Thursday, July 21, 2011

9:30 am: First volleys on Matthew's Hill

Matthew’s Hill
Col. John Slocum led the 2nd Rhode Island down the Sudley Road [VA 234]. It was stretched out in its full battle line, with a company of skirmishers spread out about a hundred yards in front of it to avoid any surprises. Behind it was a batter of artillery, looking for a good place to unlimber (set up to fire). At his side rode Col. David Hunter, commander of the Second Division. Closer to the ford, Burnside tried to hurry the rest of the brigade across the ford and into position.

The 2nd Rhode Island’s skirmishers reached the crest of Matthew’s Hill and all hell broke loose. A volley of musket fire from the Louisiana Tigers and the 4th South Carolina shot tore the air beside them. Slocum hurriedly ordered the rest of the regiment to the crest of the hill where it could fire down on the Confederates and move the artillery where it could back up the infantry.

Hunter was hit by a musket ball and was evacuated back to Sudley Ford. He told Burnside as he left to take command.

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