Brook Church Fight. 148
plainly see platoon after platoon of reinforcements coming over the bluff into the fort on the decline next to us. The shells from the loo-pounders, 2o-pounders, and 12-pounders were still bursting over us and other parts of the line. The Fifth and some others on our immediate right in the line were to make the charge, while those in front and on the left of the fort were to fire incessantly on the fort when the charge began. About 2:30 or 3 P. M. the signal gun fired and the Fifth arose with a mighty yell for that terrible charge. We mounted the high rail fence in our front and went straight and fast as the obstructions would permit for that fort yelling and firing as we went and receiving fierce front and crossfires into our ranks from rifles and artillery in the fort and the gunboats. We were within thirty feet of the fort when we saw the utter hope- lessness of the attack. The line halted a moment; the order to retreat was given, and we retired under that awful fire from the most useless and unwise attack and the most signal failure we were ever engaged in.
General Wild reports : ' ' They massed troops on our extreme right concealed by wooded ravines, and made a determined charge, at the same time keeping up a steady attack all along our front and left flank. This charge approached our parapet, but failed under our severe cross fires." Vol. 68, p. 270. For naval reports, -giving names of vessels engaged and calibre of guns, see "Official Records Union and Confederate Navies," series i, vol. 10, pp. 87-91.
Out of the detail of ten or twelve men from Company F, W. S. Prather and Green L. Bingham were killed outright; Worth Mc- Donald and I were wounded. I was shot through the left shoulder within thirty feet of the fort, firing at the moment, I am sure, at the very man who shot me. Worth McDonald was wounded by one of those loo-pounders. It passed at least ten feet from him and paralyzed his right arm by concussion of the air. There was no visible flesh injury to the arm, but it fell useless to his side, quickly turned black its entire length, and he never recovered use of it during his life- time. He got an honorable discharge for the war, and I got a fur- lough June 5th from Chimborazo hospital, in Richmond, for three months, with great joy at the thought of going home.
Some Virginians charged immediately on the right of the Fifth. As we retreated we came to a long, wide lagoon in a ravine, back of where we began the charge. The water was three to four feet deep. In some way, unknown to me, I attracted the attention of one of those Virginians, a giant of a fellow. I knew he was a Virginian