The regiments sprang forward the enemy with a tremendous yell. In our way was a high worm fence, which cut our former line of battle, but the boys sprang over it into the same inclosure with the enemy, where we formed and renewed the fight. The battle now raged with great fury and the firing was much hotter than before. Spratt's battery during this time had kept up a lively fire in the same direction.
At about 3 p. m. the enemy, being largely re-enforced, pressed us in front and flank, and seeing that we could not hold our position much longer unless re-enforced, I dispatched an officer to General Casey for that purpose. The colonel of the One hundredth New York being killed; the colonel of the One hundred and fourth being severely wounded; the major mortally wounded; the lieutenant-colonel being absent; half of our men having fallen killed or wounded; the enemy, ten times our number, being within a few feet of us, one of them striking Sergeant Porter, the left guide of the One hundred and fourth, over the neck with his musket; several of the Eleventh Maine being bayoneted; receiving no re-enforcements, we were ordered with Spratt's battery to retire, but unfortunately, the horses of one of the pieces being killed, we were compelled to abandon that piece.
The enemy endeavored to follow up this success, and was advancing in closed columns, when, our troops being sufficiently withdrawn, Colonel Bailey, of the First New York Artillery, at my request, directed the fire of the batteries of Fitch and Bates, situated in and near the redoubt, to be concentrated upon the advancing mass. At every discharge of grape and canister wide gaps were opened in his ranks, which were filled as soon as opened. Still he pressed on until, after many trials, with immense loss, finding that he was advancing into the very jaws of death, with sullen hesitation he concluded to desist at this point.
Congratulating Colonel Bailey upon his gallant conduct and good services as above described, and suggesting that, in the event of being compelled to abandon another piece, he should instruct his gunners to spike before leaving it, he went into the redoubt to give these orders, when he was shot by a rifle-ball through the forehead and died a few minutes after, the State losing a gallant soldier and his artillerymen a friend to whom they were entirely devoted.
Soon after this Major Van Valkenburgh, of the same artillery, was killed by a rifle-ball whilst actively engaged in working these batteries, and but a little while after Lieutenant Rumsey, the adjutant, in the same manner. All the field and staff officers being killed, I assumed the direction of the batteries composing the First New York Artillery.
No re-enforcements having been sent to us, and desirous of following up the success above referred to, about 3.30 p. m. I rode to the rear and led up the Fifty-fifth New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Thourot, and placed it in line perpendicular to the Williamsburg road, about 50 yards in advance of the redoubt, the left resting a short distance from the road. Before getting into position they were compelled to march over the bodies of their killed and wounded comrades, and soon afterward found themselves fully engaged.
Leaving the Fifty-fifth, my attention was directed toward the right, where I found the Fifty-sixth New York with the Eleventh Maine, who after four hours' contest had fallen back about 400 yards, and were again placed by me at 4.10 o'clock in a depression in the ground about 300 yards in front of the Nine-mile road. Near by I found the Fifty-second Pennsylvania, which had been ordered from the right, and I placed them in echelon to the right and front of the Fifty-sixth, with the right resting upon and in rear of a large pond.
At this time the fire here had considerable slackened, but was increasing on the left. Returning in about an hour to the left I found the Fifty-fifth engage to their utmost extent, and ascertained for the first time that the enemy had discovered, what I had long feared, that