“Off we moved, over a clear field, to quite a dense wood, out of which we were to drive the rebels. The wood was skirted by a fence, which we had scarcely crossed—in fact, our regiment was just getting over it—when bang! bang! whiz! whiz! and the battle commenced. . . .Our brigade went right in; walked steadily on, driving the rebels quickly before them, but losing men fast. A ditch of embankment, in which the rebels had shielded themselves, and from out of which the brigade which entered the woods before ours failed to drive them, our brigade assailed so fiercely, that it was soon cleared."
After achieving initial success in driving Jackson's men from the embankment, it was not long before the Confederates mounted a crushing flanking assault, firing into the left flank and rear of the brigade, which advanced with no support on either side. Nagle and Bertolette had tied their horses to the fence that skirted the woods, as did all the members of the colonel's staff. . .and all the horses were captured in this smashing flank assault.
Nagle and his staff fled for safety, being called on several times to halt and surrender but they, instead, took their chances and ran the gauntlet. In the melee--in the confusion, in the smoke that lay thick in the woodlot--Bertolette was shot down, a bullet slamming into his thigh. . .
Following the war, Bertolette returned to Mauch Chunk, working as a partner at Albright's firm before establishing his own independent law practice. In 1869, Bertolette married Sarah Jane Loose, but their union proved to be a short one. On April 17, 1881, John Bertolette passed away at the age of forty-one. He was buried at the Lehighton Cemetery, in Carbon County, Pennsylvania.
|The Grave of John D. Bertolette|
This past May, a flag that once belonged to Bertolette was donated to the Mauch Chunk Museum in Jim Thorpe: read about it here.