Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/181

This page has been validated.
165
Brilliant Page in History of War.

Company D. Capt. J. W. Cannon commanding-; Company E, Lieut. M. H. Todd commanding; Company F, Capt. John C. Featherston commanding; Company H, Lieut. R. Fuller commanding ; Company I, Lieut. B. T. Taylor commanding; Company K, Lieut. T. B. Baugh commanding.

By the report of Capt. George Clark, assistant adjutant general, this brigade of five regiments carried into the battle of the "Crater" 628 men, and of this number it lost eighty-nine. The brigade early in the war had numbered about five thousand. It will be observed that such had been our losses in former battles that regiments were commanded by captains and companies by sergeants, some of the companies having been so depleted that they had been merged into other companies.

After we had crawled up in front of the fort and about two hundred yards therefrom, we lay down flat on the ground, and our batteries, in the rear, opened fire on the enemy's artillery in order to draw their fire. This was done that we might charge without being subjected to their artillery fire, in addition to that of the fort and the main line, which latter was only eighty yards beyond the fort. But the enemy appeared to understand our object, and declined to reply. Our guns soon ceased firing, and we at once arose and moved forward, as directed, in quick time at a trail arms, with bayonets fixed.

CRUEL SPECTACLE PRESENTED.

In a short distance we came in view of the enemy, both infantry and artillery, and then was presented one of the most awfully grand and cruel spectacles of that terrible war. One brigade of six hundred and twenty-eight men was charging a fort in an open field, filled with the enemy to the number of over five thousand, supported by a park of artillery said to number fifty pieces. The line of advance was in full view of the two armies and in range of the guns of fully twenty thousand men, including both sides. When we came within range we saw the flash of the sunlight on the enemy's guns as they were leveled above the walls of that wrecked fort. Then came a stream of fire and the awful roar of battle. This volley seemed to awaken the demons of hell, and appeared to be the