War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0497 Chapter XXIV. CAMPAIGN IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA.

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proper front; then toward the left of the position occupied by the Federal forces. My arrival was most opportune. Not a regiment or brigade of the immense reserve held on that field was in effective proximity to repel the advance of the enemy at the point of their approach. The Seventeenth Infantry, leading, marched to the point indicated, followed by the Eleventh, Sixth, Second, and Tenth, and occupied the edge of the wood, through with a heavy force was adman ing against u. The line was formed with the Sixth Infantry advanced a little way in the woods. Here, coolly and calmly, my brave troops awaited a visible evidence of the presence of the enemy, when a volley was poured into their lines, with what effect could not be seen for the cover of underbrush, &c. It was replied to by a terrific fire of musketry. The firing continued three-quarters of an hour with no material decrease on the part of the enemy. One effect of our fire was notable-the enemy was checked. A New York battery, posted on a hill toward the right and rear of my brigade, limbered to the rear, and left its position at the very moment when it could have done excellent service. The enemy having disclosed himself in its front, the commanding officer may have received orders to leave; if so, they came at an unfortunate moment. The enemy's musketry was not sufficiently dangerous to drive him off, and he had the infantry support of my entire brigade. The brigade coolly delivered its fire until our loss urged a withdrawal. The enemy, finding himself checked here, dispatched a force farther to the left, with a section of artillery, threatening our rear. The Ninth New York Regiment of Volunteers, on the left of our line, soon retired, exclaiming, "It is too hot," thus leaving our flank exposed. This also urged the withdrawal of the left. Another volunteer regiment left our right after being engaged but a few minutes. When the First Brigade moved up within view I ordered the brigade to fall back. While this was being done the enemy opened on us with grape and canister, firing very rapidly; but few casualties were caused by it, however. The First Brigade advanced toward the right of the position left by us. My brigade fell back some 600 yards to Bull Run Hill, on the side toward Centreville. We rested here until orders were received, about 6.30 p. m., to march to Centreville. We reached Centreville about 11 p. m., and bivouacked for the night.

It is with the greatest pleasure I bear testimony to the splendid conduct of my command. It challenged unqualified admiration. I feel and acknowledge my indebtedness to the battalion commanders, and particularly Major Lovell, Tenth Infantry, commanding Second and Tenth, whose remarkable coolness in the action was encouraging and inspiriting, and whose assistance was only to be seen to be appreciated. I would recommend that his soldierly qualities by duly rewarded.

For details I respectfully refer to the battalion commanders' reports.

Loss in action of the brigade: Second and Tenth Infantry, 86; Sixth Infantry, 52; Eleventh Infantry, 31; Seventeenth Infantry, 48. Total, 217.

First Lieutenant John S. Poland, regimental quartermaster, Second Infantry, my aide-de-camp, was me during the whole day, carrying orders under the most galling fire to every part of the field where the brigade was engaged, and was conspicuous for his gallantry.

Second Lieutenant E. E. Sellers, Tenth Infantry, acting assistant adjutant-general, was with me during the entire day.

I would also state that I especially noticed Asst. Surgs. W. R.