On the night of the 12th instant, being the right of your brigade, we camped upon a hill in front of the enemy's batteries, about 300 yards distant. After forming a line of battle, we sent out a portion of two companies to deploy as skirmishers to the front, who approached the enemy's pickets and fired upon them, killing 2 men and wounding 4 and driving them in in disorder. The regiment was then ordered back by you a short distance to a point less exposed to the enemy's batteries, where it remained on armed during the night without fires. On the morning of the 13th instant we were advanced to the right and in line with the enemy's breastworks for a short distance. During the day frequent skirmishes took place between our scouts and those of the enemy. In the afternoon, in compliance with your order, we advanced over the hill, and within 200 yards of the enemy's breastworks. Here we were fired upon, killing 1 of our men and wounding 4. We then (with a view of storming their batteries) advanced to within about 50 yards of their entrenchments, where we remained under cover of the bushes during the remainder of the evening. A movement against them at that time being deemed impracticable by you, we retired to our position of the morning. The men remained with arms in their hands during the night; the extreme cold and snow forbade they lying down.
On the following day nothing of importance occurred, save a few occasional skirmishers with the enemy. The succeeding night, being inclement and cold, was spent as the preceding one. On the morning of the 15th we were aroused about daybreak by a rapid and heavy firing upon our right and front. The regiment was speedily formed into line, and in a very few minutes we received the fire of the enemy, and the engagement became general along the right wing. It soon became apparent that approached us diagonally, their line forming an angle of about 20 degrees with ours. The enemy, so far as we were able to distinguish through the brush, appeared to approach in columns six or eight files deep, adopting a mode similar to that of street fighting, firing and falling back. So rapid was their firing, it was almost impossible to distinguish an remarkable coolness and bravery. Early in the engagement Colonel Lawler was severely wounding in the arm, but did not retire from the field. Captain Brush, acting lieutenant-colonel, was in charge of the right wing, and myself, acting as major, that of the left.
Towards the close of the engagement an order was given on the right to march by the right flank, for the purpose of extending our lines in that direction. This order was unfortunately unheard on the left, and in consequence our regiment was divided-the greater portion being with the right wing; but the enemy poured in in such overwhelming numbers and with such rapidity, that both wings were speedily flanked by them and almost surrounded. The majority of our men had exhausted their ammunition and further resistance seemed useless. It was deemed prudent to retire. Both wings fell back in good order, and reformed in the valley to the rear. We then marched some distance to the left and in rear of our lines, when we were furnished with ammunition, and again joined the Eighth Regiment of your brigade, and were posted on a hill in front of one of the enemy's redoubts, and spent another sleepless night upon our arms. In the morning we were preparing to storm their batteries, when they exhibited the white flag, thus ending one of the severest contests ever fought upon the American continent.
I might mention here that Captain Brush was severely wounded during the latter part of the engagement, leaving the entire responsibility