behind brush-wood on the road. The firing of the enemy became more and more fierce, and it seemed impossible to achieve any result. The position was kept, though, to the last moment. The number of the dead and wounded became larger and larger, and still there was no sign of help reaching us from the brigade in Princeton. not knowing either what had happened in Princeton, the fighting was broke off in good order and the companies were withdrawn. The retreat was covered by the companies in the rear.
After a motion backward of half a mile I took position on a rather steep hill, and there formed the companies, and believing that we were being pursued I had a part of the wounded brought there, leaving them under the treatment of the assistant surgeon, Dr. J. Schenck, who at once went to work to render them assistance. He remained with them when the column marched away, which was soon after.
It was impossible to return the same road which we had come, and I therefore marched with my command direct into the mountains, trying in some way to reunite with the brigade. To make this possible in Princeton was not very advisable, the enemy occupying a distance of 2 miles from the place. To reach the Princeton, Frenchville road was therefore at first my object. Without a guide we came into a road, and following this brought us into the first camp on East River. It was 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Hoping to find in Frenchville the brigade of Colonel Scammon I sent a spy out, but he returned after an hour with the report that the rebels had just taken possession of the place with a force of 800 men. In consequence of this we at once marched off, taking a farmer, who lived in the neighborhood, with us as guide, and into the mountains, without road or path.
In the evening, at 8 o'clock, a small plateau was reached, where I posted one company of the Thirty-fourth as pickets, taking the balance into a hollow, where I kept them under arms as much as possible until the rising of the moon, at half past 11 o'clock.
At 1 o'clock in the morning (Sunday, the 18th) i passed the road with the command unobserved 4 miles below Princeton, taking the road into the mountains. At 3 o'clock a. m. we took the Logan road and followed the same, thus bringing us around Princeton in a circle of abut 4 1/2 miles. Finally, after a tiresome march, we came upon the pickets of the Second virginia Cavalry Regiment, of whom I learned that the whole division was on the retreat. At 9 a. m. the camp ground of the Twelfth Regiment was reached, on which already a part of the train of the division had arrived.
It is difficult o give the force of the enemy against us in the fight of the 17th. They fired with all sorts and all calibers of balls, even with fire-balls, and hand grenades. The dead of the Thirty-seventh Regiment number 11, so many having been recognized, and 36 severely wounded, have been transported to Princeton, and left there in the hands of the enemy. Seven slightly wounded have been brought back to the regiment, and 18 are still missing from the four companies egged in this combat. The loss the Twenty-eighth Regiment is 5 killed and 10 wounded; from the companies of the Thirty-fourth Regiment 2 wounded.*
The march, a most fatiguing one, was made by all companies with great perseverance. Seven slightly wounded men were brought into the camp to Blue Stone River on dragoon horses.
Captain Messner, of the Flirty-seventh, deserves the raise of a
*But see revised statement, p. 508.