two companies, under the command of Major Dillman, who took position on the flank of the Thirty-seventh New York and did excellent service. The Third Michigan moved into the woods about one mile in advance of this camp on the left of the road, and by gallant fighting drove the enemy for more than a mile along the left of the woods into and through the slashing. At this time the Fifth Michigan came into the field and was conducted forward by myself, and with it I relieved the Third Michigan and placed the Third in reserve to the Fifth. About one hour later a portion of regiments of other brigades came up. I formed these on the left of the troops of my brigade into the timber. We steadily drove the enemy forward so far that I had serious fears of being flanked by the enemy, as they were driving our troops down the road and plain as well as on the right of the road.
We were at this time in the woods extending from the edge of the slashing below up the woods and on the left of the camping ground of General Casey's division, completely commanding his old camp and the earthworks with our rifles. I then passed down through the slashing some 150 yards, and found the Thirty-seventh New York Volunteers and Colonel Poe's two companies, under Major Dillman, in position and at work. On my return to the front I learned that Captain Smith, my assistant adjutant-general, had been killed. We held the enemy in check, and could have driven them back farther had the center and right of our line been able to have held their position. About 5.30 p. m. I discovered the Thirty-seventh New York moving to the rear. On inquiry I found they had been ordered to fall back by the general of division to prevent being flanked and captured. I then gave orders to the other regiments to fall back also, some portions of which did not get the order in consequence of the thick woods, but all did make good their movement to the rear and came into camp in order.
This brigade has suffered severely and is much reduced. The ground we fought on was swampy and thickly wooded. It was almost impossible to keep our lines connected. The enemy repeatedly attempted to turn our left, but by the exertions of Lieutenant-Colonel Stevens, Majors Fairbanks and Pierce, were as often handsomely repulsed. Colonel Poe's three companies, first concentrated, were sent by order of General Heintzelman to form a guard line across the rear of our army to prevent straggling. The balance, five companies, were reported to General Heintzelman, and went into action on the main road, under the command of Colonel Poe in person. These last-named companies suffered severely, as they fought largely superior numbers, for the particulars of which I respectfully refer you to Colonel Poe's report.
I have to say that the regiments of this command fought a hard fight in a most difficult and trying position under great disadvantages and against fearful odds. They fully sustained their former reputation as good soldiers and gallant men, and I am constrained to say did their part to secure a victory to our arms.
I have to make honorable mention of Colonel Champlin, of the Third Michigan Volunteers, who was wounded in the fight. Lieutenant-Colonel Stevens and Major Pierce, of the same regiment, did their duty nobly. I am pleased to add that Colonel Champlin's wound is not dangerous, though severe. I have to report the loss of Captain Judd, of this regiment. He commanded the body of sharpshooters. He fell at their head. This regiment's fire told fearfully on the enemy. Their sharpshooters raked the road and field with their fire.
55 R R-VOL XI