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panied General Foster to South Carolina, where his brigade was attached to the tenth corps, and where he served with great fidelity and zeal throughout the year under Generals Foster, Hunter and Gillmore. In April, 1864, he reported to General Burnside at Annapolis and was assigned to the command of the first division.
General Stevenson was peculiarly known and respected in the army for his bravery and coolness in action, his skill in organization, and for his faithful care of the troops under his command. He exercised a personal supervision over the execution of his orders, and was not content till he had fully ascertained that every thing had been done as it should be. The report of the 44th Massachusetts regiment, which was in his brigade in North Carolina, bears especial testimony to this trait in his character.
The language of a friend, who furnished the material for the above sketch of General Stevenson's career, will hardly be considered too strong or too partial an estimate of his character. Certain it is, that his loss was felt by, all his brother officers with profound sorrow. A personal friend, a meritorious soldier, a trustworthy and noble man had been taken from the midst of them, and they will agree to the summary which a not too indulgent pen has traced. "In his military career he was honored far beyond his years, but not beyond his acknowledged deserts. Many, who were older and of larger experience than himself sought his counsel and his aid. He was peculiarly fit for a leader. Quick in the perception of danger, cautious in preparing for it, he was as bold as the boldest in confronting it. He shrank instinctively from all unnecessary display. Modest almost to bashfulness he was nevertheless very determined in the support of opinions which he had deliberately formed. He felt the weight of the large responsibilities which constantly devolved upon him, but he never shrank from them. Conscientious in the discharge of each duty, he made for himself a record of honor in the military annals of his country. True manliness was his marked characteristic.
Generous, truthful, liberal in his judgments of others, forgetful of self, genial in his disposition and frank in his intercourse with every one, he made many friends. The easy familiarity, for which he was noted, never detracted from the respect which the true dignity of his character inspired.
Upon the arrival of his remains at Boston public honors to his memory were promptly tendered by the authorities both of the city and of the State; but his family, acting upon what they knew would have been his own wish, decided that the last tributes should not be attended by any public display."
The command of the first division devolved upon Colonel Leasure of the 100th Pennsylvania, until the arrival of Major General Thomas L. Crittenden, who had been assigned to the position. This officer had previously been on terms of intimate intercourse with General Burnside, had served with General Rosecrans in East Tennessee, and his arrival in camp on the 11th was a source of much gratification. But little was done by either army on this day except some very lively skirmishing. The weary soldiers enjoyed a brief period of repose, to which a refreshing shower of rain gave additional zest. It had been a week of toil and blood. The ground had been well fought over, and as General Grant changed his base of operations, from the Rapidan to Fredericksburg, the roads in the rear of the army, to the Rappahannock and the Potomac at Belle Plain, presented a sorry spectacle. Fredericksburg was filled with wounded soldiers. Even the forest recesses of the Wilderness hid many a poor fellow, who had crept away to die. Many of the severely wounded were still lying upon the field under the rude shelter of hastily constructed booths of boughs and canvas. The medical department worked with all diligence and the efforts of the delegates of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions were beyond praise. A large army leaves in its track desolation and misery. Such battles as had been fought since the opening of the campaign seemed to drench the soil with blood and fill the air with groans of pain. Scenes of most piteous interest were exhibited on every hand.
On many hearts and homes the shadows of darkest bereavement had fallen, and the bright spring time sun was clouded with grief. Patriotism and duty required a heroic sacrifice.
The battles of the week culminated on the 12th, when the fighting was resumed with redoubled energy. General Hancock's corps, in the early dawn, made a particularly gallant attack upon a salient of the enemy's works, striking them upon his right centre, and completely surprised the foe in that quarter, capturing and sending to the rear General Johnson's division almost entire, with its commanding general. Twenty pieces of artillery also fell into our hands. Our whole line was closed up. The Ninth Corps dashed into the fight with the utmost enthusiasm and speedily joined General Hancock's troops in their daring adventure. For an hour or two it seemed as though our men would carry everything before them. But at nine o'clock, the enemy had become fully alive to the necessity of resistance, and made a counter attack against our lines. For three hours longer the fight continued with exhibitions of the most desperate valor and with terrible carnage. The rebel columns of attack dashed in vain against our lines, advancing with unflinching resolution, and retiring only when broken up by the withering and destructive fire which was brought to bear against them. At noon, the enemy gave up his attempts to force back our troops, but he had succeeded in preventing our further advance.
General Grant was not yet ready to stop the conflict. He determined, if possible, to turn and double up the enemy's right flank. It was a desperate enterprise. The enemy's right was resting on marshy and difficult ground. But after a temporary lull, to afford a little rest to the tired troops, the battle was renewed in the early afternoon. Our troops were massed upon our left, the Ninth Corps occupying a conspicuous position. Rain had commenced falling in the morning, and the field of battle became a mass of gory mud. Still the struggle was once more entered upon with unflagging courage. Again and again did our troops press forward to be met with a most stub
born resistance. The rebels fought with remarkable obstinacy, and our men were not inferior in pertinacity to the determined foe. Step by step the ground was disputed with resolute courage. The fight was deadly. The slain and disabled covered the ground. The frightful carnage was only closed by the darkness of the night, so desperate was rebel hate, so persistent was patriot valor.
During the entire day, the Ninth Corps was effectively engaged, and lost heavily. At the outset, it had promptly moved up to General Hancock's support, and through the forenoon had been most active in the fight. The Corps had been posted across the Fredericksburg turnpike, upon the extreme left of the army, with dense thickets in front. The opposing corps of the enemy, protected by rifle pits and timber breastworks, was under the command of General A. P. Hill. In this movement, Colonel Griffin's brigade of General Potter's division had the advance, and connecting with General Hancock's left, shared in the glory and danger of the attack. The brigade succeeded in carrying a portion of the enemy's works, including a battery of two guns. In the successful result of that attack, General Hancock's command became somewhat disturbed, and was in turn the object of assault. Colonel Griffin's position enabled him at this moment to be of effectual service, the enemy was handsomely met and Hancock was saved. So prominent had been the gallantry of the brigade commander upon this and former occasions, that General Burnside recommended him for instant promotion. The remainder of General Potter's division was equally forward, both in attack and defence. The fruits of the movement were the capture of two lines of detached rifle pits, a number of prisoners, and a part of the enemy's main line. The rupture of the connection with the second corps enabled the enemy to check our progress, but he could not retake his lost ground.
General Crittenden's division was formed on the left of General Potter, and courageously sustained its part of the conflict. By some means, its left had become refused, and when General
Willcox brought up his division still further to the left, the formation of the line was somewhat irregular. But the men fought exceedingly well, and though no great gain was made, no serious repulse was experienced. General Willcox's division. was at first held in reserve, but soon after the battle opened, was moved up en echelon to the immediate front. Colonel Humphrey's brigade on the left immediately came in contact with the enemy's skirmishers, and quickly drove them in. Colonel Hartranft's brigade upon the right quickly made connection with the first division, and actively entered into the engagement. Captain Twitchell's battery was posted on the right front, and Captain Roemer's in rear of Colonel Humphrey, to protect the left flank. The provisional brigade and the dismounted cavalry held the trenches in front of the Court House.
In this position and with this formation, after the temporary lull at noon, the Corps renewed the battle. Repeated charges were made upon the opposing lines, but without forcing them. General Burnside succeeded, however, in carrying his own lines within a few yards of the enemy, and could not be dislodged. Counter charges were made, particularly upon the left of the Corps, where the enemy massed heavy columns of attack. General Willcox had anticipated such a movement, and notified General Burnside of the probability of its occurrence. Lieutenant Benjamin, chief of artillery, was accordingly directed to prepare for such emergency. Two additional batteries were brought up, posted and made ready for the expected assault. The attack came. It was vigorously delivered and stubbornly disputed. Roemer's battery did great execution. Wright's battery lost all its cannoniers, and was in danger of being captured, when the men of the 2d Michigan manned the guns and splendidly retrieved the fortunes of the hour. Our infantry regiments changed front, and bearing down upon the foe, scattered Colonel Barber's brigade of the enemy's column and captured its commanding officer, with nearly a hundred of his Further to the right, the division suffered severely, and