Today in History:

81 Series I Volume XIV- Serial 20 - Secessionville


fort were ordered to render the artillery such assistance as they needed in crossing the field. Accordingly I marched to the left and proceeded to open a road through the dike the the left and front of our field battery then nearest the fort. The enemy discovered the proceeding, and, determined to prevent the passage, distributed his favors between the battery and my little company. The fire was dreadful for a time, but by keeping the un employing under cover of the dike, and carefully watching the enemy to protect those at work, we succeed in filling both ditches and making a good road.

While engaged in the operation at this point the half-completed opening was adopted as na embrasure for one field piece, and the enemy became more severe in his fire, holding the two corps in range.

Having remained with the artillery to assist them to the rear I was ordered to clear the causeway on the right in rear. We found large timber of pine and live oak thrown across the road at various points, which were cleared away, and we returned to near the position occupied by the artillery to await orders, our labor ending with widening the road by which the battle-field was entered and left.

Some of my men having received the order to unsling muskets and fix bayonets just before the charge, and supposing they were to have part in that movement, dropped axes and shovels and rushed forward to charge with the advancing column. I thus lost the use of some implements.

I respectfully submit that our efficiency would have been increased if we had entered the field unencumbered with arms and accouterments - unless indeed we could have been provided with pistols and sabers for our defense in case of need. The sabers would form a useful implement also in clearing entanglements, abatis, and hedges. As it was, we found it impossible to move with the horses of the artillery without great exhaustion. Notwithstanding their fatigue the men worked with zeal and energy.

I find it difficult to name separately any man of my company when so many of them did their whole duty; but a striking instance of bravery occurred in the conduct of Corpl. George D. Hughs, who on two occasions, when the men for a moment shrank under the galling fire of grape, sprang upon the dike nearest the enemy and worked till exhausted, thus inciting the men by his example and securing the rapid completion of the work in hand. Corporals Mandeville and Duggan were also examples of bravery to the men. I have especial pleasure in mentioning the conduct of my first lieutenant, Hiram Farrand, whose singular coolness and efficiency in the midst o the works fire have increased my appreciation of his character and made him the pride of his company. I have already reported 1 wounded. The casualty occurred on the dike above mentioned, where Cartright was earnestly at work in discharge of his duty. Mr. Farrand and myself had occasion to notice that the enemy's sharpshooters were not confined to the fort and that our standing together drew their favors.

On our return from the field with the artillery my men found and captured a rebel outlier hidden in ditch. he was sent to the rear and five in proper charge.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain Company E, New York Volunteer Engineers.


A. A. G., Second Div., North. Dist., Dept. South, U. S. A.