Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/221

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Battle of Bethel. 205

Captain Ross, Company C, First Regiment, North Carolina Volun- teers, to the support of Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart.

These two captains, with their companies, crossed over to Ran- dolph's Battery under a very heavy fire in a most gallant manner. As Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart had withdrawn, Captain Ross was detained at the church, near Randolph's Battery. Captain Bridges, however, crossed over and drove the Zouaves out of the advanced howitzer battery and reoccupied it.

It is impossible to overestimate this service. It decided the action in our favor.

In obedience to orders from Colonel Magruder, Lieutenant-Colo- nel Stuart marched back, and in spite of the presence of a foe ten times his superior in number, resumed in the most heroic manner possession of the entrenchments.

A fresh howitzer was carried across and placed in the battery, and Captain Avery, of Company G, was directed to defend it at all hazards. We were now as secure as at the beginning of the fight, and as yet had no man killed. The enemy, finding himself foiled on our right flank, next made his final demonstration on our left. A strong column, supposed to consist of volunteers from different regiments, and under command of Captain Winthrop, aid-de-camp to General Butler, crossed over the creek and appeared at the angle on our left. Those in advance had put on our distinctive badge of a white band around the cap, and they cried -out repeatedly: " Don't fire." This ruse was practiced to enable the whole column to get over the creek and form in good order. They HOW began to cheer most lustily, thinking that our work was open at the gorge, and that they could get in by a sudden rush. Companies B and C, however, dispelled the illusion by a cool, deliberate, and well directed fire. Colonel Magruder sent over portions of Companies G, C and H, of my regiment, to our support ; and now began as cool firing on our side as was ever witnessed.

The three field officers of the regiment were present, and but few shots were fired without their permission, the men repeatedly saying: " May I fire?" " I think I can bring him." They were all in high glee, and seemed to enjoy it as much as boys do rabbit shooting. Captain Winthrop, while most gallantly urging on his men, was shot through the heart, when all rushed back with the utmost pre- cipitation.