houses and fences previously occupied by him were seized and held by my light troops (Third Infantry).
Thus far we had seen none of the enemy's infantry, none of the cavalry, and only the muzzles of his cannon over the crest heretofore mentioned. We were in profound ignorance of his position, strength, or designs. About 4 p. m. I was ordered to support an attack to be made by General Butterfield. This attack was based upon the supposition that the enemy was in full retreat-so announced in the orders of General Pope. Porter's army corps was to be the pivot of operations. The troops on our right were to swing toward us, clear the enemy in front (if there), and then, by a joint movement with Porter, we were all to hurry him up in his retrograde movement. The Pennsylvania Reserves, under General J. F. Reynolds, had been posited on my left, south of the Warrenton pike. Just previous to the attack these troops were withdrawn, leaving my left flank entirely uncovered and the Warrenton road open. Colonel Warren, Fifth New York Volunteers, commanding my Third Brigade, seeing the paramount necessity of holding this point, threw himself there with his brigade, the remnants of two regiments, and endeavored to fill the gap created by the removal of Reynolds.
Butterfield's attack was gallantly made and gallantly maintained until his troops were torn to pieces. My First Brigade, under Colonel R. C. Buchanan, U. S. Army, moved to his aid, relieved him, and became furiously engaged. The troops on our right did not properly support this attack, in consequence of which the whole movement failed. The enemy, posted in a railroad excavation, was as secure as earthen embankments could make him, and as our troops emerged from the woods they were met by withering volleys, that decimated their ranks. Their own fire was almost harmless against a sheltered foe. This advance of parts of Porter's and McDowell's army corps was on the left center of our line. The enemy, seeing its failure, and that our weak point lay on my left in front of Warren, poured upon his little command, under cover of the forest, a mass of infantry that enveloped-almost destroyed- him, and completely pierced our line. Out of 490 men in the Fifth New York Volunteers, 79 killed and 170 wounded attest the nature of this attack.*
It became necessary to retire from the ground we occupied. Buchanan's and Chapman's brigades did so in columns of regiments in line of battle under a sever artillery fire, and never wagered. Weed's, Smead's, and Randol's batteries moved with and near them. Warren gathered the remnant of his brigade in rear of Young's Run. I suggested to General Porter that my troops should occupy the plateau of the Henry and Robinson houses beyond Young's Fun, and endeavor to hold it against the oncoming foe. Naturally it was the strongest position on the field. He acquiesced in my suggestion, and during the movement to that point I remained with Weed's battery, that again had been brought into action near the Dogan house. After a short interval, riding rapidly toward the plateau, I learned from my adjutant-general, Lieutenant Cutting, that some general officers had sent Chapman's brigade into action on the extreme left, and that the plateau was held by other troops.
Buchanan's and the remnant of Warren's brigades were then formed immediately in rear of the plateau. The enemy continuing to outflank our left, Buchanan was ordered to the support of the forces engaged in
*See p. 260.