Charge of the 2nd Massachusetts
On July 3, the Union 12th Corps sought to retake a series of earthworks near Spangler's Spring that had been occupied by Union forces the day before. The plan was to send in skirmishers to probe for enemy resistance and follow with an infantry attack, if the Confederate flank was weak. Through an error in communications, however, Colonel Charles Mudge, commander of the 2nd MA, was ordered to launch a full-scale assault. Completely dumbfounded, Mudge asked, "Are you sure that is the order?" After assurances were given, Mudge exclaimed, “Well, it is murder, but it’s the order.” Then, turning to his men he shouted, “Up men; over the works. Forward. Double quick.”
The 2nd Massachusetts charged out from the cover of the woods into the open meadow. Three Confederate regiments fired into the advancing Bay State troops, littering the field with their bodies. The ill-fated charge resulted in 45 deaths, including that of Colonel Mudge.