War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0606 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

sixth took position on the right of the road, the Fifth Connecticut Volunteers on the left, Best's battery on the hill immediately in the rear. Ascertaining that the hills in front were picketed by two companies of the Tenth Maine and some cavalry the men were allowed to bivouac, but could not rest, being without blankets, overcoats, or knapsacks, and having little or no food.

During the night the enemy kept continually firing on the pickets

but me with such determined resistance that our line remained undisturbed till soon after daylight, when the Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers arrived on the ground. Before the men had prepared their breakfast the enemy drove in the pickets with a large force of infantry and artillery. The regiments rapidly formed in line, the Fifth Connecticut Volunteers deploying from column of companies in the face of a severe fire. The enemy attacked the center, pouring in upon it a storm of shot and shell, and at the same time moved three regiments to the left, menacing our left flank. They were met firmly by the Fifth Connecticut and Forty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, at the center and after a short but decisive conflict fled in disorder,leaving a large number of dead and wounded on the field. As they retired as section of Best's battery, under Lieutenant Cushing, poured in upon them a deadly fire of grape and canister, mowing them down at each discharge. They attempted to rally again as they moved toward the left, but received a volley from the Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers, which completed their entire rout.

Lieutenant-Colonel Brown, with the Twenty-eighth New York, moved rapidly to the left, and by skillfully disposing of his force effectually prevented our flank being turned. The rebel infantry withdrew to their original line on the hill, and made no further attack or demonstration on our position.

A heavy fog having settled over the ground the firing ceased on both sides for almost half an hour. As the mist cleared away the enemy opened upon us from two batteries, which was promptly responded to by our batteries, re-enforced by a section of Battery M, First New York Artillery, under command of Lieutenant Peabody. At the same time we became aware that the right wing of the division was attacked. The rebel batteries continued to shell the left wing, and although their pieces were well served our men stood firm.

I received orders from General Banks through Captain d'Hauteville to retire, as the right of our division was turned. I immediately gave orders to retreat. The brigade retired in good order, taking the right of the pike and a half a mile distant therefrom toward Martinsburg, the head of the column being opposite the rear of the other wing of our division.

We continued to march in this order to Bunker Hill, pursued by the artillery and cavalry of the enemy, near which place the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania fell into the rear of the right wing on the pike.

At this point the sick men and stragglers, who numbered about 50, while resting on the ground, were suddenly surrounded by three companies of cavalry and called upon to surrender, but falling quickly into line they delivered a galling fire into their midst; then, fixing bayonets, they charged and drove them out of the woods. The rebels left 6 dead on the field and we captured 1 prisoner. We were not pursued any farther by the enemy.

On arriving at the Charleston road opposite Martinsburg I communicated with Major-General Banks, and received orders to move on. We took the road to Dam Numbers 4, at which place we arrived about 10