Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 08.djvu/495

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


Defence of Battery Gregg. 483

three others were lost by straggling, leaving twenty- five men of my company who were present and participated in the defence of Fort Gregg ; that about 9 o'clock A. M. the bombardment of the fort began, lasting perhaps an hour, a section of the Washington Artillery of two guns replying until both were disabled and several gunners killed. When the artillery fire ceased the infantry hastily approached for the assault. The fort was carried about 1 o'clock P. M. We had ample time and opportunity -to see the result of our defence, for when the guns in Fort Whitworth were opened on Gregg, after its capture, the prisoners were marched to that side of the fort, and afterwards taken to the front of the fort to be counted off and made ready for the march to the rear. The slaughter was appalling. I saw the field at Fred- ericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and 12th of May, 1864, at Spotsylvania Court-house, and at neither place were the dead half so thickly strewn as at Gregg. The dead were lying two hundred and three hundred yards in front of the fort, and increased in numbers as the fort was neared, until immediately at the fort it was simply fear- ful. Men shot off the parapet fell back into the ditch, were pitched out behind, and actually lay in heaps.

On comparing notes that night (2d of April) at Warren Station, U, S. M. R. R., we estimated that we had lost about thirty men in our two regiments killed, and that the enemy had suffered not less than one thousand killed. In my company I had one killed and four wounded ; one of the wounded has never been heard of since. Only one man was wounded during the fight, the other three were wounded and one killed after the fort was carried and we had thrown down our arms. There were no bayonets used at Fort Gregg. Small arms were in the greatest abundance averaging at least two for each man who assisted in the defence. The parapet was eight or ten feet broad, and as no dead men remained on it, none, in consequence, were bayoneted. The fact is, that when an assaulting column reached the fort and made an effort or two to scale the parapet they kept pretty quiet until a new force reached them, and during this seeming lull it gave us ample time to reload all the extra guns.

The account of Lieut. Snow is quite a romance. I exceedingly doubt, if he were present, of his participating in the defence of Fort Gregg. There were no rocks or stones in Fort Gregg ; our winter quarters, if we had any, were immediately in the rear of the fort, and I do not recollect of seeing any in that vicinity. Nor was it possible for any one to leave the fort at any time after the first assault much less to leave just at the last assault, with a battle-flag flaunting. I speak positively, having had ocular demonstration that the entire ditch sur- rounding the fort was filled with the enemy. There was, however, a stand of colors belonging to a North Carolina regiment taken out of the fort ; and in fact small groups of men were continually leaving up to a short while before the cannonading began. Just before General Wilcox left the fort I was told that he wished to speak to me (I was senior Captain present of the Twelfth regiment). On approaching, him I was asked if I were in command of the Mississippi troops. I replied