Today in History:

72 Series I Volume XIV- Serial 20 - Secessionville


Volunteers not on advanced picket duty were formed into line, and at 1.20 o'clock a. m. started for the rendezvous of the brigade, at the headquarters of the First Brigade, where the remaining regiment the Forty-sixth New York Volunteers, joined, and the troops moved toward the enemy's work in good order and the most profound silence.

About 4.30 o'clock the head of the column, marching by the flank on a double-quick for at least half a mile, arrived opposite the work of the enemy, about a mile in front of them, with an open field, reversed by two hedges, formed by cutting deep ditches, one on either side of an embarkment 6 feet in height, extending up to the breastworks. The First Brigade, under Colonel Fenton, had meanwhile advanced upon the work, and the fort had opened fire.

I now received the order from the brigadier-general commanding the division to form the column to support the attack of Colonel fenton. I immediately ordered the regiment on the right, the Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers, into line of battle, and when about two companies on its right had got into line an urgent message came from Colonel Fenton to hasten to his support, and General Stevens gave me the order to advance at a double-quick, and the companies then in line started off at that step, which made it extremely difficult for the left to get into line, which indeed it never did until it reached the fort, where the right,k or about two companies of the right, under charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison, in command, gained a position alongside of and upon the embarkment. The left, having encountered a perfect storm of grape and canister, was obliged to seek shelter either by obliquing to the left under cover of a small ravine, or by dropping amongst the cotton ridges in front of the fort, where they kept up a steady fire on the enemy's gunners.

Immediately following the advance of the Seventy-ninth New York Regiment the One hundredth Pennsylvania Regiment, under command of Major Leckey, formed, while marching at a double-quick, to support the advance of the Seventy-ninth New York Regiment. The line of battle of the One hundredth was so formed as to cover with its right that portion of the left of the Seventh-ninth which I saw was not likely to perfect its formation before reaching the breastworks. The Forty-sixth New York Volunteers, Colonel Rosa commanding, were formed in a like manner to cover the left of the One hundred Pennsylvania Volunteers, thus forming three lines of battle in echelon.

Pending these movements of the One hundredth Pennsylvania and Forty-sixth New York Regiments I advanced to hasten up the left of the left of the Seventy-ninth New York and lead the assault in person. On arriving at the entrenchment or hedge, 300 yards in front of the fort, I found I dould not get my horse over, and dismounting, as did also my assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenant Leasure, we preceded on foot. at this pint, together with the left wing of the Seventy-ninth New York Volunteers, we entered the range of a perfect storm of grape, canister, nails, broken glass, and pieces of chains fired from three very large pieces on the fort, which completely swept every foot of ground within the range, and either cut the men down or drove them to the shelter of the ravine on the left. I now turned to look after and lead up the One hundredth Pennsylvania Regiment, and found its center just entering the fatal line of fire, which completely cut it in two, and the right, under Major Leckey, oblique to the right and advanced to support the right of the Seventy-ninth New York, and many of the men reached the foot of the embankment, and some succeeded in mounting it, with a