furlough, Lieut. Col. [William] Byrd of the same Reg't. obtained command of the fort, and upon Col. Clark's return, he found himself subject to Lieut. Col. Byrd. Orders were too humiliating and he would not submit to them, hence the detached Companies from each Reg't.
The garrison soon erected other rude winter quarters. In the meantime, about a dozen from the consolidate Reg't, and myself were sent to Madam Divide's Ferry, five miles above on the river, as guard, (I will here state that this is the place called Snaggy Point, in another place in this history) remained a month, during which time, the trial drill came off, spoken of above. I obtained leave of the officers of the guard, and went; the entire army was present, all roaming about at will, except the champion Reg't. Here, among others, I met B. P. Beaty, named before in this history. We walked around and watched the drill, until it was decided that the 8th had carried off the prize. We then bade adieu, and returned to our respective quarters, which proved to be our last meeting.
Soon after this, Capt. Stevens gave me the appointment of 3rd Serg't. of the Company, and ordered me to report to camps, which I did, but did not carry my baggage, hoping to be allowed to decline the position, but the Capt. would hear no excuse, and I entered upon the duties of my office that afternoon, by taking charge of a guard and from then up to the 14th of March 1864, something near a month I suppose. Our guard duty came around about every other night, and in addition, we had fatigue duty, such as mounting and dismounting cannon, the intervening day.
About the night of March 9, 1864, all the men who had long range guns, were ordered to some rifle pits, a mile below on the river, having discovered smoke of the Federal fleet. I was among the number. We remained until the 14th, when we were ordered into the fort. As the enemy was approaching in rear; we went at a double quick step, and just as we entered, the Federals fired the first shot. They continued to fire from that direction for two hours, while they were swinging their wings around in the river, on either side. When they had arranged their line, they made a general charge, and came over the works, as fast as black birds, and deeper than a man could climb out. I supposed they filled the ditch, and the others went over on their shoulders. Our strength was about two hundred strong, and theirs eight to ten thousand.
Allow me a slight digression, and I will tell incidents that happened previously -- when we were ordered to the fort, we also were ordered to burn the building in which we had been quartered, -- a nice frame building, consisting of four rooms, hall and piazza, neatly painted. A sad sight to see it consumed by the flames, and entirely needless.
While out on this duty, we were under command of Capt. Mayberry. On arriving at the fort, I was at a loss, whether to continue with him, or go to my own Company, whereupon I sought Capt. Marole, who commanded the consolidated Reg't. and asked where to go, at which time, the first shot, spoken of above, fired. Capt. Marole, (being a Dutchman, and apparently, not very fond of such racket) tumbled down against the breastworks, as