immediately ordered the return of the wing of the Forty-fourth New York. A fragment of the Twenty-fifth New York, about 150 strong, was one-half a mile distant in the woods toward Hanover
Court-House. I had already sent for it to come to my support. I thought it improper to move the Second Maine at that time to the cover of the woods until I could procure some other support for the battery to replace that regiment. My aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Davis, reported to me that there was a large number of stragglers and guards of ambulances under the tress along the road by the edge of the woods, and I dispatches him to compel them to form in line, to watch the woods, and guard my right flank, as far as practicable. I instructed the execution of that duty to him, and I learn with pleasure that quite a number of men from the
Twenty-second Massachusetts, and I think also from the Ninth Massachussets and Fourth Michigan, maintained their posts at that point under his command. I also sent Lieutenant Davis to hasten the march of the Twenty-fifth. As soon as it had reached the ground I ordered it to replace the Second Maine, on the right of the battery, and moved the Second Maine just to the cover of the woods already indicated, with further directions to throw skirmishers into the woods.
Before the skirmishers could be started the enemy opened a murderous oblique fire from the edge of the woods over the crest of the wicker fence which skirts it, already described. The fire which had been sent from the woods on our left and had for a short time been suspended was again resumed. I had sent an order to the Forty-fourth New York to form a line of battle, angular or curved outwardly, toward the woods on the left. In this formation there was some displacement, ad I have learned, of the regular order of the companies from right to left.
The fire of the enemy was now crossed on the battery, the
Twenty-fifth New York and the right of the Forty-fourth New York. I was posted at this time 65 paces in rear of the left of the Second Maine and right of the Twenty-fifth New York. Soon the fire of the battery was silenced, and I discovered that my center was giving way. Presently the Twenty-fifth retired, and also the gunners of the batteries. The smoke was moving toward me and I could not identify at this time the parties, but there was a rapid and presenty a disorderly movement to the rear. I moved across the line of the retreat, endeavoring to halt it and reform a line. Here I found the colonel of the Forty-fourth retreating, and then concluded that his entire regiment had broken. I called to him to rally the men and form them behind the fence on the edge of the woods. For a time my orders were not heeded, but presently the men began to obey my commands, and quite a number came forward from the fence and formed a line of the rising ground in front. Here Captain Gleason, of the Twenty-fifth New York, under my orders, took command of this line. Lieutenant McRoberts, of the Forty-fourth seeing what I was attempting to do, came to me, saying that he had 10 men with him and awaited my orders. He immediately aided in the formation of the line.
At this time the largest part of the Twenty-fifth New York had gathered around the colonel, who had been wounded, near a house to the right, 300 paces in rear of the Second Maine. The colonel sent for his men posted with me, which had been formed to move to that point, and I directed them to proceed there. Here a line was formed on the colors of the Twenty-fifth Regiment. It is due to Lieutenant McRoberts to say that he had reported to me that he had been ordered to retire by
45 R R-VOL XI