Page images
PDF
EPUB

forth in shouts of irrepressible laughter, making the woods ring for a long distance around. Thus this event, which furnished the men with so much merriment, may possibly have disclosed to the rebels the real character of the present expedition.

On the next day the brigade moved forward a few miles farther, to a small creek, where more torpedoes were found, and the artillery having made considerable noise in shelling the woods in front, the advance on Mobile by this route was discontinued, and the troops countermarched and returned to camp two miles from Cedar Point, where they remained during the 21st. In the afternoon of the 22nd, the Ninety-fifth embarked at Cedar Point, on the gunboat No. 48, crossed the foot of Mobile bay, and anchored that night near the mouth of Fish river. Early on the morning of the 23rd, the boats conveying Colonel Moore's brigade passed through Weeks' bay, a muddy and shallow body of water, and proceeded up Fish river eight miles, to near Dauley's Landing, where General Canby's army was now assembling. General Smith's corps had all arrived, and the 13th, under General Granger, appeared at that point nearly at the same time. The Ninetyfifth was in camp at Dauley's Landing only one day, and at an early hour on the 25th of March, both corps, led by General Canby in person, began the grand movement forward toward Forts Spanish and Blakely. The former was about eighteen miles distant, the latter twenty-three. The first day's march was ten miles, to Deer Park, where the troops halted for the night, and fortified, the advance divisions being required each night to throw up a line of works in their respective fronts. On the 26th the column again pressed onward, and leaving Spanish Fort a short distance to the left, camped that night within a few miles of Blakely. This was a feint, from which the enemy supposed that Blakely was to be immediately attacked, whereas Spanish Fort was to receive the first attention. Accordingly, on the morning of March 27th, the Union camps were aroused at an early hour, and the army, turning suddenly back, swept directly across to Spanish Fort. Brigadier General Carr's divison, of the 16th Army Corps, occupied the advance of the whole

army, and were the first troops brought into action on this day. The rebel stronghold was only a short distance from the Federal encampment of the previous night. As the troops now approached it, heavy skirmishing commenced at the front, and the enemy appeared in force. Both corps were immediately deployed for a general engagement, and pushed forward in line of battle, through the thick woods, across ravines and over hills, the 16th Corps holding the right, and the 13th the left of the Union army.

Companies “A” and “D” were thrown out as skirmishers for the Ninety-fifth, and took active part in driving the rebels hastily back into their rifle-pits and fortifications.

The artillery opened fiercely on both sides, and soon the battle raged furiously all along the lines. By noon of the 27th, the Federal army had advanced to within close range of the enemy's main works, and the line of investment around Spanish Fort, from the bay above to the bay below it, was complete.

As Colonel Blanden's official report shows the important part taken by the Ninety-fifth, in the siege which followed, and which was prosecuted vigorously from March 27th, the day of investment, until April 8th, when the stronghold was taken by assault, and as the commissioned officers and enlisted men of the regiment have never had an opportunity of reading the regimental report of their doings and conduct during this sharp and decisive contest, I have thought it proper to incorporate the same herein for their perusal and benefit. It is as follows:

“ Head-quarters 95th Regt. Ill. Inft'ry Vols., 1st Brigade, 3rd Division

16th Army Corps, near Blakely, Ala., April 10th, 1865.

"Sir,

“I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my command during the siege of Spanish Fort. On the morning of March 27th, when the brigade line of battle was first formed, I threw out my skirmishers, and the regiment immediately moved forward, skirmishing sharply with the enemy, and driving him back toward his works. By noon of the same day, my regiment advanced to within three hundred yards of his main line of works, and took position nearly in front of the “Red and White" forts, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, but without serious loss or injury among my men.

My skirmishers were active during the remainder of the day, and at dusk, in compliance with orders from superior head-quarters, I set my men at work building the first line of works.

The regi. ment occupied these on the 28th. I then commenced digging a sap from this line across a ravine in my front, and by the 29th, my riflepits were completed to the opposite ridge, where the sharpshooters now advanced to within one hundred and fifty yards of the forts, compelled the enemy's gunners to close up the port holes with gabions and sand-bags, thus silencing effectually the heavy guns there mounted. After this, my command was busily employed, day and night, advancing our rifle-pits, under the constant fire of the rebel sharpshooters, and by April 8th, when occurred the final bombardment and assault by our forces, my trenches had been carried to within forty yards of the opposing line.

"During the furious bombardment opened by our artillery along the whole line, at five o'clock in the afternoon of the 8th, my regiment, with the exception of heavy details which were busy in front as sharpshooters and fatigue men, remained in camp, no order to the

contrary having been received, until the rapid firing commenced on the extreme right of the whole Federal line held by Colonel Geddes' brigade of this division. In accordance with orders, I then formed my command in line, moved it at once into my advanced rifle-pits, raised the regimental colors over the works, and held my men in readiness for any movement. At this time the enemy, who had long been silent with his artillery, now expecting a general charge, opened with his heavy guns, and the cannonading became deafening and terrible. Having remained here between the artillery fires of both armies nearly an hour, I was ordered to move over to the support of Colonel Geddes' brigade, then charging the extreme left of the enemy's works, which it gallantly carried. I arrived at the point designated in time to coöperate, and remained in position there until late in the evening, when I received orders to move back to my own rifle-pits. I did so on the double-quick, and observing that Colonel Geddes' troops were advancing from the point already gained up the line of the enemy's works, and inside of them, I im. mediately led my regiment over the rifle-pits in my own front, and tearing away the cheveaux de frise in our course, charged the “Red and White forts.

11

There were no other Federal forces preceding my command in the occupation of these works, and I pushed my line forward toward the bay, halting at the place where the brigade formed its line

after the assault.

I afterward advanced to within a short distance

of the bay, company "B" being deployed as skirmishers, took possession of Fort Alexis, and placed proper guards over all heavy guns in that vicinity. In compliance with orders received long after midnight, I moved my regiment back to camp, where it arrived about 4 A. M., on the morning of the 9th, having captured two commissioned officers and thirty privates, prisoners of war, and a large amount of artillery. The men generally returned to

« PreviousContinue »