War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0307 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

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order: The Sixty-eighth New York, under Lieutenant-Colonel Kleefisch, on the right; the Seventy-third Pennsylvania, Lieutenant-Colonel Muhlec, on the left; the Twenty-ninth New York in the center, Major Hartman commanding. The firing up to 2 o'clock p.m. had been of little account, but soon afterward became heavier by degrees. The enemy had crowned the plateau (a little over a mile in front of our division) with numerous batteries, and now opened a fire which soon became truly terrific. General Morell's division, which was massed in front and nearest the rebel batteries, were soon forced to withdraw from the open plain and to seck shelter in the rear of the woods to their right. The enemy's firing was splendid; their range perfect. As soon as our first line had withdrawn the rebels opened on the heavy, bodies of infantry, massed about 400 yards more to the rear, and of which General Schurz' division constituted a part. It was then about 3 o'clock p.m. Our batteries were unable to silence the enemy's raking concentrating fire. Our loss here was heavy through shot and shell.

In the mean while the firing on our left (woody hills) had become extremely heavy. McDowell's troops, which ad been ordered up to the extreme left of our line of battle, after a very short contest, lasting not over half an hour, were retiring from their position, abandoning the woods to the enemy, who at once poured heavy masses of infantry into them, seconded by artillery. A part of Major-General Sigel's army corps (General Stahel's) had already been ordered up to the left to re-enforce McDowell, but found themselves on reaching the top of the hill in front of an overpowering enemy, whom they bravely engaged. At this moment Major-General Sigel, Brigadier-General Schurz, commanding division, with staff, came up at full speed in front of the First Brigade, and ordered its three regiments up at once to the assistance of General Stahel. I marched my regiment by the left flank, followed by the Twenty-ninth New York in the center and Sixty-eighth New York on the right. We reached the top of the hill under a terrific shower of shell, solid shot, chain, &c. I deployed at once. The enemy was right in front, advancing slowly but steadily in deep, dense masses. A galling fire commenced from both sides. To our left where we found the De Kalb regiment isolated from their brigade, a battery of some other corps d'armee had been abandoned. The last-named regiment, which General Stahel had wished Colonel Koltes to take under his temporary command (it being too far off from his main body), endeavored to save the cannons, but in vain. The enemy by this time had brought up and posted near the border of the woods (south-southwest of our brigade) two sections of artillery, which, from a distance of scarcely 200 yards, covered my own regiment as well as the other with a perfect shower of projectiles. It was at that supreme moment that the brave Colonel Koltes rode up to the front of his brigade, and swinging his sword high in the air, while ordering his command to take that rebel battery, that a fragment of a shell killed both horse and rider. A rush was made toward the rebel cannons. Some of my men with Second Lieutenant Kennedy, Company F, reached the pieces, but were unsupported, surrounded, and the lieutenant made a prisoner. He escaped a few moments afterward, a man of Company D, Seventy-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, killing the rebel who had made in a prisoner. The terrain was most unfavorable for deploying, being surrounded right and left by woods, with a deep ravine in the rear, and forming a kind of clearing not more than two acres in length.

The combat here raged fierce and terrible for about half an hour,