o'clock p.m. Finding the river too high to ford we marched 3 miles up the river to Jameson's Ferry, where a boat was found capable of crossing 30 men. After throwing out a strong rear guard, I allowed the men to lie down and sleep, only awaking sufficient numbers to keep the ferry busy.
I am much indebted to Lieutenant-Colonel Chapman, Fifth Connecticut Volunteers, and Captain Bowen, Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers, for their untiring exertions in assisting me in crossing the men with the small means at our command.
At 4 a.m. the entire force having been crossed, the field officers of the regiments accompanied by the brigade officers, passed the river. The entire crossing was effected without accident or panic after a march of 43 miles without rest or food for twenty-four hours.
The commanders of the regiments, Colonel J. F. Knipe, Forty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who was slightly wounded; Lieutenant Colonel E. F. Brown, Twenty-eighth New York,and Lieutenant Colonel George D. Chapman, Fifth Connecticut Volunteers, and the officers and men of their commands are entitled to great credit for the courage and coolness displayed by them in the face of a superior force.
Owing to the untiring exertions of the officers and coolness and good discipline of the men I was enabled to conduct the retreat in good order and without loss.
I would particularly mention the gallant conduct of Captain E. A. Bowen, Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers, who commanded the rear guard and effectually protected our retreat. Lieutenant E. L. Whitman, of the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania, attached to my staff, alone carried the orders to the different regiments through the thickest of the fight and is entitled to my warmest approbation. Captain W. D. Wilkins, assistant adjutant-general First Division, who brought the order to retreat, was unable to rejoin the right wing and remained with the First Brigade. By his coolness and personal bravery he encouraged the officers and men and rendered valuable assistance, as I had but one staff officer present.
The train of the entire brigade, numbering over 100 heavily loaded wagons was brought safely through with small loss by the untiring energy and skill of Lieutenant C. L. Skeels, acting brigade quartermaster. The whole force of the First Brigade amounted to less than 1,700 men. The reported loss up to this time in killed is 3; wounded, 47; missing, 251. This will be materially lessened, as numerous parties have been heard from who crossed the river at different points above and below this place. The force of the enemy opposed to the left wing was nine regiments of infantry and two batteries of artillery.
I hope the First Brigade has done no discredit to the discipline attained while under you command.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Twenty-eighth New York Vols., Commanding.
Brigadier General ALPHEUS S. WILLIAMS,
Commanding First Division.