with this brigade by order of General Keyes, and was assigned an advanced position on the railroad. The brigade bivouacked for the night.
The next morning at daybreak dispositions were made to repel any attacks from the enemy. The Seventh Massachusetts and Fourth Maine were stationed on the right and left of the railroad in the advanced field, their skirmishers connecting with General French and the Thirty-eighth New York, Fortieth New York, and Third Maine in an oblique line across the woods and next field, connecting with General Kearny on the left. Skirmishers were sent to the front, with instructions not to provoke an attack.
Up to this time, about 7 a. m., General Birney was in command. He having been summoned to division headquarters, the undersigned, as senior officer with the brigade, received a communication from General Birney turning over the command. Considerable skirmishing took place in front with the enemy's pickets. Several of our men were wounded, including Lieutenant Walker, Thirty-eighth New York.
About 8 a. m. General Hooker with his division appeared in my front, and marching by the flank skirted the woods between my skirmishers and main body. As General Hooker's command disappeared in the woods to the front and left the heavy firing to the left of the railroad and in advance, which had been continued for the last half hour, now suddenly ceased, and a new fire was opened in the woods to my right and diagonally to my front. I immediately changed front to face the woods from where the fire emanated, and as the enemy advanced and their fire increased I gave the order to fire and immediately thereafter to charge. This movement was most brilliantly performed, driving the terrified enemy before them. This brilliant feat was accomplished by the Third Maine, Thirty-eighth and Fortieth New York. The enemy, now retreating to the opening beyond, were met by a destructive flank fire from the Fourth Maine and Seventh Massachusetts, stationed on the railroad. The rout was complete. An attempt was made by the enemy to rally a short time afterward, but it resulted in a complete failure. Our loss was severe for the short time engaged. A list as far as ascertained is herewith transmitted. While nearly 200 of the enemy lie dead on the field and a much larger number wounded, about 60 prisoners were taken uninjured. I hope to be able by to-morrow to give a detailed account of the whole affair.
I cannot find words to express my admiration of the conduct of both officers and men in the discharge of their several duties. I would also beg leave to mention the following officers, who conspicuously distinguished themselves: Colonel Staples, Third Maine; Colonel Walker, Fourth Maine; Colonel Russell, Seventh Massachusetts; Lieutenant-Colonel Egan, Fortieth New York; Lieutenant-Colonel Carver, Fourth Maine; Major Baird and Captains Cooney and Tilden, Thirty-eighth New York; Captain Gesner, acting major, Fortieth. Lieutenant-Colonel Egan was superb. Captain G. W. Mindil, assistant adjutant-general, particularly distinguished himself. His superior intelligence and activity were manifest everywhere. Would also state that the troops still remained in possession of the upper field.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. HOBART WARD,
Colonel Thirty-eighth Regiment, Commanding Brigade.
Captain W. E. STURGES,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.