was to pass. The battery attached to Colonel Schimmelfenning's brigade was held in reserve. As soon as the two brigades, consisting of three regiments each, had formed four regiments in column by company in the first and two in column doubled on the center in reserve behind the intervals, the skirmishers advanced rapidly a considerable distance without finding the enemy. Arrived upon open ground behind the little patches of timber the division had passed through, I received from you the order to connect my line of skirmishers with General Milroy's on my left. I pushed my left wing rapidly forward into the long stretch of woods before me, and found myself obliged to extent my line considerably, in order to establish the connection with General Milroy, which however, was soon effected.
Hardly had this been done when the fire commenced near the point where General Milroy's right touched my left. I placed the battery of the Second Brigade upon an elevation of ground, about 600 or 700 yards behind the point where that brigade had entered the woods, a little to the left, so as to protect the retreat of the regiments composing the left wing, in case they should be forced to fall back. The battery of the First Brigade remained for the same purpose on high ground behind the woods in which Colonel Schimmelfenning was engaged, covering my right. When the fire of the skirmishers had been going on a little while two prisoners were brought to me, sent by Colonel Schimmelfenning, who stated that there was a very large force of the enemy (Ewell's and Jackson's divisions) immediately in my front, and about the same time one of Colonel Schimmelfenning's aides informed me that heavy columns of troops were seen moving on my right flank, and that it could not be distinguished whether they were Union troops or rebels. I then withdrew the reserve regiment of the Second Brigade (the Fifty-fourth New York) from the woods, so as to have it at my disposal in an emergency, and ordered Colonel Schimmelfenning to form one of his regiments front toward the right and to send out skirmishers in that direction, so as to ascertain the true condition of things there.
Meanwhile the fire in front had extended along the whole line and become very lively, my regiments pushing the enemy vigorously before them about one-half mile. The discharges of musketry increased in rapidity and volume as we advanced, and it soon became evident that the enemy was throwing heavy masses against us. About that time General Steinwehr brought the Twenty-ninth New York, under Colonel Soest, to my support, and formed it in line of battle on the edge of the roads behind a fence. I then received information that the columns which had appeared on my right, and which really seemed to have belonged to the enemy, had disappeared again in the woods without making any demonstration, and also that General Kearny's troops were coming up in my rear. Thus reassured about the safety of my right, and expecting more serious business in the center, I sent the Fifty-fourth New York forward again, with the order to fill up the gap between my two brigades occasioned by the extension of my line toward General Milroy's right. The Twenty-ninth New York remained in reserve.
Immediately afterward the enemy began to press my center so severely that it gave way; but soon rallied it again, and after a sharp contest reoccupied the ground previously taken from the enemy. It was about 10 o'clock a.m. when an officer announced to me that General Kearny had arrived on the battle-field and desired to see me. General Kearny requested me to shorten my front and condense my line by