and locust trees, and forming a segment of a circle, the arc of which was surrounded with trees. Colonel Bake apprised Colonel Devens that he had been placed in command, and learned that the Fifteenth Massachusetts, after having advanced for a mile in the direction of Leesburg, had been attacked and fallen back to the position which they then occupied, just in the edge of the woods on the right. The other forces were lying under the brow of the hill, and will the exception of an occasional rifle shot all was quiet, and no sight of an enemy. The two howitzers and one piece of artillery were drawn by the men out into the open field, pointing to the woods in front, the artillery horses not being brought up the steep.
After a quarter of an hour had passed, the enemy making no sign, two companies of the California battalion, A and D, were sent out from the left as skirmishers through the wood. They had advanced but a few rods, when with a yell a tremendous volley of rifle shot from the concealed enemy drove them back, and from that moment upon to the enemy in the woods. The re-enforcements from the island came up very slowly, and it was evident to all that uncles aid in force reached us from the left we should be driven into the river, as the increasing yells and firing of the enemy indicated their larger number and nearer approach. The two howitzers were of no service, and the 12-pounder, being manned by Colonel Baker, Lieutenant-Colonel Wistar, Adjutant-General Harbey, Captain Brieral, and a few privates of his company (G), was fired not more than five or six times, and, excepting the last time, with doubtful effect, as the enemy was at no time visible. We simply fired at the woods.
Colonel Baker was at all times in the open field, walking in front of the men lying on the ground, exhibiting the greatest coolness and courage. The fire of the enemy was constant, and the bullets fell like hailstones, but it was evident that the enemy was firing into the open field without direct aim. Colonel Baker fell about 5 o'clock. He was standing near the left of the woods, and it is believed he was shot with a cavalry revolver by a private of the enemy, who after Colonel Baker fell, crawled on his hands and knees to the body and was attempting to take his sword, when Captain Bireral with 10 of his men rushed up and shot him through the head and rescued the body. At the time Colonel Bake was shot he was looking at a mounted office, who rode down a few rods into the field from the woods, who, being shot at ny one of our men, returned to the woods and appeared to the falling from his horse. Colonel Baker, turning about, said, "See, he falls," and immediately fell, receiving four balls, each of which would be fatal. I had but a movement before, standing by his side, been ordered by Colonel Baker to go with all possible dispatch to General Stone for re-enforcements on the left, as there was no transportation across the river for the wants of the hour. There was some confusion on the field, and the officers of the companies of the Fifteenth Massachusetts Regiment ordered their men to retreat. The enemy then for the first time came out of the wood at double-quick, and receiving a double charge of grape-shot from the 12-pounder, broke in disorder and returned to the to the river side down the steep, but finding no means of escape, some 200 charged up the hill and poured in a volley, the enemy at this time occupying the field. It was getting dark, and some one tied a white handkerchief to a sword and went forward. Many were taken prisoners at the moment, and some fled into the woods on either side, and many