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AN AFFECTING INCIDENT. 131
so nobly died. Private Hildreth, of the same Company, also exposed himself in a similar manner, and was shot dead, the ball penetrating his eye.
Immediately after the final discomfiture of the rebels, Major Platner was sent by Colonel Taylor to establish a new picket line, and both parties buried their dead, under a flag of truce. One of the prisoners, belonging to the Eighth Ga., on seeing the mangled remains of his brother, wept bitterly and for a time refused to leave them. The same soldier afterwards conversed with members of the Thirtythird at the first battle of Fredericksburg, and reverted to the circumstance, and also to the fact that his Regiment had encountered the Thirty-third for the fourth time in battle.
While the engagement was going on, the Seventyseventh N. Y., to the command of which Lieut.Colonel Corning had been temporarily assigned, was drawn up in line of battle further to the left, to prevent a flank movement.
The following is Colonel Taylor's report of the engagement:
Head-quarters Thirty-third Regiment, )
To the A. A. Gen% Third Brigade:
***** On June 28th, the entire Regiment, with the exception of the camp guard, cooks, and a few convalescent sick, was ordered out on picket. Soon after, they became engaged with the enemy, and according to instruc132 Col. Taylor's Report Of The Battle.
tions they fell back, contesting every inch, into the rifle pits in front of their camp. During this time Lieutenant Lucius C. Mix and Lieutenant Ed. J. Tyler, of Company A, succeeded, under a galling fire, in collecting and placing in good order, the former his camp guard, and the latter all others in camp—some fifty men. Both of these officers were conspicuous in their endeavors to stop those who had become panic stricken, of which there were a few, and arranging them to good effect in the rifle pit— many of whom fought nobly. I can also mention the name of Quartermaster Sergeant John J. Carter, now Lieutenant of Company B, in connection with this affair, who not only did good service in quieting the men, but conduced to keeping up a continual fire on the enemy. Much praise is due to Captain Warford and Lieutenant Church, of Company E, also to Lieutenant Corning, of Company B, and Lieutenant Gale, of Company G, for their coolness in drawing in the men, and establishing order under such circumstances, at one time being nearly surrounded. Captain Hamilton, of Company G, was taken prisoner while actively engaged in rallying his men, and Lieutenant Church, of Company E, was killed while encouraging his men by words and deeds.
The above is respectfully submitted.
E. F. Taylor,
General Davidson, in his report of the affair, said: "The Thirty-third 1ST. Y. Volunteers, Colonel Taylor, of my Brigade, then on picket, in conjunction with the Forty-ninth Pa. (two companies), Colonel Irwin, had the honor of repulsing the enemy most handsomely. The conduct of the Thirty-third N. Y., Forty-ninth Pa., and Seventh Maine, under this terrible, concentrated fire, which took us completely by surprise, was all that could be desired."
FEELING OF THE ARMY.
The Retreat Commenced.—The Thirty-third one of the last Regiments to Leave.—Savage's Station.—Destruction of Property.— General Davidson Sun-struck.
Our army was now in full retreat, the right wing following the left, and both sweeping away to the James. The rebel capital beleagnred, pressed, girt round about by a living wall, and just within our grasp, once more breathes freely. The siege is raised, the tide of war rolled back from her gates, and the black flag of rebellion waves in triumph.
It was a sad and humiliating day for our brave boys, when gathering up effects and shouldering muskets, they turned their backs on the city. For weeks they had regarded it as their prize. Their young Chief had told them it should be theirs, and in him they firmly placed their trust. Bitter were the anathemas heaped upon the Washington authorities, through whose mismanagement they believed victory was being turned into defeat. Whatever may have been the truth of the case, they and they alone were held responsible that we were now marching away from instead of towards Richmond. The route of the right wing lay along the west bank o/
COS. A AND F LEFT ON THE PICKET LINE. 135
the Chickahominy to Savage's Station, White Oak Swamp, and thence to Harrison's Bar. General Smith's command did not begin to move until the troops, crossed from the other side of the river, had passed by.
Saturday night, June 28th, the right wing of the Thirty-third was again detailed for picket duty, the third night the men had been without sleep. In obedience to orders from Gen. Davidson, Captain McNair, taking a squad of men, destroyed the camp equipage of the entire Brigade. Before morning the destruction of everything of value was completed. Cos. C, D and I remained on picket until 1 o'clock A. M., when they were relieved by A and F. The line stretched away to the left for half a mile, connecting on with General Gorman's. The reader can imagine what were the feelings of these men, who were left to deceive and hold in check the enemy while the remainder of the troops withdrew. Regiment after Kegiment disappeared in the distance, until they alone remained. Moments lengthened into hours, but their eyes were greeted with no signal to retire. Through the gray mist of the early morn, the rebel pickets could be seen, their line advanced already to within speaking distance, and their forces in the rear preparing to throw themselves headlong on our retreating columns; still no orders.for withdrawal came.
It is a brave and noble thing when a soldier, burning with love of country and cheered on by the presence and sympathy of comrades in arms, rushes