William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

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Col. Wm C. Holbrook


Hd Qrs 7th Vt. Regt.Baton RougeAug 8th /62Dear Father

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You will doubtless hear before this reaches you that we have had a severe battle at this place of which you will be anxious for particulars

It was on the morning of the 5th Aug. about 3 o'clk that the enemy made their appearance in force directly in front of our centre. I was Field Officer of the Day & had command of the pickets. consequently had the honor of opening the engagement. the rebels rushed on with loud cheers. my pickets I deployed as skirmishers & advanced to meet there they apereed with a brisk fire which we answered. they soon drove in the pickets however, on our centre & left flank in the meantime the regts. & batteries had taken

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positions & one battle commenced in earnest. at this time I was obligged to go to any pickets on the right flank & on the extreme left flank neither were attacked as they were covered by the gunboats & I suppose the rebels did not deem it advisable to expose their men to the galling, fire they would have met with had they attempted it. on account of my being Field Officer of the Day I was necessarily absent from the regt. the most of the day. the regt acted finely although exposed for sometime to a severe cross fire from our own troops & the enemy it is with much pain & regret that I must mention (soon after this at a change of position) that Col. Roberts fell mortally wounded. he was cheering his men on bravely, when a ball struck him on the back of the neck near the spinal chord & another in the thigh. he

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appeared very cheerful & looked bright until last evening he suddenly grew worse & begun to fail rapidly he has not been sensible since. I have just returned from the hospital & I think he must be dead by this time as it is impossible for him to live long. his loss will be deeply felt by all the regt. & his many friends. a braver man never stood he was humane & kind to his men & was much loved & respected by them. I will detain this letter a short time hoping something definate about him will occur in the meantime, I trust his life will be spared. the Lt. Col. here took command of the regt. the enemy were pushing his at this stays but we gradually turned the tide & drove them back to the spot they started from in the morning Gen. Williams our commander was killed early in the fight after pushing the enemy back

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we fell back farther into town to a strong position where the we could seep the approaches with our artillery. but the enemy were so [        ] cut off that day made no further demonstration; they are now some ten or twelve miles back. Gen. Breakerwidge commanded them, their loss must have been great. they were msinformed as to our strength it had been reported to them that our men were all sick & so much reduced by the expedition to Vicksburg that we could be easily driven out our artillery made terrible [     ] in their ranks it was a part of their plan that the famous "ram On Ransom" (which made such a dash at a -) should come down the river & attack our gunboats but fortunately it did not make it appearance until yesterday noon when our gunboats engaged it & blew it up. with this drain last hopes must have exploded, on the whole they were met with a severe rebuff. our regt had 12 wounded although this may not be authentic as it is unpassible to get an accurate return so soon after the engagement

I did not receive a [      ] my escape was providential

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& I have reason to return thanks to Him who rules the destinies of battle. no other officers was wounded.

I have just rec intelligence that our beloved Col. is no more. we shall send his body to Gen. Baxter. all is quiet I do not think we shall be attacked again at present. we have a very strong position & will

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make a more desperate fight than before. if necessary in a few days. Much love to all at home, do not be anxious about me

Your Aff SonW C Holbrook