Numbers 62. Report of Major Edwin Burt, Third Maine Infantry, commanding First New York Infantry, of the battle of Groveton.
CAMP NEAR FORT LYON, VA.,
September 3, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the service of the First New York Volunteers, under my command, on the 29th of August:
The regiment was formed in line of battle in rear of the Fifth Michigan and on the left of the Thirty-seventh New York, forming the second line to the right of the Warrenton road, near Bull Run. I was ordered to advance in line of battle as then formed, but to go no farther than the road, about one-third of a mile in front. After marching to the point designated the second line was halted, while the first line disappeared in a thick wood. Soon after halting I was ordered forward. I immediately put the regiment in motion and advance by a heavy force of the enemy. The regiment returned the fire with great vigor, driving the enemy behind the bank caused by filling a low piece of ground for the road.
After holding this position about half an hour I found that the enemy was swinging around my flanks, and had succeeded on the left in getting so far behind me that I mistook their fire for that of our own troops coming to my relief, but on turning in that direction I saw the error, and ordered the regiment to retire. About 300 yards from the first point of attack I reformed the regiment under fire, and held the enemy at this point for one-half hour. The men seemed determined not to be forced from the ground, but, the enemy getting around both of my flanks, I found it necessary to take a new position farther to the rear, while I anxiously looked for help, but none came.
Calling the colors about 200 yards farther to the rear the regiment rallied a third time and fought with determined bravery, but being overpowered and no assistance coming, I withdrew the regiment from the field and formed a new line. Receiving immediately an order to advance again, I obeyed, but after going a short distance received a heavy fire from a force so far superior in point of numbers that I determined not to fight them alone, especially as a whole brigade lay behind a fence a fourth of a mile behind us. I called the regiment out of the woods and endeavored to find the brigade, but meeting General Heintzelman's aide, he ordered me to take the regiment back to the fight again. At this time I had but 2 line officers and 85 men, but they were ready for the fray again. After advancing a short distance through a heavy fire and meeting a large force, I withdrew the regiment from the field and reported to you. About 4 o'clock p.m. I was ordered to the front with the Fourth Maine, the First New York taking the right. The command marched by the left flank across the railroad and formed in line of battle in rear of the Twentieth Indiana Regiment. The command was under a heavy fire at this time, but the firing was too high to be effective. After about half an hour the firing ceased in front and commenced on our right and rear, when our position was changed. Facing in that direction we were vigorously shelled by the enemy, but with little effect. A short time after sunset the firing became very heavy on my left, in the direction of the Fourth Maine. I