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2nd was ordered to the rear, we were deployed as a battalion of skirmishers, and in that order marched back through the street of Newtown with supports of sections of Best’s and Hampton's batteries on either side the town. My command was the reserve of three or four companies which advanced through the main street until the enemy's shell opened on us, when Col. Andrews? ordered us to break to the right and follow up through the gardens, sheltering ourselves as much as possible behind the houses. There was considerable spattering of fragments of shell for the next ten minutes, as we clashed through broad fences and palings of the yards, and then finding that the attention of the enemy's guns was diverted to our batteries and that we could not keep at the proper distance from the skirmishers, we came out again on the main street, and passed along the sidewalk, getting what shelter we could from the house fronts. We held Newtown for nearly two hours, keeping the enemy in check beyond the town. It was getting quite dark when, returning to the column, we reached the field where we had deposited our knapsacks, for we had marched to the rear, and here our regiment again made a stand, and were attacked by a considerable force of the enemy. While my company with I. and G. were slinging their knapsacks, the firing was quite heavy, and was principally sustained by Co's A. and C., one platoon of each being deployed in the fields on each side of the road, and the two remaining platoons acting as reserve on the road; these were under command of our gallant Major," and behaved splendidly. The skirmishers had constantly to rally to resist charges of cavalry, and just after my men joined them with their knapsacks there was a close and heavy clattering of hoofs
1 George L. Andrews was born in Bridgewater August 31, 1828, studied in the schools of his native town, and afterward at West Point, where he graduated in 1851 at the head of his class. He was afterward engaged in the military service, and for two years as a civil engineer, In May, 1861, he was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Massachusetts Volunteers. At the time of the retreat of Banks in the Shenandoah Valley, he was in command of the regiment. He was made a Brigadier-General in November, 1862, and was brevetted MajorGeneral in March, 1865. See Quint's Record of the Second Massachusetts Infantry, pp. 476, 477; Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography, vol. i. p. 75. -Eds.
2 Wilder Dwight was born in Springfield April 23, 1833; his early education was partly at Phillips Exeter Academy and partly at a private military school at West Point. He graduated with high rank at Harvard College in 1853, and at the Law School two years afterward. In 1856 he was admitted to the bar, and soon became a partner of the late Chief Justice Gray. In May, 1861, he was appointed Major of the Second Massachusetts Volunteers. He was taken prisoner at Winchester May 25, 1862; and in the following month was made LieutenantColonel. He was mortally wounded near Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17, 1862, and died two days later at Boonesborough. See Harvard Memorial Biographies, vol. i. pp. 271-293; Brown's Harvard University in the War, p. 65. Eds.
heard in our rear, and down the hill they came upon us.
The platoon on either side the road formed square suddenly, and also the remaining platoons of A. and C. in the road, and together gave them a concentrated volley at about sixty yards distance, which effectually prevented them from trying that again during the night. Then came a sharp fire of muskets in which perhaps a dozen of our men fell killed and wounded and which was returned with effect. I was here ordered to throw out my company right and left of the road as flankers, and just as my first platoon, which was with me on the right side of the road, had climbed the fence the enemy threw in a volley which would have done harın to the platoon had we not struck upon a friendly stone wall behind which my men lay. The N. Y. cavalry, which was with us, thereupon went off at a gallop and reporting the 2nd cut to pieces was not seen by us again that night. From that time, just after dark, until twelve o'clock, I, with my first platoon as flankers, marched through the fields a hundred paces to the right of the column. During this time there was no firing. We kept as nearly opposite the centre of the column as we could guess. We passed mostly through wheat fields, the wheat growing stout and up to our waists and full of water; it was so high that we could not see where we were stepping. I was near being disabled by striking my knee against a concealed stump and at one time several of us fell flat into a ditch. The reserve, which kept well in front, broke gaps in the fences to let us through. About midnight the column halted at a house to find means of forwarding our wounded. We lost about an hour here, and the enemy coming up with us and pouring in a sharp fire compelled us to retreat double quick, leaving our Surgeon, Dr. Leland,' and the wounded in the house. In about three quarters of an hour we bivouacked just in the outskirts of Winchester, where we stacked arms, and I sat awake and shivered till daylight, having lost my servant who had my blankets and overcoat. The sun was just rising when our pickets were driven in and the enemy's artillery opened on us from the high ridge back of Winchester. We were called to arms, and I, without food the day before except a cracker and none that morning, headed the columo of the 2d, which advanced across the fields and up the hillside till we were halted and ordered to lie down under a stone wall. I with my right company was thus brought to the crest of the hill, and was at once ordered to deploy
1 Francis Leland, M.D., was born in Sherborn, Massachusetts, December 24, 1817, graduated at Brown University in 1838, and from the Harvard Medical School in 1812. He was appointed surgeon of the Second Massachusetts Volunteers in October, 1861, and having been wounded in the service at Cedar Mountain resigned on account of impaired health in October, 1862. He died at Somerville October 5, 1867. Quint's Record of the Second Massachusetts Infantry, pp. 478, 479, Historical Catalogue of Brown University, p. 177. — Eds.
it back across the ridge to disturb a battery and parts of two regiments of infantry which had the shelter of a stone wall on the ridge about 150 yards distant. A section of one of our batteries had meantime begun to fire on them from a prominence 100 yds. back of me. The excitement was splendid and the chances for a good shot from our rifles capital at that distance. Twice we compelled the battery to seek shelter below the ridge, and some six or eight horses were sent dashing away riderless. For a time they threw canister at us, but with little effect, and finding they met with no success in dislodging us, they turned their attention principally on the battery behind us, occasionally giving us a shell or so as a reminder. After about half an hour of this, in which my only casualties were two men very slightly wounded, I was reinforced by Co. G., Capt. Cary,' and ordered to cross the field in front and get the shelter of a stone wall beyond. It seemed a fearful thing, but as it was done at the double quick and the men were deployed and not in closed ranks, I believe no man was struck. Of course it was but the work of a moment, and we found ourselves with a better shelter, a good stone wall. Here we began to get an idea of what was in store for us. In our last position we had seen and reported to the Col. a force of Infantry and Cavalry on a hill a mile to our right stealing round us, and bere over our wall of square blocks of limestone we found three regiments of Infantry coming close upon our right flank. As they crept round the slope below us, our marksmen did what they could to check them. Sergeant Crocker struck down the colors of one regio ment and Sergeant Miller knocked over a color corporal of the same. Having reported this approach, I was told to harass them as much as possible and to hold out as long as I could. The battery in front finding canister of no avail against our shelter now threw a few solid shot at the wall; one struck it near the top fortunately, but scattering the fragments of stone violently, taking nearly the whole of one poor fellow's head off, wounding another in the ankle, and allowing Capt. Cary and Sergeant Parker to escape almost by a miracle.
Soon after we were ordered to fall back on the regiment, which we did in good time. We now saw the Penn. and Indiana regiments coming up the hill in two columns marching by the flank. They had scarcely reached the summit when the rebels were on the hill and close upon them. They opened their fire at close quarters upon each other,
1 Richard Cary was the youngest child of Hon. Thomas G. Cary, and was born in Boston June 27, 1825. He was educated at the Boston Latin School, but did not enter college. Having decided to pursue a mercantile life, he spent some time at the South. On the breaking out of the war he returned to the Norih, and in May, 1861, was commissioned Captain in the Second Massachusetts Volun. teers. He was mortally wounded at Cedar Mountain, August 9, 1862, and died on the following day. See Quint’s Record of the Second Massachusetts Infantry, p. 485. – Eds.
though what the rebel force was then and there I could not say. I only kuow that the enemy fled down back of the hill in the utmost confusion. They were immediately reinforced and returned up the hill, and either the Indiana and Penn. regiments broke or a retreat was ordered, for they passed us a id weut down the front slope towards the town double quick. This brought the enemy on our right flank, which meant Co. D. The order was given by companies right wheel." I wheeled my men to the front and dressed them. They stood as on parade. The intention was to advance upon the enemy by column of companies, in which case Co. D. would have been first annihilated. It was then seen that not a moment was to be lost if the regiment was to escape being made prisoners. The order was, retreat. We turned amid a storm as of sheets of bullets and retired without firing a gun down the hill. Besides the three regiments in our rear, there were lines advancing both on our left and right flanks. Five minutes later and we should have been lost. Most of my missing men must have fallen coming down the hill. The fire was terrible. The enemy covered the slopes and billside for about a mile left and right of us, yelling like fiends. They did not follow us closely into town, but kept up their fire and we halted and formed in good order in the first street, and then began our long march of 35 miles to Williamsport. You have heard of the disproportion of forces; 28 of their regiments were counted, there may have been others. Gordon' had information the night before that there were 25,000 or 30,000 of them, and the number of regiments counted would have given them 22,000. High up on the hill fell Lakin, a private of mine, shot dead through the body, his brother, stopping to learn how much be was injured, has not since been seen. Private Orne I think did not get down the hill safely. What others fell before entering the town, I cannot say. On the hillside Private Peterson was struck in the neck by a shot which came out in front. It was tied up and he marched the whole way, and is now doing well in the hospital at Frederick. Sergeant Crocker was struck by a minie ball in the calf of his
i George Henry Gordon was born in Charlestown July 19, 1825, and graduated at the United States Military Academy in 1846. He immediately afterward entered the army, and served with distinction in the war with Mexico. He resigned from the army in 1854, and graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1856. In the following year he opened a law office in Boston. On the breaking out of the Civil War he was appointed Colonel of the Second Massachusetts Volunteers. In June, 1862, he was made a Brigadier-General, and in April, 1865, a Major-General, ring been actively engaged in service throughout the
After the close of the war he returned to Boston, and resumed the practice of the law. He died in Framingham August 30, 1886. At the time of the retreat from the Shenandoah Valley he was in command of a brigade. See Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography, vol. ii. p. 685; Brown's Harvard University in the War, p. 332. — Eds.
right leg, making a long, bad looking wound, but not hurting the bone. Cap. Mudge' and Lieut Crowninshield 2 were struck in the leg at nearly the same time. Mudge I helped along a little way as best I could, and the order coming "double quick " we were separated, he running along until some one got him a horse. Crowninshield and my Sergeant Crocker were both belped into an ambulance, and had their lives saved by it, by young Mclenan, surgeon in the Fifth Conn. The same splendid fellow also gave his horse to my Lieut. Abbott,' when he was walking along, tired out in Winchester, or he would have been among the missing Over and through the fence as we emerged from town came the deadly gusts of bullets, and again and again the order was double quick.” I have no doubt many of us longed to be shot that we might rest
, and as we dragged our weary limbs along nothing but the thought of the bayonets of a relentless foe kept us on our feet. When the command came “double quick," and we had been gasping for breath while walking, and I saw the column move on quickly, I followed, I know not how. By the station house Sergeant Parker stopped, and laying off his equipments sat down, unable to move farther. I think he was not wounded and am hoping to bear of him as a prisoner. He was a noble
1 Charles R. Mudge was the son of Enoch R. Mudge, and was born in the city of New York October 22, 1839. He was fitted for college at the private school of Mr. Thomas G. Bradford, in Boston, and entered Harvard College in the summer of 1856, graduating with his Class in 1860. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts Volunteers in May, 1861; promoted Captain in July; Major in November, 1862; Lieutenant-Colonel in June, 1863; killed at Gettysburg July 3, 1863. See Harvard Memorial Biographies, vol. ii. pp. 161-162; Brown's Harvard University in the War, p. 144. – Eds.
Francis W. Crowninshield was the son of Edward A. Crowninshield. He was born in Boston May 12, 1843, and died in Albano, Italy, May 21, 1866, of disease contracted in the service. His school life at the Boston Latin School was interrupted by absence of a year or two in cope with his father. He entered Harvard College in July, 1860, but left in the following year, and in December was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts Vol. unteers. He was wounded at Winchester, and again at Antietam, and was promoted to a captaincy in March, 1863. At Gettysburg he was severely wounded, and in May, 1864, he was shot in the leg by a guerilla in Tennessee. But he participated in Sherman's march from Atlanta to the sea, and was not mustered out until July, 1865. See Harvard Memorial Biographies, vol. ii. pp. 456-460; Brown's Harvard University in the War, p. 205. – EDS.
$ Edward Gardiner Abbott was the eldest son of Hon. Josiah G. Abbott, and was born in Lowell September 29, 1840. He was fitted for college at the Lowell High School, aud graduated at Harvard College in 1860, Immediately on graduating he began the study of the law with great zeal and industry and with high promise of success. He was commissioned a captain in the Second Massachusetts Volunteers May 24, 1861. After a brief service with distinction he was killed in the battle of Cedar Mountain August 9, 1862. See Harvard Memorial Biographies, vol. ii. pp. 82-96; Brown's Harvard University in the War, p. 134. - EDs.