artillery, dealing death to an awful extent, was unintermitted, while the greatly superior force of the enemy him to precipitate column after column of fresh troops upon my nearly exhausted lines.
About sunset Griffin's brigade, with Edwards' (regular) battery, arrived. The former I requested its gallant leader to move to the extreme right, that being the weakest point in my position. Some time elapsed before these troops could reach their ground, and as the enemy had advanced, only a portion of this force could be brought into action. Then, a short time before the close of the w engagement, the Fourth Michigan, Colonel Woodbury, relieved the Fifth Pennsylvania Reserves, whose ammunition was exhausted, and two companies of the Fourteenth New York joined the Rifles and the detachment of Berdan's Sharpshooters.
Edwards' battery had been left by Griffin in reserve, and late in the evening I turned it over to General Seymour, to be placed on his left. About 9 o'clock this well-contested action closed by the withdrawal of the enemy, with very heavy loss.
My attention was now directed to the cleaning of the arms and issuing of ammunition, to be in readiness for the resumption of the combat in the morning. This consumed the time till 1 a.m. of the 27th, and shortly before day I received General McClellan's order through you to withdraw my division and fall back to the rear of Gaines' Mill. This order, I confess, gave me some concern. Had it reached me at midnight the movement might have been accomplished without difficulty and without loss, but now it would be daylight before the movement-under fire, one of the most delicate and difficult in war, and now in presence of a superior force-could be commenced. I, however, went to work without a moment's delay. Meade's brigade was the first withdrawn, but before this was completed the enemy opened his fire upon us. His fire was promptly returned, and again soon became general along the line.
Now great caution became necessary to screen the movement from the enemy, but this was successfully done. Griffin's brigade and Edwards' battery were the next to be withdrawn. This was done coolly and successfully. Reynolds' brigade was next ordered to retire, keeping up a scattering fire with musketry and from a single piece of artillery. Thus the fire was kept up until all the artillery was brought out of action. Lastly, Seymour's brigade was brought out in the handsomest style. In fine, our killed had been buried, the wounded had been sent off, and not a man, nor a gun, nor a musket, nor a knapsacks was left upon the field. The different regiments filed past as steadily as if marching from the parade ground, and it must have been some time before the enemy we were gone, as no attempt was made to follow immediately.
My loss in this action was, as nearly as I have been able to ascertain, 33 killed and 150 wounded.* The loss of the enemy was heavy beyond precedent in this war for the numbers engaged. I learned from excellent authority while a prisoner in Richmond that General Lee's loss in killed and wounded did not fall short of 2,000. In the published returns it appears that the First North Carolina lost nearly one-half of its effective force and the Forty-fourth Georgia nearly two-thirds. Stonewall Jackson's artillery was in the battle, although his infantry was several miles to the right.
Where all so gallantly supported the honor of the flag it would seem almost invidious to particularize, but my thanks are particularly due
* See revised statement, p.38.