my command to General Hancock, I was ordered back to my original position, with directions to support my pickets and guard the position to the best of my ability, and advancing immediately I had barely gained my position when the enemy opened from his battery with solid shot and shell. Instantly our battery replied, soon causing the enemy to change his position, before which, however, the pickets on my left became engaged in a spirited contest. I immediately threw two companies into the rifle pits, and formed the remaining four companies under cover of a rise of ground on the left of the pit, to protect and cover the retreat of my small force, if necessary. The enemy did not advance, but fell back into the woods, ending the picket firing for the time, the enemy having, changed the position of his battery, which I immediately reported to the officer in command of our battery.
The same scene was enacted during the afternoon with the same result. About sundown the artillery ceased firing, and immediately a regiment of the enemy marched out of the woods on our right and opened a heavy fire on the Pennsylvania regiment on our right, which they returned with spirit. Placing my whole force in the rifle pits, every rifle that could be brought to bear opened with a perfect sheet of flame. At this time the officer commanding a detachment of 40 sharpshooters reported only an average of three rounds of ammunition left. The enemy appeared to be forming in line, with the apparent intention of charging. In order to save my ammunition, which was running short, I immediately ceased firing, fixed bayonets, and ordered the men not to fire but by command, which would be by rank. No more firing was heard during the night.
Near 1 a. m. the enemy appeared to be moving artillery and infantry in force on our right and left, with an evident intention of surrounding us. I immediately reported my situation to General Smith, who ordered me to strengthen my pickets and withdraw the reserve to the crest in the rear of the woods on either side of the road leading to the crest, where the balance of my force were secreted un position to rake the entire road as soon as the enemy should gain the crest, when the whole command would seek shelter behind the rifle pits in front of the camp of the Thirty-third New York Volunteers. Up to 9 a. m. on the 28th ultimo all was quiet, when I was relieved by a detachment of the Sixteenth New York Volunteers.
Strange as it may appear, notwithstanding the tremendous fire to which we were exposed, only one casualty occurred, which was the wounding in the left arm by a shrapnel shot of Corpl. George McKee, of Company B, which I am glad to report is not considered dangerous.
I cannot, in justice to my own feelings, close this report without expressing my high appreciation of the cool courage of officers and men, who entirely free from excitement, obeyed commands with all the promptness characteristic of a dress parade. To Captain Duffy, of Company C, I am greatly indebted for valuable assistance in carrying out my instructions.
Trusting that the above report will meet your approbation, I am, sir, your obedient servant,
SAML L. BUCK,
Lieutenant Colonel 2nd Redg. N. J. Vols., Commanding Pickets 1st N. J. Brigadier
Captain E. SPARROW PURDY,