These dispositions having been made General Peck ordered the regiment to take position with other portions of the brigade on the road running north and south across the Stage road, where the battle appeared to be raging fiercely.
After remaining here for some time under fire of the enemy's batteries, but without casualty, General Keyes approached and directed that the regiment should be moved by the right flank double-quick across the field and charge the enemy on the right. The movement commenced slowly at first, through water and mud from 18 inches to 2 feet in depth, over the timbers of a corduroy road displaced by the severe rain-storm of the preceding day and night, but on reaching the open field the full double-quick was acquired, the men closing up to their places in the style, and when the command "By the left flank" was given the battalion went forward in a manner rarely excelled on a brigade drill. Had this charge been continued we might have been severely cut up, but could not have failed to put the enemy to rout, as they gave evidence of a retrograde movement while we were advancing.
On reaching the line of the rifle pits the command was given from the rear to halt and commence firing. By the time a dozen rounds had been fired Colonel Rowley was down, having been struck by a ball on the back of the head, stunning him severely.
Captain Patterson and Lieutenant Kenny were shot through the body, and our men lay wounded and dying in the rear of each of the six companies that were in the line. A heavy cross-fire from the right and perfect storm from the artillery in front, together with the falling back of the wounded men from the rifle pits and the division which had previously occupied the front, caused the line to break, and all efforts to rally, combined with the encouragement given by the presence of General Peck, whose bleeding horse was staggering under him, failed. The men fell back, firing as opportunity offered, under cover of the timber in the rear, and were assembled at the intrenched camp near Seven Pines, which we now occupy.
The three companies detached at the commencement and two of the companies which had been on picket southeast of the swamp reached here the same evening; the other company early the next morning.
Our loss has been, as far as heard from, 12 killed, 48 wounded, 10 missing.*
Although it may appear like making invidious distinctions, I cannot allow the opportunity to pass without calling your attention to the gallantry of our colonel, who urged the men to do their duty and stay in the ranks after he was wounded; to Captain McLaughlin, of Company H, who told his men this was "the place to maintain the reputation of Butler County;" to Captain Patterson, who, as he lay bleeding, told his men to stay in their places and not trouble themselves about him until they had gained the victory; to Captain Fullwood, who, after directing his men to take good aim and fire low, stooped to administer Christian consolation to a dying member of his company; to Lieutenant Patchell, Company D, who repeatedly rallied his company between the regimental colors and the enemy; to Sergt. George W. Workman, color-bearer, who refused to allow the colors, when he was stricken down, to be taken by any but a member of his own guard; to Corpl. Joseph Hirch, who asked permission to carry the colors, and was killed in bearing them off; to Corpl. Charles Donahue, who brought the colors, per-
*But see revised statement, p. 761.