longer see the enemy and his fire had become slackened we ceased firing, and I directed my men to sit down and rest. I considered it unwise to advance farther, as there were no regiments on our flanks and we were considerably in advance of the line in our rear, and were liable to be taken in rear or outflanked by the enemy coming up the road if we passed beyond it. We renewed fire several times, until we could see that the woods and camp in our front were clear of the enemy for a considerable distance, when we finally ceased, and they did not again appear in our front. Finding that our flanks were not supported, I sent to ask Colonel Brooke to bring up his regiment upon our line, which he did. Scarcely any firing was done after his arrival, but lines were rectified and the men rested.
A tremendous fire was soon opened upon us from the rear, which would have been murderous had we not avoided the balls by lying down. During this fire I dispatched my adjutant, Lieutenant Gregory, to carry information of our position and ask for orders, inasmuch as there was no enemy in our front for us to work upon. We refrained from firing to the rear in return, although it had been reported to me that the enemy were there, a report for which I could find no foundation. We lost few, if any, by this fire from the rear. On the return of Lieutenant Gregory, with orders from the general commanding the division for us retire, we marched off in perfect order by the road leading to our right and returned to the field whence we started. We were not again engaged.
Just before we started on our return from the front I plainly saw a body of the enemy advancing obliquely upon our right on the other side of this road, but we had cleared the woods before they reached our position. Our wounded who were left on the ground state that the position was occupied by the enemy immediately after we left it.
The regiment under my command calmly and faithfully performed irs duty. A few of the men sometimes commenced firing without orders, but my commands to "Cease firing" "March", "Halt" &c., were readily obeyed under heavy fire. A few of the men at times would crouch down during firing and shirk to the rear, but were brought up again by their officers, and were few in number. The greater part of the men stood firm and erect during the firing, and only stooped of went down when ordered to do so. I did not see one officer shrink or fail in his duty, and all deserve praise alike. Lieutenant-Colonel Masset, Captains Russell and Trenor, and First Lieutenant McIntyre, commanding Company C, were all shot dead while doing their duty firmly, calmly, and nobly. First Lieutenant Bergen and Second Lieutenant Bain, commanding Companies K and D, and their only commissioned officers, and Second Lieutenant Coultis, who took command of Company C after the death of Lieutenant McIntyr, and First Lieutenant Maze, of Company A, were wounded very early in the fight and obliged to go to the rear. Companies C, D, and K were thus left without commissioned officers, and were taken charge of my officers of other companies.
Our loss is over one-quarter our strength, as follows: Killed, 30-4 commissioned officers and 26 enlisted men; wounded, 76-4 commissioned officers and 72 enlisted men; missing 6 enlisted men, of whom 4 men and a corporal were attending to the wounded and taken prisoners in the discharge of their duty. The sixth man, Drum-Major Glodell, was taken prisoner while in the woods after the action was over. Making a total of 112.*
* But see revised statement, p. 757.