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in the end. The question with us (and one often asked at the time) was, "How long will the people of the North, and the army itself, stand it?" We heard much about the demoralization of Grant's army and of the mutterings of discontent at home with the conduct of the campaign, and we verily believed that their patience would soon come to an end.

So far as the fighting qualities of our men were concerned, they were little if at all impaired by the terrible strain that had been put upon them. Had General Lee so ordered, they would have attacked the Federal army, after the battle of Cold Harbor, with the same

though perhaps a more quiet courage than they had displayed on entering the campaign thirty days before. The Army of Northern Virginia was so well seasoned and tempered that, like the famous Toledo blade, it could be bent back and doubled upon itself, and then spring again into perfect shape.

It may justly be said of both armies that in this terrible thirty days' struggle their courage and endurance were superb. Both met "foemen worthy of their steel," and battles were fought such as could only have occurred between men of kindred race, and nowhere else than in America. E. M. Law.

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ENERAL HANCOCK'S surprise and capture of the larger portion of Edward Johnson's division, and the capture of the salient "at Spotsylvania Court House on the 12th of May, 1864, accomplished with the Second Corps," have been regarded as one of the most brilliant feats of that brilliant soldier's career; but without the substantial assistance of General Wright, grand old John Sedgwick's worthy successor, and the Sixth Corps, a defeat as bitter as his victory was sweet would have been recorded against the hero of that day.


The storm which had set in early in the afternoon of the 11th of May continued with great severity, and but little rest was obtained during the night. Soon after dark, however, a remarkable change in the weather took place, and it became raw and disagreeable; the men gathered in small groups about half-drowned fires, with their tents stretched around their shoulders, while some had hastily pitched the canvas on the ground, and sought shelter beneath the rumpled and dripping folds. Others rolled themselves up, and lay close to



the simmering logs, eager to catch a few moments' sleep; many crouched about, without any shelter whatever,presenting a pitiable sight. Throughout the day some skirmishing and sharpshooting had occurred, but this had been of a spasmodic character, and had elicited no concern. About dusk the Sixth Corps moved to a position on the right and rear of the army. The stormy night was favorable to Hancock's movement, and about 10 o'clock he put his troops in motion, marching to a point on the left of the Sixth Corps' former position in the neighborhood of the Brown house, massing his troops in that vicinity.

At the beginning of the campaign the Army of the Potomac had been reorganized into three infantry corps-the Second (Hancock), the Fifth (Warren), and the Sixth (Sedgwick, now Wright). The Ninth (Burnside) served as an independent command until May 24th, when it was permanently attached to Meade's army. A cavalry corps under Sheridan completed the organization. General Grant's orders to Hancock were to assault at daylight on the 12th in coöperation with Burnside on his left, while Wright and Warren were held in readiness to assault on his right. The Confederate army was composed of three corps Longstreet (now R. H. Anderson) on their left, Ewell in the center, and A. P. Hill on the right. The point to be assaulted was a salient of field works on the Confederate center, afterwards called the "Bloody Angle." It was held by General Edward Johnson's division. Here the Confederate line broke off at an angle of ninety degrees, the right parallel, about the length of a small brigade, being occupied by General George H. Steuart's regiments. This point was a part or continuation of the line of works charged and carried by Gen

* General Grant (" Personal Memoirs," p. 231) says: "Burnside on the left had advanced up east of the salient to the very parapet of the enemy. Potter, commanding one of his divisions, got over, but was not able

eral Upton



May 10th, and was considered to be the key to Lee's position.

Just as the day was breaking, Barlow's


Birney's divisions of Hancock's corps pressed forward

upon the unsuspecting foe, and leaping the breastworks after

a hand-to-hand conflict with the bewildered enemy, in which guns were used as clubs, possessed themselves of the intrenchments. Over 3,000 prisoners were taken, including General Johnson and General Steuart. Twenty Confederate cannon became the permanent trophies of the day, 12 of them belonging to Page, and 8 to Cutshaw.

Upon reaching the second line of Lee's works, held by Wilcox's division, who by this time had become apprised of the disaster to their comrades, Hancock met with stern resistance, as Lee in the meantime had been hurrying troops to Ewell from Hill on the right, and Anderson on the left, and these were sprung upon our victorious lines with such an impetus as to drive them hastily back towards the left of the salient.*

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As soon as the news of Hancock's good and ill success reached army headquarters, the Sixth Corps-Upton's brigade being in advance- was ordered to move with all possible haste to his support. At a brisk pace we crossed a line of intrenchments a short distance in our front, and, passing through a strip of timber, at once began to realize our nearness to the foe. It was now about 6 o'clock, and the enemy, reënforced, were making desperate efforts to regain what they had lost. Our forces were hastily retiring at this point before the concentrated attack of the enemy, and these with our wounded lined the road. We pressed forward and soon cleared the woods and reached an insidious fen, covered with dense marsh grass, where we lay down for a few moments awaiting orders. I cannot imagine how any of us survived the sharp fire that swept over us at this point fire so keen that it split the blades of grass all about us, the minies moaning in a furious concert as they picked out victims by the score.


The rain was still falling in torrents, and held the country about in obscurity. The command was soon given to my regiment, the 95th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Captain Macfarlain commanding,- it being the advance

of Upton's brigade,-to "rise up," whereupon with hurrahs we went forward, cheered on by Colonel Upton, who had led us safe through the Wilderness. It was not long before we reached an angle of works constructed with great skill. Immediately in our front an abatis had been arranged consisting of limbs and branches interwoven into one another, forming footlocks of the most dangerous character. But there the works were, and over some of us went, many never to return. At this moment Lee's strong line of battle, hastily selected for the work of retrieving ill fortune, appeared through the rain, mist, and smoke. We received their bolts, losing nearly one hundred of our gallant 95th. Colonel Upton saw at once that this point must be held at all hazards; for if Lee should recover the angle, he would be enabled to sweep back our lines right and left, and the fruits of the morning's victory would be lost. The order was at once given us to lie down and commence firing; the left of our regiment rested against the works, while the right slightly refused rested upon an elevation in front. And now began a desperate and pertinacious struggle.

Under cover of the smoke-laden rain the enemy was pushing large bodies of troops for

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ward, determined at all hazards to regain the lost ground. Could we hold on until the remainder of our brigade would come to our assistance? Regardless of the heavy volleys of the enemy which were thinning our ranks, we stuck to the position, and returned the fire until the 5th Maine and the 121st New York of our brigade came to our support, while the 96th Pennsylvania went in on our right; thus reënforced, we redoubled our exertions. The smoke, which was dense at first, was intensified by each discharge of artillery to such an extent that the accuracy of our aim became very uncertain, but nevertheless we kept up the fire in the supposed direction of the enemy. Meanwhile they were crawling forward under cover of the smoke, until, reaching a certain point, and raising their usual yell, they charged gallantly up to the very muzzles of our pieces and reoccupied the Angle. Upon reaching the breast work, the Confederates for a few moments had the advantage of us, and made good use of their rifles. Our men went down by the score; all the artillery horses were down; the gallant Upton was the only mounted officer in sight. Hat in hand, he bravely cheered his men, and begged them to "hold this point." All of his staff had been either killed, wounded, or dismounted.

At this moment, and while the open ground in rear of the Confederate works was choked with troops, a section of Battery C, 5th United States Artillery, under Lieutenant Richard Metcalf,* was brought into action and increased the carnage by opening at short

* This is, I believe, the only instance in the history of the war of a battery charging on breastworks. It was commanded by Lieutenant James Gilliss, and was attached to the Second Corps. Sergeant William E. Lines, one of only two survivors of the section that went in on that day, and who commanded the right gun of that section, has given the writer the following facts relative to the matter. He says:

"After the capture of the Confederate works, we were put in position just under the hill near the small pine-trees so much spoken of. We fired a few rounds of solid shot. Of course we could not see the Confederate line, but we elevated our guns so as to clear our own infantry. While we were waiting, a staff officer with a Sixth Corps badge rode up to Lieutenant Gilliss, and I could see they had some argument or dispute, for the officer soon went away. Directly another officer rode up to Gilliss, and the same sort of colloquy took place, the officer evidently wanting Gilliss to do something that the latter would not do. This officer rode away. In a very short time General Wright, who then commanded the Sixth Corps, rode up to Gilliss, and had a moment's conversation with him. Lieutenant Metcalf then came over to the first section, and gave the command, Limber the guns,' 'drivers mount,' cannoneers mount,' 'caissons rear,' and away we went, up the hill, past our infantry, and into position. The staff officer who led us was shot before we got into position. I have often thought it was owing to that fact that we got so close to the enemy's works. We were a considerable distance in front of our infantry, and of course artillery could not live long under such a fire as the enemy were putting through there. Our VOL. XXXIV.—43.

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range with double charges of canister. This staggered the apparently exultant enemy. These guns in the maze of the moment were run up by hand close to the famous Angle, fired again and again, and were only abandoned when all the drivers and cannoneers had fallen. The battle was now at white heat.

The rain continued to fall, and clouds of smoke hung over the scene. Like leeches we stuck to the work, determined by our fire to keep the enemy from rising up. Captain John D. Fish of Upton's staff, who had until this time performed valuable service in conveying ammunition to the gunners, fell, pierced by a bullet. This brave officer seemed to court death as he rode back and forth between the caissons and cannoneers with stands of canister under his "gum" coat. "Give it to them, boys! I'll bring you the canister," said he; and as he turned to cheer the gunners, he fell from his horse, mortally wounded. In a few moments the two brass pieces of the 5th Artillery, cut and hacked by the bullets of both antagonists, lay unworked with their muzzles projecting over the enemy's works, and their wheels half sunk in the mud. Between the lines and near at hand lay the horses of these guns, completely riddled. The dead and wounded were torn to pieces by the canister as it swept the ground where they had fallen. The mud was half way to our knees, and by our constant movement the fallen were almost buried at our feet. We now backed off from the breastwork a few yards, abandoning men went down in short order. The left gun fired nine rounds. I fired fourteen with mine, and was assisted in the last four rounds by an officer of a Vermont regiment, and by another from the 95th Pennsylvania, both of whom were shot. The effect of our canister upon the Confederates was terrible: they were evidently trying to strengthen their first line from the second when we opened on them, and you can imagine the execution at that distance. When Lieutenant Metcalf and myself could no longer serve the guns, we withdrew. Our section went into action with 23 men and 1 officer - Lieutenant Metcalf. The only ones who came out sound were the lieutenant and myself. Every horse was killed, 7 of the men were killed outright, 16 wounded; the gun carriages were so cut with bullets as to be of no further service. . . . 27 balls passed through the lid of the limber chest while Number Six was getting out ammunition, and he was wounded in the face and neck by the fragments of wood and lead. The sponge bucket on my gun had 39 holes in it, being perforated like a sieve. The force of the balls can be imagined when I say that the bucket was made of oneeighth inch iron. One curious circumstance on the morning we captured the works [May 12th] was, that musketry shots seemed to make such a slight noise; instead of the sharp bing of the shot, it was a dull thud. This may have been an important aid to our success, as the [first] firing of the enemy's skirmishers did not alarm their men in the breastworks."-G. N. G.

It is also claimed that a section of Brown's Rhode Island battery was run up to the breastworks in a similar manner.-EDITOR.

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