driving in the front. This regiment remained inactive within my lines, as I did not wish to disturb arrangements of General Hooker.
On receiving an intimation by a messenger of the general desiring that I should engage the enemy on his right I moved up the One hundred and second Pennsylvania Volunteers, deploying on the right of the main road. In furtherance of the same object I pushed forward the Fifty-fifth New York Volunteers correspondingly on the left. Learning that a battery farther to the left needed support, I dispatched the Fifty-fifth New York for that purpose. Soon after I examined the ground far to the left, and placed the Sixty-second New York Volunteers in position, where the regiment found cover, and held on until its ammunition was expended. Many conflicting reports reached me from time to time respecting the enemy's movements on the left and right, which I endeavored to reconcile with the idea that the main road was the key of the position. Reports of a movement against my front were quickly followed by a general shower of shot, shell, and canister from the several batteries, and the advance of infantry displaying Union colors. My line was pressed back under this combination of circumstances. At this juncture I moved to the left center the Ninety-third Pennsylvania Volunteers. The regiment came into line handsomely, and by the additional weight of fire I was enabled to recover by degrees the ground from which the line had receded.
Feeling the influence of these supports on the front the enemy moved to the right, opposite the One hundred and second Pennsylvania Volunteers, where he made long and repeated efforts to secure a permanent lodgment in the woods. This regiment could not withstand the vigorous onslaught of such superior numbers, and retired some distance, so that I greatly feared I should not be able to hold on with the brigade. At this crisis I led forward to the right and front my last regiment, the Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, which, in spite of some indications of disorder, was placed in position, and the enemy was promptly repulsed along the whole line. Before night General Couch sent for my support General Devens, with Colonel Russell's Seventh Massachusetts and Colonel Wheaton's Second Rhode Island. Soon after General Palmer reported with two regiments, and General Keim with three more. General Palmer, much to my regret, was called away for other duty by General McClellan.
The supply of ammunition in the cartridge boxes having been exhausted, I was compelled to relieve my brigade with six of the fresh regiments. Those on the right I placed under the immediate command of General Devens, and those on the left under General Keim. Every preparations was made to resist a night attack. Pickets were thrown out in front and extended to the right to those of General Smith. On the left repeated efforts were made to connect with General Hooker, but without success.
At daylight I directed Generals Devens and Keim to examine their respective fronts with caution, and to send forward small parties to the enemy's works in case of his withdrawal. This was done, and several of them occupied.
It is very gratifying to say that the four-gun battery which was captured was retaken by my brigade, and remained under the guns of the Sixty-second New York, Fifty-fifth New York, and Ninety-third Pennsylvania at the close of the engagement.
The enemy's object was the seizing of the Williamsburg road. He had cut another route through the timber a short distance from the road, which formed a junction with it, under the fire of his principal