The siege of Yorktown, after exactly one month's exposure to rain, engaged in digging fortifications and constructing corduroy roads, ended with a roar of artillery surpassing anything heard of before. From the rebel fortifications from one end to the other shot and shell were poured into our camps, and at night the display was grand. As the sun rose next morning, Sunday, May 4th, rebel entrenchments were found deserted and the march towards Richmond resumed.
The regiment was ordered to pack up on Sunday noon, May 4th, and the movement forward was commenced at about 3 P.M. We passed Lee's Mills at about dark and pressed onward and encamped in an open field. It commenced raining at midnight and continued until daybreak. The march was resumed next morning and the roads being blocked with artillery the movement was anything but pleasant. We passed to the left of Yorktown and crossed over rifle pits which were still plainly discernable, which had been dug in Revolutionary times.
In marching through the evacuated chain of the enemy's works, which were well made and in a very defensible position, there were still visible stove pipe and wooden cannons bristling on the parapets between sand bags. On the road torpedoes were found planted and a member of the 51st Pa. Vols. Was horribly mangled by stepping upon one of them.
The boom of cannon in our front betokened a battle, and the march through rain and mud was quickened. Many soldiers halted by the wayside, worn out by fatigue and the road side was littered with them. At about two o'clock P.M. Monday, May 5th, after a march of fifteen miles, we arrived at Whittaker's farm, near the battlefield and were immediately ordered into a dense wood. Alter lying there about one-half hour we were ordered forward to meet the enemy, and upon the roadside sat the wearied soldiers who had fought the rebels since six o'clock that morning, and driven them two miles to the woods we were entering, in rear of which were the forts of the rebels, from which shot and shell were raining on us thick and fast.
We advanced and took our positions along the road leading to Williamsburg. The rebels advanced in position to within 60 yards in front of the 93rd, when our regiment poured its first volley into the ranks of the enemy, that checked their advance, and they fell back, and then volley after volley was fired into them, telling upon their ranks fearfully, as after the battle, right in front of the 93rd, the dead bodies of the rebels were lying in heaps. We continued in action from 2.45 IP.M. to 6.00 P.M., firing during the time forty-five rounds apiece, and had silenced the rebel infantry, and an occasional shot from the forts alone gave evidence of an enemy in our front.
After exhausting our ammunition, col. Johnston ordered the regiment to fix bayonets and lie down. Col. Johnston's horse received a slight wound, and was taken to the rear to escape further danger. We lay in the woods all night without fires and were wet to the skin, but as the early morning sun rose from an unclouded sky, we were moved out to the field, where we built fires and dried our wet clothing and blankets.
The men during the engagement stood nobly to their arms, and as none of them ever had been under so severe a fire before - or indeed, never had been in a battle at all - they showed more like veteran troops than green soldiers. The loss of the 93rd was heavier than any other regiment in the Brigade. The loss of the Brigade was 25 killed and 105 wounded, while the loss of the 93rd was 6 killed and 20 wounded. Among the killed was Capt. Shearer of Co. E. whose loss was deeply deplored by officers and men as he was a modest and unassuming, yet kind, brave and generous man.
Col. McCarter and the officers acted nobly. The colonel displayed great courage and bravery and during the fight he rode up and down our lines, when bullets, grape and cannister, shot and shell were just pouring over us like hail. His conduct on the occasion was highly pleasing and creditable.
Lt. Col. Johnston, with his cool face, was pleasant to look upon, and gave officers and men pride and encouragement, as he urged the men to keep cool and to fire low. After his horse had been shot in the leg, he looked sad, but on foot attended to his duties. Col. Johnston was the life of the regiment, for where he led, if it would have been to the cannon's mouth, the boys of the 93rd would have followed. After the ammunition had become exhausted, one of Co. A said to him: "Col. Johnston, what will we do, our cartridges are all?" The colonel replied very cooly: "Go through the motions." Which created a little laugh among those who heard it.
The next morning after the battle, Tuesday, May 6th, we marched over the battlefield, and saw dead rebels piled on top of each other. We remained at Williamsburg for two days engaged in burying the dead on both sides. The second day after the battle wounded were still brought out of the woods and from among the fallen timbers and the rebel dead were mingled on the same ground with our own. A battlefield after a fight is a saddening and a sickening sight - one that is indescribable and no idea can be formed of it unless it is seen, and then no pen, from mind ever so gifted, that can faithfully delineate its frightful details.
"The loss of the 93rd, when the battle was over was ascertained
to be in killed and wounded as follows:
"Capt. Shearer, Co. E. Centre Co., Pa.
"Private Wm. Callahan, Co. E. Clinton Co., Pa.
"Private Benjamin Wolfinger, Co. G. Berks Co., Pa.
"Private John McCauley, Co. G. Norristown, Pa.
"Private Jonathan Dampman, Co. C. Lebanon Co. Pa.
"Private Wm. M. Snyder, Co. H. Danville, Pa. -.
"Private peter L. Fitterer, Co. A. Lebanon, Pa.
"Anthony Kramer, Co. A. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private Andrew H. Rhinehart, Co. A. Lebanon, pa.
"Corporal W. B. Ramsey, Co. C. Lebanon, Pa.
"Color-bearer Sergt. John Hutchinson, Co. C. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private Saml. Shoutt, Co. D. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private Levi Books. Co. D. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private Wm. D. Eckert, Co. D. Lebanon, Pa.
"Corpl. Henry Fishel, Co. E. Lebanon, Pa.
"Sergt. Wm. Tate, Co. E. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private John Croak, Co. E. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private John Andrews, Co. f. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private Benneville Moyer, Co. F. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private Wm. Cox, Co. F. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private Henry Hillkirk, Co. G. Lebanon, pa.
"Private Wm. Delany, Co. G. Lebanon, Pa.
"Private George Roche, Co. G. Lebanon, Pa.
"Sergt. Dennis Oaks, Co. G. Lebanon, pa.
"Corp. D. Shannabrook, co. G. Lebanon, Pa.
"Corp. Benj. Lauks, Co. K. Lebanon, Pa.-20.
Here are some photos of the Generals
were involved in the 4th. Corps. at Williamsburg.
Thanks to General Officers Of the Civil War Site
for photos of the Generals.
Check that site out it's FANTASTIC!