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The Fourth In The Late Battles

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[The following letter was received a few days since by L. B. Stewart, of this city, from his brother in the Fourth Michigan In'antry, It conta'ms nothing especially new, jut will be interesting to our readers as a conected account of the part the gallant Fourth ook in the late desperate battles. - Ed. AtIIarbison's Landing, July 20th, The story of our recent battles has )oen so often repeated by newspaper corespondcnts, that I presume what I shall write will be of but little interest to you, unless it is to havo it rchersed by oue who bas actually been a participant. - lowever, if you desire it I will do the jest I can toward a description oí these erriblü scènes which lssted for six days, and I might add, niglits. All was quiet up to Thursday noon, the 26th of June, and wo were quietly resting iu nur camps, little suspecting so sudden an out.iruak, as was so sooa to barst upon us. On that day the rebels moved to the 3hickahominy in largo forcea with the ïntention of crossing at Mechaoicsvillo, lank'mg us, and if possible capture our entile cominand on that side of the river. But as we had boen for several days preparing to evacúate the position, they failed in the fulfilhnent of the latter part of their programmc, for wo were ready ior them. Had tüey delayed the attack two or three days, l thiuk thcy would not have found a foe to confiont them, and could have marched with s.ifety and triumph over the ground that proved so fatal to many of tliara. Tu have yon Jcrstiind perfectly tho pait taken by ( t-ach División, you should know liow they i wcro si'.uated. i On the extreme right, and extending to Meehanicsville or bevond, was Mc. Call's División, composed of tlie Peunsyl vania reserves. Nest to this, ou the lijft was Sykes' División, composed of all the regulars in McClellau's army, thp Duryea's Zouaves and the lst Ct. heavy artillery Next carne our División (Morell's). McCail's and Sykes' entire Divisions, and our brigade (Griffin's) were oocupying the hills that rise frora the vuley of the Chickaliominy, vvhile the remainder of Morell's Divission had been moved back further to the rear, iri order to get a healthier situation. - Directly in front of us was New Bridge Ou our lef!, and across the river, was Smith's división. Commencing with our camp, a high phteau, extended toward Pamunky river, but somewhat broken by ravinus, sometimos deep and miry. This is au imperfect description, but will aid you soiuewhat. I forgot to mention that Gains' Mills aresituated on Beaver Creek and between our división and Sykes'. lt is a flouring mili about as large as a third class nnll in Michigun. Skinnishing had become so frequent, Ihat when we heard the firing on day.but little attentiou was puid to it,supposing it to be but a skirmish. But at thrce o'clock we were ordercd under arms, and were soou on cur way to the scène of action. Aa we advanced at a rapid pace toward Mechanicsville, the booming of cannon and the sharp crack of muaketry becanm more and more distinct, and told us but too plainly that hot work might soou be expected. - About suuset wc wero marched in line acrosa a large fiald, the shells from the enemy's guns passing over our heads and smashing thrnugh the timber bordering the river. Co. I was sent out in front, to fcel tho enemy and soon drew their fire from a concoaled position. ïho regiment replied briskly fur sorae time, wht'n the infantry closed for thfl nigbt, but the roar of cannon could be heard as lato as two o'clook. The uext morning before daylight we marched out, and started toward camp, four miles distant Atter reaehing carnp we were ordered to pack up everything for we wero soon to bid farewell to the place where we had stayed so long. After falling back about two miles, to a position from whioh we could easily cross the river on the Chickahominy bridge, in case of an emergency, vie were halted aüd foreied ie line to 1 aait the coiüiag of tbo eofitny. Our regiment was forined on the brink of a bilí, faciug a deep raviue about one hun dred yards across. Pioneers were sent i.ito the ravine and feil trees so as to impede the rebels advance, in case they should attempt to cross at this point. - The 2ud Maine aud 16th Michigau were at our left. The rebels camo up and firing eommenceil on the right before noon, but araounted to nothing more than skirmishing until about three o'clock, when the rebels made a simultaneous attack upon both wings, with heavy forcea. Previous to this we had formeel for ourselves a kind of broastwork froui a feace in our re:ir, whicli saved many a one from beiug killed or woundod. About three they made their firat at taek, cheering all the time. Not a shot was fired uctil the rebels had nearly reached the opposite bank of the ravine, when the batteries opened with canister, and the nfaotry mowed them down like wheat before the reaper. Terrible must have been the slaughter in their ranks and they stood it but a few minutes before they broke and fiad to the woods on " doublé quick." From this we had a rest of about an hour, when they, being reinforced, made another effort to dislodge us, by throwing an overwhelming iorce on our left flank. This time they wero more suocessful than buforo and we reluotantly feil back uto the open field, and forined a new front At this time the firiog was intense. Not a sound could be heard but the roar of the " wiJo raoutlied cannons,'' voineting forth the elementa of destruction, and tha rattlo cf ruusketry, sending tbeir death warrants in ever)' direc iun. For a while our regiment alone faced the superior odds of the foo. Seeing that we were alone and unsupported, ind fast being surrounded, our brave and gallant Col. led us off the field. Tliis endsd the hottest of the fighting. The foe were too b;idly worsted to follow up the temporary advantage he had gained, and as ruiuforcemeuts shortly after arrived they were compeüed, in turn to give way. Before the next raoruing's gray dawn, all the troops, baggago wagons, and artülery were ou the south eide ef the river and by noou had atarted southward, our división passing Whito Oak swamp that night. Sunday we marched nearly all day aod night, and Monday at noon oame to the banks of James Kiver, near Turkey Bend. Here we looked for rest, but how sadly were we disappointed. - Long before night we wero again od the battle field, though not engaged until the Dext day, fcr the foices iu front were able to drive the rebels. Tuesday raorning we were ordered to support a battcry iu front. The sun poured down bis fiery rays ith intense fury yet we had to lay on the newly turued ground, atd ulmost roast. Although a sharp artillery firing I was kept up nearly all day, wu did nothing but ma ceuver, changiug our front as ;ircuinstances seeined to require. Oujasionally the gunbnats would chirae iu, throwing their monster shells amoug the rebels, oausing ilie woods to ring with their crashing noise as they pass , and soine cume but too cKse to us for safety. At about 5 P. M., the rebels emerged iu large l'orce f rom the woods, directly in front of the Fourth, yelliiig as they came, but they couldn"t searo us away for we had heard suoh sounds before. - As they came one line after unother, it gave our artillery ïhe best kind of a chanca to pluy upon tliem with cauister. If we can believe those wbo could see theui plaiu, for I could not from -our po sitio, we must believe that a terrible s'.aughter took place. Soon after the fight begun, the 9th Mas. (Irish) were ordered to charge bayonet, but so far had they to run, and that too over rough ground, and being entirely unsupported, their charge did not havo the desired effect, and they were obliged to fall back, badly cut to pieees. The enemy seemed to fight with renewed courage after this charge, and the battle aguin waxed hot and fierce. Every rann of ours fought as f for üfe, not a man giviug way uutil the last round of am munition had been fired at the foe, and they were ordered to give way for a fresh regiment who were waiting to take our jlaecs. Tlie Fourth lias won laurels, and those who koow our deeda are not backward in bestowing praise. We have the names of six battles to inscribe upon our bauner, wbich bas never yet been lowered in battle, thougb riddlcd by many bullet We have lost most of our beat officers and many ot our brave comrads. We feel sore afflicted, but try to bear our boreavemeut pairiotically. We have heard of Lieut. Bierse, wounded at Gaines Mills. He is in Ilichraond wouuded and doing well. Many who were supposed killed aro there wounded. It would be useless for rno to mention the killed and wounded as you have had their names already. Our field offieers are, Colonel, Childs ; Lieut. Col., Captain Lurabard, pronaoted, and for Major, Capt. Randolph. We have been resting here quietly sinoa the battle and perhaps shall for sonio time to oome. An act by which we rrn on friend and one enemy. is a loosing game because revenga is a mueb stroDger p.ssion than gralitude. fT A ooantry girl writing to her friends, eays of the polka, tbat the danL-hn% ñne? nni amouct to r'joh, ')ï tb bfigsrr"igis


Old News
Michigan Argus