and the cavalry under Palmer, and Franklin's brigade of Heintzelman's division, Sherman's brigade of Tyler's division in the center and up the road, whilst Keyes' brigade of Tyler's division was ont he left, attacking the batteries near the stone bridge. The Rhode Island Battery of Burnside's brigade also participated in this attack by its fire from the north of the turnpike. The enemy was understood to have been commanded by J. E. Johnston.
Rickett's battery, which did such effective service and played so brilliant a part in this contest, was, together with Griffin's battery, ont he side of the hill, and became the object of the special attention of the enemy,w ho succeeded (our officers mistaking one of his regiments for one of our own, na d allowing it to approach without firing upon it) in disabling the battery, and then attempted to take it. Three times was he repulsed by different corps in succession and driven back, and the guns taken by hand (the horse being killed) and pulled away. The third time it was supposed by us all that the repulse was final, for he was driven entirely from the hill, so far beyond it as not to be in sight, and all were certain the day was ours. he had before this been driven nearly a mile and a half, and was beyond the Warrenton road, which was entirely in our possession from the stone bridge westward, and our engineers were just completing the removal of the abatis across the road to allow our re-enforcement (Schenck's brigade and Ayres' battery) to join us.
The enemy was evidently disheartened and broken. But we had then been fighting since 10.30 o'clock in the morning, and it was after 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The men had been up since 2 o'clock in the morning, and had made what tot hose unused to such things seemed a long march before coming into action, though the longest distance gone over was not more than 9 1/2 miles; and though they had three days' provisions served out to them the day before, many, no doubt, either did not get them, or threw them away on the march or during the battle, and were therefore without food. They had done much severe fighting. Some of the regiments which had been driven from the hill in the first two attempts of the enemy to keep possession of it had become shaken, were unsteady, and had many men out of the ranks.
It was at this time that the enemy's re-enforcements came to his aid from the railroad train (understood to have just arrived from t he valley with the residue of Johnston's army). They threw themselves in the woods on our right, and opened a fire of musketry on our men, which caused them to break and retire down the hill-side. This soon degenerated into disorder, for which there was no remedy. Every effort was made to rally then, even beyond the reach of the enemy's fire, but in vain. The battalion of regular infantry alone moved up the hill opposite to the one with the house, and there maintained itself until our men could get down to and across the Warreton turnpike on the way back to the position we occupied in the morning. The plain was covered with the retreating groups, and they seemed to infect those with whom they came in contact. The retreat soon became a rout, and this soon degenerated still further into a panic.
Finding this state of affairs was beyond the efforts of all those who had assisted so faithfully during the long and hard day's work in gaining almost the object of our wishes, and that nothing remained on that field but to recognize what we could not longer prevent, I gave the necessary orders to protect their withdrawal, begging the men to form a line, and offer the appearance, at least, of organization and force.
They returned by the fords tot he Warrenton road, protected, by my