there were none of our troops between the White Oak Swamp and a line parallel with and but 200 yards from the Williamsburg road. He had more than an hour before discovered this, and with sharpshooters concealed in the woods to the left and rear of the redoubt and rifle pits they had killed many of our most valuable officers, had picked off the cannoneers, and had killed from three to four horses out of every team attached to the First New York Artillery, and at the time of my return had driven our men from the rifle pits. No time was to be lost. Fitch's battery was ordered to the rear. The battery under Lieutenant Hart was next ordered to retire, but it was soon found that but after spiking the pieces in the redoubt those on the outside of it were in the possession of the enemy. By way of precaution I had ordered the prolonges to be fixed to the sections of Regan's battery still firing up the Williamsburg road, and ordered it to retire firing until in the abatis that crosses the road, and I then withdrew the Fifty-fifth under the protection of its fire.
This regiment had fought most gallantly, suffered severely, and contributed much in the end toward saving Regan's battery from falling into the hands of the enemy; and then, the entire field in front of and including the redoubt being in possession od the enemy, who had pressed to within a few yards of us, it being necessary to support many of the wounded horses to keep them from falling in the traces, at 5.15 p. m. we brought the last sections of Bailey's First New York Artillery from the field, the air being at this time literally filled with iron and lead.
Returning rapidly to my Fifty-sixth New York, Eleventh Maine, and Fifty-second Pennsylvania, my anticipations here were realized. Being successful in turning our left flank, the enemy had opened a most destructive cross-fire upon them from the pieces near the redoubt that had not been spiked, and this, with the fire from their immediate front, was no longer to be endured, and they were withdrawn and marched down the Nine-mile road, and placed in position in rear of this road about 300 yards from the Seven Pines, when soon their services were required.
In the mean while Colonel Neill, of the Twenty-third Pennsylvania, had come upon the ground occupied by Colonel Dodge, and induced him to advance in front and to the right of the position that had been assigned to him, whilst he (Colonel Neill) occupied that which the Fifty-second Pennsylvania vacated; but these dispositions were scarcely made before the masses of the enemy broke through, and a few minutes sufficed to leave the half of Dodge's command upon the ground and to force Neill precipitately from position.
The remaining portion of the Fifty-second - for it was now reduced to a little over 100 men-were conducted along the Nine-mile road to the Seven Pines, when, finding the rifle pits occupied, they took possession of a fence and some outhouses, and did most effective service. Afterward they crossed to the left of Couch's position, and advanced 200 yards into and along the woods to the left and in front of the Seven Pines, where they remained actively employed until near dark, when the enemy, advancing rapidly in masses to the rear of the Nine-mile road, inclined toward the Williamsburg road, sweeping everything from the field, our forces making one general simultaneous movement to the rear, which did not stop until all had arrived at the line of defense 1 mile that direction.
The Fifty-second, having their retreat cut off, escaped by passing