Saturday, May 17, 2014

Tuesday, May 17, 1864

I wrote to Kate and so did little Sarah.  
Our anxiety about our friends in the Army is very great.  Lucy came in the evening.  She had letters from Mr. Gates who is in Washington.  He has seen & conversed with wounded men from the 6th Wisconsin who told him that Rufus had shown his usual coolness & valor.  On the second day’s fight when Warren’s corps were repulsed and the new recruits of the 6th faltered, and the flag was being borne back, Rufus seized the flag and in the face of a heavy fire from the enemy planted it with his own hands in advance of the regiment and rallied his men & thus brought them into line and kept them there.

Peggy's comment:

Rufus Dawes wrote to his wife Mary Gates Dawes:

Line of Battle, May 17th, 1864, 6 A. M.
I have to be thankful for another day of life and safety.  There was no considerable fighting anywhere along the line yesterday.  There was an order this morning that the artillery throughout the whole line should open on the enemy and I heard the bugles sounding at daybreak, but the fog is so thick now they can not do anything.  The loss of the regiment as near as I can now arrive at is, sixteen killed, one hundred and nineteen wounded, and fourteen missing.  Most of our missing men are now known to be wounded and some are killed. I have commanded the regiment since leaving the Wilderness on the seventh of May.  The enemy in our front are in plain view.  Spottsylvania Court House is directly in our front.  Day after day we stupidly and drearily wait the order that summons us to the fearful work. 

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