Waterloo Bridge. We were ordered out to assist Milroy's brigade in burning the bridge. At about 4 p.m. of that day attacked the enemy on the opposite side of the river, to prevent the restoration of the bridge. The enemy's fire, which was very severe, both of artillery and musketry, was sustained by our men with great coolness, who delivered in turn their own fire with marked effect. At about 11 p.m. we were directed to cover the rear of the column. We then proceeded to Warrenton, thence to Gainesville, whence we marched to Manassas Plains, a little beyond which we bivouacked in line of battle. The men had no provisions, but I had hauled some fresh beef in the ambulances, which was cooked and eaten on Thursday evening at about 11 p.m.
On arriving at the ambulances, Lieutenant Riff, who was in command of a squad sent for that purpose, was told by Colonel Schleich that he should not take a God d - d bite of it unless the regiment marched back to get it.
On the next morning when we advanced the Sixty-first was posted in a wood on the right in reserve. A few moments afterward our skirmishers became engaged; then one and two companies, then five, then the whole regiment advanced, the Seventy-fourth being on our right. We advanced about 1 1/2 miles, pushing the enemy before us and driving them over the railroad, over which we followed them through a ravine and up to a corn field, where we in turn were driven back, but rallied at the railroad, which we held until relieved at 2.30 p.m. The severe firing here was very effective. At that time we understood that we were surrounded, and being ordered to make a bayonet charge, relieved ourselves from our position. We were then relieved. About one hour and a half afterward our men were repulsed, and fell back through the woods. We were again called up to form in line of battle and advance. We thereupon moved into the woods, and remained all night.
On Saturday at daybreak we moved more toward our left, and remained stationary until the firing of the afternoon began, about 4 o'clock, when we were again moved toward the center in reserve, which position we held till near the close of the battle. We were then ordered to support Milroy's brigade. We were then placed behind Reno's division, when General Schurz ordered us quietly to retire toward Centreville. On the way down we were retained an hour or more by two of Captain Dilger's pieces, which had been dismounted. Remaining near the battle-field till 11 p.m. we moved on, halting again for two hours, and thus proceeded to Centreville. There we were again formed in line of battle. Then we moved on the following evening to Fairfax, and thence to a position near the fortifications of Washington.
Through all these trials the regiment behaved with the greatest gallantry, being stimulated thereto by the bearing of Colonel Schimmelfennig and General Schurz, in whom the men learned to repose perfect confidence.
I cannot forbear mentioning Major Bown as having been highly effective, and all the company officers who were present. Edward H. Newcomb, quartermaster-sergeant, distinguished himself by his gallant conduct, insomuch as to attract the attention of the general commanding the division on the battle-field.
The following officer were to me unaccountably absent since the skirmish at Freeman's Ford: Colonel N. Schleich, Lieuts. George Leininger, James H. Bird, Rankin, Junkins, Edwin Hay, McDougal, Givens; also Sergeant-Major Grodizicki. I hope, general, that you will find it convenient to inquire into the reason of the absence and general conduct of the last-named officers.