farther to the left, we moved by flank through them; went forward into line of battle in the field to the right of the road near the hospital; obliqued to the right to cross the railroad track, here excavated some 10 feet. When rising the opposite bank the enemy from two regiments poured into us a terrible volley out of the wheat field ahead. Instantly ordering the men to lie down and fire lying, we received their volleys and returned them as constantly for from ten to fifteen minutes. Nothing but the protection offered by the edge of the bank and the half position of the men saved us from severe loss. That our fire was destructive is proven by the statement of an intelligent sergeant of the right company of one of those regiments whom we captured afterward, that when the regiment broke but 2 men of his company were left standing. Here we lost 8 men.
The fire of the enemy slackening we rose, formed line to the right of the railroad, and advanced firing, the Ninth Massachusetts on our right, the enemy retreating, until we reached two houses, some 200 yards in front. The enemy now broke and fled into the woods to the left. We halted, and indicating to Lieutenant Hazlett,now approaching with one section of his battery, where the enemy had gone he unlimbered in the center of our line, two companies falling back 10 yards for the purpose, and dropped shrapnel around them until not a rebel was to be seen. The Thirteenth New York had while the battery was playing crossed from the left to the right of the road, and the Sixty-second Pennsylvania, getting into the woods on the right, had so far passed around as to be in our after the enemy had disappeared.
Darkness was now come. We then gathered up our wounded, placed them in ambulances, and sent them, under charge of our own surgeons,to the hospital. Under orders from yourself we returned to the spot where we had left our tents and blankets and bivouacked for the night.
I have great pleasure in alluding to the admirable conduct of both my officers and men. Foot-sore and exhausted after their long march and rapid pursuit of the enemy they returned to the relief of their overpowered friends, and advanced in the last attack with a spirit and style which were truly handsome. They opened the firing of the brigade in the morning and they closed with their firing the battle in the evening. The number of prisoners taken, which we handed over and hold receipts for, is 118. At least 30 more were taken by us in way through the last woods crossed, but which the sentries were obliged to turn over to other regiments.
I deem it proper to speak of the intelligent and efficient service rendered me through the day by your staff officer, Major Von Vegesack. I wish alto to mention that Lieutenant Burleigh, separated from the skirmishers of the Seventeenth New York, fought with my regiment well.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN W. McLANE,
Captain THOMAS J. HOYT,