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charge in a broken and extended line, tains Ely and Hawks, of General Benand this, too, under a deadly fire from ham's staff, and Captain J. J. Elwell, the fort, and a heavy and withering chief quartermaster of the expedition, cross-fire of rifles from sharpshooters on and volunteer aid-de-camp to General each flank. The consequence of this was Benham, were particularly noticeable that when the brave remnant of the he- for energy, courage and activity. The roic 8th found themselves upon the ene- latter (Captain Elwell), by his promptmy's works, on looking around, they dis-ness, intrepidity and efficiency, particucovered the 79th just getting through larly distinguished himself, showing himthe hedge, and the same thing occurred self to be in the field what he is wellsuccessively with all the regiments. Suc- known to be in his department, a thorough cess, under these circumstances, was, of and competent officer. But I must hastcourse, impossible, and all that display en to the close of this bloody and disof courage and valor, and all that sacri- astrous day. While General Benham fice of precious blood and noble life was seemed to hesitate whether to risk more rendered utterly abortive. During this loss of life in a second onset upon the onset the New York 79th, led by the enemy's works, the gunboats, to add to gallant Colonel Morrison, charged with the disasters of the day, commenced the utmost impetuosity and daring ; Col- throwing shells right into our own ranks, onel M. actually mounted the parapetowing, doubtless, to misconception reand emptying the barrels of his revolver garding their position, the precise situain the faces of the rebel gunners, and tion of the contending parties being cononly retreating when wounded in the cealed from them by the woods, one head, and left almost alone in the midst shell even bursting in the immediate of the foe. Lastly, the 7th Connecticut vicinity of the commanding general and made a brave but vain effort, single- his staff. This was followed by an orhanded, to maintain the unequal contest, der for the forces to be withdrawn upon and were in turn obliged to fall back, the original picket lines, and thus closed with severe loss.
one of the most deplorable engagements “ General Stevens, supported by Ad- of the war.” The estimated Union loss jutant-General Stevens, his son, made in this engagement was about seven every possible exertion to retrieve the hundred in killed, wounded and missbroken fortunes of the day, but was ing; that of the enemy, according to a obliged to fall back, which he did, bring- Charleston correspondent, writing to the ing off his troops in good order. The Richmond Dispatch, was forty-eight killright wing, consisting of the 100th Penn-ed and one hundred and six wounded. sylvania and 28th Massachusetts, also Colonel Lamar, of the South Carolina under command of General Stevens, volunteer artillery, in command of the participated in the fight, and on the left work upon which the assault was made, General Williams led his column against was wounded by a minié ball in the bethe enemy, and although he did not ginning of the action. reach the enemy's works, suffered heavy When news of this engagement was loss, especially the 3d New Hampshire brought to General Hunter at Hilton and 3d Rhode Island. A galling fire Head, considering the attack made by from sharpshooters in the woods did General Benham an act of disobedience severe execution upon this wing of the to his orders, he summarily relieved him attack. General Benham, who com- of his command and ordered him to remanded in person, displayed great cour-port to the War Department at Washage and zeal, as did also his staff and lington. The explanation of General those of the different generals. Cap- Benham was, that the movement which
he had directed was quite within the 100th Pennsylvania, 7th Connecticut, scope of General Hunter's order to 46th New York, and 28th Massachumaintain possession of his camp, which setts-had a large number of casualties. could only be done by silencing the II. Notwithstanding these fearful losses work of the enemy which endangered you were not discouraged. Some of you it. General Benham thus again relieved were temporarily withdrawn from the of command in the field, after an inter- murderous fire of the enemy. You reval was restored to active service in the tired in order of battle, and you returned corps of Engineers, to which he had to the attack in order of battle. Some been originally attached.
held, throughout the action, the advancThe forces on James Island presently ed position at the abattis and ditch of returned to their headquarters at Hilton the work. This position was held by Head, previously to which General Ste- you unflinchingly and confidently. And vens issued the following order, commend at this very hedge the light battery of ing the valor of his troops in the engage- Rockwell threw its effective fire upon ment:
the enemy. III. In obedience to orders "The brigadier-general commanding from superior authority you all finally the 2d division, in communicating to his returned in good order and in line of command the thanks of the commanding battle, and the enemy did not venture to general, for the good conduct of the troops interrupt you. IV. Men of the 2d diin the action of the 16th inst., desires to vision! You covered yourselves with express his own profound sense of their glory on that gory field. Your intrepid valor, conduct and heroism. I. Men of and able brigade commanders, Leasure the 2d division! You displayed in the and Fenton, in the hottest of the thick attack on the fortified position of the ene- fight; your regimental commanders, like my at Secessionville, on the 16th inst., the heroic Morrison, who, shot through the highest qualities of veteran troops. the head on the parapet, again led his You formed in silence and secrecy in the men to the assault, eager to avenge his darkness of the night. You moved for-wounds ; at all points rallying and cheerward in perfect order at the earliesting on their men, and officers and men dawn, and surprised and captured the alike gave signal proof of their devotion enemy's pickets. You were ordered not to duty and their country. In congratu. to fire, but to push forward and use the lating his comrades on their heroic valor bayonet. You obeyed the order. You and constancy on that terrible field, the formed in line of battle under a terrible commanding general of the division has and murderous fire of grape, canister not words to express his and your grief and musketry. You pushed to the ditch at the sacrifices that have been made. and abattis of the work from right to Our best and truest men now sleep the left. Parties from the leading regiments sleep that knows no waking. Their. of your two brigades, the 8th Michigan dead bodies lay on the enemy's parapet. and the 79th Highlanders, mounted and Church, Pratt, Cottrel, Guild, Morrow, were shot down on the parapet, officers Hortou, Hitchcock, and many other galand men. Those two regiments especi- laut and noble men we shall see no more. ally covered themselves with glory, and Honor, therefore, all honor to you, men their fearful casualties show the hot work of the 2d division. You have shown in which you were engaged. Two-fifths what you will do when you shall have of the 8th Michigan and nearly one-quar- the proper opportunity. You did not ter of the 79th Highlanders were struck seize the fort, because it was simply imdown either killed or wounded ; and possible, and known now to be impossinearly all the remaining regiments — | ble by the reconnoissance referred to in
the orders of thanks of the commanding night I shall think of you; day and general."
night I shall care for you, and your inThe next important event in the af- terests shall be in my thoughts.” Such fairs of the Department of the South was the spirit in which General Mitchel was the arrival of General Mitchel, to- entered upon his work. ward the end of September, as the suc- An opportunity also presently arose cessor of General Hunter, who, at his at the dedication of a new church erectown request, was relieved of the com-ed by General Hunter's order, for the mand. General Stevens had also re- colored population, to inform that class of turned to the North, on his way to his the people of his views of their duties last campaign with the Army of the Po- and prospects. 'After urging upon them tomac. General Mitchel, immediately the necessity of respecting the marriage on his arrival, sought to infuse the pa- relation, to which slavery had been so triotic enthusiasm of his character into unfriendly, and of organizing themselves every province of his command. The into families, he held up before them the condition of the negro race, in the ab- blessings of liberty which would result zence of any adequate force for immedi- to them from the war if they were true ate extended operations, particularly en- to themselves. Announcing the provisgaged his attention. Immediately upon ion which was making by the superinhis arrival at Port Royal, General Mitch-tendent for their agricultural labors, he el reviewed General Brannan's troops at sought to awaken in them a love of orBeaufort, and a day or two after ad- der, neatness, and even elegance. “A dressed the garrison at Pulaski, with his gang of fifty men are building your accustomed earnestness of speech. “I houses at the rate of six a day. These am here," he said, " to say that we have | houses are to make you more comfortan immense work to perform. I am able. You are to have a patch of ground just from the North, where, having con- which you can call your own, to raise versed and associated with the thinking your own garden truck, and you may men of the country, I am satisfied that work for the government for good wages. the work before us is the most stupend-And you women must make your houses ous, the most arduous that has ever been shine ; you must plaster them and whiteattempted ; and it is a work in which we wash them, and gradually get furniture can never be successful unless we enter in your cabins, and a cooking stove. I upon it with a firm determination never have arranged in such a way that you to succumb. I believe that we are fight will get your clothing cheaper and better ing the battle of human liberty, not for than before, and you are to have a school this country alone, but for the whole for your children. And you must have world. If we permit the iron heel of flowers in your gardens and blossoms bethe southern aristocracy to crush us, I fore your doors.” This was new lanundertake to say before you all, that the guage to be addessed to the field hands last hope of humanity will die out for- of South Carolina. It was the calculaever. *** I was told that I should tion of General Mitchel that an industrireceive instructions here. I find that ous family of three persons might save they permit me to do pretty much as I from one hundred and fifty to two hunplease ; and I shall endeavor to do the dred dollars, with which they might sebest I can. I assure you of this ; that I cure their own homes and “begin the will omit no opportunity of giving you world for themselves.” Such was his active employment. * * * Your for solution of the industrial problem of the tunes are, to a certain extent, in my South. With a fair chance it would keeping. Rest assured that day and peacefully solve itself. Writing to Sec
retary Chase, the next day, of this ad- and General Terry's 2d brigades of the dress at the church, he said :-“I have 10th Army Corps, assigned to the despoken to the élite of Boston, the solid partment. They were landed at Macand the scientific and the literary men kay's Point, at the confluence of Broad of that learned city ; I have spoken to and Pocotaligo rivers, on the morning of the fashionable crowds of New York in the 22d, and immediately proceeded tothe Academy of Music; I have spoken wards the village of Pocotaligo, eleven to the rich and proud citizens of New miles distant. “The line of march," Orleans ; I have spoken to multitudes in writes a correspondent who participated almost every State in the Union, but I in the fight, "was taken up soon after do not think I ever addressed any audi- ten, the section of Lieutenant Henry's ence whose presence touched me more battery being at the head of the column, deeply than the sable multitude to whom with skirmishers of the 47th PennsylI endeavored to utter words of encour-vania regiment. Advancing slowly over agement and hope yesterday. And, my an admirable road for seven miles, we dear governor, they are encouraged, and failed, during the march, of encounterthey do hope ; and I feel that it is pos- ing the enemy, who had prudently resible to convert the officers and soldiers coiled from a meeting until it should take from their unjust and ungenerous preju- place beyond range of our gunboats, aldices, and to make - them the firm, fast, though the nature of the ground over sympathizing friends of those unfortun- which we passed afforded many excelate blacks. Already I find a very great lent positions for defence. The road change, and some of my thinking offi- alternated through dense woods, and cers, who were most gloomy and most through marshes, only passable over a despondent when I first arrived, are now narrow causeway, save at one or two full of cheerful hope."*
points. Choosing a position at the op. True to his promise, of keeping his posite end of this causeway, the enemy troops in activity, though unable from opened a furious fire of shell and canisthe fewness of his command of attempt- ter on our advancing column, which was ing any movement of magnitude, Gen- promptly met by the battery under Lieueral Mitchel presently set on foot several tenant Henry. Immediately the order expeditions, the most important of which was given by General Brannon for his was designed to destroy the bridges on brigade to form line of battle, the centre the Charleston and Savannah railroad in resting on the causeway. After a brisk the vicinity of Pocotaligo and Coosa- fire of both musketry and artillery the whatchie. The movement was made by rebels retired to the dense woods in their a combined land and naval force, which rear, tearing up the causeway-bridge, left Hilton Head on the night of the 21st which delayed the advance of our artilof October. The troops, under the com-lery until it could be repaired. Meanmand of General Brannan, who had re-while, the 1st brigade pressed on to the cently led an expedition to the St. John's woods, which they penetrated, driving river, attacked the fortification on St. the enemy before them, and closely folJohn's Bluff, and ascending the river to lowed by the 2d brigade, under GenJacksonville, again temporarily occupied eral Terry, who came up with a cheer, that town, consisted of detachments of and were quickly in the engagement. the New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Con- Here the fight, it may be said, fairly necticut, New York, and Pennsylvania commenced—the enemy's sharpshooters regiments, from General Brannan's 1st picking off our men rapidly. The artil
lery fire from our side was not slackened * Letter of General Mitchel to Secretary Chase. Port Royal, October 13, 1862.
while the bridge was being repaired, and it was not long before the batteries went act force of the rebels, of course, we forward to the work in support of the know nothing, although General Braninfantry. This action began between nan was of the opinion that it equaled twelve and one, and lasted about an our own. Certainly their artillery exnour, ending in the retreat of the rebels ceeded ours by four or five pieces, and to another position at Frampton's plan- this we have from the seven prisoners tation, which lies two miles beyond. taken, one of whom, William Judd, beThe enemy were closely followed, and longed to Company B, 2d South Caroafter a fight more hotly contested than lina cavalry, whose horse was also capthe first, our troops were again victori- tured. The prisoners informed us that ous, the second time driving the rebels General Beauregard commanded in perfrom their well-chosen position, and two son. miles beyond, which brought them up “While these events were taking place to Pocotaligo bridge (not the railroad between the main forces on either side, bridge), over which they crossed, taking Colonel Barton, of the 48th New York, shelter behind earthworks on the farth- with three hundred of his own men and est side. To this point our troops near- fifty of the 3d Rhode Island Regiment, ly approached, but found farther pro- under command of Captain J. H. Gould, gress impossible, as the bridge had been went up the Coosawhatchie river, concut by the enemy on his retreat. This voyed by the Patroon, to within two fact we construe into a clear acknowledg- miles of the town of the same name. ment of his defeat. Although these Landing this force here, a march was events are thus briefly noted, it required made to the village through which runs upward of five hours of impetuous and the railroad. Arrived there, they comgallant fighting to accomplish them. At menced tearing up the rails, but had no one time was the entire field of com- scarcely engaged in the work when a bat in view from a given point, and I long train of cars came from the directherefore find it impossible to speak in tion of Savannah, filled with troops. detail of the operations of my own regi- This train was fired into by our party, ment. Both brigades participated in the killing the engineer and a number of action, and both Generals Brannan and others. Several soldiers jumped from Terry were constantly under fire, lead- the cars while they were in motion, and ing and directing the movements of their were wounded. One was taken prisoner men, awakening enthusiasm by their per- - thirty muskets were captured, and sonal bravery and the skillful manner in colors of the Whippy Swamp Guards which they maneuvered their commands. taken from the color-bearer, who was Frequently, while the fight was progress- killed by our fire. The work of tearing ing, we heard the whistles of the rail- up the rails was not accomplished in road trains, notifying us of reinforce- time to prevent the onward progress of ments for the rebels, both from Charles- the train, and our men afterward comton and Savannah, and even if we had pleted the job - also cutting the telehad facilities for crossing the river, it graph, and bringing away a portion of would have been unwise to have made the wire with them. Colonel Barton the attempt in view of these circumstan- | next attempted to reach the railroad ces. General Brannan therefore ordered bridge, for the purpose of firing it, but a retreat, which was conducted in a most was unable, as it was protected by a orderly manner; the regiments retiring battery of three guns. Fearing that his in successive lines, carrying off their retreat might be cut off by the enemy's dead and wounded, and leaving no arms cavalry, he gave the order to retire to or ammunition on the field. Of the ex- the steamboat, which was done success