Today in History:

79 Series I Volume XIV- Serial 20 - Secessionville


companies as skirmishers under cover of some shanties that were very near the earthworks, and gave them a fine opportunity to operate against the enemy. Company A was commanded by Captain Clark, and Company E by First Lieutenant Maxwell. I then moved the reminder of the regiment to within 40 yards of the side of the earthworks and opened fire, driving therefrom three guns, which appeared to me to be facing the southwest. I found there was no artillery facing the side I was on, and it would have been very easy for me to have gone into the fort, provided I could have a stream between men and the earthworks about 20 yards in width, with apparently 4 or 5 feet of water and the mud very soft; the men therefore could not cross. after getting into this position the enemy soon opened on me from a battery that was about 200 yards in our rear, throwing grape into the ranks, from which we suffered severely. In a short time they opened fore with rifles and infantry. At the same time a battery about a mile north of us opened on us with round shot and shell, one shot from which killed a captain and non-commissioned office, yet the men stood all these fires and obeyed orders promptly. There soon appeared on our left a body of the enemy, forming in three battalions, in which form they marched to re-enforce the earthwork in front of us. During this time I had informed the general of our position and of the above-mentioned re-enforcement. At this time the Third Rhode Island made an attack on the force in my rear, materially assisting me in my position.

Meanwhile the re-enforcement of the enemy had some in range of our fire, and I opened fire on them with good effect, but they were so well covered that they succeeded in throwing a portion of the force into the fort, and there, being well covered, their fire on us was very severe, and detracted our fire from the re-enforcement and gave them an opportunity to throw them all into the fort. Their number was so large we could not cope with them to any advantage, and by this time the other batteries, both in our rear and the one at the north of us, opened a fresh fire on us with more effect than ever. Some of my men by this time had fired over 50 rounds and many of the guns were very foul, some even having to shoot away their reamers, being unable to draw them.

Finding at this time that I was far in advance of all our forces and seeing some of the forces retiring from the field, and as it appeared of no advantage to hold my position any longer, I gave the order to retire, which the regiment did in good order, to the old buildings from which we started. I soon received orders to fall back in the rear of some of our forces, and in a short time after reaching that position orders to return to camp.

All my command, with one exception, behaved so well that it is hard to discriminate in favor of any few, but a number of cases coming under my personal observation, I will take this opportunity to mention them.

The field officers - Major Bedel, acting lieutenant-colonel; Captain Plimpton, acting major - rendered me great assistance, coolly performing all their duties and encouraging offices and men by their example.

Adjutant Libby and Sergeant-Major Copp rendered me great assistance. The adjutant was several times much exposed in carrying orders, but came out of the fight unscarred.

Of the captains I would particularly mention for meritorious conduct Captains Donohoe, of Company C; Wilbut, or Company B, and Randlett, of Company F. His (Captain Donohoe's) company was stationed