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"This morning Featherston's Brigade charged the enemy's line of skirmishers and drove them from their entrenchments. Our men suffered terribly."

--- Albert Quincy Porter (Co. D)
May 31, 1864

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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New Hope Church
May 27 - May 31, 1864


Albert Quincy Porter (Co. D) recorded in his journal for May 27th,

 "Our Regt. was on a ridge close to a church (New) Hope, where our batteries were planted and consequently were exposed. The canon balls and shells came through the timber with a crash. The shells bursting and roaring all around. Our men were ordered to make breastworks to shield them which they soon accomplished, carrying whole logs and whatever they could get. We were on the reserve line---there being one line in front who are well fortified...The enemy moved up to our right and about two o'clock this morning (the 28th), and just as the moon was rising we were ordered to fall into line and move to our right. We slipped along through fields and under cover of the hills about a mile and were placed in the front ditches where we are laying."

May 28th 10:00 o'clock: "Just in front not more than two hundred yards the skirmishers are firing at each other. The bullets are whistling over us constantly...The enemy are starting richasha balls from the cannon. They sound like a dogs howling. Our skirmishers are not more than thirty yards from the ditches. We can hear the Yankees talking very plainly, but cannot distinguish what they say."

May 29th: "We still hold all the ground we did when the battle first commenced"

On the morning of May 31, 1864, in response to a request from Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood for assistance to determine if the Federals were in full force, skirmishers from the 33rd, the 3rd Mississippi and others from Featherston's Brigade advanced to "feel out" the enemy. The gray line of skirmishers, nearly 400 strong, moved through the dense thicket of woods some 200 to 250 yards in front of the Confederate line. Suddenly, on their right, they discovered the breastworks of the Federal sharpshooters. The 33rd quickly drove them out and followed them through the woods. They had advanced some 150 yards when a galling fire from the Federal main force, entrenched behind a strong line of fortifications, stopped their forward movement. They held their ground until ordered to retire, then fell back to where the Federal sharpshooters had originally been. As Loring's report states, "In this engagement Featherston's brigade suffered severely for the number engaged...24 killed, 98 wounded, and 4 missing."

Albert Quincy Porter [Co. D] recorded in his diary for May 31st,

 "This morning Featherston's Brigade charged the enemy's line of skirmishers and drove them from their entrenchments. Our men suffered terribly. We had a great many killed and wounded. Lieut. Col. Horad [John Harrod] of 33rd Mifs. Regt. lost a leg. Capt. Sharps [James C. Sharp] of Co. H was killed and many privates killed and wounded who belong to the same Regt. Skirmishing still goes on."

Thanks to H. Grady Howell, Jr., for sharing this, from his excellent book, "To Live And Die In Dixie, A History of the Third Mississippi Infantry, C.S.A."

"An anonymous participant in Featherston's Brigade assumed the role of correspondent for a Mississippi newspaper, The Corinthian Appeal, on June 4th."

 "Our line...was thrown into a fever of excitement on the morning of the 31st ult., by an order from the commanding General for our picket lines to be advanced. General Featherston having reinforced our line of skirmishers to the number of four hundred, placed them under command of Lieut. Col. Herrod (sic), of the 33d Mississippi, on the right, and Lieut. Col. McRae, of the 3d Mississippi on the left, with orders to advance upon the enemy in double-quick time. The orders was (sic) no sooner given than with a shout our boys rushed forward, and in less time than it takes to write this, the Yankee skirmishers scattered like chaff before the wind, and our forces had possession of their outer works. The ardor and enthusiasm of the men were not satisfied with this. Scarcely waiting to breathe, they charged upon the enemy's main line, but with such an inferior number could not, as might be expected, effect much against the fearful odds they met, and were ordered to fall back, which they did in good order, halting in the first works they had captured until nightfall, when, by order of Gen. Loring, they took a position within fifty or sixty yards of the enemy's breastworks, which they still occupy. The desperation of the charge may be inferred from the fact that out of the four hundred men engaged, ninety-eight were killed and wounded. Lieut. Col. Herrod (sic) was wounded early in the action, leaving the whole command in the hands of Col. McRae, who discharged his responsible duties ably and efficiently."

[33rd casualties]

Howell, H. Grady, Jr. "To Live And Die In Dixie A History of the Third Mississippi Infantry, C.S.A." Jackson, MS: Chickasaw Bayou Press, 1991. Pg. 297-298. [Citing: Article; "Corinthian Appeal; June 4, 1864; Power's 1864 Scrapbook.]

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