time, but could gain no advantage over the enemy. About half an hour afterwards Colonel Baker came from the right of the line and passed in front of the line of skirmishers, when he was instantly killed by the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters.
By this time the hills on the left front were fully occupied by the enemy. Two companies of my regiment, under Captain Alden, arrived on the field, cheering most heartily, and with this fresh force we pushed the enemy some 50 yards back, but they had now obtained too strong possession of the hills to be dislodged. An unequal contest was maintained for about half an hour, when Captain Harvey, assistant adjutant-general, reported to me that, Colonel Baker having been killed, I was in command of the field, and that a council of was was being half by the remaining colonels. I repaired to the pint occupied by Colonels Lee and Devens, and found that they had decided on making a retreat. I informed them I was in command of the field; that a retreat across the river was impossible, and the only movement to be made was to cut our way through to Edwards Ferry, and that a column of attack must be at once formed for that purpose. At the same time I directed Captain Harvey, assistant adjutant-general, to form the whole force into column of attack, faced to the left.
Having given these orders, I proceeded to the front, and finding out lines pressed severely, I ordered an advance of the whole force on the right of the enemy's line. I was followed by the remnants of my two companies and a portion of the California regiment, but, for some reasons unknowing to me, was not joined by either the Fifteenth or the Twentieth Massachusetts Regiments. We were overpowered and forced back to our original position, and again driven from that position to the river bank by overwhelming numbers. On the river bank I found the whole force in a state of great disorder. As I arrived, two companies of my own regiment, under Captains Gerety and O'Meara, landed from the large boat. I ordered these fresh companies up the bluff, and they instantly ascended and deployed as skirmishers to cover the passage to the island, while I took about a dozen men and moved to the left to check a heavy fire of the enemy which had opened on us from the mouth of the ravine near. We were almost immediately surrounded and captured. This took place shortly after dark, and my personal knowledge of the transactions of the day ended here.
I feel it my duty to annex to this report my high sense of the merit of certain officers whose actions during the day deserve grateful recompense and grateful memory from the nation.
Captain harvey, assistant adjutant-general of Baker's brigade, served both before and after the fall of Colonel Baker with distinguished courage, coolness, and ability. he came upon the field almost disabled, but filled his place wherever its duties carried him. In him a brave and valuable officer was lost to the country.
Captain Stewart, assistant adjutant-general of the division, came upon the field during the action, and displayed that distinguished bravery and coolness in danger for which he is known.
Lieutenant Bramhall, Sixth New York Battery, served the gun which he had brought to the field with great gallantry, and was most severely wounded.
Lieutenant-Colonel Wistar, First California Regiment, after displaying great gallantly, was severely wounded and carried from the field, and his regiment did gallant service before and after his loss. In that regiment I would particularly mention Captain Markoe, Lieutenant Kerns, and the color beard. The latter, whose name I regret not to