War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0932 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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near the Richmond road. The guns at the redoubt had been abandoned for fifteen minutes. We were thus completely flanked and could hope for no support, for there was not a regiment of our troops in sight. Under these circumstances I ordered my regiment to fall back to the road in front of our encampment. Being still desirous of holding our position as long as possible, and seeing the danger of being surrounded was not as great as I had supposed, I ordered the men into the rifle pits again. They obeyed with alacrity. We held our position fifteen minutes longer, and retired only under imminent danger of being surrounded. The rebel flag was then floating over your headquarters; also in the immediate vicinity of General Casey's headquarters, on our right. The heads of the flanking columns of the rebels having thus enveloped our lines, and being exposed to a very heavy cross-fire, I deemed it best to have the men fall back under the best cover they could find. A large portion of the regiment rallied in the first piece of woods in rear of our camp, under command of Captain Clark, and formed on the left of the Eighty-first. Deeming the position insecure, Captain Clark ordered the men to fall back to the first slading and form near the rifle pits in front of Couch's division. At that time Major King took command and led this part of the regiment into the field in front od the rifle pits. What was done at this time I am unable to state. At the same time another portion of the regiment under charge of some of the line officers joined the Ninety-eighth. These advanced, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Durkee, through the woods at the left of the slashing, received one volley, and the whole retreated.

I collected the regiment about dark near its present encampment.

Almost without exception the line officers and men behaved well, but, getting scattered in the slashing, it was impossible to get the regiment together again.

During all the former part of the action there was the utmost coolness and confidence along the whole line, and the men fired with great precision, doing terrible execution.

Our loss, so far as ascertained during the day, was 10 killed, 58 wounded, &c.*

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

JONATHAN S. BELKNAP,

Colonel Eighty-fifth New York Volunteers.

Brigadier General I. N. PALMER,

Commanding Brigade.

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*But see revised statement, p.762.

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