munition. The howitzers started with grape, to clear the bushes on either side of the work, but I represented that many of our men must be about the filed wounded, and the distance was so great that we should hurt them more than the enemy, and the gunners changed to spherical case. Captain Gray and myself watched closely the effects, and informed the gunners, at their request, as they fired very rapidly. They lost most horses at this place. The enemy fired grape and other shot, but their infantry kept their cover tolerably well, and were not hurt. In permitting my best marksmen to practice on the work from this point, I remarked that they might set their leaf sights at 700. I think my Enfield rifles rather inferior and they under-shoots. The distance must be full 500 yards from the second hedge to the work. After Rockwells' guns had got back to the first hedge, my men arose and marched with admirable steadiness back to the first hedge and filed through. Grape and heavy shot followed us, but hurt no one. We found the Seventy-ninth standing in line there. After some delay, General Stevens ordered us to camp.
Of course, I do not give all the details, but I am sure of what I have asserted. I knew in a general way that we were expected to surprise some work, but, aside from that, I have given all the orders that I received before or during the fight. I have never seen the report of a single regimental commander engaged in that battle, though I should be exceedingly laid the failure of the attack to the adherence to the order to advance in brigade line. Had the other regiments followed in the footsteps of the Eight Michigan, along the open field, or had none but my own (which sufficiently reconnoitered that marsh) been suffered to pitch into the mud and bushes, I have always thought that we should have taken the work. It was impossible that the regiments should come up in prompt support successively, when they were ordered forward in a direction that would have sent four out of the six clear of the work's right flank. I suppose that the Second Brigade was ordered forward like ours. The work had not the front of a regiment by a good deal.
I trust that I have not overstepped the bounds of propriety in my remarks, for I have no intention to do so. These same opinions I have always expressed, without knowing with whom any particular order originated, and having always been treated with the greatest kindness by my superior officers.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOS. R. HAWLEY.
Notes on map.*
Colonel Hawley's verbal statement, on August 29, to me was that General Stevens once rode through the first hedge, "about 2 rods," to speak to him, after his regiment had been called back to that hedge, and that he had never seen him in advance of, or more than 2 rods in front of, that hedge during the day.
H. W. BENHAM.
Colonel Hawley also stated to me that from the time his regiment first encountered the marsh, at F, till he had reformed and brought it to the position at H, advancing, and within 10 yards of the fort, when he was recalled by Captain Stevens, was about ten minutes, as near as he could judge.
H. W. BENHAM.
*See p. 1009.