War of the Rebellion: Serial 002 Page 0085 Chapter IX. ENGAGEMENT AT BIG BETHEL, VA.

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was by my orders moved out to the right of the main road, the right flank resting behind a dense wood which skirted the road, where it remained in line of battle in an open field about 800 paces from the battery.

The forces from Newport New were brought into a second line of battle in the field to the left of the road, and were soon after moved by a flank so as to cross the road to cover the front, then being vacated by the Fifth Regiment, now being marched by a flank through and covered by the woods on the right the Fifth Regiment being supported on the right by the forces from Newport News. The latter, being marched through the woods for that purpose, made, several attempts to charge the batteries, but were prevented by creek. Meanwhile the artillery in the road was operated by the directions of Lieutenant Greble, who lost his life just at the close of the action.

While this was being done on the right, I directed Colonel Townsend, with his regiment, to advance and take a position in a lane at right angles to the main road leading to the battery where he was directed to send out skirmishers to ascertain the strength of the enemy's right, and for that purpose detailed Captains John G. butler and Edwin S. Jenny, with their companies, to cross the field immediately, and to so skirmish as to draw the enemy's fire, which was gallantly performed. The enemy's fire was delivered vigorously. Colonel townsend now moved his regiment up the point where the skirmishers were engaged-a movement which the regiment performed in line of battle as if on parade, in the face of a several fire of artillery and small-arms, in a manner entirely satisfactory-and were joined by about one hundred of the Fifth Regiment as skirmishers on the right of Colonel Townsend's command.

By the time Colonel Townsend's regiment had arrived at its position it became apparent that the battery had been strongly re-enforced, and that any effort to take it was useless. Besides, a company of that regiment had been separated from the regiment by a thickly-hedged ditch and as the regiment moved forward towards the skirmishers this company marched into the adjoining-field in a line with the regiment. This was not known to Colonel Townsend, who supposed, when the regiment approached, that it was the entire regiment. Consequently, upon seeing among the breaks in the hedges the glistening of bayonets in the adjoining field, [he[immediately concluded that the enemy were outflanking him, [and] conceived it to be his duty to retire and repel their advance, when by his ordered his regiment resumed their original position. Shortly after I directed all the forces to retire.

Colonel Duryea having said that his men were tired, out, completely exhausted, and that they must be taken to the rear, Colonel Allen, of the First New York Regiment, advancing at this time, I immediately directed him to throw his regiment into the lane to the left of the main road leading to the Second- Regiment, Colonel Carr commanding, were by ordered promptly formed in line of battle, covering the ground lately occupied by the Fifth Regiment, with their field pieces, upon the left. I then ordered the killed and wounded picked up placed in whatever vehicle could be procured for their conveyance, the regiments of Colonels Allen and Carr men while keeping the enemy at bay. On the retreat the regiment of Colonel Duryea led the column, followed by that of Colonel Townsend and the forces from Newport News, the regiment of Colonels Allen and Carr forming the rear guard of the retreating column. Some difficulty was experienced in keeping the men in proper order during the retreat, the men being so exhausted by thirst as to rush out of the ranks wherever water was to be had.

For killed, wounded, and missing please refer to my former report.