which had just come up, after having been delayed on its route from Thoroughfare Gap by General Ricketts' command. Drawn up in three ranks, the front rank kneeling the rebels poured in an incessant fire, their line not only confronting ours, but enveloping us on each flank. As their brigades came up, one after another, while we received no re-enforcement the contest soon became very unequal, and after reforming several times we were obliged to fall back, the enemy following, until checked by a daring charge of the Harris Light Cavalry, which ended the contest for the night. On the following day, the troops drawn up in several lines to attack the enemy's center, my brigade was directed to keep 150 yards in rear of the line which preceded us. The brigade advanced until it came up to the line in front, which had halted at the edge of the wood, at which point we were exposed to a severe fire of shrapnel and canister.
We had occupied this position but a few moments when we were ordered by General Porter to fall back behind a line of batteries crowning the summit of a ridge some 800 yards in the rear. The movement was made in perfect order, the ranks dressing on the colors and keeping step as if on parade. We occupied this new position undisturbed for almost half an hour, when we were ordered by General Hooker we remained until dusk, losing several men from the fire of the enemy's artillery, but otherwise unmolested. The attack on the enemy's right had now failed, and all the troops in our vicinity had long since retired far to the rear. The enemy made no serious attack upon me, but our batteries, having obtained our range, were shelling us incessantly, under the supposition that we were rebels. I fell back 200 or 300 yards to get out of the range of our own shells, and was soon afterward directed by General Hooker to retire on Centreville, the whole army having been ordered to fall back.
In the first battle near Gainesville on the night of the 28th the officers of the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania and Seventy-sixth New York held the position with such determined obstinacy that it is difficult to single out individual merit. Much of the success of that battle was due to the thorough discipline maintained in these regiments by their distinguished commanders, Colonel S. A. Meredith, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Colonel W. P. Wainwright, Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, who showed themselves prompt to lead their men wherever the danger was most pressing. Colonel Meredith was wounded early in the action,and the command devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Hofmann, who on this as on every subsequent field was distinguished for his good conduct and bravery. Major Livingstone, Seventy-sixth New York, was also conspicuous for gallantry and the energetic discharge of his duties. on the ensuing day he was made a prisoner while planting a flag in front of the enemy and rallying his men around it. The Ninety-fifth New York,under Lieutenant-Colonel Post and Major Pye, was less exposed in the action of the 28th, but did its duty faithfully and well. The sub-reports which accompany this will show the line officers and others who were particularly distinguished in the different regiments. Of my own staff, Captain E. P. Halstead, assistant adjutant-general, Captain G. F. Noyes, commissary of subsistence, and Lieutenant B. T. Marten, aide-de-camp, won my highest commendation for their gallantry on every field. The latter in the conflict with Longstreet's division on the 29th August had his horse twice shot under him. Major Doubleday, of the Fourth New York Artillery, acting as volunteer aide, rendered excellent service in placing regiments in position and carrying orders to different to parts of