War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0542 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LII.

Search Civil War Official Records

passed through the covered way held by the First Division, one brigade of them forming on the right at right angles to our line. The First Brigade was to have formed on the left of the First Division, but before it got into position the enemy made an attack, and all the black troops crushed back into the works occupied by this brigade, throwing it into inextricable confusion, and forcing it back upon the troops in the crater. Our men them fell back and were reorganized. When this had taken place Captain Clarke, acting assistant adjutant-general, being left in the works by Colonel Marshall, who had returned to the front, reported at division headquarters that about 350 or 400 men of the brigade had been gathered together, but was informed that the men in the enemy's fort had been ordered to leave, and that it was not advisable to lead the brigade again into action. They were therefore retained within our line of works, and directed to cover the retreat of those in the fort by a right and left oblique fire, leaving the fort blown up by us in the axis of a sector without fire. Through the road thus opened in the enemy's fire many escaped. I regret to say that Colonel Marshall, of the Fourteenth New York Artillery, commanding the brigade, after having been borne away from the enemy's lines in the rush while gallantly endearing to rally the negro troops, determined to return to the fort and share the fate of the commanding officer of the First Brigade. He was taken prisoner. In consequence of this, as senior officer present, I assumed command of the Second Brigade, and directed it to return to the camp of July 29, where it arrived at about 6 p.m.

To the officers commanding regiments and to Captain Weaver, of the Third Maryland, who directed the operations of the sharpshooters, great credit is due for the manner in which they performed their duty. Lieutenant-Colonel Barney, commanding Second Provisional Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, was dangerously wounded, and Major John Barton, of the One hundred and seventy-ninth New York, was killed in the affair. The Fourteenth New York Artillery was successful in capturing a rebel flag-turned over to division headquarters by Lieutenant Van Brackle-and a squad of men, under Sergt. Wesley Stanley, of Company D, worked with skill and effect the guns captured by his regiment from the enemy. He sleeps on the field of battle. The acting staff of Colonel Marshall, consisting of Captain Clarke, of the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts, acting assistant adjutant-general; Captain Wood, Fourteenth New York, brigade inspector; Second Lieutenants Backus and Smith, of the Fourteenth New York, performed their duties and carried orders faithfully and attempted to stem the retiring mob of black troops until forced, with myself, to the line of works originally held by Wilcox. First Sergt. Barnard A. Strasbaugh,* Company A, Third Maryland Battalion, in charge of a squad of sharpshooters, armed with Spencer rifles, greatly distinguished himself. Taking a favorable position, he single handed captured 8 prisoners in one squad, wounding 2 of them, and 3 more in another. The effectiveness of the Spencer rifle in good hands was abundantly demonstrated during the day. I attribute the abandonment of our lodgment to the excessive massing of troops in the line captured by the First and Second Brigades of the First Division in the morning, into which all the other troops crowded and beyond which none of them advanced.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GILBERT P. ROBINSON,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Captain C. J. MILLS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

---------------

*Awarded a Medal of Honor.

---------------