support the assaulting column, which was under the immediate command of General Weitzel, who made the attack on the right. General Emory's old division moved in conjunction with General Weitzel on the left, forming a column. The two divisions--General Weitzel's and General Paine's — were under command of General Grover, who, as has been before stated, planned the whole assault after General Banks's order to advance was received by him. Hence the mode of attack was entirely his own. General Weitzel's division was expected to make a lodgment inside of the enemy's works, and in that manner prepare the way for General Paine's division. After the inside of the enemy's fortifications had been reached, skirmishers were to push forward and clear the way, while both columns were to be deployed in line of battle and move toward the town of Port Hudson, where a grand citadel, which forms the last means of rebel defence, is situated.

I have thus far been speaking of General Grover's command exclusively, and the plan above given is applicable only to his movements, as determined upon at the time of its adoption.

About daylight the Seventy-fifth New-York, which had been slowly advancing, approached the enemy's works sufficiently near to see his fire. Previously the columns of the main body of General Grover's command were formed in the woods skirting the enemy's breastworks. The Twelfth Connecticut, during the night, had lost its way in the woods, and the Ninety-first New-York was ordered by General Weitzel to take the place that had been assigned to it and follow immediately in the rear of the Seventy-fifth New-York. After the advance of the Seventy-fifth and Ninety-first regiments, General Weitzel's entire command commenced moving forward. Several days previous our army engineers had been preparing a covered [47] way, which extended from the woods where our troops lay up to within about one hundred and fifty yards of the enemy's position. Through this covered way our troops marched in single file up to the point where the first line of battle was formed. It should be remarked that the covered way spoken of was relied upon as being sufficiently deep to afford protection to our soldiers. It turned out, however, to be of no considerable consequence, owing to some fault in its construction. After the advance had arrived at the end of the covered way, they began slowly to push over the innumerable barriers that had been planted by the rebels to obstruct their march. The difficulties that I have before spoken of concerning the open field, immediately facing the enemy's works, were here experienced. The deep gullies, covered over by brush and creeping vines, were completely obscured from sight, and were only known to exist after our soldiers had plunged into them. Part of our skirmishers deployed to the right while suffering severely from the enemy's fire, and a portion of the advance took up a position on the left of the point to be attacked. They were immediately followed by General Weitzel's column, General Paine in the mean time advancing toward the enemy's works with his command further on the left. It should be stated that our troops, as soon as they had left the cover of the woods, which were scarcely three hundred yards from the enemy's breastworks, were subject to the constant fire of the rebel infantry. A portion of our artillery, which was planted some distance in the rear of our advancing forces, kept up a continuous fire at the rebel works. Captain Terry, of the Richmond, with his battery of eight-inch Dahlgren guns, and Captain McLaflin, with his battery, a portion of the Twenty-first Indiana artillery, did good execution. These batteries served very much to protect our troops as they were advancing to the attack. After our skirmishers had picked their way up to within about thirty yards of the enemy's works, they sprang into the ditch, expecting to be able to shelter themselves under the cover of the rebel fortifications, and keep the enemy down while the regiment with the hand-grenades should advance and perform their part of the work in driving the rebels from their position. The portion of the Seventy-fifth which succeeded in reaching the ditch were immediately repulsed, and nearly all of them were either killed or wounded. The ditch was so enfiladed that it was impossible for men to live long under the murderous fire of the enemy. The question may be asked why all this was not known before; but I have no time to comment.

In consequence of the repulse of the portion of Seventy-fifth that succeeded in reaching the ditch, the hand-grenaders could accomplish but little. In fact, although they made many desperate and gallant attempts to be of service, they rather damaged than benefited our prospects of success; for as they threw their grenades over the rebel breastworks, the rebels actually caught them and hurled them back among us. In the mean time, while the skirmishers were nobly endeavoring to sustain themselves in their position, General Weitzel's column moved up as rapidly as possible, and made a series of desperate assaults on the enemy's works, which for bravery and daring the history of the war can hardly furnish a parallel. At this time the sun having fairly risen, the fight became general. A fog, which had partially obscured the contending armies, lifted and revealed their respective positions. The enemy were fully prepared for us, and they lined every part of their fortifications with heavy bodies of infantry. The battle had begun in earnest, and General Paine's column, as well as General Weitzel's, was actively engaged. Before proceeding further with the details of the fight of General Grover's command, it will be necessary to mention a fact that I have previously omitted — namely, that under the general plan of attack, as directed by General Banks, Generals Augur and Dwight were to make feints on the extreme left of General Grover's position, to distract the attention of the enemy from the main assault. Accordingly, before the engagement became general between General Grover's command and the enemy, Generals Augur and Dwight had attacked the enemy, as before indicated, on General Grover's extreme left. It was not the intention that the last-named of these forces should storm the rebel works, but hold the enemy in check while General Grover was performing his part of the work according to the original plan, which, had he been successful, would have opened the way for the advance of our entire army on Port Hudson proper, which is surrounded, it is understood, by a series of fortifications more impregnable than any we have yet assaulted. The fight on the part of General Dwight's command was exceedingly severe, and scarcely less so with General Grover's. General Dwight's. loss in killed and wounded will probably exceed two hundred. General Augur's loss will fall considerably short of that number. Under General Grover's command probably the most desperate fighting was done by General Weitzel's old brigade. Colonel Smith, leading these veterans, the heroes of many fights, fell early in the action, mortally wounded. The ball pierced his spine and passed around to the right side. The Colonel still lingers, but his death is hourly expected. The charges made on the rebel works by our brave soldiers showed a determination to carry them at all hazards; but human bravery on this occasion was not adequate to the accomplishment of their object. The most formidable obstacle that presented itself as a barrier to our success, was the rebel glacis, which at the point attacked had been constructed in such a manner as to make every bullet tell that was fired from the rebel breastworks while our troops were endeavoring to make the ascent. In fact the great natural advantages and engineering ability at Port Hudson have been rather under than overrated. Immediately upon the fall of Colonel Smith, Lieutenant-Colonel Von Petten, of the One Hundred and Sixtieth New-York, took command of the brigade, and gallantly led the charge until all further hope of driving the [48] rebels from their position was gone. Brigade after brigade followed in rapid succession, storming the rebel works until compelled to fall back under the terrible fire of the enemy. Conspicuous among the brigades that did the most desperate fighting, were those under the command of Colonels Kimball, Morgan, and Birge. They were all, however, eventually repulsed with great slaughter.

The fighting ceased at eleven o'clock in the morning. We having been repulsed in every assault, our soldiers, under command of their officets, laid themselves down under the shelter of the gullies, trees, covered way, in fact, every thing that could afford them protection, and waited for the day to pass and darkness come on. Many of our wounded who were accessible were carried from the field by squads detailed for that purpose. It is a shameful reflection on humanity that a large number of our soldiers, carrying the wounded and dying from the field on stretchers, were shot down by the enemy, and in several instances the wounded were killed while being borne from the field. At nightfall, however, we commenced the burial of our dead, and succeeded before the morning in carrying most of our wounded from the battle-field.

The enemy's hospitals, after the battle began, seemed to grow as rapidly as mushrooms in the dark. I counted no less than twelve hospital flags within a square of a quarter of a mile. I strongly suspect the protection afforded by them was not in every case legitimate, for on one occasion I saw firing in the immediate locality of one of the tents.

New-York, June 28.

The Herald has advices from Port Hudson to the twentieth instant. General Banks on the fifteenth instant issued a congratulatory order to his troops over their steady advance upon the enemy's works, stating that he is confident of an immediate and triumphant issue of the conflict, and says we are at all points upon the threshold of his fortifications. One more advance and they are ours. He then will summons the organization of a storming column of one thousand men to vindicate the flag of the Union and the memory of its defenders, who have fallen, promising promotion to the officers, and a medal to officers and privates.

A letter of the twentieth reports no material change in the position of affairs. The camp rumors about assaults by volunteers and general attacks have proved unfounded. We are steadily advancing. Our first parallel which completely incloses the outer line of rebel breastworks and our skirmishers are behind rifle-pits — within twenty yards of the rebel intrenchments. There are nightly skirmishes without definite results. Battery No. Seven, to be mounted with twelve thirty-two-pounders, has been erected, commanding the entire series of the enemy's river works. One heavy shot from the enemy had pierced the heavy plating of the Essex. The gun which effected this has been dismounted by battery No. Seven. The citadel on which it was mounted was expected to be soon reduced.

It was rumored and generally believed that an assault would take place on the night of the twentieth, to be led by Gen. Grierson and Col. Von Petten, of the One Hundred and Sixteenth New-York. The assaulting party was to be supported by General Weitzel's old brigade and that of Colonel Dudley.

A rebel bearer of despatches had been captured with, it is said, a despatch from Johnston, who promises to reinforce Port Hudson and capture Banks's entire army, if the place would hold out until the following Tuesday. This may be a ruse, however, to induce Banks to make an immediate assault, that he may be repulsed, and arrest the slow process of starvation which stares the rebels in the face.

Deserters report a consultation of rebel officers, who unanimously requested General Gardner to surrender. He replied that large reenforcements would arrive within a week, and if they would only hold out a few days longer, the siege would result favorably to them. The disaffected officers returned to their camps and told the men if the General did not surrender in a week they would compel him to.

Another deserter reports that the rebels have but forty head of cattle left to feed on.

Boston traveller account.

New-Orleans, June 19, 1863.
It is not with much pleasure or satisfaction that I undertake to narrate the momentous events in this department for the past week. Most prominent among them is the second unsuccessful assault on Port Hudson, last Sunday, the fourteenth. Since the first assault, on the twenty-seventh May, our forces have held the position gained by them then, our infantry in many places being very near the enemy's works, so that easy conversation can be carried on by the belligerents.

The country about Port Hudson is very uneven, cut by deep ravines, especially on the north and east, so that in these ravines one can approach very close to the enemy unseen. Our army has been very strongly posted in these places, scooping out sleeping-places in the sides of the banks, and making breastworks on top. Here they rested eighteen days. In the mean time our artillery had. been pouring an almost unceasing shower of shot and shell into the devoted city. Each day had been added a siege-gun or mortar, till on the thirteenth every thing was in position, when for a few hours the very earth shook from their rapid discharges.

Having given them many tons of iron, the firing ceased, and Gen. Banks sent, by a flag of truce, an order to surrender, which his persistence, Gen. Gardner, refused to do, saying he should hold out as long as he had a man left. The firing was then resumed, and kept up till half-past 3 the next morning, when the assault was to have been made. The right wing, commanded by Brig.-Gen. Grover, and composed of Emory's old division, under General Paine, and Grover's old [49] division and Weitzel's brigade, under Weitzel, started promptly.

These two divisions were to make two separate assaults. In front of Gen. Paine, two hundred yards, were thrown out as skirmishers the Eighth New-Hampshire and Fourth Wisconsin regiments, both then very much reduced and almost without officers, from the affair of the twenty-seventh. These were followed by the Fourth Massachusetts, bearing hand-grenades, which were to have been thrown over the works as soon as they got near enough; then the Fifty-third Massachusetts, each man carrying a sack stuffed with cotton, with which to fill the moat, that the main body might pass easily over.

Then came the column, company front, until they could deploy on the open space before the works. This would have been a dangerous experiment if it had not previously been ascertained that the enemy had no artillery bearing on this point. At the head of the column was Colonel Currie, with the One Hundred and Thirty-third New-York regiment, as fine a body of soldiers as are in the department. Scarcely had the brave fellows of the two regiments, little more than companies, deployed, when the musket-balls and buckshot of the enemy commenced to whistle their requiems about their heads.

They heeded them not, never even stopping to bind up the wounds of their comrades or carry off their dead, but rapidly loaded and discharged their faithful rifles and hurried on to almost certain death. It was but a short distance across the space they had to go — an old cotton-field, selected because it was more easily passed over — but when they arrived at the enemy's works, so as to be sheltered by them, they found that they had left two thirds of their numbers on the field, either killed or wounded.

The hand-grenades had not come up, with the exception of a dozen or so; the cotton-bags were not in sight, and the column, which should have been but two hundred yards behind, was not visible, except Col. Currie, with a part of his regiment in good order. Then Lieut. Jewett, of the Fourth Wisconsin, one of the bravest of the brave, drew his sword, and calling upon his men to follow him, leaped into the ditch, followed by about thirty men, climbed the work, and jumped down on the inside.

Then, if there had been five hundred men to have followed, the work could have been carried; but for some cause, unaccountable except on the hypothesis of the want of pluck of some of our regiments, there was nobody to go in, and this brave band of heroes were murdered; so that when Col. Currie came up in a few minutes, the work was bristling again with bayonets and belching lead like hail. He fell badly wounded in each arm, and his men took position under a slight hill and waited for assistance.

Previous to this time, Gen. Paine, at the head of his column, and while cheering on his men by word and action, had been wounded by a ball, which broke both bones of his leg just below the knee. He fell on the field, and his column withered before the shower of balls. If they had followed sooner the line of skirmishers, they would have suffered less, for the enemy took advantage of our delay to mass their forces to receive us. The column became broken. A part went no further, and a part forced its way on till it was around by the hill spoken of.

But the bags of cotton were gone, so there was no easy way of crossing the ditch, and the enemy now could send from their safe place an irresistible storm of bullets. Thus ended Gen. Paine's charge. If he had not been wounded so soon, I think he would have forced his way through.

In the mean time, Gen. Weitzel's skirmishers had advanced to the very ditch, but for some unaccountable cause the cotton-bags had been intrusted to those who cared not to risk their lives for fame.

Weitzel's old brigade, then commanded by Col. Smith, of the One Hundred and Fourteenth New-York, was at the head of his column, but Colonel Smith being mortally wounded very early, it had fallen into confusion, and although a fighting brigade, it became powerless, yet it was badly cut up. General Weitzel's assault was to have been made in the woods, so the Seventy-fifth New-York and Twelfth Connecticut, his skirmishers, were not so badly cut up as Paine's, though they lost nearly one half their men. Weitzel, finding it impossible to carry the works without losing nearly all his command, rested them in the numerous ravines.

For some cause the charge on the left was not vigorously sustained, and the loss there was very trifling. I was unable to ascertain the cause of their failure.

Many of the wounded on the right had to remain on the field of battle all day, suffering from loss of blood, for want of water, and the hot sun pouring down on them. They were in easy musket-range, and if one approached to carry them off or relieve their suffering, they were shot. Gen. Paine, wounded early in the morning, was not brought off till after dark, when his wound was alive with maggots.

This was also the condition of many others. He lay between two rows of an old cotton-field, on his back, and he said if he attempted to cover his face with his cap, a shower of balls would fall around him. His wound is now doing well, and it is hoped his leg may be saved. He is cared for most tenderly by his wife, who is fortunately here, and by the Sisters of Charity, in whose hospital, the Hotel Dieu, he is treated. Just across the hall from him is Gen. Sherman, wounded on the twenty-seventh, who has just had his leg amputated to save his life, and who is now doing very well.

Our forces remained in the position I have described till after dark Sunday night, when they were withdrawn, and occupy the same places they did for the eighteen days previous.

Our whole loss, killed, wounded, and missing, was about seven hundred and fifty. But a very small proportion were killed, and many are very slightly wounded, the enemy not opening at all [50] with artillery. Among the killed are Colonels Holcomb, First Louisiana; Galway, One Hundred and Seventy-third New-York; Bryan, One Hundred and Seventy-fifth New-York; and Smith, of the One Hundred and Fourteenth New-York, mortally wounded.

Account by a Participant.

bivouac of the Thousand Stormers, before Port Hudson, June 22.
Some days since I wrote and sent to New-Orleans by a friend, a few lines, which I hope are ere now in your hands. From them you will know of my whereabouts. I know the date line of this letter will seem queer to you, but the order inclosed will explain it. [General Banks's call for a thousand volunteers to storm the fort.] I have thus far been spared, but I fear now that this is my last letter for a long time, if not forever. On the fourteenth we stormed the works again and were repulsed with much loss.

Our regiment lost sixty out of two hundred and fifty. I lost just half my company, (killed and wounded,) and was slightly hurt on the left wrist by an unexploded shell, which cut the flesh, and the concussion lamed the arm badly. However, I am on duty, and have commanded the regiment since then till yesterday A. M., Colonel B. being in command of the brigade, and Lieutenant-Colonel B. being sick. Poor Major Bogart was killed in the charge — struck in the hip by a shell before it exploded and almost cut in two. The same one killed Sergeant Lord and Corporal Newman, of my company — then exploded and wounded several men. I have been in many battles, but I never saw, and never wish to see, such a fire as that poured on us on June fourteenth. It was not terrible — it was horrible.

Our division (Second) stormed about a mile from the Mississippi. We left our camp where I wrote you last at twelve o'clock midnight, on the thirteenth, and proceeded to the left, arriving just at daylight, where the balance of our brigade (Second) awaited us.

Colonel Benedict arrived from opposite Port Hudson on the twelfth, and our regiment was transferred from the First to the Second brigade, and he placed in command. The movement to the left took all by surprise; but we got in shape behind a piece of woods which concealed the enemy's works and rested. The First brigade went in first and we followed — the Third brigade being a reserve. I saw the First brigade file left and move on, but saw no more of it. When the order came to move on, we did so in “column of company,” at full distance. Ask some good military man what he thinks of a brigade moving to a charge in that manner. The One Hundred and Sixty-second leading, the One Hundred and Seventy-fifth (Bryan's) after us, then the Forty-eighth Massachusetts and Twenty-eighth Maine. We were in a road parallel to the enemy's works, and had to change direction to or file left round the corner of the woods, and then started forward by a road leading up. The ground rose gradually, and away above, the rebel works were in plain sight. The moment we turned into the road, shot, shell, grape, and canister, fell like hail in amongst and around us. But on we went. A little higher, a new gun opened on us. Still farther, they had a cross-fire on us-oh! such a terrible one; but on we went, bending, as, with sickening shrieks, the grape and canister swept over us. Sometimes it fell in and about us; but I paid no heed to it.

After the first, my whole mind was given to the colors, and to keep my men around them; and they did it well. I wonder now, as I think of it, how I did so. I walked erect, though from the moment I saw how they had us, I was sure I would be killed. I had no thought (after a short prayer) but for my flag. I talked and shouted. I did all man could do to keep my boys to their “colors.” I tried to draw their attention from the enemy to it, as I knew we would advance more rapidly. The brave fellows stood by it, as the half-score who fell attest. The “color-bearer” fell, but the “flag” did not. Half the guard fell, but the “flag” was there. Ask (if I never come home) my colonel or lieutenant-colonel if any one could have done better than I did that day. I do not fear their answer. When about three hundred yards from the works, I was struck. The pain was so intense that I could not go on. I turned to my second lieutenant, who was in command of company C, as he came up to me, and said: “Never mind me, Jack; for God's sake jump to the colors.” I don't recollect any more, till I heard Colonel B. say: “Up, men, and forward.” I looked, and saw the rear regiments lying flat to escape the fire, and Colonel B. standing there, the shot striking all about him, and he never flinching. It was grand to see him. I wish I was of “iron nerve,” as he is. When I heard him speak, I forgot all else, and, running forward, did not stop till at the very front and near the colors again. There, as did all the rest, I lay down, and soon learned the trouble. Within two hundred yards of the works was a ravine parallel with them, imperceptible till just on the edge of it, completely impassable by the fallen timber in it. Of course we could not move on. To stand up was certain death; so was retreat. Naught was left but to lie down with what scanty cover we could get. So we did lie down, in that hot, scorching sun. I fortunately got behind two small logs, which protected me on two sides, and lay there, scarcely daring to turn, for four hours, till my brain reeked and surged, and I thought I should go mad. Death would have been preferable to a continuance of such torture. Lots of poor fellows were shot as they were lying down, and to lie there and hear them groan and cry was awful. Just on the other side of the log lay the gallant Colonel Bryan, with both legs broken by shot. He talked of home, but bore it like a patriot. Near him was one of my own brave boys, with five balls in him. I dared not stir, my hand pained so, and it would have been death also. Well, the Colonel got out of pain sooner [51] than some, for he died after two hours of intense agony. Bullets just grazed me as they passed over, and one entered the ground within an inch of my right eye. I could not go that. Our boys had run back occasionally, but got a volley as they did so from the rebels, who would curse them. I waited till our cannon fired a round at them, then up and ran across the road, and fell flat behind some low bush or weeds, and well I did. They saw my sword and fired several volleys after me. As my hand was very lame, I crawled several rods back, then under a big log, got behind it, and, for the first time in five hours, sat up. I bathed my hand, and after a while made my way to the rear, got it dressed, and was on my way back, when I learned that the men were to work in, by one and twos, so I staid. I then learned of poor Bryan's fate, and one by one came the tidings of my own men, and when the word came of them I cried like a child. Some of them passed me on the way to have their wounds dressed, and blessed me as they passed by. When night came, the troops came in and line was formed, and a small one we had. The Major's body was brought in to be sent home, and my pet favorite, Sergeant Fred. Mitchell, (who, as a favor to me, Colonel Benedict had made an acting lieutenant — he was so good a soldier and handsome and talented,) who, the last I saw of him, was his sword flashing in the sunlight as he urged the men forward; but he was brought in with half his head torn off, and it was hard to recognize him. But God bless him! He was true, for his right hand grasped his sword firmly in death. I have it stored to be sent to his friends. Colonel B. and Lieutenant-Colonel B. came out safe. The Lieutenant-Colonel had been sick for some time, and this finished him. So I took command of the regiment, brought it to the mortar battery, and bivouacked for the night.

On the eighteenth came the call from General Banks for a thousand stormers, and four officers and fifty men of our regiment responded to it. Yesterday our regiment went to Springfield Landing to guard against a raid, (it is our base,) and the “Stormers” came here to camp. The thousand are here, and we storm on Weitzel's front, on the extreme right.

The first officer in our brigade was myself, my Second Lieutenant is another, and Colonel Benedict leads us. It is, as you will perceive, in spite of the flattering order, “a forlorn hope.” Our position is critical. Something must be done. I am confident this will succeed. I pray earnestly it may, though I live not to know it. You will wish to know why I came when our regiment is so short of officers, and I am so easily fixed now. I came on principle. I did not come for the reward or promotion, but because I deemed it my duty to come.

Bold men are wanted. If I am not bold, God will make me so. I came, and am to have the honor of leading a company in this charge. If I am wounded, I shall come home at once, and I know you will not be ashamed of me or my conduct. If I die, you will think of me as one whose short life was not wholly without a purpose. I hope to come to you with honor — with the medal on my breast.


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