in the morning. He accordingly left the regiment under the command of Major Richardson.
Immediately after crossing the river I received an order from you to leave my smallest regiment at the crossing as a guard to the three batteries following immediately in my rear and to move forward with the other two. I accordingly left Colonel Charles with the Forty-second New York Volunteers for that duty. At this time there was no firing in our front, but I halted a few moments to load, and soon after this the firing recommenced. I then hastened forward, quickening the pace to double-quick. On reaching the field I received an order from you to form my command in columns of divisions in rear of Kirby's battery to support the first line of battle which was then engaged warmly with the enemy, who were posted in a wood in front. I was carrying this order into execution when I received one from General Sumner to form in line of battle, and immediately afterward an order to prolong the first line of battle, already formed, by extending on the left of it, and immediately to engage the enemy. I may be pardoned a feeling of pride when I can report that the Massachusetts men, the veterans of Ball's Bluff, and the Western men of Michigan, as yet unscathed by fire, came into action with a bearing of which their States may well be proud, and before the movement was fully executed received a withering volley from the enemy's right at short range with steadiness.
No sooner was my position taken in line than I discovered the rebel force in a slight valley in front, where he found a little cover, extending his right to outflank our force, and my arrival was not a moment too early. After replying to his first volley I immediately advanced at double-quick, dislodging him and compelling him to take to cover of woods about 150 yards in his rear. Halting a moment to reform my line I advanced again to force him through the woods with the bayonet. We received only a scattering fire from him till we came within 50 yards of the wood (it being then dark), when we were again met with a full volley. At this time I compelled the Seventh Michigan, which was on the left, to cease its fire, changed its front a little to meet a corresponding change of the enemy, and then ordered a fire by company, which was well executed in volleys. This closed the action for the day, and we lay on our arms where we stood for the night.
About daybreak of the 1st instant the enemy left the wood in front of my position and renewed his attack, by turning our left and attempting to pierce through our lines between this corps and the one next on the left. Through the bloody operations of the day this brigade held its place on the extreme right of our position, holding the left of the enemy in check. This brigade acquitted itself, well and gallantly, so much so that I can hardly particularize, but justice demands the special mention of a few who came more under my personal notice. My two staff officers, Lieutenant Pierson, of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers, and Lieutenant Bishop, of the Nineteenth Massachusetts Volunteers, were remarkably prompt, active, and distinguished for gallantry. Adjutant Landon, of the Seventh Michigan Volunteers, severely wounded, was very conspicuous for gallantry and lofty soldierly bearing. Lieutenant Shafter, Seventh Michigan Volunteers, in charge of the pioneers, who was slightly wounded but kept the field, furnished beautiful exhibitions of gallant conduct and intelligent activity. Private John J. Brown,of Company G, Seventh Michigan Volunteers, who served with me as a bugler, was particularly cool and brave. I ask attention also to the names of enlisted men of the Seventh Michigan Volunteers mentioned for gallantry in Major Richardson's report.