War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0814 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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position held in the ledges of rocks. At the command. "Forward, double-quick!" our breastworks were cleared, and both regiments, with deafening cheers, sprang forward. They had scarcely gained the open ground when they were met with one of the most terrible fires I have ever witnessed. Up to this time the enemy had remained entirely concealed. It had been impossible to tell anything about his strength in our immediate front, but it was now clearly ascertained that he had massed a heavy force at that point. It seemed that the two regiments were devoted to destruction. Undaunted, on they charged, officers leading and cheering their men. The Second Massachusetts succeeded in clearing the open ground to the left of the breastworks. The Twenty-seventh Indiana, having obliged to the right, had nearly double the distance to traverse to gain the position of the enemy, but on it went; at every volley of the enemy, gaps were being cut through its ranks. It became evident to me that scarcely a man could live to gain the position of the enemy. I ordered the regiment to fall back behind the breastworks, which it did. The Second Massachusetts was also overpowered by numbers, and had to fall back. The Twenty-seventh had scarcely gained the breastworks when the rebels in turn charged, with the intention of carrying our works. As soon as they had fairly gained the open ground, I ordered fire to be opened upon them, the Third Wisconsin, Twenty-seventh Indiana, and part of the Thirteenth New Jersey firing from the breastworks; the Second Massachusetts, from the new position on the left, had an enfilading fire upon them. At the first fire they were completely checked, and at the second they broke in confusion and fled, leaving their dead and wounded upon the field. I threw forward skirmishers from the Third Wisconsin, and ascertained that they had abandoned the breastworks. Colonel Hawley was ordered to advance his regiment (Third Wisconsin) and take possession of the works, which he did, and held them during the day. During the whole day my entire line was exposed to the enemy`s sharpshooters, and quite a number in all the regiments were killed and wounded by them. In the charge, the Second Massachusetts lost about 130 killed and wounded. Among the killed was its commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Mudge, who fell while gallantly leading his men in the charge; a most gallant and brave officer, his gallant conduct will be cherished by his brother officers and men. The Twenty-seventh lost 112 in killed and wounded. Among the latter were 8 commissioned officers. The loss of these two regiments was the leaviest, being the only two regiments engaged in the charge. Aside from this, the losses are about equal. I take pleasure in bearing willing testimony to the good conduct and bravery not only of the officers, but also of the soldiers, of this command during the time I had the honor of commanding the brigade. Exposed as they were to extreme peril; doomed as they were during the latter part of the day on the 3rd to remain inactive under one of the most terrific artillery fires the world has ever witnessed; shell, shot, and missiles bursting over them, around them, and among them for hours, and at the same time sustaining the fire of the enemy`s sharpshooters, I scarcely witnessed a single instance upon the part of any soldier or officer of flinching from duty. The highest compliment that I can possibly pay them is to say that the reputation which they had won upon so many hard-contested fields during the war-at Winchester, Cedar Mountain, Antietam, and Chancellorsville-was fully sustained.