Today in History:

52 Series I Volume XXXVI-II Serial 68 - Wilderness-Cold Harbor Part II


and Langdon's artillery, drove the rebels out of sight, and the night passed (with a little sleep) in hastily strengthening our position.

In the morning General Turner's division appeared in the southeast, approaching the front of the works, whose right we had carried. Under orders, I moved down, joined my right to the left of that division, and facing toward Richmond, advanced with the rest. I put in line the Seventh Connecticut and Seventh New Hampshire, with the Third New Hampshire in column doubled on the center, at half distance, in reserve. Advancing down the slope in an open field just east of --- house, I sent forward skirmishers of the Seventeenth Connecticut, who were soon engaged. They moved through the wood about 200 yards to another field. Up a gentle slope about 400 yards distant was a fine house with garden fences and outbuildings, and beyond that nearly 400 yards, a formidable line of earth-works extending far eastward, and apparently well manned. I advanced my line to the line of skirmishers on the north edge of the woods, whence there was a steady interchange of shots with the rebels occupying the houses, and even with those of the main works. Their artillery also endeavored to annoy us. A number of our men were killed or wounded. At my solicitation a piece of artillery was sent to me from which two shots were fired (the first aimed by myself) at the buildings. A shover of rifle-balls coming back the piece the piece retired; the dwelling and one large outbuilding were soon if flames. The skirmishers of the division being ordered forward, I ordered mine from the Seventh Connecticut, under Captain Dennis, and they went up very handsomely under a heavy fire, so hot that it was necessary to relieve them two or three times. They drove the enemy out of the buildings, but lost heavily Promptly on receiving an order to that effect I advanced with my line of battle, the two regiments moving in the finest style, with great cheering, up to the buildings and the summit of the slope. The Third New Hampshire followed to the edge of the woods. The line was but slightly protected, though the men worked with their usual ingenuity, and the fir from the works, both artillery and infantry, was at times very severe. The field pieces were frequently silenced, but they inflicted some injures, among them fatally wounding a most gallant officer, Lieutenant Wood, Seventh Connecticut Volunteers.

On my right and left, so far as I could see, the rest of the corps had advanced only a strong skirmish line, even with our position. As the day wore away tediously, I received orders to hold this position, relieving at dark. When it was nearly dark, the enemy opened suddenly on us the most furious fire of musketry to which I ever listened. Without flinching, our two regiments as fiercely responded. The enemy began to come over their works to charge, but the fearful fire of our lines (the Spencer carbines here worked to good advantage) staggered and drove him back. The affair lasted scarcely two minutes, when the enemy ceased firing and became altogether invisible amid the most triumphant cheers from our side. After dark I had the Third New Hampshire come silently up the slope in line and step into the positions of the other two regiments, which moved by the right of companies to the rear as silently to the south side of the wood, where they drew rations and bivouacked. The losses this day were: Seventh Connecticut, 92; Third New Hampshire, 8; Seventh New Hampshire, 17; total, 117; of which 17 were killed and 2 missing.