After getting in the woods about 100 yards threw out skirmishers to find out our position and also the position of the Excelsior Second, which was reported to me as being on the immediate front of our regiment. I halted the regiment, still keeping skirmishers ahead, and sent Captain John Arts, who volunteered to go out ahead and to the left of our regiment and ascertain the position of the regiment ahead. He had been gone but about five minutes when we received a volley from the front, and then some of our skirmishers fired, when some men of Company H commenced firing without orders, which generally spread throughout the line. I succeeded in stopping the firing, when we got another volley, seemingly from our immediate front. We did not fire, but laid low. At the first fire from enemy or friend Captain John Arts was wounded by a round ball in the knee.
We advanced to a road running parallel with the edge of the woos, at right angles with the road running from our camp, halted, and here came on the person of the adjutant-general of General Sickles, who informed me that we had been firing over their heads, and that they also received a volley from the front. He went through the woods and ascertained the right of the Excelsior. he returned and I advanced. We lapped them about two companies.
After getting on the right of this regiment we received another volley, but did not fire. Shortly the Tenth Massachusetts came up and in front of us, when we got another volley. Some of our men fired and broke. We also had a rear fire of shell from some battery. Notified General Hooker, who stopped it. Here received an order to move to right 200 files and allow the Tenth Massachusetts to come in and occupy our place, we to take the right of them. Did so. Here sent out Company D as skirmishers to the front to edge of woods and met the pickets of Tenth Massachusetts, but nothing on our right. Notified General Hooker, who ordered me to skirmish front our right obliquely. Did so, and the report was that there was no picket on our right; that they had withdrawn on account of the shells falling among them from our battery. They came out with our company, C, who had been skirmishing.
Finding our pickets did not connect on the right, I had a company and half deployed to the front at this place. We joined with Richardson's pickets about 150 yards or so to the front; also deployed a part of a company on our right flank, to overcome surprise on that quarter.
It has been reported to me that Lieutenant McFeeters, of Company H, behaved very unsoldier-like in running to the rear and hiding behind a large stump. This was reported to me by Lieutenant Schlafer. I had a very hard time to rally his company and bring them to the front. No order was given by me at any time to fire, knowing the skirmishers were out and the regiments ahead, but at the fire of the men called out to "Stop fire," Don't fire," &c. Captain Maguire was fired on by some wood-choppers while he was out as skirmishers and picket. He returned a volley, when it ceased. The Tenth Massachusetts relieved our picket and then returned, previously being notified that we would be relieved soon.
I hand you a list of wounded and missing for the 25th, 11862.*
W. A. OLMSTED,
Lieutenant-Colonel Second Infantry N. Y. Vols, Commanding
Third Brigade, Second Division, Third Corps.]
*Embodied in revised statement, p.37.