but the 9th and 18th are banging away at them
Jaly 3. — Very quiet, even for Sunday.
July 4. — At sunrise the national colors of the en-
tire Union army were planted on our breastworks,
where they floated in all their glory in full view of
the enemy until night. During a portion of the
afternoon our parrots threw shells into the streets
of Petersburg at the rate of one a minute, putting
Johnnies in mind of the fact that it was the " 4th of
At midnight the rebels bombarded us quite fu-
riously, scattering their shells over a wide extent of
142 The Irox Hearted Eegimbnt.
territory, but fortunally causing the loss of but three
I examiuecl a heap of missiles thrown by the
rebels during the night, and gathered up by our
Ambulance Corps in the vicinity of our surgeon's tent.
Jidy 5. — The Christian Commission made the fol-
lowing generous donation to the regiment through
our worthy chaplain, who rode through the heat
and dust many miles for them.
24 cans each of roast turkey and mutton, to be
made into soup.
24 cans of condensed milk, together with a libe-
ral supply of corn starch to be made into puddings
for the sick.
14 pounds of pure black and green tea, of which
each man in the regiment received a soothing cup.
24 bottles of Jamaica ginger, in great demand
by soldiers suffering from the dreadful and preva-
lent disease of dysentery.
A large quantity of tobacco, esteemed by the
greater portion of the army as the greatest luxury
Soap, so much needed to wash off the dirt.
A large quantity of stationary, for the boys to
write home to their friends.
It had become necessary to issue half rations of
whiskey to the army.
The rebels shelled our profane and wicked cooks,
damaging a shelter and a hard-tack box consid-
The Iron Hearted Eegimext. 143
Xcitlier army can make a surprise movement
here, owing to the great clouds of dust sure to rise
when any body of troops move.
One man killed, and one man wounded in the
Jahi G — Warm and sultr}-, and the same con-
tinuous, unvaried booming of cannon and rattle of
musketry. ]^ow and then a dead or wounded man
is carried to the rear. We ask who he is, what
regiment he belonged to, and that is the last of it.
Squads of sick drag themselves out of musket
range, and feel glad to get a breath of pure air, or
hide beneath the cool shade of some leafy tree.
The strong watch the enemy, do the fighting, and
are in the heighth of enjoyment when supplied with
an abundance of food and lead.
Three men of Co. A were wounded by a shell ;
Jidy 7.— Four men of Co. I, 117th :N'ew York,
were said to have been killed in the trenches by a
Each man in the 115th received a glass of lem-
onade from the Sanitary Commission.
Hink's negro brigade relieved our brigade from
the second line of works.
FREAKS OF SOLID SHOT.
Our regimental teamster was in his shanty quiet-
ly eating his evening repast, when a solid shot sud-
denly demolished the house and buried him in the
144 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
A second passed througli the quartermaster's
tent, between a couple of officers, knocking down
tlie ridge pole, and nearly taking away tlieir breath.
A third tore a great hole in General Turner's
headquarters, and several others came so close that
he was obliged to move. Several shots went
screaming through the sutler's shanty, and he
"dusted right smart." One man of Co. D wound-
ed during the day.
July 8 — Regiment much reduced in numbers and
health. Some of the men have not blood enough
in their veins to keep up a good circulation. One
of our shells blew a rebel from behind the works,
and he burned to death within sight of friends and
foes. It is thought that the rebels are engaged in
July 9 — Worked the most of the night on the
front works, in la^-ing up timbers, filling sand bags
and throwing up dirt.
July 13 — A day of intense heat, with a withering
July 19. — Three men of the 115th wounded
during the past twenty-four hours.
July 20 to 29tJi. — Eegiment engaged in picketing,
&c. The 115th are changed to Bell's Brigade, 3rd
Brigade, 2nd Division, 18th Corps.
Four killed and one wounded in the 115th.
The Iron Hearted Eegiment. 145
CHARGE OF CEMETERY HILL.
On the evening of July 29tli our division received
marcliing orders, and after dark quietly moved to
the rear of the 9th Corps, and lay on our arms until
midnight. We then massed on a side-hill in front
of the 9th Corps, and awaited the dawn of day,
when a grand charge was to be made on the works
on our front, in which the whole army was
expected to take part.
One of the largest rebel forts was mined with
several tons of powder, and when it blew up the
Union arrny were to charge and drive the rebels
from their works.
THE MORNING OF BATTLE.
July the thirtieth, 'sixty -four. — How well all who
were engaged remember the scenes enacted on that
eventful and bloody day; the swaths of dead;
crushed and mangled limbs; the deathly palor on a
thousand noble cheeks; the bravery, daring and
inspiring devotion of the soldiery, and the awful
roar and tempest of battle on the green hill-sides of
On that beautiful morning, when all nature was
wreathed in smiles and loveliness, 20,000 Union sol-
diers awoke from their slumbers on the damp ground,
hardly thinking that before the setting of the sun
5,000 of their number would either nobly die, lie
bleeding in the hospital or on the battle-field, or a
thousand times worse, be consigned to the loathsome
146 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
horrors of southern dungeons and charnel houses.
But thus it was.
What a grand and glorious sight it was to see
those long, deep columns of hlue, as they raised up
into full view, with their guns and hayonets flashing
in the sunlight. How proud we felt of our army
A thrill of pleasure ran through every soul, and
we dreamed that victory would perch upon our
The very heavens above us are obscured from
view. A dense, black column of smoke arises ; the
conflict has opened.
A rebel fort has been blown in pieces, a regiment
of traitors hurried into eternity in a moment's time,
and we are to follow up the advantage gained. A
hundred and fifty Union cannon hail shell and grape
into the ranks of the foe who are rushing in wild
consternation from the works.
What a fearful thunder, and what a terrible con-
centration of iron, lead and fire, and yet men live.
See how it tears, and sweeps and mows through
human flesh and blood, dealing out death, destruc-
tion and slaughter with an unsparing hand. The
awful, sickening sight gives us a sort of sadness ;
yet we know that unless we kill them, they will do
their best to kill us, and to destroy the beloved fab-
ric of liberty.
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 147
THE FIRST ASSAULT.
We hear a cheer. With eagerness we catch the
sound. Thank God! it is not the low, savage howl
of the rebels, but the full, honest, hearty cheer of
the Union boys ; and it tells us tliat they are mak-
ino' a charere. The rebels have rallied to their
works again, and greet the assaulting column with
a fearful fire. Great gaps, wide and deep, are cut
in the ranks. They stagger for a moment, then
close up like a flash ; and on the}^ press, mount the
rebel works, and we behold half a dozen battle
flags proudly floating from the ramparts.
THE 115th go foward.
Xow comes our turn. There is no need of call-
ing us to attention, for every man is in his place.
Battalion, right face — file left — march! com-
manded the colonel, and swiftly we move towards
Suddenly our progress is impeded, and the road
is blockaded with the flow of wounded who are be-
ins: drao-o^ed to the rear. The sio^ht of blood makes
us shudder for an instant, for it flows as freely as
water, and drips our path with crimson. A
stretcher goes past with a wounded soldier who is
soakiuo; in his own life's blood. Another bears a
man with his under jaw cut away, his tongue torn
from its roots, and his head a shapeless mass. It
was sickening even to us. A wounded captain is
borne along, and he gives us a word of warning ;
" Go quick boys ! go quick ! its your only salva-
148 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
tion ! " How fast the shells go screaming over us,
and how the grape tears up the ground.
"We reach our front, form line of battle, and then
get orders to sit down.
A COLORED DIVISION
mount the works, and they too go foward on the
We watch them eagerly ; it is their first fight,
and we wonder if they will stand the shock.
IToble fellows ! grandly they cross the field ; they
are under a withering fire, but still rush on regard-
less of fallen comrades, and the storm of pitiless
lead and relentless grape that pours upon them
from three sides, and gain the works with a ringing
cheer. ISTow they sweep everything before them.
Prisoners are taken, and are forced to run the fear-
ful gauntlet of fire. A fellow comrade said he saw
a colored soldier in an agony of frenzy, bayonet a
rebel prisoner, and his own captain j ustly shot him
dead. Others place wounded comrades in blankets
and shelter tents, and compel the chivalry at the
point of the bayonet to carry them from the field.
The colored troops are greatly elated at their suc-
cess, and wildly mass and crowd together regard-
less of all order or position.
OUR GALLANT GENERAL
crosses the dread field alone, finds out where he
wants the men to go, then rushes back, draws his
sword, and glancing at his troops proudly says :
"Come on my brave boys," and they did go on;
some on to death, and some on to the rebel works.
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 149
THE 115tii led tue charge
and nobly followed their brave general. Lieuten-
ant Francisco, Co. K, and Sergeant Fellows, the
"iron hearted color sergeant," were among the first
over the works.
The color bearer unfurls "the dear old flag," and
with fire flashing from his eyes, tells the boys to
come on ; then calmly pointing to the works we
were to carry, he flew away.
" Forward, hundred and fifteenth ! " rang along
the line. The regiment, and then the whole bri-
gade sweep forward with a deafening yell.
Each one dreamed that he would stem the tide
of battle, and that some other poor fellow would
fall. We left the ground covered with killed and
wounded. The grim banners of death floated here
and there, yet the invincible columns pressed furi-
ously on, and at last took the position by storm.
The colored troops hold the two first lines, and
we, with colored troops hold the third.
The rebels are on the same line with us, on our
right and left, and they engage us on either flank
with infantry, at the same time sweeping our lines
with a cross fire of grape.
Our men load and fire with desperation. They
pour down upon the rebels in the hollow.
It must make their hair stand on end.
150 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
THE SLEEPING REGIMENT.
At the mined fort, amid gun carriages and tim-
bers, lay the naked corpses of the South Carolinians
blown up by the powder. Around the crater we
see a large body of Union soldiers, lying as though
in line of battle waiting for the command to move
forward, and we suppose they are some regiment
or brigade ; but on going to the spot, what is our
horror to find that they are all Union dead ! There
they lay both white and black, not singly or scat-
tering, but in long rows ; in whole companies.
The ground is blue with Union dead, They all lay
on their faces, calmly, peacably sleeping; while the
battle rages all around, Jeff. Davis is reaping a rich
harvest of dead.
THRILLING SCENES ON THE FIELD.
A discharge of grape tears through the men be-
hind me, and -^ye tumble over wounded. '^Oh!
Bill, I'm shot!" says one. Another limps towards
the rear, but a cruel bullet lays him low. A third
is lain gently on a rubber blanket, and two of his
company carry him safely from the field of strife.
The others remain and battle for the right.
Alnion Stone is shot through the neck, but goes
bravely through the fire.
Benjamin Thackarah is wounded in the thigh,
but escapes capture by crawling through the
A member of Co. C is shot through the mouth,
and a stream of blood spouts out.
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 151
I can't begin to relate one of a thousand inci-
THE REBELS CHARGE WITH SUCCESS.
But look ! The rebels are forming on our front.
They come towards us at an easy pace, and in a
beautiful line, l^o arms are to be seen in their
hands, and our officers with few exceptions, con-
clude that they are coming in as prisoners of war,
and command the men to cease firing. Suddenly
the sneaking rebels bring their guns in view, and
give us a crushing volley. We give them a vol-
ley in return. The colored troops on our front for
the same reason become panic stricken, and blindly
hurl themselves back on our bayonets; and a wild
scene of confusion ensues.
The mass of the Union army are swept back like
a breath of air, and are cut up badly on the back-
ward track. Company II with the colors, and a
few of the regiment who had been able to stem the
tide of confusion remained, and single handed and
alone contested the ground.
The flag of the 115th still floated from the rebel
works, and the brave boys surrounded it with a
cordon of bayonets.
Captain Smith calmly tells the boys to fight as
long as there is hope. The rebels swarm around
the little band of heroes, and could snatch the
colors but for the brave hearts and bright bayonets
beneath its folds.
152 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
Colonel Sammons fears the flag may be lost, and
rushes up to see about it, when a rebel takes de-
liberate aim and shoots him through the leg.
It is madness to remain longer, for if we stay,
our little band will all be killed or captured. So
back we go, and reach our line under a dreadful
fire of lead. The rebels were sure of us; the
Union army looking on think us lost ; but a kind
providence guides the most of the band over the
dead and the dying and through the iron storm in
Our flag is pierced with nine fresh wounds, and
for the fourth time the staft' is shot in pieces.
Our troops in the fort fare worse than we ; for
they are all killed, wounded or captured.
The sun pours down its scorching rays, and
many are sun-struck and carried in wild delirium
from the pits. All are exhausted and sink down
almost helpless from the strain.
THE TERRIBLE CRY FOR WATER.
"Water! water! water!" groan the wounded.
^'Water! water!" fiercely gasp all the men. Oh
heavens ! what a thirst ! A thousand soldiers
crowd and swarm around a pool of dirty water,
scoop up the precious beverage and pour it down
their parched throats, as though it was the stream
The wounded cry for water in vain. Poor fel-
lows ! they are only a few yards from us, but it is
death to any man who undertakes their rescue, and
none but God in heaven can save them.
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 153
Our coffee has arrived. We have eaten nothing
since yesterday, are streaming with perspiration,
and the coffee is very hot ; yet how delicious, how
dehghtful it is to taste it. Within a fort of dead
men, and sitting over human blood and brains, yet
all calmly sip their coff'ee.
THE DEAD AND THE DYING.
The soldiers who are badly wounded, lay ex-
posed to the fire of friend and foe alike.
One moves painfully towards our works an inch
at a time, but the heartless rebels give him a volley
of bullets for his pains.
Another, unable to move, piteously begs to be
saved, and motions to some friends imploringly
with his hand. The brave fellows' hearts are
melted with pity, and they risk their own lives and
crawl out to get their comrade. After long and
painful exertions their efforts are crowned with
complete success; their friend is safe.
A heap of dead men lie beside us in the trenches ;
one shot through the right eye, and the blood trick-
ling out ; a second shot through the heart, and his
clothes are bathed in blood ; a third begrimed with
powder so that w^e cannot tell if he be white or
black, is cut in halves. A grey-haired old man,
bordering on three score years and ten, lies down
the hill, his white locks red with blood.
The wounded are groaning, and some beg to be
killed so as to be out of their misery, while nearly
all desire to be carried to the hospital.
154 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
The band appi-oach and throw dh-t over the blood
where we stand.
Captaui Smith tells four of his men to take two
mutilated dead men from under our feet, and they
sadly obey, wondering whose loved ones they are
taking out to decay.
Sergeant G is overcome with heat, and is
crazy. His eyes glare fearfully, and his eye-balls
roll painfully in their sockets. "We'll fight 'em
till we die, won't we boys?" he said, and then
CLOSING SCENES OF THE BATTLE.
In the afternoon we are ordered further to the
right, to relieve Barton's Brigade. We cross an
open position of the works where a creek passes
through, and every man is shot at.
A private of Co. F is mortally wounded. How
deathly pale he looks.
A sergeant of the 48th IT. Y. is shot dead, and
his comrades take his watch and money from his
pockets to send to his friends, and cover a blanket
over the dead body to protect it from the sun, for
no one gets buried now. Two stars are no better
than two stripes at this time.
Lieut. G fired at a rebel, and in return re-
ceived a bullet in the head, which left him delirious
on the ground. "I'm shot! I'm shot!" he cried.
At last the order comes to relieve us. The right
wing of the regiment hurry through a long ditch
containing a great many dead bodies, and are free
The Iron Hearted Kegiment. 155
from fire. Free from fire ! How good it sounds.
The left wing had to remain that night.
Night closed the contest, and a dark funeral pall
hung around. Tired and weary we sank to rest
with the blue canopy of heaven for a covering. All
hearts breathed a prayer to heaven for God's good-
!N'o one desires to behold another such a day. l^o
soldier is eager to rush to battle and to death for
the mere glory of fighting, but do it from a sense
of duty, or a stern necessity. A sane man cannot
face death without thinking of his situation. A
father thinks of his little children, a husband of his
loving wife far away.
The bravest soldier on the battle field is he who
counts the cost and realizes the misery of the a^vful
work of slaughter — he whom in life is the most
modest and unassuming.
The Union loss amounted to more than 5,000 in
killed, wounded and missing; and the rebel loss
was estiijiated at 4,000 men.
LARGE LOSS OF LIFE.
At early dawn on tlie morning of July 31st, tlie
regiment was roused up from a deep sleep and
ordered to proceed to City Point without delay.
The men felt tired and worn, for the hot work of
the previous day told on the most powerful consti-
The roads were black with troops as far as the
eye could reach, and dense clouds of dust swept
over the country like a tornado. The day was the
warmest of the season, being at the heighth of the
great drouth ; the wells and streams of water were
nearly all dried up, and but few of the vast number
of suiFerers could procure drink to cool their
parched tongues. City Point was nearly reached,
when orders came to turn back and proceed to Ber-
muda Hundreds. All along the route of march
many were overcome with heat, until the sides of
the road were covered with soldiers suffering with
sun-stroke. Some dropped down dead in the ranks,
while others fell out and died by the road side.
Every ambulance and baggage-waggon was piled
full of the suffering men, and they rolled off to the
hospital at Point of Eocks, groaning under the
weight of human freight.
The Iron Hearted Kegiment. 157
The Appomattox river was reached in the after-
noon, and althongh the water was the color of mud,
and as hot as though heated on a stove, yet the sol-
diers made for it as though struggling for dear life,
and hundreds drank down the sickening liquid.
The troops crossed the river on a pontoon bridge
which swayed to and fro. The motion of it made
the men dizzy, and large numbers who were only
partially affected by the sun, were completely pros-
trated, and as many as half a dozen laid at the end
The regiment reached Bermuda Hundreds before
dark, but with thinned ranks, and we found that in
some companies nearly every man was sun-struck.
The division lost more men that day, killed by the
sun, the want of water, and by hard marching, than
it did in the terrible battle of the day before.
ON PICKET AT BERMUDA HUNDREDS.
The Union and rebel pickets made an agreement
that they would not fire into each other unless a
forward movement was made ; so for several days
the most perfect harmony prevailed between blue
Yankees and Johnnies washed together in the
same brook, procured water to drink from the same
spring, drank coftee from the same tin cup, and
curious to relate, read the news from the same
Squads of soldiers from both armies were ob-
seiTed seated together on the ground, earnestly
158 The Iron Hearted Eegiment.
discussing the great questions of the day, each ob-
stinately maintaining his own side of the question.
One of our soldiers took from his pocket a copy of
the JS'ew York Herald and read the Union account
of one of the great battles to an attentive crowd of
rebel soldiers, and when he had done, one of the
chivalry brought to view a dingy copy of the Rich-
mond Examiner and proceeded to read his side of
During all that time, as the rebels would say, the
pickets traded "right smart," and drove a heavy
business in coffee, hard-tack, and tobacco. The
rebels always inquired for pocket-books, jackknives,
and canteens the first thing, those articles evidently
being very scarce in the Confederacy.
One day a rebel regiment sent over on a card,
which read thus :
"Third Ya. Infantry, friends on picket, but ene-
mies in battle."
The boys replied that if ever they fought the
115th, they would find a "dusty" lot of boj^s, which
tliey afterward found to their sorrow was true.
BATTLE OF DEEP BOTTOM.
On tbe 15th day of August the 115th prepared
three days of cooked rations, at dark struck tents,
and by 10 o'clock were on the march. They crossed
the James river on x)ontoons to Deep Bottom at
midnight, and on the morning of the 16th were
ready for action.
The Iron Hearted Regiment. 159
The lOtb and 2nd Corps fought the bloody battle
of Deep Bottom on the 16th, while considerable
fighting took place on the 17th and 18th also.
The rebel works which the lloth helped storm,
were defended by the best troops of Lee's army ;
but they were unable to stand against the bravery
of our men, who drove them from their strong lines
of works, following them as far as Malvern Hill.
The Union army was having splendid success,
when the rebels received reinforcements, and the
115th maintaining the ground, found themselves
flanked by a superior force, and were raked by a
most deadly cross fire which tokl fearfully in their
ranks. The colors were shot down as fast as the
brave men could pick them up, but still were kept
floating in the breeze. Col. Osborn, commanding
the brigade, was wounded early in the fight, and
Lieut. Col. Johnson and Major Walworth of the
115th took command in succession and were each
wounded in turn.
The regiment entered the battle field with one
hundred and seventy-five muskets, and after the
three days fighting was over but eighty men were
The corps captured and brought away four heavy
guns and three battle flags as the trophies of their
The Union loss was about 3,000 and the rebel
loss about 4,000 men.
On the 18th, the rebels in heavy force charged
down on the picket line, and captured the most of
160 The Iron Hearted Regiment.
Shortly afterward, the regiment recrossecl the
James, and again pitched camp at the fortifications
of Bermuda Hundreds.
BATTLE OF FORT GILMER.
After the battle of Deep Bottom the regiment
performed important service at Bermuda Hundreds
and in front of Petersburg until the 29th of Sep-
tember, when with the old army of the James,
they again crossed the James, and gallantly aided
in carrying the enemy's powerful line of works,
with double lines of abattis at Spring Hill, near
They fought with their usual heroism, and drove