was moving from the island landing in the life-boat. I then crossed in a scow, taking with me Company C, Captain McPherson, of my regiment, and one piece of artillery, with its horses, under Lieutenant Bramhall, Sixth New York Battery. At this time the enemy was maintaining a fire of musketry on the boats from a wooded hill on our right, and to disperse them I ordered Captain McPherson to move with his company to the right and front and brush them away; which order was handsomely executed, and thus the passage of the second branch was made safe from that quarter.
Ordering Lieutenant Bramhall to move his piece by a path to the left and report to Colonel Baker on the field, I ascended the bluff (about 70 feet high) and reported myself to the same commander. I found Colonel Baker near the bluff, on the edge of an open field of about eight or then acres' extent, trapezoidal in form, the acute angle being on the left front, the shortest parallel side near the edge of the bluff, and along this line was the First California Regiment, while the Fifteenth Massachusetts Regiment was formed in line in the open woods, forming the right-hand boundary of the field, its line being nearly perpendicular to that of the California regiment. Two mountain howitzers, under Lieutenant French, of the U. S. artillery, were posted in front of the angle formed by these two regiments. A deep ravine, having its mouth on the left of the point where we landed, extended along the left of the open field and wound around in front of it, forming nearly a semicircle, bounded by wooded hills commanding the whole open space. Some companies of the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment were posted in reserve behind the line of the California regiment.
Colonel Baker welcomed me on the field, seemed in good spirits, and very confident of a successful day. He requested me to look at his line of battle, and with him I passed along the whole front. He asked my opinion of his disposition of troops, and I told him frankly that I deemed them very defective, as the wooded hills beyond the ravine commanded the whole so perfectly, that should they be occupied by the enemy be would be destroyed, and I advised an immediate advance of the whole force to occupy the hills, which were not then occupied by the enemy. I told him that the whole action must be on our left, and that we must occupy those hills. No attention was apparently paid to this advice, and Colonel Baker ordered me to take charge of the artillery, but without any definite instructions as to its service. About twenty minutes afterwards the hills on the left front to which I had called attention were occupied by the enemy's skirmishers, who immediately opened a sharp fire on our left. I immediately directed the artillery to open fire on those skirmishers, but soon perceived that the fire was ineffectual, as the enemy was under cover ot the trees, shooting down the artillerists at easy musket range. Soon Lieutenant Bramhall and nearly all the artillerymen had been shot down, and the pieces were worked for a time by Colonel Baker in person, his assistant adjutant-general (Captain Harvey), Captain Stewart, assistant adjutant-general of the division, a few other officers, and myself.
Leaving the pieces, as I saw the whole strength of the enemy was being thrown on the left, I proceeded to the extreme left, where i found Lieutenant-Colonel Wistar had been badly wounded, and that the left wing, without a commander, was becoming disorganized. I then ordered Captain Markoe, of the First California Regiment, to move his company to the left, and hold the hill at all hazards. Captain Markoe moved as directed, engaged the enemy's skirmishers, and held his ground for some
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