Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/302

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286 Southern Historical Society Papers.

ments of the war, for the battle proper did not last over ten minutes, and that was when the grand charge of Grant's troops was made on the Confederate works at early dawn of June 3, 1864. The loss was confined principally to the Federal army, in comparison to which that of the Confederates was insignificant, as they fought from behind well constructed breastworks. Indeed, I think the loss of the First Maryland Battalion was proportionately greater than that of any other Confederate regiment, and that because of their desperate efforts to recover the works from which Echols was driven, of which I wrote in my last article.

This was the only point along the whole Confederate line where the enemy gained a lodgment, but from which they were quickly driven back through the combined efforts of the Marylanders and Finnegan's Floridians.


The sight that was presented to the Confederates after this repulse was one more dreadful than they had ever before witnessed, accus- tomed as they were to scenes of carnage and bloodshed. All along their line the intervening space between the contending forces was covered with the Federal dead and wounded. The day passed and night came on, and yet there was no succor for those poor bleeding men, as the fire from both sides continued without intermission. That night the cries and groans and appeals for help appalled the sternest. And yet another day and night passed, and still a third, and the fallen lay where they had been stricken down. The cries of hundreds had ceased, as death had mercifully come to their relief.

On the third day after his bloody repulse, General Grant, that man of iron will, was constrained to ask for an armistice to enable him to remove what wounded yet remained alive, and bury his dead. This he did reluctantly, as such a request was indicative of defeat.

For twelve- days and nights the two armies confronted each other, and both were during that time busily engaged in strengthening their works, all the while keeping up an incessant artillery and mus- ketry fire. General Lee confidently expected a renewal of Grant's desperate effort to carry his works, and was fully prepared to meet his attack. A Federal officer, who lost an arm in the assault on the 3d, not long after told me that General Grant did wish to make an- other assault, but was informed by his corps commanders that their men would not respond to the order.