War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0450 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD, PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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until the enemy were within short range. They soon came within a very short distance, and our fire was opened upon them with terrible effect, mowing them down by scores. Still they came on till within a few yards of us, when the order was given to fix bayonets. The men expressed a determination to hold their works at all hazards. Many of the enemy at this time crawled on their hands and feet under the sheet of fire, and, coming up to our lines, surrendered themselves prisoners. The enemy, soon finding our fire too hot for them, moved by the left flank, and joined in the assault upon the crest of the hill, driving our line from its position. At this time Colonel Steele received an order to form the regiment nearly at right angles to its then position, with the intention of attacking the enemy's right flank, which had become exposed. Owing to the great noise, the order was not understood by any excepting those nearest Colonel Steele. The rest of the officers seeing the men, as they supposed, retreating, made all efforts to rally them. A part of them came back; the remainder kept on with Colonel Steele, who advanced with them to the crest of the hill, when he fell, instantly killed by a bullet through his brain. The greater part of the regiment remained in their works and did great execution by a well-directed fire upon the flanks of the enemy. The field was soon won and the enemy fleeing in great disorder. A great number of prisoners were taken, and a large among of small-arms, ammunition, &tc., was left upon the field. The men by this time had become very much exhausted from previous long marches, constant watchfulness, and having been destitute of food nearly two days; yet all were cheerful, and worked during the night to improve their breastworks in anticipation of and attack next morning. Though but one spade could be obtained, the rails were nearly covered with earth by daylight. Most of the men worked till late in the night in bringing in and caring for the wounded. Our loss was 12 killed and 34 wounded, making the loss in both actions 21 killed and 44 wounded. The disproportionate number of killed arose from the fact that the men were partially protected by the breastwork of rails, and the greater part of them were consequently hit in the head and upper part of the body. The 4th was spent in burying the dead, gathering up the arms left on the field, and taking care of the wounded. Too much cannot be said in praise of the conduct of both officers and men. Where all did their duty to the fullest extent it would seem invidious to particularize. One instance deserves mention, not only for the bravery of the soldier, but for the dastardly conduct of the officer concerned. Private William Deming, of Company F, during the assault on the crest of the hill, had shot a rebel color-bearer and taken the color from him. While loading his piece, with the flag by his side, a colonel rode up to him, and, menacing him with his saber, forced the color from him; even threatening to cut him down if he did not give it up. I regret to say that it was impossible to identify the officer alluded to. The act was witnessed by several who stood near.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, Commanding Regiment.

Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General, U. S. Army.


*revised statement, p. 176.