Last Fight, Last Blood

On April 7th, 1865, the men of the Fourteenth Connecticut Volunteer Infantry fought their last battle. Sgt. Charles Blatchley (Company I) described it this way in the regimental history written by Charles Page:

Our last engagement with the enemy was at the crossing of the Appomattox River at High Bridge. We came upon them at daylight, setting fire to the bridge; men forgot all rules and discipline in the enthusiasm of the moment. General Barlow, who commanded our division, rode at the head of the column with his staff over the bridge into the ranks of the enemy, firing his pistol at them as they were trying to apply a match to the tar on the bridge. After him went the 108th New York and then the Fourteenth Connecticut. This was the only time I saw this movement executed (rushing pell-mell across to engage the enemy). As you can see in this photo taken just after the war, High Bridge was well-named.

High_Bridge_Farmville_Virginia

Across the bridge we formed quickly in the meadow and on we went for miles over the hills, through the town of Farmville, where we chased the retreating foe and charged on the hen-coops of the village at the same time. We did not lose a single man in this charge, so far as I know, though we had some very narrow escapes. As we came on to the top of one of the hills, a shell buried itself in the ground at my feet and exploded, literally covering me and the men next to me with gravel stones, but without hurting any of us.

Just at nightfall of that day the last man in our brigade to give his life for his country was killed, that was our commanding General (Thomas) Smyth, as noble a fellow as ever held a sword. Our congratulations over that day’s work were changed suddenly to gloom and many a soldier cried that night at the loss of a man who had shared our perils and hardships so constantly and so bravely.

 

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