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our men to fall back. The Rebels, now pressing forward, gained the ridge for which they had been contending, and established their lines within rifle range of our works.

It was while endeavoring to check this advance that General Sanders was mortally wounded. He was at once borne from the field, and carried into Knoxville. While a surgeon was examining the wound, he asked, "Tell me, Doctor, is my wound mortal ? "

Tenderly the surgeon replied, "Sanders, it is a fearful wound, and mortal. I am sorry to say it, my dear fellow, but the odds are against you."

Calmly the General continued, “Well, I am not afraid to die. I have made up my mind upon that subject. I have done my duty, and have served my country as well as I could."

bank of the Holston. He then commenced the construction of a line of works. The four companies of the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts which had been detailed for picket duty on the morning of the 17th, remained on post till the morning of the 19th. Thenceforward, throughout the siege, both officers and men were on picket duty every third day. During this twentyfour hours of duty no one slept. The rest of the time we were on duty in the trenches, where, during the siege, one third, and sometimes one fourth, of the men were kept awake. The utmost vigilance was enjoined upon all.

Meanwhile, day by day, and night by night, with unflagging zeal, the troops gave themselves to the labor of strengthening the works. Immediately in front of the rifle-pits, a chevaux-de-frise was constructed. This was formed of pointed stakes, thickly and firmly set in the ground, and inclining outwards at an angle of forty-five de

The next day he called the attention of the surgeon to certain symptoms which he had observed, and asked him what they meant. The surgeon replied, "General, you grees. The stakes were bound togethare dying."

er with wire, so that they could not

"If that be so," he said, "I would easily be torn apart by an assaulting like to see a clergyman."

Rev. Mr. Hayden, chaplain of the post, was summoned. On his arrival, the dying soldier expressed a desire that the ordinance of baptism should be administered. This was done, and then the minister in prayer commended the believing soul to God, - General Burnside and his staff, who were present, kneeling around the bed. When the prayer was ended, General Sanders took General Burnside by the hand. Tears the language of that heartfelt sympathy and tender love belonging to all noble souls-dropped down the bronzed cheeks of the chief as he listened to the last words which followed. The sacrament was now about to be administered, but suddenly the strength of the dying soldier failed, and like a child he gently fell asleep. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

The enemy did not seem inclined to attack our position at once, but proceeded to invest the town on the north

party. They were nearly five feet in height. In front of Colonel Haskins's position, on the north side of the town, the chevaux-de-frise was constructed with the two thousand pikes which were captured at Cumberland Gap early in the fall. A few rods in front of the chevaux-de-frise was the abatis, formed of thick branches of trees, which likewise were firmly set in the ground. Still farther to the front, were wire entanglements stretched a few inches above the ground, and fastened here and there to stakes and stumps. In front of a portion of our lines another obstacle was formed by constructing dams across First and Second Creeks, so called, and throwing back the water. The whole constituted a series of obstacles which could not be passed, in face of a heavy fire, without great difficulty and fearful loss.

Just in rear of the rifle-pits occupied by the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts was an elegant brick mansion, of recent construction, known as the Powell

House. When the siege commenced, fresco-painters were at work ornamenting its parlors and halls. Throwing open its doors, Mr. Powell, a true Union man, invited Colonel Morrison and Major Draper to make it their head-quarters. He also designated a chamber for the sick of our regiment. Early during the siege, the southwestern and northwestern fronts were loopholed by order of General Burnside, and instructions were given to post in the house, in case of an attack, two companies of the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts. When the order was announced to Mr. Powell, he nobly said, "Lay this house level with the ground, if it is necessary." A few feet from the southwestern front of the house, a small earthwork was thrown up by our men, in which was placed a section of Buckley's battery. This work was afterwards known as Battery Noble.

Morrison's brigade now held the line of defences from the Holston Riverthe extreme left of our line to Fort Sanders. The following was the position of the several regiments of the brigade. The Forty-fifth Pennsylvania was on the left, its left on the river. On its right lay the Thirtysixth Massachusetts. Then came the Eighth Michigan. The Seventy-ninth New York (Highlanders) formed the garrison of Fort Sanders. Between the Eighth Michigan and Fort Sanders was the One Hundredth Pennsylvania (Roundheads).

On the evening of the 20th, the Seventeenth Michigan made a sortie, and drove the Rebels from the Armstrong House. This stood on the Kingston road, and only a short distance from Fort Sanders. It was a brick house, and afforded a near and safe position for the enemy's sharpshooters, which of late had become somewhat annoying to the working parties at the fort. Our men destroyed the house, and then withdrew. The loss on our part was slight.

For a few days during the siege, four companies of the Thirty-sixth

Massachusetts were detached to support Roemer's battery on College Hill. While on this duty the officers and men were quartered in the buildings of East Tennessee College. Prior to our occupation of East Tennessee, these buildings had been used by the Rebels as a hospital; but, after a vigorous use of the ordinary means of purification, they afforded us pleasant and comfortable quarters.

The siege had now continued several days. The Rebels had constructed works offensive and defensive in our front; but the greater part of their force seemed to have moved to the right. On the 22d of November, however, they returned, not having found evidently the weak place in our lines which they had sought. It was now thought they might attack our front that night; and orders were given to the men on duty in the outer works to exercise the utmost vigilance. But the night passed quietly.

With each day our confidence in the strength of our position increased; and we soon felt able to repel an assault from any quarter. But the question of supplies was a serious one. When the siege commenced, there was in the Commissary Department at Knoxville little more than a day's ration for the whole army. Should the enemy gain possession of the south bank of the Holston, our only means of subsistence would be cut off. Thus far his attempts in this direction had failed; and the whole country, from the French Broad to the Holston, was open to our foraging parties. In this way a considerable quantity of corn and wheat was soon collected in Knoxville. Bread, made from a mixture of meal and flour, was issued to the men, but only in half and quarter rations. Occasionally a small quantity of fresh pork was also issued. Neither sugar nor coffee was issued after the first days of the siege.

The enemy, foiled in his attempts to seize the south bank of the Holston, now commenced the construction of a raft at Boyd's Ferry. Floating this down the swift current of the stream,

he hoped to carry away our pontoon, and thus cut off our communication with the country beyond. To thwart this plan, an iron cable, one thousand feet in length, was stretched across the river above the bridge. This was done under the direction of Captain Poe. Afterwards, a boom of logs, fastened end to end by chains, was constructed still farther up the river. The boom was fifteen hundred feet in length.

On the evening of the 23d the Rebels made an attack on our pickets in front of the left of the Second Division, Ninth Corps. In falling back, our men fired the buildings on the ground abandoned, lest they should become a shelter for the enemy's sharpshooters. Among the buildings thus destroyed were the arsenal and machine-shops near the depot. The light of the blazing buildings illuminated the whole town. The next day the Twenty-first Massachusetts and another picked regiment, the whole under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hawkes of the Twentyfirst, drove back the Rebels at this point, and reoccupied our old position.

The same day an attack was made by the Second Michigan on the advanced parallel, which the enemy had so constructed as to envelop the northwest bastion of Fort Sanders. The works were gallantly carried; but before the supporting columns could come up, our men were repulsed by fresh troops which the enemy had at hand.

On the 25th of November the enemy, having on the day previous crossed the Holston at a point below us, made another unsuccessful attempt to occupy the heights opposite Knoxville. He succeeded, however, in planting a battery on a knob about one hundred and fifty feet above the river, and twentyfive hundred yards south of Fort Sanders. This position commanded Fort Sanders, so that it now became necessary to defilade the fort.

November 26th was our national Thanksgiving day, and General Burnside issued an order, in which he expressed the hope that the day would be observed by all, as far as military

operations would allow. He knew the rations were short, and that the day would be unlike the joyous festival we were wont to celebrate in our distant homes; and so he reminded us of the circumstances of trial under which our fathers first observed the day. He also reminded us of the debt of gratitude which we owed to Him who during the year had not only prospered our arms, but had kindly preserved our lives. Accordingly, we ate our corn bread with thanksgiving; and, forgetting our own privations, thought only of the loved ones at home, who, uncertain of our fate, would that day find little cheer at the table and by the fireside.

Allusion has already been made to the bastion-work known as Fort Sanders. A more particular description is now needed. The main line, held by our troops, made almost a right angle at the fort, the northwest bastion being the salient of the angle. The ground in front of the fort, from which the wood had been cleared, sloped gradually for a distance of eighty yards, and then abruptly descended to a wide ravine. Under the direction of Lieutenant Benjamin, Second United States Artillery, and Chief of Artillery of the Army of the Ohio, the fort had now been made as strong as the means at his disposal and the rules of military art admitted. Eighty and thirty yards in front of the fort, rifle-pits were constructed. These were to be used in case our men were driven in from the outer line. Between these pits and the Fort were wire entanglements, running from stump to stump, and also an abatis. Sand-bags and barrels were arranged so as to cover the embrasures. Traverses, also, were built for the protection of the men at the guns, and in passing from one position to another. In the fort were four twenty-pounder Parrotts (Benjamin's battery), four light twelvepounders (of Buckley's battery), and two three-inch guns.

Early in the evening of the 27th there was much cheering along the Rebel lines. Their bands, too, were unusually

lavish of the Rebel airs they were wont occasionally to waft across the debatable ground which separated our lines. Had the enemy received reinforcements, or had Grant met with a reverse? While on picket that night, in making my rounds, I could distinctly hear the Rebels chopping on the knob which they had so recently occupied on the opposite bank of the river. They were clearing away the trees in front of the earthwork which they had constructed the day before. Would they attack at daybreak? So we thought, connecting this fact with the cheers and music of the earlier part of the night; but the morning opened as quietly as its predecessors. Late in the afternoon the enemy seemed to be placing his troops in position in our front, and our men stood in the trenches, awaiting an attack; yet the day wore away without further demonstrations.

A little after eleven o'clock, P. M., November 28th, I was aroused by heavy musketry. I hurried to the trenches. It was a cloudy, dark night, and at a distance of only a few feet it was impossible to distinguish any object. The men were already at their posts. With the exception of an occasional shot on the picket-line, the firing soon ceased. An attack had evidently been made on our pickets; but at what point, or with what success, was as yet unknown. Reports soon came in. The enemy had first driven in the pickets in front of Fort Sanders, and had then attacked our line, which was also obliged to fall back. The Rebels in our front, however, did not advance beyond the pits which our men had just vacated, and a new line was at once established by Captain Buffum, our brigade officer of the day.

It was now evident that the enemy intended an attack. But where would it be made? All that long, cold night - our men were without overcoats - we stood in the trenches pondering that question. Might not this demonstration in our front be only a feint to draw our attention from other parts of the line, where the chief blow was to be

struck? So some thought. Gradually the night wore away.

A little after six o'clock the next morning, the enemy suddenly opened a furious cannonade. This was mostly directed against Fort Sanders; but several shots struck the Powell House, in rear of Battery Noble. Roemer immediately responded from College Hill. In about twenty minutes the enemy's fire slackened, and in its stead rose the wellknown Rebel yell, in the direction of the fort. Then followed the rattle of musketry, the roar of cannon, and the bursting of shells. The yells died away, and then rose again. Now the roar of musketry and artillery was redoubled. It was a moment of the deepest anxiety. Our straining eyes were fixed on the fort. The Rebels had reached the ditch and were now endeavoring to scale the parapet. Whose will be the victory, — O, whose? The yells again died away, and then followed three loud Union cheers,-"Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah !"

How those cheers thrilled our hearts, as we stood almost breathless at our posts in the trenches! They told us that the enemy had been repulsed, and that the victory was ours. Peering through the rising fog towards the fort, not a hundred yards away, O glorious sight!—we dimly saw that our flag was still there.

Let us now go back a little. Under cover of the ridge on which Fort Sanders was built, Longstreet had formed his columns for the assault. The men were picked men, the flower of his army. One brigade was to make the assault, two brigades were to support it, and two other brigades were to

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This statement is confirmed by the following extract from Pollard's (Rebel) "Third Year of the War." Speaking of this charge on Fort Sanders, he says: "The force which was to attempt an enterprise which ranks with the most famous charges in military history should be mentioned in detail. It consisted of three brigades of McLaw's division ; — that of General Wolford, the Sixteenth, Eighteenth, and Twenty-fourth Georgia Regiments, and Cobb's and Phillip's Georgia Legions; that of General Humphrey, the Thirteenth, Seventeenth, Twentyfirst, Twenty-second, and Twenty-third Mississippi Regiments; and a brigade composed of General Anderson's and Bryant's brigades, embracing, among others, the Palmetto State Guard, the Fif

watch our lines and keep up a constant fire. Five regiments formed the brigade selected for the assaulting column. These were placed in position not more than eighty yards from the fort. They were "in column by division, closed in mass." When the fire of their artillery slackened, the order for the charge was given. The salient of the northwest bastion was the point of attack. The Rebel lines were much broken in passing the abatis. But the wire entanglements proved a greater obstacle. Whole companies were prostrated. Benjamin now opened his triple-shotted guns. Nevertheless, the weight of their column carried the Rebels forward, and in two minutes from the time the charge was commenced they had filled the ditch around the fort, and were endeavoring to scale the parapet. The guns, which had been trained to sweep the ditch, now opened a most destructive fire. Lieutenant Benjamin also took shells in his hand, and, lighting the fuse, tossed them over the parapet into the crowded ditch. One of the Rebel brigades in reserve now came up in support, and planted several of its flags on the parapet of the fort. Those, however, who endeavored to scale the parapet were swept away by the fire of our musketry. The men in the ditch, satisfied of the hopelessness of the task they had undertaken, now surrendered. They represented eleven regiments. The prisoners numbered nearly three hundred. Among them were seventeen commissioned officers. Over two hundred dead and wounded, including three colonels, lay in the ditch alone. The ground in front of the fort was also strewn with the bodies of the dead and wounded. Over one thousand stands of arms fell into our hands, and the battle-flags of the Thirteenth and Seventeenth Mississippi and Sixteenth Georgia. Our loss was eight men killed and five wounded. Never was a victory more complete; and never were brighter laurels worn than were that

teenth South Carolina Regiment, and the Fifty-first, Fifty-third, and Fifty-ninth Georgia Regiments." pp. 161, 162.

morning laid on the brow of the hero of Fort Sanders, - Lieutenant Benjamin, Second United States Artillery.

Longstreet had promised his men that they should dine that day in Knoxville. But, in order that he might bury his dead, General Burnside now tendered him an armistice till five o'clock, P. M. It was accepted by the Rebel general; and our ambulances were furnished him to assist in removing the bodies to his lines. At five o'clock, two additional hours were asked, as the work was not yet completed. At seven o'clock, a gun was fired from Fort Sanders, the Rebels responded from an earthwork opposite, and the truce was at an end.

The next day, through a courier who had succeeded in reaching our lines, General Burnside received official notice of the defeat of Bragg. At noon, a single gun - we were short of ammunition

was fired from Battery Noble in our rear, and the men of the brigade, standing in the trenches, gave three cheers for Grant's victory at Chattanooga. We now looked for reinforcements daily, for Sherman was already on the road. The enemy knew this as well as we, and, during the night of the 4th of December, withdrew his forces, and started north. The retreat was discovered by the pickets of the Thirty-sixth Massachusetts, under Captain Ames, who had the honor of first declaring the siege of Knoxville raised.

It would be interesting to recount the facts connected with the retreat of the Rebel army, and then to follow our men to their winter quarters, among the mountains of East Tennessee, where, throughout the icy season, they remained, without shoes, without overcoats, without new clothing of any description, living on quarter rations of corn meal, with occasionally a handful of flour, and never grumbling; and where, at the expiration of their three years of service, standing forth under the open skies, amid all these discomforts, and raising loyal hands towards heaven, they swore to serve their country yet three years longer. But I must

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