War of the Rebellion: Serial 013 Page 0340 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

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moment before the entire regiment had assured the general, who had visited it under a terrible fire and animated it to deeds of valor by cheering words, that he might depend upon its constancy. With such feelings I at once ordered the right wing to stand firm, and overtook the left before it had reached the river. I halted the columns, seized the colors, rallied the battalion with the assistance of Captain Conner, and in line of battle led it back under a murderous fire to its original position. I regret to report the commanding officer of the regiment and Captain Walsh, of Company e, fled across the river at this time, and did not join their regiment till the next day at 11 o'clock a. m. Scarcely had the regiment been reformed and advanced to its original position before the enemy was closing fast upon our rear and right in overpowering numbers and pouring into our ranks a most deadly fire. The regiment was at once ordered to leap over the earthwork and our its fire into the ranks of the enemy, now closing in upon us from the rear and right. At the same time the enemy had pushed forward a regiment not more than 100 yards to our front, now our rear. The

Eighty-third Pennsylvania and Sixteenth Michigan had quickly changed front to meet the attack of this regiment.

Information was now brought to me by our skirmishers that this regiment desired to lay down its arm and surrender. This information as to the desire of this to surrender, in addition to the fact that our skirmishers had already taken 20 prisoners and were just bringing in 10 others from this very regiment induced me to send out Captain Conner, a trusty officer, to ascertain the facts. At the same time I was impressed with the apprehension that the reason why this regiment so long withheld its fire arose from the fact that it had mistaken us from the opposite direction of our fire for its friends. This apprehension soon proved true. in the mean time the Eighty-third Pennsylvania and the Sixteenth Michigan, not being able to stand the deadly fire of the enemy from the right and rear, joined the Forty-fourth New York.

Now the enemy was drawing nearer around us, but still we poured into his advancing ranks a terrible fire. At this moment Major Von Vegesack, aide-de-camp, informed me that the general had ordered him to bring off from the field the remaining regiments of the order to retreat. I at once sorrowfully beheld the utter hopelessness of the unequal contest and ordered a retreat. The column had scarcely passed by the right flank from the rear of the earthworks and filed into the ravine running for short distance in the direction of the river before the regiment of the enemy in our rear discovered its mistake and opened upon us a severe fire, while along the entire right upon the crest of the hill the enemy poured into our ranks from both musketry and artillery a sheet of iron and lead. Still the column pressed forward across the long meadow, its ranks becoming thinner and thinner, till at length through marsh through and swamp and tangled under wood, dense and almost impassable, amid falling trees and bursting shells, it reached the river, and plunging in, waded to the opposite bank. In this retreat not less than 100 of this fragment of the brigade were either killed or wounded. Having crossed the river, I formed the fragments of the brigade in line and commenced the march toward the headquarters of General McClellan. When opposite the headquarters of General Smith his assistant adjutant-general informed me that the general desired the troops under my command to support him against an expected attack of the enemy during the night, and expected attack of the enemy during the night, and desired that I