The Battle of Honey Hill by LBM

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but finally got off and just before dusk landed a few miles up the river and marched some six miles inland, camping near a church. Some firing in front. Next morning turned to the right past the church toward Honey Hill, went a mile or more. Some firing in the front all the time. Some artillery shot coming down the road as we march along the side in the open timber. Soon four guns of ours whirl past us, and a few rods ahead unlimber and open on the rebs. A shot takes the captain's leg off, and knocks a wheel off one of our guns. The Captain is carried back past us, his leg dangling by a chord, his life blood spurting in jets as we cross to the other side of the road. My boys had been under fire but once before and then at long range when at Spanish Wells, and not worth mentioning, and now, they were much affected. Two or three vomited from sheer fright, while all, even the old veterans, looked very solemn. We deployed and were in the second line of battle, as we advanced. It soon became hot and the colored regiment in front hesitated, and I suggested to Colonel Haughton that we take the advance which we did through dense timber and bushes, whre we could see nothing. It was hot, the shell over head and the bullets like hail, and soon a line of rebs seemed to rise in front of us, give us a volley and run. This staggered my Company and one or more companies to our right. As the men started to the rear I jumped ahead of them and started them forward again. I passed my former 1st Sergeant now Lieutenant Guthrie mortally wounded. I took his hand a moment, and this is the only time I ever remember of feeling bad in battle.

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The 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment was at our left my company being on the left of our regiment. The rebs had artillery (some seven pieces we have since learned) in a redout in our front, with breast-works for their Infantry, but owing to the timber we could see nothing. We had driven a line of battle which they had in front of, and below the fort or redout, back, some of my men being so close that the powder marks were about their wounds. The right of our regiment seemed to reach beyond their line, while still to our right was a full colored regiment - a lot of raw niggers, who would not advance, though scarcely under fire except artillery shot, mostly over head,and to the right of them were several hundred marines, who did not lose a man. The 54th Massachusetts on our left extended to the road or center of our line, but did not advance as far as we did by about eight rods. We halted and held this line nearer the enemy than any other troops. Getting short of ammunition I ran back to the flank of the colored regiment and got a thousand rounds box and distributed among myboys, and some twenty minutes later a colored soldier brought us another box, and we held our own, but it was an awful hot place. We used all the ammunition as by rapid firing we kept the rebs down and as our fire slackened theirs increased. The Colonel then ordered us to fall back a few rods to a little cross road we had passed, which we did bringing the wounded. The day was hot, and I sat down with my back to a pine tree some six inches in diameter when a shell cut the tree off some twenty feet where I sat. The boys said I

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could jump farther and quicker from a sitting posture,than any other man. We lay in this position perhaps a half hour and then the whole force fell back, marching clear back to the landing. There were about two-thousand rebs sentout from Savannah, by General Hardee, and about eight-thousand of us, under command of General Hatch. The loss in my company was five men killed or wounded and twentyman wounded, a loss of fifty per cent of the men engaged. Loss of our regiment 126, killed or wounded, including Major and Adjutant killed. This was about one third of the entire loss on our side. Many of our troops were "white glove soldiers" who had done garrison duty only, and did not like the smell of powder. The 156th New York in the left wing lost heavily and did good fighting. Our troops were badly handled, no generalship, strategy or tactics. As a diversion in Sherman's favor the fight may have amounted to a little, but nothing to what it would have if we had brushed the rebs away and cut the Savannah and Charleston Rail Road, as we could have done under an efficient commander. When I saw the awful loss in my company, the useless sacrifice of noble men it seemed too bad. Lieutenant E. A. Guthrie, Sergeant Moses D. Grandy, Sergeant Henry Benson, that model soldier and others, gone forever. - Battle of Honey Hill, S.C. November 30th, 1864.

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