unteers, sent forward to support the pickets, broke shortly and retreated, joined by a great many sick. The numbers as they passed down the road as stragglers conveyed an exaggerated idea of surprise and defeat. There was no surprise, however. All the effective men of that division were under arms, and all the batteries were in position, with their horses harnessed (except some belonging to the guns in the redoubt), and ready to fight as soon as the enemy's force came into view. Their numbers were vastly disproportionate to the mighty host which assailed them in front and on both flanks.
As remarked above, the picket line being only about 1,000 yards in advance of the line of battle and the country covered with forests, the Confederates, arriving fresh and confident, formed their lines and masses under the shelter of woods, and burst upon us with great suddenness, and had not our regiments been under arms they would have swept through our lines and routed us completely. As it was, however, Casey's division held its line of battle for more than three hours, and the execution done upon the enemy was shown by the number of rebel dead left upon the field after the enemy had held possession of that part of it for upward of twenty-four hours. During that time it is understood all the means of transport available in Richmond were employed to carry away their dead and wounded. The enemy advancing, as they frequently did, in masses, received the shot and shell of our artillery like veterans, closing up the gaps and moving steadily on to the assault. From my position in the front of the second line I could see all the movements of the enemy, but was not always able to discover his numbers, which were more or less concealed by the trees, nor could I accurately define the movements of our regiments and batteries.
For the details of the conflict with Casey's line I must refer to his report, and to the reports of Brigadier-Generals Naglee, Palmer, and Wessells, whose activity I had many opportunities to witness. When applied to for them, I sent re-enforcements to sustain Casey's line until the numbers were so much reduced in the second line that no more could be spared. I then refused, though applied to for further aid.
I shall now proceed to describe the operations of the second line, which received my uninterrupted supervision, composed principally of Couch's division, second line. As the pressure on Casey's division became greater he applied to me for re-enforcements. I continued to send them as long as I had troops to spare. Colonel McCarter, with the Ninety-third Pennsylvania, Peck's brigade, engaged the enemy on the left, and maintained his ground above two hours, until overwhelming numbers forced him to retire, which he did in good order.
At about 2 o'clock p. m. I ordered the Fifty-fifth New York (Colonel De Trobriand, absent, sick), now in command of Lieutenant-Colonel Thourot, to "save the guns," meaning some of Casey's. The regiment moved up the Williamsburg road at double-quick, conducted by General Naglee, where it beat off the enemy, on the point of seizing some guns, and held its position more than an hour. At the end of that time, its ammunition being exhausted, it fell back through the abatis, and after receiving more cartridges the regiment again did good service. It lost in the battle nearly one-fourth of its numbers killed and wounded. At a little past 2 o'clock I ordered Neill's Twenty-third and Rippey's Sixty-first Pennsylvania Regiments to move to the support of Casey's right. Neill attacked the enemy twice with great gallantry. In the first attack the enemy were driven back. In the second attack, and under the immediate command of General Couch, these two regiments assailed a vastly superior force of the enemy and fought with extraordinary