the Twelfth New York and Sixteenth Michigan to the right in support of General Martindale's left; but as the result proved, their services were not needed there and they returned.
The second attack of the enemy, preceded as in the first one by an attack on the right and center, took place at about 5.30 o'clock p. m. and was more severe, but so far as the result is concerned met with a like reception and repulse. I brought forward my two reserves and had the whole of my force engaged. Constant information was brought me from the skirmishers of any change. Constant information was brought me from the skirmishers of any change in the enemy's position. I was thus enabled to anticipate every assault. The Seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Reserve Corps was once sent to my assistance but was not used, and subsequently, at the request of Colonel McQuade, sent to his support, and while on the way stopped by General Martindale to assist him.
At the third and last assault, which took place shortly agger 6 p. m. and which seemed simultaneous throughout the whole line, all four of my regiments were engaged, occupying the positions as first noted. Finding the pressure terribly severe upon General Martindale's line, I moved a portion of my command by the flank to his support, changing the front of the Eighty-third Pennsylvania partially to assist in resisting the attack on General Martindale's front, and moving the Twelfth by flank, with the hope and endeavor to hold in check the enemy, who by their vastly superior strength and their overpowering re-enforcements of fresh troops had succeeded in breaking a portion of General Martindale's line without disgrace to any portion of his command; for no men could ever have fought better, braver, or more determinedly. In moving the Twelfth Regiment by the right flank a portion of the regiment gave way, the balance remaining firm, with the greater portion of my brigade, until surrounded and outflanked. At this time fell the gallant Colonel McLane, fight at the head of his regiment; also Major Naghel.
The various movements of the different portions of my command in detail are set forth in the reports of the regimental commanders inclosed herewith.
Finding it useless to attempt longer to hold the ground, ever effort was made form a new line in the rear and gradually withdraw the greater portion of the command form and deliver a fire with a bravery and gallantry worthy of better success while the enemy pursued hotly in overpowering numbers. Finding from the position and condition of my command, their ammunition being exhausted, I ordered Major Vegesack to withdraw the left in as good order as possible and place it in condition of safety. The enemy had cut my line while I was endeavoring to rally those that had broken from my right and from the left of General Martindale. So emboldened were the enemy by their success in getting on all sides of my command, that a regiment sent a flag of truce to the Eighty-third, demanding their surrender. This was indignantly refused, and the regiment expended its last round of ammunition in fighting its way out. A large portion of these succeeded in forming in good order on the hill in rear of the batteries, and with after fragments of commands, aided by the Prince de Joinville, Captain Hoyt, and Major Webb, of the regular artillery, and Colonel Roberts, Second Maine, two good lines of troops were formed with son degree of precision. The firing of the artillery closed the scene an saved us all from destruction.