War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0095 Chapter IX. ENGAGEMENT AT BIG BETHEL, VA.

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Crane, to drive back this column, which was done by a single shot from the howitzer. Before this a priming wire had been broken in the vent of the howitzer commanded by Captain Brown, and rendered it useless.

A force estimated at one thousand five hundred was now attempting to outflank us and get in the rear of Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart's small command. He was accordingly directed to fall back, and the whole of our advanced troops were withdrawn. At this critical moment I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Lee to call Captain bridgers out of the swamp, and ordered him to reoccupy the nearest advanced work, and I ordered Captain Ross, Company C, First Regiment North Carolina Volunteers, to the support of Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart. These two captains, with their companies, crossed over to Randolph's battery, under a most heavy fire, in a most gallant manner. As Lieutenant -Colonel Stuart had withdrawn, Captain Ross was detained at the church, near Randolph's battery. Captain bridgers, however, crossed over and drove the zouaves out of the advanced howitzer battery, and reoccupied it. it is impossible to overestimate this service. It decided the action in our favor.

In obedience to orders from Colonel Magruder, Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart marched back, and in spite of the presence of a foe ten times his superior in number, resumed in the most heroic manner possession of his entrenchments. A fresh howitzer was carried across and place in the battery and Captain Avery, of Company G, was directed to defend it at all hazards.

We were now as secure as the beginning of the fight, and as yet had no man killed. The enemy, finding himself foiled on our right flank, next made his final demonstration on our left. A strong column, supposed to consist of volunteers from different, and under command of Captain Winthrop, aide-de-camp to General Butler, crossed over the creek and appeared at the angle on our left. Those in advance had put on our distinctive badge of a white band around the cap, and they cried out repeatedly, "Don't fire." This ruse was practiced to enable the whole column to get over the creek and form in good order. They now began to cheer most lustily, thinking that our work was open at the gorge, and that they could get in by a scudded rush. Companies B and C, however, dispelled the illusion by a cool, deliberate, and well directed fire. Colonel Magruder sent over portions of Companies G, C, and H of my regiment to our support and now began as cool firing on our side as was ever witnessed.

The tree field officers of the regiment were present and but grew shots were fired without their permission, the men repeatedly saying, "May I fire? "I think I can bring him." They were all in high glee, and seemed to enjoy it as much as boys do rabbit-shooting. Captain Winthrop, while most gallantly urging on his men, was shot through the heart, when all rushed back with the utmost precipitation. So far as my observation extended he was the only one of the enemy who exhibited even an approximation to courage during the whole day.

The fight at the angle lasted but twenty minutes. It completely discouraged the enemy, and he made no further effort at assault. The house in front, which had several as a hiding place for the enemy, was now fired by a shell from a howitzer, and the outhouses and palings were soon in a blaze. As all shelter was now taken from him, the enemy called in his troops, and started back for Hampton. As he had left sharpshooters behind him in the woods on our left, the dragoons could not advance until Captain Hoke, of Company K, First North Carolina Volunteers, that thoroughly explored them. As soon as he gave the assurance of