inactive, for speedily our whole line was attacked, from right to left by four times our number. We stood our ground, however, until our ammunition was nearly expended.
At this juncture I requested one of the Pennsylvania regiments, stationed directly in my rear, to relieve me, and I gave to my command the order to fix bayonets, when, to my surprise the Pennsylvania regiment, rising up to relieve me as I supposed, went to the right-about and retreated from the field in confusion. At this time, the right and left flanks of our entire army corps having broken, I followed suit with my own command, and finally rallied them in rear of the Reserve Artillery, some eighth of a mile behind our original line of battle. Here I remained until 1 p.m., when orders came for us to cross the Chickahominy. We crossed and bivouacked for the night, and, together with the whole army, left the following morning for the James River, where we arrived, after sundry forced marched and uncomfortable bivouacs, on the morning of the 30th ultimo. Here on the banks of the James River we went into camp, but were soon informed that there was no rest for the poor, wearied soldier, as the enemy was pressing us hard, and by orders from General Martindale we pressed forward double-quick on to Malvern Hill, so called. Here our brigade, being drawn up in line of battle in close columns of divisions near the southerly end of said hill, awaited the approach of the rebels.
The road of the artillery at this time was tremendous. The gunboats opening, however, the enemy retreated. Later in the evening I was ordered to the front, facing easterly, to watch and ward off any attack of the enemy from this quarter. About 10 o'clock the same night, however, we were relieved from this position and moved by General Martindale's orders to the rear. The following day, at about 2 o'clock, the enemy still giving us no rest, we were ordered, together with the remainder of the brigade, to defend the left, and in rear of Griffin's and other batteries we laid for three hours under an incessant and extremely hot artillery fire, both from the right, left, and front.
At about 5 the fight became, regiment after regiment moving forward to repel the enemy, who were charging our batteries, my command in rear of the First Michigan. I moved forward prepared to support them, but a regiment on the left of the battery being low in ammunition, Colonel Roberts, of the First Michigan, relieved them, and I advanced my command in his position. I finally defended the right flank of a battery under the supervision of Colonel Hunt, when, darkness ensuing, the battle ceased, and retiring a short distance we laid down for the night, but at 1 o'clock we were ordered to moved, and through rain and mud, after a forced march, I arrived at our present location.
During the last seven days of trial, danger, and fatigue I cannot but express myself perfectly satisfied with my own command, and would respectfully call the attention of the commanding general to the fact that they were obliged to leave behind their knapsacks and
all the effects available to a soldier excepting muskets and ammunition.
Very respectfully, yours,
CHAS. W. ROBERTS,
Colonel Second Maine.
Captain CHARLES J. POWERS,
Asst. Adjt. General, First Brigade, Morell's Division.