by file with the greatest satisfaction to the men. The officers cautioned them to elevate the sights properly and to fire deliberately. The Sharps riflemen were ordered to cease firing, that they might reserve some ammunition. After a time (the enemy being nearly quiet) I caused the bugle to sound "Cease firing," and the men promptly obeyed and were ordered to lie down. The moment any groups of the enemy appeared on the edge of the not very thick woods opposite or about the buildings or near the one field piece which we could see (the other had been drawn out of sight) our fire was opened for a short time and the Sharps riflemen were permitted to work at intervals. At one time I had 6 men from each company detailed to maintain such a fire as would keep down the enemy. Again and again the regiment opened and ceased firing, obeying the bugle calls as promptly as if simply on drill.
General Terry at one time desired us to charge across the marsh if it was practicable and to send some one to examine the ground. I called for half a dozen volunteers, and thrice the number sprang up immediately. I selected 5, and after exploring they reported that as far as I ordered them to go (150 or 200 yards) the footing was very fair and they could see no creek. Satisfied that there was one I called again for volunteers and Lieutenant Perry and Private Crabbe, eagerly offering were accepted, and ordered to keep low and find the creek. Our men were notified and cautioned not to hit them. They went, stooping under the fire of both parties, two-thirds of the way across, and reported a deep creek, of the character common here, with muddy banks and low water. I sent the lieutenant to General Terry.
Though we prolonged the expenditure of ammunition as much as possible, I was obliged to report that (if any was to be reserved for future contingencies) it would soon be necessary to relive us. We had some time previously heard a locomotive whistle during a lull, and there was repeatedly great cheering among the rebels, for which (their fire having been repeatedly silenced) there was no apparent cause, unless their re-enforcements had come up through the woods in their rear. Such must have been the case, for it required more constant work to keep their fire quiet and their rifles were getting a better range of our position; but they never showed any disposition to cross to us. The Forty-seventh Pennsylvania was ordered to take our places after a time, and as we moved, by the right of companies to the rear they promptly advanced and opened a hot fire.
By General Terry's order we again formed in line a few hundred yards back and when the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania had taken a position back of us we filed into the road, and perhaps 1,000 yards to the rear filed to the left, and again formed a line perpendicular to the road, faced by the rear rank, our right resting on the road, while the Third New Hampshire, Colonel Jackson, occupied a corresponding position across the way.
After all the wounded and stragglers had passed, by the general's orders we took the road, and proceeded to Mackay's Point, 5 or 6 miles distant, reaching it in about seven hours from the time we ceased firing. Our frequent halts were owing to regiments ahead and to the necessity of caring for the wounded. Upon reaching the field hospital all our wounded were attended to and weary as our men were, about 20 cheerfully volunteered to go back and assist in bringing along others.
We bivouacked at the Point, and during the night obtained a fresh supply of ammunition. In the morning (October 23) we embarked on the Boston, on which were also about 120 dead and wounded of various regiments, and returned to Hilton Head.