War of the Rebellion: Serial 046 Page 0360 S. C. AND GA. COASTS, AND IN MID. AND E. FLA. Chapter XL.

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is anything but pleasant to one's ear. For the first night out of three, we lay down to sleep. About 2.30 a. m. General Strong came and called Colonel --- out. Soon he returned and said, "Turn out, we have a job on hand." A cold shudder came over me, for well I knew what it was. They seemed to think that no one but our battalion could be trusted. The men were soon out and into line, but rather slow to time, as they were tired from the former day's work. The programme was to try to take Fort Wagner by assault. We were to take the lead, and to be supported by the Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania and Ninth Maine. Silently and quietly we moved up to the advance line of our picket. Our pieces were loaded and primed, and bayonets fixed. We were then deployed into line of battle (we had 191 men and officers all told), and we reached and crossed the neck of land that approached the fort, our right resting on the beach. General Strong was there. He said there were but three guns that looked this way. We were deployed and ready for the start. Our orders were to move steadily forward until the pickets fired, and then follow them close, and rush for the work; and we were promised ready support. General Strong gave the order, "Aim low, and put your trust in God. Forward, the Seventh!" And forward we went, not over 500 yards from the fort when we started. We had not proceeded far before the pickets fired, and then we took the double-quick and, with a cheer, rushed for the works. Before we reached the outer work, we got a murderous fire from the riflemen behind the works. A few fell; a check in the line; an encouraging word from the officers (they were all there, 11 in all; no sick ones); and right gallantly we reached the outer work. Over it with a will we went, down the opposite side, and across the moat (there being about 1 foot of water in the moat), right up to the crest of the parapet, and there we lay, anxiously waiting for our support to come up so far as to make it a sure thing for us to rise up and go over with a bound, our men, in the meantime, busying themselves picking off sharpshooters and gunners. We lay so near the top that one had but to put his head up and gun across the top of the parapet, to kill his man. Many cases of individual bravery I might here name, but all did so well it is hard to select. Private Lyon, Company K, jumped upon the parapet, thrust his bayonet into the head of the chief of a gun (whom I have since ascertained was a captain, and was killed) that was about to be fired, and fired his gun at the same time. Corporal [Giles] James, of Company I, thrust his bayonet into the head of one of the gunners, and broke it off in endeavoring to pull it out; and quite a number were made to bite the dusts while we occupied this position. One man on my right, William De Witt, Company A - I said to him, "Rise and shoot that gunner." He rose up, deliberately took good aim, and fired. A ball, at the same instant, hit him in the forehead, and he fell on the spot, with his gun across the parapet.

As nearly as I can ascertain, we were in this position from ten to fifteen minutes when both of the regiments that were to support us broke and fled, leaving us to take care of ourselves as best we might. When we first moved to the right, and went up on the water front, there were no riflemen. Thus, for a time, we had it all our own way; but it was of short duration. As soon as the regiments in front broke and ran, they paid particular attention to our case. They threw hand-grenades over the parapet, and soon sent men into the flank of a bastion which commanded the front upon which we lay.