till either victory or death should rescue them from the contest. It was a long and unequal contest, but as both officers and soldiers preferred death to retreat, determination and courage at length brought with them victory. It was unflinching courage alone that gave us the success of the day. The enemy greatly outnumbered us. His fire swept through our ranks like a storm of hail. Our banner was pierced by over forty of the enemy's balls. Four times the colors were struck down, and as soon as they fell they were again raised by volunteer hands. Our cartridges became greatly reduced, and we supplied our necessities by collecting those of the dead and wounded.
Often during the engagement the enemy attempted to leap the fence and embankment in his front, but was repulsed by our deadly fire and the effect of great cheering, which I often caused to be made by our line, to give hope to ourselves and terror to the enemy. Most of the officers during the engagement used the muskets of the dead and wounded with great effect, which added great courage to the men. In the midst of the struggle, when the road was filled with the dead and dying and the enemy seemed to take hope, information was received by me that our cartridges wold soon give out. Knowing that we should receive a charge from the enemy and be overpowered if we slackened our fire for a moment, I ordered the men to fix bayonets and be prepared for a charge, determined that no fortune should cause us to lose the day. For the space of one hour the struggle was desperate, used the water from their canteens to cool them, while many of our arms were shattered by the sweeping cross-fire, and many wounded soldiers loaded muskets through the contest for others to fire.
After the engagement had closed and before the surgeons had arrived on the field (they having been prevented by the enemy from leaving the hospital on the road to the rear), the wounded were tenderly cared for by their surviving companions, and the heroic dead were carefully collected together and becoming laid out in the field in line facing the retreating foe. This last act, after the smoke of the battle had rolled away and the contest was over, gave a completeness to the victory and a soldier-like chivalry to the scene, before the curtain of the night fell, which never can be forgotten.
The compensation for our great loss in killed and wounded (which exceeds 20 per cent, of the entire force with which we entered the engagement) consists in saving the section of artillery which was abandoned from the hands of the enemy, in saving the command of General Martindale from a certain repulse, and especially it consists in showing to ourselves as a regiment and to the army that true courage and patriotism, even in an unequal contest, are able to conquer and secure a victory.
In commending the brave conduct of our own regiment I would not forget to mention the equally gallant bearing of the officers and soldiers of the Second Maine, the Twenty-fifth New York State Volunteers, and those connected with the artillery, our companions and brothers-in-arms, who did their entire duty throughout the engagement. I would also gratefully mention those regiments of our own brigade who made such unwearied efforts to come to our relief, and who had the honor of following up the retreat of the enemy and taking a large number of his force prisoners of war. Nor would I forget to acknowledge in this report the kind hand of an overruling Providence in vouchsafing to our arms this important victory.
I desire to commend to the favorable notice of the commanding