my regiment around a point of woods out of sight of the enemy. Here we remained until 11 o'clock a.m., when I moved my command, with the force designed to operate against the enemy's left flank, down a road to the right until I approached Queen's Creek. This creek was dammed up at the point where we struck it, while the opposite bank was strongly fortified. It was found that these works were unoccupied by the enemy, and a regiment was sent across the dam and past the fort at its end on the double-quick. My own regiment followed, and in turn the whole force crossed over, moved up, and formed line of battle in the open field beyond. The line was then moved up to another fort a short distance ahead, which the enemy evacuated as we approached. In front of this fort our field artillery came into position and opened the attack on the enemy's left flank by shelling him smartly. We were now close upon the enemy, and the action was going on in earnest. My regiment was ordered to take position on the left of our artillery, for the purpose of supporting it. Directly in our front, perhaps half a mile ahead, were two of the enemy's earthworks, filled with his infantry, while farther on was Fort Magruder, in the center of his line.
After our batteries had fired a few rounds we moved up some 80 or 100 rods. Here our artillery opened a terrible and effective fire, which soon drove the enemy out of his nearest earthworks. This fire was replied to by a couple of guns stationed in the edge of the woods, and also by the guns of Fort Magruder. As the fire grew hot I ordered my regiment [which was still supporting our batteries on the left] to lie down in place, that the men might be less exposed. The shot and shell fell thickly around us for the first half hour, when our batteries succeeded in silencing the two pieces of field artillery in the woods. After this only the guns from the fort replied to our artillery, but the fight still raged with considerable spirit. Matters continued thus for three or four hours, when, between 5 and 6 o'clock p.m., we perceived that the enemy was preparing to charge upon our batteries. One brigade was deployed directly in our front and moved steadily down upon us in line of battle.
At the same time another brigade filed through the woods on our right, for the purpose of flanking us and thus rendering our defeat certain. Our line was then ordered to fall back and we began to retire slowly, but not until our right flank was attacked hotly from the woods. When my regiment had fallen back half way to the fort I halted it, faced it about, and waited, for the double purpose of allowing my line of skirmishers to come up with the regiment and the Fifth Wisconsin to come up with us.
Both of these ends having been accomplished, I again faced my command about and continued to retire, in accordance with the order I had previously received. The enemy were now close upon us. Seeing us fall back they fancied that we were in full retreat and their exultation knew no bounds. They poured out from the cover of the woods and rushed on toward us, crying out, "Bull Run," "Ball's Bluff," &c. It was with difficulty that I restrained my men from facing about and taking vengeance for these taunts upon the spot. When we reached the fort my command was in perfect order, and as my men faced about I reach in their faces the stern determination to suffer death in any form rather give up an inch of ground. My four right companies were placed in the fort, under charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler. Up to this time not a gun had been fired in my command. The rebels had now reached the rail fence in our front, not 15 rods from us. On they came, evidently feeling sure of success. But it was our