Today in History:

628 Series I Volume XXIX-I Serial 48 - Bristoe, Mine Run Part I

Page 628 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.

At 4 o'clock I arrived upon the field and took command of the brigade, I found heavy artillery progressing between the enemy's skirmishers and our lines. This continued for an hour without any marked result.

About 4.30 o'clock Hoke's brigade, under the command of Colonel Godwin, crossed the river and was placed between the left wing of the eighth Regiment and the right wing of the Fifth Regiment, to fill up a gap our lines created by a change in the position of these two regiments rendered necessary by a movement of the enemy on the left.

About 5 o'clock a battery was opened on our right and another opposite our center. The firing from the enemy's guns on the right, left, and center, converging on the point occupied by us, was rapid and vigorous until some after dusk. It was then, under cover of the darkness, that a simultaneous advance was made of the entire force of the enemy.

In the center the skirmishers were driven back and their first lines was so broken and shattered by our fire that the few who arrived at the works surrendered themselves prisoners; but the second and third lines continued to advance at a double-quick, arms at a trail, and a column formed (as well as the obscurity of the evening permitted me to descry) by companies, moving down the railroad, was hurled upon our right, which, after a severe struggle, was forced back, leaving the battery in the hands of the enemy. I immediately ordered a charge of the Ninth Louisiana Regiment for the purpose of retaking our guns; but our center having been broken and the two forces opposed to our right and center having joined, rendered the execution of my purpose impracticable.

Forming a new line after this junction, facing up the river, the enemy advanced, moving behind our works toward our left, while a line which he had formed in a ravine above our extreme left, its (the enemy's) right resting on the river, moved down the stream, thus inclosing Hoke's brigade and the Seventh and the Fifth Louisiana Regiments in a manner that rendered escape impossible. My men continued at their post in the works, fighting well to the last, and it was only when the command was cut in two,and the enemy in complete possession of the entire hill, that any thought was entertained of falling back.

Indeed, there was no effort made by any one in my command to recross the river until nothing else remained but to surrender. Many then escaped by swimming or fording the river, and some few on the pontoon bridge.

The force under my command was small, being between 800 and 900. That of Hoke's brigade, consisting of three regiments, was also small, as, owing to the suddenness with which it left camp to proceed to the river, many of its members were absent. The force of the enemy, I am confident, could not have been less than 20,000 to 25,000.

But few of my brigade were wounded or killed, owing to the enemy's advancing without firing. I am satisfied that the loss we inflicted upon the attacking force was heavy, as our firing was collected and steady.

For particulars of the movements of Hoke's brigade and its casualties, I respectfully refer you to the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Tate, Sixth North Carolina Regiment, herewith appended.

Page 628 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.