War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0324 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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distance and changed direction by the right flank, and lay down to await orders. About noon the fire of the skirmishers in front grew louder and near, and continued at intervals until about 2 p. m., when the battle opened directly in front with great fury and soon became general along the whole line. Soon after this the regiment was ordered by the general to change direction by the left flank and deploy and advance to a fence in front and to the right, and immediately after to charge over the hill to the support of the left of the First Brigade (Martindale's) but soon after fell back to its old position, from which it was soon moved up to support the right of the Third Brigade, and two companies (B and F) were moved to the left, and took position on the left of the Forty-fourth in the rifle pits. The regiment then moved to the left, but soon returned and was stationed in the road directly behind the Twelfth and Eighty-third and afterward moved to the left and took position directly behind the Forty-fourth New York. All the movements were executed under the immediate direction of General Butterfield himself, who was present, and at every part of his line, directing and superintending everything under a terrible fire of musketry and artillery.

After remaining here nearly an hour the regiment was ordered to move by the right flank to support the right the right of the brigade, which was severely pressed and exposed to a flank movement of the enemy, who had now broken through the line to the right of our brigade and were driving the regiments on our right in disorder before them. The regiment moved up to the right under a terrible fire from the enemy, who were now pouring over the hill upon us. The regiment was now halted, fronted, and poured its fire into the rebel ranks at close range. It then fell back a short distance, halted, fronted, and firing, and so continued doing across a small ravine and to another about 400 yards from its first position. It was exposed to a tremendous fire of musketry and artillery, pouring in grape, canister, and shell. Here the colors of the regiment were planted on the bank of the ditch by Major Welch, and the regiment rallied around it and fired 12 or 15 rounds, when Major Vegesack

of General Butterfield's staff, brought orders to move the regiment back up the hill to its old position. The order was received by Major Welch, who gallantly led back up the hill, where it remained until forced back down the low ground and into the bridge by overwhelming forces. It fell back slowly and in good order, but its loss was very great. Indeed, the greatest loss sustained by the regiment that day was after its second advance. The bridge had already been destroyed, but the regiment crossed the swamps and reached the opposite side shortly after dark that night, when it camped, but separated so that it was not all together again until morning, when it took up its line of march for General McClellan's headquarters and thence to Savage Station. Its loss in killed, wounded, and missing is 220-49 killed, 116 wounded, and 55 missing.* It is more than probable that most of those reported missing were killed or wounded, since only those were reported killed or wounded who were known to be such.

I am, general, your obedient servant,

J. V. RUEHLE,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Brigadier General D. BUTTERFIELD,

Commanding Third Brigade, Porter's Division.

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*But see revised statement, p. 30.

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