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THE HARBOR OF CHARLESTON, SHOWING THE SCENE OF
GENERAL GILMORE'S OPERATIONS ON MORRIS ISLAND.
THE ATTACK ON FORT WAGNER.
WE publish on
page 509 an
illustration of the unsuccessful attempt of General Gilmore's army to storm Fort
Wagner, on Morris Island, on 18th ult. The bombardment of the fort by the iron-clads
and our laud-batteries on Morris Island commenced at noon that day, and lasted
till the evening. The Tribune correspondent thus relates what then occurred:
"Something must be done, and
that, too, quickly, or in a few days we shall have the whole army in Virginia
upon us," said an officer high in command. "We must storm the fort to-night, and
carry it at the point of the bayonet."
In a few moments signals are made
from the top of the look-out, and soon generals and colonels commanding
divisions and brigades were seen galloping to the head-quarters of the
commanding general. A few words in consultation, and Generals Seymour, Strong,
Stevenson, and Colonels Putnam and Montgomery are seen hastening back to their
respective commands. Officers shout, bugles sound, the word of command is given,
and soon the soldiers around, upon, and under the sand-hills of Morris Island
spring from their hiding-places, fall into line, march to the beach, are
organized into new brigades, and in solid column stand ready to move to the
Not in widely-extended battle
line, with cavalry and artillery at supporting distances, but in solid
regimental column, on the hard ocean beach, for half a mile before reaching the
fort, in plain sight of the enemy, did these three brigades move to their
General Strong, who has so
frequently since his arrival in this Department braved death in its many forms
of attack, was assigned to the command of the 1st Brigade. Colonel Putnam, of
the 7th New Hampshire, who, al-though of the regular army, and considered one of
the best officers in the Department, had never led his men into battle nor been
under fire, took command of the 2d, and General Stevenson the 3d, constituting
the reserve. The 54th Massachusetts (colored regiment), Colonel Shaw, was the
advanced regiment in the 1st Brigade, and the 2d South Carolina (negro), Colonel
Montgomery, was the last regiment of the reserve.
These brigades, as I have
remarked before, were formed for this express duty. Many of the regiments had
never seen their brigade commanders before; some of them had never been under
fire; and, with exception of three regiments in the 1st Brigade, none of them
had ever been engaged in this form of attack. All had fresh in their memories
the severe repulse we had met on the morning of the 11th inst. For two years the
Department of the South had been in existence, and until the storming of the
batteries on the south end of Morris Island, the army had won no victory fairly
acknowledged by the enemy.
Just as darkness began to close
in upon the scene of the afternoon and the evening, General Strong rode to the
front and ordered his brigade, consisting of the 54th Massachusetts, Colonel
Shaw (colored regiment); the 6th Connecticut, Colonel Chatfield; the 48th New
York, Colonel Barton; the 3d New Hampshire, Colonel Jackson; the 76th
Pennsylvania, and the 9th Maine, Colonel Emery, to advance to the assault. At
the instant the line was seen slowly advancing in the dusk toward the fort, and
before a double-quick had been ordered, a tremendous fire from the barbette guns
Fort Sumter, from the batteries on
Cummings' Point, and from all the guns on
Fort Wagner, opened upon it. The guns from Wagner swept the beach, and those
from Sumter and Cummings' Point enfiladed it on the left. In the midst of this
terrible shower of shot and shell they pushed their way, reached the fort,
portions of the 54th Massachusetts, the 6th Connecticut, and the 48th New York,
dashed through the ditches, gained the parapet, and engaged in a hand-to-hand
fight with the enemy, and for nearly half an hour held their ground, and did not
fall back until nearly every commissioned officer was shot down. As on the
morning of the assault of the 11th inst., these brave men were exposed to a most
galling fire of grape and canister, from howitzers, raking the ditches from the
bastions of the fort, from hand-grenades, and from almost every other modern
implement of warfare. The rebels fought with the utmost desperation, and so did
the larger portion of General Strong's brigade, as long as there was an officer
to command it.
When the brigade made the assault
General Strong gallantly rode at its head. When it fell back, broken, torn, and
bleeding, Major Plimpton of the 3d New Hampshire was the highest commissioned
officer to command it. General Strong, Colonel Shaw, Colonel Chatfield, Colonel
Barton, Colonel Green, Colonel Jackson, all had fallen. The 54th Massachusetts
(negro), whom Copperhead officers would have called cowardly if they had stormed
and carried the gates of hell, went boldly into battle, for the second time,
commanded by their brave Colonel, but came out of it led by no higher officer
than the boy, Lieutenant Higginson.
The 1st Brigade, under the lead
of General Strong, failed to take the fort. It was now the turn of Colonel
Putnam, commanding the 2d Brigade, composed of the 7th New Hampshire, the 62d
Ohio, Colonel Steele, the 67th Ohio, Colonel Vorhees, and the 100th New York,
Colonel Danely, to make the attempt. But, alas! the task was too much for him.
Through the same terrible fire he led his men to, over, and into the fort, and
for an hour held one-half of it, fighting every moment of that time with the
utmost desperation, and, as with the 1st Brigade, it was not until he himself
fell killed, and nearly all his officers wounded, and no reinforcements
arriving, that his men fell back, and the rebel shout and cheer of victory was
heard above the roar of Sumter and the guns from Cummings' Point.
In this second assault by Colonel
Putnam's brigade, Colonel Turner, of General Gilmore's staff, stood at the side
of Colonel Putnam when he fell, and with his voice and sword urged on the
thinned ranks to the final charge. But it was too late. The 3d brigade, General
Stevenson's, was not on hand. It was madness for the 2d to remain longer
under so deadly a fire, and the
thought of surrendering in a body to the enemy could not for a moment lie
entertained. To fight their way back to the intrenchments was all that could be
done, and in this retreat many a poor fellow fell, never to rise again.
Without a doubt, many of our men
fell from our own fire. The darkness was so intense, the roar of artillery so
loud, the flight of grape and canister shot so rapid and destructive, that it
was absolutely impossible to preserve order in the ranks of individual
companies, to may nothing of the regiments.
More than half the time we were
in the fort the fight was simply a hand-to-hand one, as the wounds received by
many clearly indicate. Some have sword-thrusts, some are hacked on the head,
some are stabbed with bayonets, and a few were knocked down with the butt-end of
musket, but recovered in time to get away with swollen heads. There was terrible
fighting to get into the fort, and terrible fighting to get out of it. The
cowardly stood no better chance for their lives than the fearless. Even if they
surrendered, the shell of Sumter were thickly falling around them in the
darkness, and, as prisoners, they could not be safe until victory, decisive and
unquestioned, rested with one or the other belligerent.
The battle is over; it is
midnight; the ocean beach is crowded with the dead, the dying, and the wounded.
It is with difficulty you can urge your horse through to Light-house Inlet.
Faint lights are glimmering iii the sand-holes and rifle-pits to the right as
you pass down the beach. In these holes many a poor wounded and bleeding soldier
has laid down to his last sleep. Friends are bending over them to stanch their
wounds, or bind up their shattered limbs; but the deathly glare from sunken eyes
tells that their kind services are all in vain.
BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG.
WE publish in this number three
more illustrations of the Battle of Gettysburg. The one on pages
504 and 505
shows us LONGSTREET'S GRAND ATTACK UPON OUR LEFT CENTRE, from a sketch by Mr. A.
R. Waud. This battle was fully described in our last number, and we extract that
portion of the account which refers to Longstreet's attack:
After much solicitation from his
General Lee permitted General Longstreet to send his grand
division on a charge upon the cemetery. The Federal soldiers were on the alert.
They were hid behind their embankments, some kneeling, and some flat on the
ground. The Confederate artillery opened. It was as fierce a cannonade as the
one the day before, but instead of being spread all over the line, every shell
was thrown at the cemetery. Experienced soldiers soon divined what was coming,
and in every portion of the Federal line the cannon were directed toward the
valley in front of the cemetery. All were ready. Amidst the furious fire from
the Confederate cannon scarcely a Federal shot was heard. The artillerists,
implements in hand, crouched in the little ditches dug behind their cannon. With
arms loaded, the infantry awaited the charge.
It soon came. From the woods of
short, scrubby timber and the rocks near the seminary there rose a yell. It was
a long, loud, unremitting, hideous screech from thousands of voices. At the yell
the Federal cannon opened. Soon the enemy's columns emerged front the woods.
They came on a rush down the hill, waving their arms and still screeching. They
climbed the fences and rushed along, each one bent upon getting first into the
cemetery. The cannon roared, and grape and canister and spherical case fell
thick among them. Still they rushed onward, hundreds falling out of the line.
They came within musket-shot of the Federal troops. Then the small-arms began to
rattle. The Confederates approached the outer line of works. They were laboring
up the hill. As they mounted the low bank in front of the rifle-pits, the
Federal soldiers retreated out of the ditch behind, turning and firing as they
went along. It was a hand-to-hand conflict. Every man fought by himself and for
himself. Myriads of the enemy pushed forward down the hill, across into the
works, and up to the cemetery. All were shouting, and screaming, and swearing,
clashing their arms and firing their pieces. The enemy's shells flew over the
field upon the Federal artillerists on the hills above. These, almost
disregarding the storm which raged around them, directed all their fire upon the
surging columns of the enemy's charge. Every available cannon on the Cemetery
Hill, and to the right and left, threw its shells and shot in the valley. The
fight was terrible; but despite every effort the enemy pushed up the hill and
across the second line of works. The fire became hotter. The fight swayed back
and-forth. One moment the enemy would be at the railings of the cemetery; then a
rush from the Federal side would drive them down into the valley. Then, with one
of their horrid screeches, they would fiercely run up the hill again into the
cemetery, and have a fierce battle among the tombstones. It was the hardest
fight of the day, and hundreds were slain there. Reckless daring, however, will
not always succeed. Several attempts were made to take the place, but they were
not successful; and late in the afternoon, leaving dead and wounded behind them,
the enemy's forces slowly retreated upon their own hill and into their woods
Another illustration on
also from a sketch by Mr. Waud, shows us an ATTACK OF THE LOUISIANA TIGERS UPON
A BATTERY OF THE ELEVENTH CORPS. The Tigers made the attack as fiercely as
usual, but our men stood their ground stoutly, and repulsed them with a heavy
loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Our third illustration, on page 508,
exhibits the GALLANT CHARGE OF CRAWFORD'S DIVISION, to which in great part the
success of the day was due. An eye-witness writes:
"You have no doubt heard of the
gallant charge made by the division under Crawford's command. It contributed
very materially to saving the left of our line in that fearful struggle. The
enemy had massed his troops on Crawford's left. The Third Corps (Sickles's) had
been engaging him, but were overpowered; several guns had been lost. Two
divisions of the Fifth Corps (Sykes's) had been also engaged; but nothing could
withstand the pressure of the enemy, and these troops gave way. Several thousand
arms had been lost. On came the enemy in a dark mass, across the wheat-field,
over the stone-wall, and across the ravine. At this moment, while the fugitives
were rushing through Crawford's ranks, he ordered a charge. He was drawn up in
line of battle, and in column of division. His men, with loud cheers, rushed
forward. Crawford himself rode to the front, and, seizing the flag of the
leading regiment, encouraged the men. They dashed in; volley after volley was
poured into the enemy's ranks. The 'Bucktails' got ahead, and drove the enemy
back across the ravine, over the stone-wall, and through the wheat-field,
retaking our ground and an immense quantity of arms.
"The left of our position was
saved by this charge, and we remained masters of the field."
The General Crawford who led this
gallant and most efficient manoeuvre is well known throughout the country as the
surgeon of the garrison of Fort Sumter under Major Anderson.
EXECUTION OF DESERTERS.
THE first execution for desertion
that has yet taken place in the Twelfth Corps, and we think the first in the
Army of the Potomac, took place near Leesburg, Virginia, on Friday, June 19. We
publish an engraving of the scene on
page 509. On that day, a little after noon,
the Corps was formed in three sides of a square, with the fourth side occupied
by three open graves, and three empty coffins, seated upon which, bound hand and
foot and blindfolded, were the three unfortunate men who were to suffer the
penalty of violated military law. The condemned, William McKee and William
Groover, of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania regiment, and Christopher Krumbar, of
the Thirteenth New Jersey regiment—all belonged to the First Division; and the
painful duty of conducting the execution therefore devolved upon Captain M. P.
Whitney, of the Fifth Connecticut Volunteers, the Provost-Marshal of the
Division, to whom great praise is awarded for the quiet and orderly manner in
which the affair passed off. A squad of eight men were placed at a distance of
about three rods from each of the condemned, and a reserve was in readiness,
should the first fire not prove fatal; but at the single volley the whole three
dropped at once lifeless upon their coffins, into which the bodies were then
placed, and after the Corps had been marched in column past them, buried on the
French (Soltaire) Patterns.
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there is no other fitting
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