War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0101 Chapter IX. ENGAGEMENT AT BIG BETHEL, VA.

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pursued them rapidly we could only carry two men, and having got far ahead of the others, we had to unlimber and fire with only two cannoneers at the piece. The piece having only two horses, and the carriage being very light, it is hazardous to mount any person on the limber. I therefore recommend that four horses be furnished to each Navy howitzer, one for the chief and the other three for the men usually mounted on the limber.

We have succeeded since the action in unspiking the howitzer disabled by the breaking of the priming wire,but from the inferior metal used in making our priming wires we shall have to lay them aside altogether, and I must request that better ones be furnished. At present I can say nothing more of the conduct of the officers and men of the battalion than to express the high gratification afforded me by their courage, coolness, and precision, and to ask permission at a future time to call your attention to individual instances of gallantry and good conduct. I have requested the commandants of companies to furnish me with the names of such non-commissioned officers and privates as they think especially worthy of notice.

I am happy at having an opportunity to render my acknowledgments to Colonel Hill, the commandant of the North Carolina regiment, for the useful suggestions which his experience as an artillery enabled him to make to me during the action, and to bear testimony to the gallantry and discipline of that portion of his command with which I was associated. The untiring industry of his regiment in entrenching our position enabled us to defeat the enemy with a nominal loss on our side.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,

Major, Commanding Howitzer Battalion.

Colonel JOHN B. MAGRUDER, Commanding Division at Yorktown.

Numbers 11. Report of Major E. B. Montague, commanding Virginia Battalion.

On the morning of the 10th of June my command reported to Colonel Magruder at Bethel Church, according to orders. At---in the morning information was received that the enemy in force were advancing upon us. Colonel Magruder immediately ordered me to throw up a redoubt fronting toward a ravine, over which it was supposed the enemy might attempt to turn our right flank. My men worked well, and had nearly finished the redoubt when the first gun from our batteries was fired which took place at---o'clock a.m. The enemy returned the fire with spirit, and the shell and shot flew thick and fast about my command who were in a peculiarly exposed condition, my redoubt flanking towards and being nearly perpendicular to the points of attack. Fortunately for my command, however, the major part of the enemy's shot had sufficient elevation to pass over our heads, though many shell and solid shot fell within a few feet of our redoubt. One ball passed under my horse between his force and hind feet, several others passed within a few feet of his head, and a few buried themselves in our breastwork Had the enemy's guns been slightly depressed he must have raked my whole line with his enfilading fire. A very short time after the firing commenced I received an order to direct one of my companies, the Chatham Grays,under the command of Captain Werth, to defend a ford one