War of the Rebellion: Serial 065 Page 0317 Chapter XLVII. THE FLORIDA EXPEDITION.

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ister, in fact, everything I could get at, the men and horses went down fast. My men acted as well as men could; and now occurred an incident which, for my two guns, materially changed the face of affairs. A caisson of my battery, through the stupidity of the drivers or fright of the horses, passed the guns and wheeled to the left, directly between me and the enemy. Out of the 18 men who should have been with the guns I had about 8 left. The drivers of the caisson, becoming an immediate target for the enemy, soon left the horses. They were sent back, and 2 retreated. One remained and succeeded in starting the caisson, but it got fastened by a tree, and the man came back, stating it was impossible to get it out alone. There was no one to help him, and the caisson was left, but at that instant the leaders broke away and came among us. Metcalf had meanwhile limbered up and moved to the rear; this was without orders from me. I learned afterward that Elder, seeing what he then thought my dangerous position, had advised him to leave. My position I now realized was serious; the caisson that prevented my firing directly to the front, and which had occasioned so much trouble, was abandoned, and orders given to "limber up". One limber now got caught in a tree, a horse went down and was ordered to be cut out; then another was struck, then 2 drivers, 1 helping while he was bleeding to death. It was then I looked back to my left and saw a cavalry force marching toward our rear. At first I thought it was a portion of the Fortieth Massachusetts retiring from the left and front, but seeing a company of Stevens' cavalry moving from the rear toward them with sabers drawn, I turned a gun on the advancing enemy, and Metcalf from the rear did the same. This was the first fair shooting I had had as yet. They broke; at all events disappeared. Just at that moment a sudden and alarming increase of the firing, culminating apparently in one point, near where Hamilton and McCrea were on my right attracted my attention. The musketry had now increased to one loud, continuous peal, amid which was heard the rapid cracking of the guns. But this roar and this cannonade, as I said, all at once increased, and suddenly at one point. I saw in this an advance of the enemy- a rush to break our center; and though, on account of the smoke, the trees, and the leaves, I could see no foe, I turned my two guns to the right and fired as rapidly as possible obliquely across and in front of our forces, particularly the battery nearest me. All thought of limbering up was now abandoned. I felt that the whole energies of the command was directed to repel that one blow. The firing now reached its height, and our men, firm and collected, we could see filling up the gaps. The enemy was checked. I felt that if I had withdrawn the guns at that instant that the infantry on my right would fall back with them, and in this firmness and this obstinacy I felt reassured that I would find time to get some of my people, who had been sent to the rear with the caissons, to come to my aid with the limbers of the latter, and continue the firing or help off the guns. I had now about 7 men untouched. The next thought was to get to the general, who, at that instant, I saw near me, and report. The balls now coming so fast and the men being struck every instant, I reluctantly gave the order to retire and reported to the general. I asked for men and was answered that I could not have them; all were engaged. I had no thought but that the ground would be reoccupied in a few minutes, when with fresh men I would regain my pieces. The line com-