War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0540 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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of his regiment into the woods in his rear, to defend a road leading to the right of our position toward Williamsburg.

Fearing that the Fifth Wisconsin would not arrive in time I directed four companies of the Sixth Maine, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler, to march into the redoubt, and now only waited for that gallant regiment, the Fifth Wisconsin, already sorely pressed by the enemy, to get into position before I advanced to the attack. When the advanced companies of the Fifth Wisconsin had reached the crest I formed a part of them on the four companies of the Sixth Maine, to garrison the work, and formed the remainder behind the crest on the right of the redoubt. At this moment the advance of the enemy was under the crest and within 30 paces of my command. I ordered a forward movement to the crest. The whole line advanced cheering, and on arriving there delivered two volleys, doing great execution. The order was then given to charge down the slope, and with reiterated cheers the whole command advanced in line of battle. A few of the leading spirits of the enemy were bayoneted; the remainder then broke and fled. The want of protection in my rear, and expecting an assault from that quarters every moment, I ordered a halt at the foot of the slope, and delivered a terrible fire along the whole line, expending from 15 to 20 rounds. The plunging fire from the redoubt, the direct fire from the right, and the oblique fire from the left were so destructive that after it had been ordered to cease and the smoke arose it seemed that no man had left the ground unhurt who had advanced within 500 yards of our line. The enemy were completely routed and dispersed.

The circumstances before mentioned only prevented me from reaping the entire fruits of the victory by continuing the advance. The second line of the enemy, yet in position on our front, seemed to halt paralyzed. At the movement of the advance, having sent for a section of artillery, I directed a few shell to be thrown at them, when they disappeared. The regiment that had entered the woods on my left flank also retreated rapidly, not having had time before the defeat of the first line to become engaged with us. Having learned from the prisoners captured that the enemy had sent two regiments to my right and rear I made preparations to receive them, expecting an immediate attack, knowing full well the importance of the position I held, and the necessity the enemy was under of driving me across the dam, if they intended holding Fort Magruder that night. As soon as the action was decide I sent out men to succor the wounded and collect the dead for burial. The flankers of the Thirty-third New York Volunteers, who had been on my right, held their position during the fight, with the exception of one small company, which was separated from the remainder by one of the enemy's columns piercing them in passing through the woods. They are missing, supposed to be taken prisoners. These skirmishers were in a favorable position to capture fugitives of the enemy when they made their disorderly retreat before our line, and they returned burdened with them.

It being now late in the evening, and my re-enforcements not yet having arrived, I could not pursue with prudence the retreating enemy, and held my position, believing it to be the best ground for us, should the enemy renew the contest. For these reasons I permitted the enemy to pick up a great many of the wounded and dead on the field and in the woods. A large number were thus carried off, and many died in the woods, of which we had no account at that time, although they were