« 上一頁繼續 »
ARRIVAL AT SAVAGE'S STATION.
into the conflict, and at the cannon's mouth breasts the storm of death; but braver and nobler far, when the picket guard, knowing that each moment lengthens the distance between him and friends, and makes more certain his slaughter or capture by an insolent and cruel foe, stands calmly waiting his fate, rather than betray his trust and compromise the safety of an army. Gen. Smith had said to them before going out, “It is the duty of the few to sacrifice themselves for the safety of the many," and they murmured not at the decision which had made them the victiins.
After all hope of being withdrawn had gone, they were, to their great joy, signalled to return, which they did rapidly, under cover of a dense fog, and soon joined the Regiment.
The Division marched two miles Sunday morning, keeping on the high lands which skirt the Chickahominy, in order to protect the right of the army. On arriving at Trent House, they were massed for a short time, during which Gen. McClellan rode by.
Again resuming the march along the river, they halted about one mile to the right of Savage's Station, and, after remaining in line of battle a few moments, fell back to the Station, a large clearing in the forest, of two thousand acres or more. The pioneers of the Thirty-third were detailed to assist in the destruction of the immense war material which had accumulated here. Of all the pyrotechnic displays which our military authorities have gotten
DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY.
up during the war, this was the most costly and magnificent, if such a melancholy spectacle can be styled magnificent.
Scattered over a large surface of ground were heavy supplies of provisions and ammunition burning and bursting, filling the air with smoke and embers, and adding to the already oppressive heat of the day. As the flames reached fresh piles of commissary stores, they would burst forth anew, lighting up the country for miles, and imparting a terrible grandeur to the scene. . The forage, which had been sent from the North, and collected from the surrounding country, burned rapidly, creating dense volumes of smoke, which slowly drifted along to the westward. Great numbers of torpedoes, prepared for signal purposes, were shooting in every direction, displaying through the murky atmosphere the red, white and blue colors. Occasionally a box of cartridges would explode, sending the balls whizzing among the tree tops, to the great annoyance of some of the men, who did not care to be picked off in this style. A large number of agricultural implements sent down from Washington to aid in harvesting the crops of the Peninsula, were thrown together in a promiscuous heap. The torch applied, nothing soon remained of them but a mass of blackened shafts and wheels. Though burning so fiercely, the flames were found inadequate to complete the destruction. A long train of cars was accordingly run up, and after being loaded with material, and set on fire, was started towards the 138
Chickahominy, the engineer swinging off after having “let on full steam.” Along it sped at a fearful rate, until reaching the river, when the engine exploded, as it careened over the bank, and the cars were precipitated into the water below, lying piled one upon another, a mass of ruins. The explosion of the engine, which was heard for a long distance, caused the rebels to hastily decamp from the opposite side of the river, where they were drawn up to prevent our retreat in that direction.
A General Hospital was located at the Station, and contained, in addition to thousands of sick, the wounded from the late battles, who had been sent here after the retreat was decided upon, presenting an indescribable scene of suffering and woe. To add to the gloom and unhappiness of their condition, they were now informed that all who could not join in the march would be left behind, no ambulances or transportation being furnished. A large number of the poor fellows, determined not to fall into the hands of the enemy, started bravely out, and through all the retreat, their weak and emaciated forms could be seen struggling along the weary way, with limbs just amputated, or undressed wounds bleeding at every step. But with spirits all unconquered, and hope yet whispering words of encouragement, many of these unfortunates reached Harrison's Bar, and have since recovered to recount experiences of suffering and brave endurance, rarely fallen to the lot of human beings.
Of this number was Philip Smith, of the Thirty
A WOUNDED SOLDIER ON THE MARCH.
third, whose case presents a striking instance of that fortitude which brought many sick and wounded through that long retreat, while many strong men were compelled to succumb to the fatigue and become prisoners. He was wounded through the elbow at the battle of Golden's Farm. The wound was severe, and such as would ordinarily require amputation.
He was immediately conveyed to Savage's Station, where the surgeons determined to remove the arm. Smith resisted, but was forced upon the operating table. It became necessary for the surgeons to leave the subject for a moment, when he sprang from the table and hurried away from the the Hospital. He followed the moving army from day to day, much of the time unable to obtain food, his arm frightfully swollen, and every moment becoming more painful. After four days he arrived at Harrison's Landing, and found his way on board of one of the transports, his wound still undressed. He was carried to Baltimore, and placed in the General Hospital there. Here, too, the surgeon in charge, determined upon amputation, and declared he could not live ten days in that condition. “ Then,” said Smith, “I will die with two arms.” For several days the surgeon refused to dress the wound at all, and at length was about to force the operation, when the Chief Surgeon, after a careful examination, remarked, that as the young man appeared to have an excellent constitution he might bear up under the excruciating pain, and perhaps
FIGHT AT SAVAGE'S STATION.
recover without losing the limb. The wound was now dressed for the first time, and although months of pain and sickness followed, Smith finally recovered his health, with the consolation that his obstinate endurance had saved his right arm.
After remaining two hours in the woods round Savage's Station, Davidson's Brigade marched two miles further to the rear, when' a halt was ordered. Several large boxes of Quartermaster's stores were found here, having been left for want of transportation. The men helped themselves freely to clothing, doffing their old garments for entire new suits. After resting for a few moments, the Brigade was ordered back again to the Station, to support Gen. Brooks, who had become engaged with the enemy. Proceeding back at a double quick, Brooks was found driving the enemy in fine style with his Vermont Brigade, after having punished them severely. The battle lasted until an hour after sunset, when a brilliant cavalry charge totally routed and put to flight the rebels. Gen. Brooks was, however, wounded. The Vermont troops fought nobly, sustaining the reputation which they had previously won at Lee's Mills and in other engagements. While the conflict was raging fiercely, a member of the Forty-ninth Pennsylvania stepped out in front of the line of battle, and, unmindful of the bullets which were whistling around him, delivered a very solemn prayer. The effect was most impressive on the hearers.
Parties, including one of ten men from the Thirty