Cornelius Gold, 6th C.V.I., June 18, 1864
Bermuda Hundred Va. June 18, 1864
My Dear Mother
It is late in the day, but not too
late for one little word to you if I hasten.
Events are thickening in this vicinity.
During the night of the 15th inst. the enemy fell
back from his earth works erected on our front
probably the result of Grant’s flank movement
toward Petersburg. At day light our forces
followed them up, part making a raid to and
tearing up a portion of the Petersberg + Richmond
rail-way - others remaining behind to level
the rebel breastworks. By dark the business was
well done, when the union troops were called in,
and the pickets posted on the bluff lately occupied
by rebel batteries. Our regiment formed part of the
picket line, being reinforced at daybreak by the 7th
Conn. Vols. who distributed themselves among us with
their seven shooters. At about 2 o’clock in the morning
a heavy rebel force returned + lay in the ravine just before
It was rather a trying time for us until day light
as we momently expected an assault in overwhelming
numbers, and we had been directed by Gen. Foster to
“dispute every inch of the ground”. The enemy chose to
wait. The first streak of light revealed the rebel
skirmishers advancing on our right, but a warm
reception from Yankee rifles caused them to fall
back. Then began in earnest our day’s work, not
exactly a battle to be sure, but about the toughest
kind of picketing. The rebels skirmishers retook possession of an
interior line of rifle pits, hid behind fences, + chimneys
(of a house our men had burned the evening before),
or in the tops of trees, and passed the day pelting bullets
at us every time a “Yank” showed his head. “Two
could play at that game” so we did the same.
About 5 o’clock they brought artillery into play, +
after dosing us with grape +, canister + shell (with
little damage) for an hour, made one grand
charge on our position. A Detachment of Convalescents
posted immediately on the right of Company “B” 6th
Conn, broke + fled almost without firing a shot.
This let the enemy through + we should have
been all “bagged” as sure as fate, but for
the commanding instinct of “legs do your
duty.” The way we made for our old line of rifle
pits was a caution, but though effected with
a shower of balls at our backs, was marvellously
safe. As soon as sheltered again, we looked
back to see the confederate flag waving on the
position we had just left. Then our batteries opened
a tremendous fire over our heads, + we peeped
over our ant-hills to see the shells burst, + catch
an occasional sight at a rebel with our Enfields.
So the darkness came again + we were relieved.
The loss in our regiment during the day was5 killed, 1 officer + 15 men wounded, + 1 captain
+ 17 men taken prisoners. The 7th lost about
the same number. Two of their men were shot
dead within a few yards of me. The first had a
ball through his head, while standing behind a
tree. To attempt his removal was dangerous,
so he was dragged a few feet to the rear. But
the hot sun soon made the body offensive, +
four men, laying it on a blanket started to take
it to the rear. They had scarcely gone five steps
when a rifle ball passed through the heart
of one, who gave a faint “oh!” + fell, then
wounded the arm of another. A third of the
bearers received a slight bruise. No further
attempt was made at removal. The two dead
men lay where they dropped, + fell into
the enemies hands when we retired. The pit
in which I was stationed seemed a favorite
mark for sharp shooters all day. But a “miss
is as good as a mile” at night I had again
to thank my Preserver.
Have had a good visit with Theodore Vaill
today, another with Ed. Gold + seen all the
Washington boys of my acquaintance in
the 2nd Conn Artillery, excepting Joe Knowles.
He was absent just then. Will tell more
about that next time.
,” Linda Lear Center Digital Collections and Exhibitions, accessed April 10, 2021, http://lc-digital.conncoll.edu/items/show/1805.
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