in front. When I reached this ground it was already dusk, and the enemy's position could only be ascertained from the flash of their pieces I directed my men to watch the flashes and to fire low.
After we had been a short time engaged I found that the battery in rear of my right flank was firing canister, and aiming so low as to endanger the safety of the companies on that flank. Two men were killed and one certainly wounded by this fire. To avoid it I threw the four right companies to the rear into column, and kept them there until the battery ceased firing, when they were again deployed in line and engaged.
The firing was kept up briskly on both sides for about three-quarters of an hour, when the fire of the enemy sensibly diminished, and only a few shots were fired by them. Believing that they had concluded to withdraw, I ordered my men to cease firing, but to load. This they did, and set up a loud cheer. This seemed to provoke the enemy, who cheered in turn, and advanced out from the woods in force so near that they could be seen, and opened a destructive volley from the left and front. As they advanced I ordered the firing to be renewed, and so rapidly and steadily was it kept up that the enemy withdrew in haste. As they withdrew I directed my men to aim a little higher, so as to reach them as they retreated through the woods. Nothing more was heard of the enemy that night, except the slight noise of men collecting their dead and wounded. I should have stated that at the time my regiment took its place in line and commenced firing the other regiments of our troops ceased firing and rested in the field on their arms.
By the time the enemy had been driven away my men had fired away in a little over an hour 60 rounds each. Using the patent cartridge, they loaded and fired with great rapidity.
During this action no man left the ranks. The dead lay where they fell, and the wounded were laid by the file-closers just in rear of the line. The men kept perfectly closed up, and obeyed with alacrity every order. Of the conduct of all, officers and men, I can speak but in terms of commendation. It was most praiseworthy.
When the firing was through I found that the First, Second, and Fifth Regiments of this brigade were near by to support me, and my men having nearly exhausted their ammunition, I went to Major Holt, commanding the First Regiment, and obtained from him 10 or 15 rounds per man, which I distributed to my men.
I was then directed by General Couch to withdraw my command back near the edge of the woods, leaving outlying pickets on the line I was occupying, which I did, and then we lay on our arms until withdrawn at about 2 o'clock a.m.
My list of casualties, which accompanies this, is quite large-14 killed and 47 wounded, making the total loss 61 out of the whole number engaged-about 300. I have particularly to regret the loss of Captain Stephen M. Doyle, killed by a Minie ball, who upon this occasion, as before at Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, and in the action of the 30th of June, was conspicuous for his gallantry. He was an accomplished officer, an ornament to the regiment and to the service, and he fell as a true soldier falls.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Captain O. H. HART,