War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 0954 N. AND SE. VA., N.C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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of a detachment from the Sixty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, in Fort Urmston, and the Sixty-second New York in Forts Tracy and Keene, the command moved from camp, without knapsacks shortly after midnight preceding the 2nd, filed through the breast-works and abatis by openings made for the purpose on the right and left of Fort Welch, and were massed in columns of regiments each brigade forming a column immediately in rear of the entrenched picket-line captured from the enemy on the 25th of March, and since held by our pickets. From this point, directly in front of Fort Welch, a ravine led straight up to the enemy's works, a distance of 600 yards. The ground, gently ascending, was partly open and partly obstructed by stumps and branches of trees. Grant's (Vermont) brigade (Second) rested its left on this ravine, and was made the directing column; Hyde's brigade (Third) was placed in the center; and Warner's (First) on the right. The First Division was in echelon in support on the right of the division, and the Third in similar order, on the left. Axmen to cut away the abatis were placed in the front lines. It was strongly impressed upon commanders to force their way through all opposition and obstructions into the enemy's works, and the works once carried, the troops were to be halted and reformed in readiness for any emergency. About 2 a.m. while the troops were moving into position, the pickets, commenced firing to cover, it is said, the movement. The enemy's pickets replied vigorously and a number of brave officers and men were killed or wounded. The loss was heaviest in Hyde's brigade (Third), in which two regimental commanders-Lieutenant Colonel E. D. Holt, Forty-ninth New York, and Lieutenant Colonel J. W. Crosby, Sixty-first Pennsylvania-were mortally wounded. Bvt. Major General L. A. Grant, commanding Second Brigade, was slightly wounded in the head, but, although compelled to retire for a time, resumed command at night-fall.

At 4 a.m. the gun, the signal to advance, was fired from Fort Fisher, Owing, however, to the heavy cannonading on the Ninth Corps line, the signal was imperfectly understood, but at the command the men rose to their feet, leaped over the rifle-pits and moved forward. The lines, being massed close together, advanced successively, each moving forward as the preceding gained a distance of 100 yards. For several moments nothing was heard but the tramp and rustle of the advancing columns; but just as the enemy's picket-line was gained the silence was broken by a scattering volley. The troops instantly responded with a ringing cheer and pushed on in the face of the enemy's fire, which was now spitting along the whole line. The artillery on our left also opened, throwing case-shot, grape, and canister most of which fell in rear of our troops. Although considerable confusion was caused by the character of the ground and the darkness of the night, resolute men from every regiment in the division rushed gallantly forward, forced aside the abatis and swarmed over the works, capturing nearly all the enemy behind them. It is impossible to determine to whom is due the honor of first entering the works or what regiment first planted its flag upon them, but that this honor is due to the troops and colors of the Second Division there can be no doubt. The position of the division in front of the corps having the shortest line to the enemy's works, and carrying those works in the first charge without repulse, renders it physically impossible that it should be otherwise.

Simultaneously with the assault just described, Lieutenant Colonel Charles A. Milliken, division officer of the day, in compliance with instructions previously given him advanced the picket-line, which was on the right of the main attack, seized the enemy's line of picket pits, and captured