fire under which we were some little confusion necessarily took place, which was soon overcome by ordering the men to lie down. The deployment being completed, we advanced in line of battle for a short distance, when an order was received to face by the right flank. Here the enemy had an oblique fire upon us, and we lost many of our men; but the movement brought us behind a third belt of woods, which somewhat protected us, and we were marched through to the front, where we found the Forty-fourth on our left and the Sixteenth on our right.
The enemy's infantry was protected by a hill, and they laid completely covered by it, while we were completely exposed to their fire as well as that of their battery on the right of the infantry. Our loss here was most serious, and I ordered bayonets fixed and preparations made for a charge, as our fire could not be made to tell upon the enemy; but upon consultation with the commanding officer of the Forty-fourth, Adjutant Watson, Captain Hoagland, and other officers, it was deemed inadvisable to attempt the charge, as we had no support to warrant such a movement. An order was then given for the regiment to fall back behind a thin belt of woods and reform, which was obeyed without confusion; but the enemy, seeing the movement, brought all three guns to bear, and caused us serious loss.
I now received an order from Colonel Weeks through Adjutant Watson to fall back in good order to a piece of woods to the right of those occupied by us before the advance, as all the troops on the right of the Third Brigade were making the best of their way to the same place, but here the fire of the enemy was more sever than ever, as they opened batteries on our right, left, and center, and the confusion could not be arrested until we arrived behind our artillery.
Here we were met by General Butterfield, who in a few moments succeed in rallying and reforming the brigade, and we were marched off the field in good order. We now felt secure in the hands of our general, as we had previous proofs of his bravery and judgment. We were now marched to Centreville, which place we reached at 12 at night.
The next morning Captain Wood (my ranking officer) reported for duty, he having been sick the day previous, and took command of the regiment.
The regiment went into action with 16 officers and 336 men, and upon calling the rolls after the action 9 officers and 106 men answered to their names.
Before closing this report I must beg leave to mention by name a few of the officers who rendered me most excellent aid. Captain Root being wounded, we lost his assistance and advice. Captain Fowler, although wounded, refused to leave the field, and to Captain Hoagland I am under great obligations. To Adjt. George P. Watson and Lieutenant Oliver, for their coolness and assistance, I beg leave to return my thanks. To Lieutenants Estes, Bates, Behan, Auer, Smith, and Color-Bearer Fairnie, for examples of bravery and coolness and their encouragement of the men, the thanks of the regiment are due.
This being the first time I have had the command of a regiment under circumstances may I hope my conduct will meet with the approval of my commanding general.
I remain, respectfully,
Captain, Commanding Twelfth New York Volunteers.
Captain THOMAS J. HOYT.