of the Twenty-second being on picket, the colonel had great anxiety, fearing their knapsacks would be left to the enemy, but by vehement urging we obtained an order to withdraw the men and saved them.
We now took up the line of march down the Chickahominy, the firing between General McCall and the foe having ceased. At Gaines' Mill Bridge there was some confusion, caused by an effort of several brigades of infantry and artillery, together with baggage wagons and ambulances, to get over one small bridge at the same instant. No directing hand was there, the only order appearing to be, "The devil take the hindmost." At or near noon we came to Watts' house, and soon thereafter I was ordered to deploy the Twenty-second in line of battle on the hither edge of a wood to the left and front of the house. It was an excellent line of defense, deep ravine running through the woods parallel with our line of battle; yet on the suggestion of Colonel Gove I still more strengthened our position by felling great pines and constructing of them and smaller trees a barricade. Before us on the edge of a ravine were posted the Thirteenth and Twenty-fifth New York, whom we were to support. The Second Maine was on their right, the First Michigan on their left, the latter supported, I think, by a regiment from the brigade of General Butterfield, which occupied the extreme left of the line, which extended through the woods to the Chickahominy bottom. Colonel Gove was very active, and caused a similar barricade to thrown up by the regiments in front of us.
At 2.30 p. m. the enemy's shells began to burst over our heads, doing, however, little injury. (And here let me say, by the way, that while a prisoner I was by the Confederates that they suffer little by artillery fire, especially when posted in the woods, our shells generally passing harmlessly over their heads. Query: Is a proper allowance made for the heating of the gun?) Fierce fighting was now heard on right, the scene extending as far as Cold Harbor. Presently a rebel regiment came out of the woods from the other side of the field before our position in the forest and charged toward us. They received such a warm reception from our first line and a section of Martin's battery stationed on our right that they broke and ran back to the cover of the woods. Meanwhile the din was incessant on our right, and soon three Yankee cheers told us that there the enemy had been repulsed also. Now our extreme left was visited by the vigorous assaults of the enemy, and they there met a similar fate. The battle raged furiously for two or three hours, the enemy making two distinct attacks (which I saw), only to be defeated. Everything looked favor able for us and much enthusiasm was manifested among the men. Congratulation were exchanged between Generals Martindale and Butterfield. The latter felt much pleased with his work, and rode up and down the lines, while the men cheered at the success of our arms. So strong was his confidence, that he re-enforced, that he re-enforced the line to our right, weakening himself.
I now supposed the enemy would abandon the field for the night, but such did not prove to be their design, for, forming in three lines, they made a final and desperate effort to break through our lines, and they were successful, but not until our weary men were trampled upon by the hordes of Jackson's army. The attack, I say, was desperate, and so was the defense. The noise of the musketry was not rattling, as ordinarily, but one intense metallic din. The sound of the artillery was sublime. The forces on our left began to give way by regiments. Individuals from our own first line sought shelter behind our barricade. The brave Thirteenth and Twenty-fifth New York, which had so long