War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0101 Chapter XX. BATTLE OF ROANOKE ISLAND, N.C.

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but at that time you, general, and General Foster, came and gave me the order to change the position of the pickets, concentrating them on the road and place them to the front. I did so. Six companies were in front, with two pieces of artillery, with a prolongation of picket in the two roads which opened through the woods at an angle of about 60 deg. The other four companies, with three pieces of artillery, were to the rear precisely at the other cross-road, which lay 500 yards, behind the first. Those companies had pickets right and left, but with the order to do no firing to the front and in case of an attack to act as support, we stood all night without fire, it raining all the time. None of the men slept, and every half hour I made the companies fall in in the greatest silence. All officers and men of the regiment, without exception, comported themselves with remarkable patience and endurance during the twelve hours of darkness and raining. Not a word of grumbling, not an expression of weariness.

At 6.30, after a small scouting party which I sent a little beyond my pickets returned, I permitted my men to light fires, in order to dry themselves as much as possible. At 7 o'clock an aide of General Foster came and ordered me to allow the First Brigade to pass through my line of pickets. The brigade came half an hour after, headed by the general himself, in the following order: Twenty-fifth Massachusetts, Twenty-third Massachusetts, Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, Fifth Battalion Rhode Island,and Tenth Connecticut. My regiment was in line, and immediately upon your arrival we followed them. We arrived in time. Following your order to defile through swamp and water to the rear and left of the Twenty-fifth and then halting, I took the two flank companies, D and G, armed with Harper's Ferry rifles and saber bayonets, and having second myself of the position of the battery of the enemy and by the different of their guns of the extension of the ground which they could sweep toward our left (the right), I ordered the two companies to jump into a deep swamp, and commanded them to open fire by file, marching slowly front and toward the left. I forbade those two companies to waste any ammunition, but to aim and fire only when they were perfectly sure of their aim.

We had soon in front the infantry of the enemy, which supported the right flank of the battery. It was then that the fire began to be really hot, and I had many men hors de combat. Among those, I regret to say, Captain T. S. Foster was shot by a bullet through the left leg. But we steadily kept up the firing for more than two hours, advancing toward the front and left at the same time. At such a moment, the Twenty-fifth Regiment having changed their position, two of my companies joined my line, and a few minutes after all the rest of the battalion proceeded by my order, guided by Major Clark. I was at that moment at the edge of the swamp,and in front of me was an exposed ground of 100 yards.

The regiment once in line, I commanded a general fire. After the charge for all the distance the men lay down and loaded, covered by a small natural elevation. During that march we suffered four or five minutes a very thick fire and lost 15 men, but it was last of the enemy. The battery was already flanked. You came and said to me, "Charge and take it." We did so. At our left flank were three companies of the Fifty-first New York. Our State color war the first on the battery; afterward the flag of the Fifty-first New York; then, immediately after, our regimental flag. One of our men captured a rebel flag with the motto, "Aut vincere aut mori." After a few moments of joy, by our order I put again the regiment in line in the road behind