War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0554 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LII.

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quick across the field to the rebel fort. In crossing the field we were exposed to a severe fire from the enemy's works on our right and left. The whole space was literally swept with canister, grape, and musketry. On arriving at the ruins of the fort, I attempted to march the regiment by the right flank across them in order to charge a rebel battery stationed at some buildings in rear of the rebel works, but found it impossible to do so, as the crater formed by the explosion was some 200 feet in length, 50 feet in breadth, and from 30 to 35 feet in depth. The crest of the crater and ruined slopes and parapets were covered with the dead, dying, and wounded of the First and Second Divisions of the Ninth Army Corps. The crater and intrenchments in rear of the fort were crowded with soldiers of different regiments. I then received orders from Captain Peckham to march by the left flank and form a line of battle, under cover of the parapet in rear of the fort, in order to make a charge in rear of their line of works, so as to make a diversion in favor of our brigade, which was to charge forward at the moment they saw the colors of the Forty-fifth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. At the same time I received orders from General Bartlett, who had command in the ruins of the fort, to charge a battery in our immediate front. I attempted to do so with my small command, composed of about eighty or ninety men and seven officers. As we advanced, the enemy opened with batteries stationed at several different points on the right and left flanks and in front, accompanied by a heavy fire of musketry from the rifle-pits, and as the other troops in the front did not advance to our support we were compelled to fall back into the intrenchments. Generals Bartlett and Griffin, and Captains Peckham, Raymond, Brown, myself, and other officers made every forward, but found it impossible to get them to do so. I then received orders from Captain Peckham to form my regiment and await further orders, as the negro troops were to charge the works on our right. We heard the cheering of the men as they dashed forward; in a few minutes the works were filled with negroes. A major of one of the negro regiments placed his colors on the crest of the crater, and the negro troops opened a heavy fire on the rebels, who were at that time charging on the ruined fort. In a few moments the rebel force, headed by several desperate officers, dashed into the pits among us, where a desperate hand-to-hand conflict ensued, both parties using their bayonets and clubbing their muskets. A large rebel officer, who appeared to be in command of the force, rushed upon me, and catching me by the throat, ordered me to surrender, at the same time bringing his revolver to my head. I succeeded in taking his revolver from him, and after a sharp struggle left him dead on the spot. A rebel soldier who had come to the rescue of his officer attempted to run me through with his bayonet, but was killed by Sergeant Bacon, of Company G. Captain Dibeler, of Company B, was attacked by two rebel officers. His sword was taken from him, but after a sharp contest he succeeded in recovering it and killing his antagonists. Captain Richards, of Company G, while gallantly rallying his men, was fired at by a rebel and was seen to fall.* He was a noble officer, and will long be remembered by all who knew him. Lieutenants Vanvalin, Gelbaugh, Seely, Campbell, Catlin, and Eyde behaved nobly during the contest. In the rear of the fort Lieutenants Campbell and Eyde were severely wounded. During this brief contest the negroes in the crater kept up a heavy fire

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*Richards was taken prisoner.

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