was much larger, and had halted near the junction to make his dispositions for battle. Our loss in this fight and retreat was about 75 men, but it is impossible to distinguish those killed, wounded, or prisoners. I have no doubt the enemy's loss was much grater than ours, as our fire was mainly directed upon their masses.
My men came in very much exhausted, but when the enemy appeared in our front we occupied our rifle pits and opened a very steady fire upon them. The engagement commenced at 4.30 p. m. and lasted till night-fall. You are familiar with all its general facts. The position of my intrenched camp, covering two principal fords of the swamp, was apparently the key to the whole line. For four hours the enemy made the most desperate effort to force their passage. Regiment after regiment was thrown forward for that purpose, but as often they melted away. The two sections of Captain Cooper's battery (B), Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, stationed in our earthworks, under Captain Cooper's command, were most bravely, skillfully, and effectively served, much of the time under your own direction. They drew the fire of the enemy's batteries, but the earth works and rifle pits gave great protection to the gunners and riflemen.
The casualties of the day were comparatively slight. Of my command 2 men were killed, 2 officers and 16 men wounded. The enemy's losses on our front must have been immense. Together with the Fifth Regiment on our left and the First and Second on our right we had defeated and repulsed four or five brigades of the enemy. But for the unflinching gallantry of these regiments our positions could not have been held, for the enemy could have struggled across above and below both fords and turned both our flanks. Two companies of U. S. Sharpshooters, Captain Drew and Captain Giroux, attached to my command during the action, behaved with great steadiness and delivered a most effective fire. As to my own regiment you were kind enough to express your own satisfaction with its conduct, and I can add nothing to such commendation.
At night-fall the enemy withdrew. Colonel McQuade, of the Fourteenth New York, reported to me near the close of the action with orders to relieve my men in the rifle pits, but I declined to be relieved except as to picket duty. My men slept in the pits at night without covering, having lost all their baggage at the advanced picket station.
At daybreak in the morning of the 27th I was informed that the army would retire at once to a new line on Gaines' Hill, and was directed to hold with my regiment and the battery the position I then held until that movement could be effected. I extended the Sharpshooters up to my right and left, to keep up the appearance of still occupying the whole line, and as soon as it was fairly light opened fire upon the enemy, who had advanced under cover of the night and planted new batteries within grape-shot range. Their infantry also came down with apparently undiminished force, filling the road toward the ford with a solid column. The fire of the enemy's batteries was much hotter than the evening before; so much so that it was impossible for the gunners to stand up to load their pieces. As long, however, as their ammunition and my own lasted we were enabled to hold the enemy in check.
A little after 6 o'clock a. m. we were ordered to retire as best we might to the main body, 3 miles distant. After leaving the intrenchments we were still obliged to go more than half a mile before escaping the range of the same batteries which had annoyed us all the morning. The movement was necessarily hurried, the enemy having outflanked