Today in History:

599 Series I Volume XXIX-I Serial 48 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part I


This was about 12 m. At 2 p. m. Lieutenant-Colonel Harris was ordered to relieve the Forty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, which was upon the skirmish line. Companies A, F, D, I, and C, composing the right wing, were sent forward, under my command, for that duty, and the skirmish line was duty relieved, the right of the line connecting with the skirmishers of the One hundred and twenty-first New York Regiment, and the left connecting with those of the Twentieth Maine Regiment, belonging to the Fifth Corps. At 2.30 p. m. the skirmish line was ordered to advance upon the enemy, which it did in gallant style, quickly driving in his skirmishers upon the fortifications. Our loss upon the line up to this time was 1 killed and 5 wounded.

At sunset the left wing was ordered to advance, and it was immediately thrown forward to within 250 yards of the skirmish line, and ordered to lie down under the crest of hill, just in our front. Immediately after, orders came from General Russell to deploy the left wing, double the skirmish line, and with the Fifth Wisconsin regiment as a support, to charge the enemy's works. The wing was at once deployed, and immediately upon the arrival of the Fifth Wisconsin, thrown forward upon the skirmish line. Here but a moment's delay was caused by arranging the skirmishers, now doubled, and at the command, "forward, double-quick," the regiment rushed upon the works, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery. The fire grew heavier as the line neared the works, and the men were struck down with fearful rapidity; but unwavering, with wild cheers, the survivors reached the "fortifications," and springing over them engaged the enemy in a hand-to-hand conflict. The enemy, astonished and bewildered, quickly gave way and fled, many of them toward the river, but by far the greater part to their left, which was as yet unassailed, leaving in our hands 350 prisoners, 4 guns, and 1 stand of colors.

The works along the whole length of our line were now in our possession. And now the enemy, strong in their rifle-pits farther to their left, commenced a raking fire down the length of our line, which proved very destructive, and, perceiving the weakness of our force, advanced heavily upon our right, compelling that part of the line to abandon the works; but disputing every foot of the ground, the men fell back upon our center and left, which still retained possession of the fortifications, and turning sharply upon the enemy kept them at bay until the opportune arrival of the Fifth Wisconsin, which came up upon the run, and with its usual impetuosity rushed into the conflict. With the invaluable aid of this regiment, we were quickly gaining ground when the arrival of the Forty-ninth and the One hundred and nineteenth Pennsylvania Regiments, together with the storming of the enemy's left by the Fifth Maine and the One hundred and twenty-first New York Regiments, who carried those works with a rush, decided the battle, the enemy being either captured or driven across the river.

I would here mention that about 80 men belonging to the Fifth Corps, under the command of Captain Morrill, of the Twentieth Maine regiment, forming a skirmish line upon our left, rendered valuable aid in carrying and holding the works. I would also beg leave to mention here the following-named officers, to whose invaluable efforts, after we had lost two-thirds of our line officers, the obstinacy with which the fight was conduct is due; viz: Captains Lincoln and Bassford, and Lieutenants Honey, Norris, Smith, and