War of the Rebellion: Serial 020 Page 1007 Chapter XXVI. ENGAGEMENT AT SECESSIONVILLE, S. C.

Search Civil War Official Records

Eighth Michigan appeared as at E. Clambering over the second hedge, I caught my first good view of the earthwork.

You ask about the time. It is utterly impossible for me to tell. be for me to tell. Before we stated to cross the causeway, I remember noticing, and easily distinguishing, General Stevens and party at the distance of, perhaps, 75 yards, and when we crossed the second hedge I could perfectly well see the window in the gable of the little house in the earthwork. There soon came a flash from it. The lookout or tower was clearly distinguishable, and I could have seen a man at that distance. I saw that the work presented a short front, and, supposing that to be the object of attack, though not forgetting my injunctions to protect the left of the Eighth, I told my color-bearers to direct their steps toward the right, but suddenly I found my left wing plunging into low bushes and marsh, and unavoidably breaking into confusion, while the right moved steadily on. Rifle and grape shot poured upon us heavily. The line confusion, while the right moved steadily on. Rifle and grape shot poured upon us heavily. The line staggered and halted as at F, say 120 yards from the work, though single men and groups pressed nearer. The men edged back a little, but did not run, or even intend to walk away. The Twenty-eighth came up on my left, obliquing as they saw the marsh, but soon got into the same difficulty, and fell back to the first hedge, or near there, to reform. I got our colors into the open field, and reformed my line under a constant fire, as at G. Colonel Fenton came up during our labors at reforming. A opportunities, but I soon stopped it, as I feared it might interfere with somebody's scaling the work. Colonel Fenton ordered us to move by the right flank across the fire, and we obeyed. When partly across the field, the Seventy-ninth* came up, advancing in line of battle, striking across and somewhat disturbing my left. We soon after filed to the left, and were in the position indicated by the dotted lines at H, I myself being at the place marked x, near the H, and hurrying saying, "The general wishes you to call be men off." The rifle fire at this moment was very sharp from the enemy's left, and my first and second companies were suffering, but advancing steadily. The head was, perhaps, 100 yards from the work. I do not remember noticing any abatis on the front; it might have been there. All my energies were directed to cheering and regulating my men. We faced about and walked steadily, faced by the rear rank, and followed by rifle balls, to the second hedge, where, by General Stevens' order, we halted and took shelter, as at I. After a time a the general called us back to the first ledge. All but the last company had got through the opening, when the general said he wanted us again, and we faced about and re-entered the open fired, where I completely reformed my regiment at K, equalizing companies, reassigning officers, &c. My left company (Sharps' rifles) General Stevens retained to protect Rockwell's battery. General Stevens rode through the hedge, and looked on a few moments. At other times when I saw him he was where I have marked his position, + on the sketch, and where he had a good view of the field.

Soon after we moved again to I, and lay in the dry ditch, and two howitzers, and afterward a rifle of Rockwell's, came up, and, partly protected by the hedge, fired perhaps 100 rounds, so they said, my men, and I myself, assisting somewhat in moving the guns and serving am-


*I have always [thought] that it was the Seventy-ninth. Possibly it was the One hundredth Pennsylvania. The Seventy-ninth having, like the Eighth Michigan, the right of a brigade, had a clear field to march, or need not have done so.--J. R. H.