getic assistance of Generals Devens and Naglee, Colonel Adams, First Long Island, and Captains Walsh and Quackenbos, of the Thirty-sixth New York, whose efforts I particularly noticed, I was enabled to form a line along the edge of the woods, which stretched nearly down to the swamp, about 800 yards from the fork, and along and near to the Nine-mile road. I threw back the right crotchet-wise, and on its left Captain Miller, First Pennsylvania Artillery, Couch's division, trained his gun so as to contest the advance of the enemy.
I directed General Naglee to ride along the line, to encourage the men and keep them at work. This line long resisted the progress of the enemy with the greatest firmness and gallantry, but by pressing it very closely with overwhelming numbers, probably ten to one, they were enabled finally to force it to fall back so far upon the left and center as to form a new line in rear. Shortly after this attack I saw General Devens leave the field wounded. There was then no general officer left in sight belonging to Couch's division. Seeing the torrent of enemies continually advancing, I hastened across to the left beyond the fork to bring forward re-enforcements. Brigadier-General Peck, at the head of the One hundred and second and Ninety-third Pennsylvania Regiments, Colonels Rowley and McCarter, was ordered, with the concurrence of General Heintzelman, to advance across the open space and attack the enemy, now coming forward in great numbers. Those regiments passed through a shower of balls, and formed in a line having an oblique direction to the Nine-mile road. They held their ground for more than half an hour, doing great execution. Peck's and McCarter's horses were shot under them. After contending against enormous odds those two regiments were forced to give way, Peck and the One hundred and second crossing the Williamsburg road to the wood, and McCarter and the bulk of the Ninety-third passing to the right, where they took post in the last line of battle, formed mostly after 6 o'clock p. m. During the time last noticed Miller's battery, having taken up a new position, did first-rate service.
As soon as Peck had moved forward I hastened to the Tenth Massachusetts, Colonel Briggs, which regiment I had myself once before moved, now in the rifle pits on the left of the Williamsburg road, and ordered them to follow me across the field. Colonel Briggs led them on in gallant style, moving quickly over an open space of 700 or 800 yards under a scorching fire, and forming his men with perfect regularity toward the right of the line last above referred to. The position thus occupied was a most favorable one, being in a wood, without much undergrowth, where the ground sloped somewhat abruptly to the rear. This line was stronger on the right than on the left. Had the Tenth Massachusetts been two minutes later they would have been too late to occupy that fine position, and it would have been impossible to have formed the next and last line of the battle of the 31st, which stemmed the tide of defeat and turned it toward victory-a victory which was then begun by the Fourth Corps and two brigades of Kearny's division of the Third Corps, and consummated the next day by Sumner and others.
After seeing the Tenth Massachusetts and the adjoining line well at work under a murderous fire I observed that that portion of the line 150 yards to my left was crumbling away, some falling and others retiring. I perceived also that the artillery had withdrawn, and that large bodies of broken troops were leaving the center and moving down the Williamsburg road to the rear. Assisted by Captain Suydam,