Returning to the position occupied by Ricketts' and Griffin's batteries, I received an order from General McDowell to advance two batteries to an eminence specially designated by him, abut eight hundred yards int front of the line previously occupied by our artillery, and very near the position first occupied by the enemy's batteries. I therefore ordered these two batteries to move forward at once, and, as soon as they were in motion, went for and procured a supports the Eleventh (Fire Zouaves) and the Fourteenth (Brooklyn) New York Regiment. I accompanied the former regiment, to guide it to its proper position, and Colonel Heintzelman, Seventeenth U. S. Infantry, performed the same service for the Fourteenth, on the right of the Eleventh. A squadron of U. S. cavalry, under Captain Colburn, First Cavalry, was subsequently ordered as additional support. We were soon upon the ground designated, and the two batteries at once opened a very effective fire upon the enemy's left.
The new position had scarcely been occupied when a troops of the enemy's cavalry, debouching from a piece of woods close upon our right flank, charged down upon the New York Eleventh. The zouaves, catching sight of the cavalry a few moments before they were upon them, broke ranks to such a degree that the cavalry a few moments before they were upon them, doing them much harm. The zouaves gave them a scattering fire as they passed which emptied five saddles and killed three horses. A few minutes afterwards a regiment of the enemy's infantry, covered by a high fence, resented itself in line on the left and front of the two batteries at not more than sixty or seventy yards-distance, and delivered a volley full upon the batteries and their supports. Lieutenant Ramsay, First Artillery, was killed, and Captain Ricketts, First Artillery, was wounded, and a number of men and horse were killed or disabled by this close and well-directed volley. The Eleventh and Fourteenth Regiments instantly broke and fled in confusion to the rear, and n spite of the repeated and earnest efforts of Colonel Heintzelman with the latter, and myself with the former, refused to rally and return to the support of the batteries. The enemy, seeing the guns thus abandoned by their supports, rushed upon them, and driving off the cannoneers, who, with their officers, stood bravely at their posts until the last moment, captured them, ten in number. These were the only guns taken by the enemy on the field.
Arnold's battery came upon the field after Ricketts', and was posted on our left center, where it performed good service throughout the day, and by its continued and well-directed fire assisted materially in breaking and driving back the enemy's right and center.
The batteries of Hunt, Carlisle, Ayres, Tidball, Edwards, and Greene (twenty-one pieces), being detached from the main body, and not being under my immediate notice during the greater portion of the day, I respectfully refer you to the reports of their brigade and division commanders for the record of their services.
The Army having retired upon Centreville, I was ordered by General McDowell in person to post the artillery in position to cover the retreat. The batteries of Hunt, Ayres, Tidball, Edward, Greene, and the New York Eighth Regiment (the latter served by volunteers from Willcox's brigade),* twenty pieces in all, were at once placed in position, and thus remained until 12 o'clock p. m., when, orders having been received to retire upon the Potomac, the batteries were put in march, and, covered by Richardson's brigade, retired in good order and without haste, and early next morning reoccupied their former camps on the Potomac.
*But see reports Nos. and 57, post.