did not reach our position in front of the enemy's until 3 o'clock in the morning. Both officers and men bivouacked in the open fields and swamps in order of battle, catching such rest as they could, the rain falling constantly during the night. At daylight the next morning the regiments were in line, and soon the brigades commenced filling off to take their positions closer to the enemy's works. When I started from my headquarters for the head of the column I felt that we were going to the fight under most unfavorable circumstances, and expected to find the men fagged and leg-weary, but as I passed regiment after regiment their hearty cheers and firm step convinced me that I had underestimated them.
On reaching the turn in the road where they first came under fire of the enemy's cannon the only change I could perceive in their demeanor was an over-anxiety to keep their ranks well closed, and they filed to their positions, under the direction of their brigadier-generals, with all the regularity and steadiness of veteran soldiers. For more than three hours the contest continued, the fog being so dense at times that the position of the enemy could only be ascertained by the rattle of their musketry and the roar of artillery. The result has proved what work they can do under such trying circumstances. In the midst of all the privations since we left Fortress Monroe the most marked feature that has been demonstrated in the character of these men is their extreme patience. With men of less patience and subordination the work could not have been accomplished.
I cannot mention personal instances of gallantry where all have behaved so nobly. To the reports of Generals Foster, Reno, and Parke, who were always with their brigades in the thickest of the fight, as well as to the reports of the colonels of the regiments, who commanded by example as well as authority, I beg to refer you for details. To them and their brave officers and men the country owes every success which has been obtained during the campaign, and I am sure their services are appreciated.
By the inclosed report of Brigade Surg. W. H. Church, our medical director, it will be seen that our loss was overestimated in my hasty report the day after the battle. The accompanying lists show 88 killed and 352 wounded.* Among these names are some of our most valuable officers and men. They are sad losses to us and to their relatives and friends. They nobly gave up their lives in defense of their country, and a debt of gratitude is due from every American citizen to the wives, mothers, and fathers who have laid such sacrifices on the altar of their country. They have my heartfelt sympathy, and I constantly pray that but few more such sacrifices will be required for the breaking up of this unholy rebellion. The memories of the brave dead will ever be green in the hearts of their countrymen and the scars of the wounded will be honorable passports for them through life.
As indicated in the beginning of my report, the plan of attack contemplated the co-operation of the Navy, which was most successfully carried out. As we moved along he road their shells fell in advance of us, and as we approached the rear of each rebel fortification their shells dropped inside the parapets, and by this combined movement the enemy was forced to fly in the greatest confusion. In this instance as well as in every other where it has been needed the most perfect understanding and co-operation have existed between the two arms of
*But see revised statement, p. 211.