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But there were other sights, cheering to the hearts of the
with an easy tread, and
gay and confident bearing, and as they saw the shirking, timorous regiment ahead, instead of catching the fear, poured a torrent of scorn upon them, and though the great coni- . cal shot were shrieking overhead, and shells bursting on every side, haughtily exclaimed, "Fall in behind, the Sixtysecond is good shelter," and moved steadily forward into the rain of death. Officers, with their arms in a sling, arose from their sick beds, to lead their troops to the charge; soldiers with mutilated fingers, left their ranks only long enough to get their wounds dressed, and hurried back into the fight. It was passing strange, that men of the same blood, and fighting under the same flag, should differ so widely in bearing. But this shameful rout was to be stopped at the point of the bayonet, by true men.
It was now nearly four o'clock, and ever since half past one, the rebels had had it all their own wayCouch and Peck, finding the enemy moving down in heavy masses towards Fair Oaks, on our right, crossed the field at right angles to the road, and meeting them in the woods, held them fiercely at bay, till overwhelmed by superior numbers, they were compelled to fall back. Peck's horse, while dashing through the fire, received a ball through the neck--the next instant another pierced his flank. Still unhurt, this gallant commander was spurring on, when a cannon ball took off both of the hind legs of his steed, and he sunk to the ground. Mounting another, he cheered on the troops by his dauntless bearing.
In the mean while, Kearney, of Heintzelman's division, led his regiments forward, who, as they met the broken battalions of Casey's divisions, sent up a loud hurrah of defiance, and breasting fiercely the human torrent, divided it, as the strong ship parts the waves Tas not the way to
Richmond," shouted the fearless Kearney to the frightened fugitives, but he spoke in vain, and he saw that he must look to his own brave men to save the day, not to them. Berry led forward his glorious Michigan men tó súre victory. A ball, carrying away his cap, he rode at the head of his co!umn bareheaded.
The Third Michigan of his brigade was the first up, and this Kearney ordered into the felled timber, where it maintained a most desperate contest till ten of its officers and a hundred and fifty men were killed or wounded. A company of picked marksmen, numbering fifty men, stood and loaded and fired, till half of its entire number had fallen, together with its captain and lieutenant. The enemy in front of them fell like corn before the sickle. The Fifth Michigan, that won such laurels at Williamsburg, came up next, and dashing forward with a shout, opened a most rapid and destructive fire. At Williamsburg it lost a hundred and fifty-four men—here under the overwhelming fire to which it was exposed, it lost a hundred and fifty-three more.
Soon Jameson came up with his brigade, from the rear, and pushing through the abattis in front, met a large body of the enemy, moving on swiftly and in fine order, and repelled them gallantly. The One hundred and Fifth Pennsylvania, of this brigade, lost in this short, severe fight, eleven officers and two hundred and forty men. Napoleon's veterans never stood firmer under a devastating fire. The firing on both sides now became awful. There was no interval to it, as though the ope''. posing forces were advancing and retiring, but one continuous thunder peal, ribbed with the screaming conical shot, and interspersed with bursting shells, that fell rapidly as hail. stones from heaven, amid the rock-fast ranks. The din and uproar were so terrific, that officers, though their saddles touched, had to scream to each other to be heard.
Above the sulphurons canopy that curtained in the hosts,
SUMNER CROSSES THE RIVER.
an immense balloon hung high in heaven, with telegraph wires dropping from it to McClellan's head-quarters, reporting every movement of the enemy, and reminding one of the fabled gods of old, looking down on the conflict. The boast of the enemy, that he would drive our weak divisions into the Chickahominy, seemed at first about to be accomplished; but Heintze':nan had suddenly built an iron wall across his path, against which he dashed in vain. Though assailed by vastly superior numbers, the brigades and regiments stood firm. Berry and Kearney and Jameson, performed prodigies of valor, and exposing themselves like the commonest soldier, made their troops invincible. Heintzelman had his horse shot under him, and so did Jameson, whose brigado suffered terribly, while Peck was slightly wounded.
At length, the long lines of the gleaming bayonets of Gorman's brigade, the advance of Sumner's division, appeared on the field, near Fair Oaks Station. This General who occupied the right, some three miles up the river, had received orders from McClellan, as soon as he heard of Casey's defeat to cross at once with his division, and help Heintzelman. Of the two bridges he had built, one had just been carried away by the flood, and the other was swaying before the rushing tide, threatening every moment to share the fate of its companion. Engineers were at once set to work, strengthening the trembling structure, while the massive columns went pouring across it. Through the water to reach it, and across the flooded fields after they were over, they hurried on, and when firm footing was obtained dashed forward at the double-quick. At first, it seemed impossible to get the artillery over. The horses floundered in the mud and water, and the heavy pieces stuck fast; but by lifting and urging, they were at length got upon the crazy structure, that threat ened every moment to give way and engulf the whole.
CLOSE OF FIRST DAY'S BATTLE.
Almost superhuman exertions were put forth, and they at length reached solid ground. The rapidly rising river was now flowing even with the timbers, and scarcely was the last gun over, when they began to float away on the turbulent stream. Before the division arrived on the field, the struggle in the center had become frightful, and Kearney no longer able to hold his ground against the tremendous masses that kept accumulating against him, had to abandon his position. He held it, however, until he was completely outflanked, and his line of retreat. cut off. In this critical situation, he ordered the thirty-seventh New York, a regiment distinguished for its discipline and valor, to face about and cover the rear, which they did most gallantly, holding back the enemy flushed with victory and confident in his superior numbers, until the advance regiments could fall back, when by taking an old saw mill road through the woods, known to the scouts, they reached the strong position they had left at noon.
In the mean time Sedgwick's brigade came up, and quickly ranging twenty-four guns in an open field, poured in a horrible fire, strewing the earth with dead. Flesh and blood could not stand the tempest of iron, and the enemy, after vainly attempting to breast it, wheeled and left the field piled with his dead.
Night now put an end to the combat, and the two armies, face to face, bivouacked on the bloody field where they had fought, within half musket shot—the pickets being within talking distance of each other. Amid the dead and dying they lay, waiting for the morning light to decide the issue. The uproar of the day had ceased—the heated cannon still darkly frowning on each other, slumbered in their places, and silence rested on the torn and trampled plain, broken only by the dull rumble of ambulances, carrying off the wounded, or the low moans of the sufferers as they were lifted from
A FEARFUL SABBATH.
their gory deu.
Darkness covered the ghastly spectacle of the slain, who lay in heaps on every side.
The Sabbath day of the first of June dawned mild and tranquil-day of hallowed rest and promise of a peaceful life to come-of rest indeed to the thousands that lay on that bloody field, who had gone from the smoke and carnage of battle to that still land where the tread of armies is never heard-day of rest to the millions, who rose to their morning devotions, ere the bell summoned them to the place of prayer and praise, but not one of rest to the tired and decimated armies that the roll of the drum called from their wet beds of earth to the shock of battle.
The rebels, after solacing themselves with the stores and accommodations found in Casey's and Couch's camps, prepared to renew the attack; but their able leader Johnson was not with them to lead them to victory, for he had been carried wounded to Richmond.
At daylight, Hooker's division rested on the railroad-on the farther side, in a semi-circle, were the divisions of Richardson and Sedgwick, their left joining his right. To the cxtreme left, were the remnants of Casey's and Couch's division. About six o'clock, Heintzelman and Hooker sat down behind our breast works, and soon arrauged the order of battle. A reconnoissance was made, when the enemy was found to be in great force on both our flanks. The brigade under Sickles, composed of the five Excelsior regiments, and the fisth and Sixth New Jersey, moved forward at a quarter past seven, and drew up in line of battle in a wheat field, directly in front of a large piece of woods in which the rebels were concealed. The latter immediately opened fire, and the battle commenced. Of those seven regiments, not a man flinched. The filth and sixth New Jersey, though thinned at every discharge, loaded and fired as coolly as though engaged only in target practice. The Excelsior regiments