Today in History:

59 Series I Volume XI-II Serial 13 - Peninsular Campaign Part II


enemy struck the brow of the hill and ricochetted harmlessly over our heads. The men stood to their guns nobly, working them as coolly as if it was an ordinary practice, the chiefs of pieces sighting their guns themselves and relieving the cannoneers from their arduous duties by performing them themselves. Captain Hazzard behaved in the most gallant manner, encouraging the men and cheering them when they appeared fatigued, also superintended the entire fire of the battery, frequently changing the direction of the guns and sighting them himself. At one piece, where three of the horses of the limber had been shod and the harness entangled by their fall, and two of the drivers shot through the legs and feet, being unable to disentangle them themselves, Captain Hazzard performed the deed himself, also carrying ammunition to one piece where the cannoneers were entirely tire out, and taking turns with myself in performing the duties of No. 1.

About half an hour after we had been in action Captain Hazzard was standing by one of the limbers, superintending the taking out of the ammunition, when a shell burst in the battery, a fragment striking Captain Hazzard in the leg, breaking the bone, and wounding him severely. He was immediately carried off the field and sent to the rear. Great praise is due to Captain Hazzard for the soldierly conduct he displayed in this engagement. The command of the battery then devolved upon me, and I continued firing until I had expended all my ammunition.

General Meagher stood by one of the pieces, and, exposed to the hottest of the fire, assisted the men in running the gun forward. Upon my telling him how near out of ammunition I was, he kindly volunteered to ride to General Richardson and have ammunition sent to me as soon as possible; but before the ammunition could reach me I had expended every shot in my chests, and had to fall back into a hollow, where my battery was protected from the murderous fire of the enemy, and there I refilled my ammunition chests.

During an interval of a few seconds in the fight I could plainly see a large body of infantry on the skirts of the woods, evidently intent upon taking the battery. I immediately ordered canister to be fired, though the range was rather long, but I think it had the effect of driving the enemy back into the woods.

It is impossible to mention individual merit on the part of the non-commissioned officers and men, as every man behaved with the greatest bravery and coolness. Lieutenants Field and Morris deserve the highest praise for their coolness and bravery, directing the fire of their respective sections with the greatest skill.

Lieutenant Morris was struck by a spent rifle-ball, evidently fired by a sharpshooters. Sergeant O'Neil (Second), Corporals Kedd and Bright were wounded early in the fight. Sergeant O'Neill (First) was wounded while carrying Captain Hazzard off the field.

Some of my pieces were in a great degree disabled by the loss of the pointing rings, causing double exertion to the men in handling the guns. Several of my pieces were struck by shot and shell, but not injured materially, though I lost a great many of my gun implements. After retiring into the hollow where my ammunition chests were filled up I sent three guns back into position a little to the left of the ground that the battery formerly occupied. Captain Petti's battery camp up to our relief and took position on our right and immediately opened fire. The cannoneers of my three guns being so completely exhausted as to be unable to perform their duties rested while Captain Petti's battery was firing, and did not open fire again until toward dusk, when the