War of the Rebellion: Serial 016 Page 0808 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

eral Crawford's command, which, after engaging the enemy with much gallantry, had been compelled to retire. I arrived in the timber as Colonel Ruger was rallying his men, and added them to my command. The enemy were posted in the edge of the woods, on the opposite side of a newly mown wheat-field, which hore was about 300 yards wide. As I approached the opening, the enemy from his concealed position received me with a rapid and destructive fire; but my infantry, particularly the Second Massachusetts and Third Wisconsin, coolly took their assigned places, and replied with a commendable coolness. For at left thirty minutes this terrible fire continued. Companies were without officers; officers and men were falling in every direction from the fire of an enemy which largely outnumbered my brigade. Still there was no general falling back. Some disgraceful instances of cowardice there were, but these only served to show in bolder relief the majesty of the courageous bearing of others. The enemy having gained my right and rear, which by his superior numbers he was enabled to do without check from me, poured a destructive fire in this new direction. The fire from the front had not been diminished. It was too evident the spot that had witnessed the destruction of one brigade would be in a few moments the grave of mine. I had resisted the suggestion of a staff officer of the commander of the first division to withdraw when the contest seemed almost hopeless, but now my duty had been reformed. As the reports will show, I had lost more than 30 in every 100 of my command. I, therefore, reluctantly withdrew; assembled my diminished numbers between the timber and my first position, and fell back to the right of the line, which I had held since the morning. This position I occupied until relieved at a late hour of the night by troops from General McDowell's division. H had not driven the enemy farther than that. If he had anything of which to boast it wa not in the numerous dead, which fell before the rifles of the First and Third Brigades of the First Division. With my shattered brigade I occupied the front of the center of our "line of battle" until near daylight.

In conclusion, I ought, as I thus do, to mention the names of Colonel Andrews, of the Second Massachusetts, Colonel Ruger, of the Third Wising praise for gallant conduct. I by no means limit my commendation to the names mentioned. I would, if I could, add those of any commissioned and non-commissioned officers and privates of my command. The dead, the honored dead, speak for themselves; they gave up their lives for their country's sake. The survivors yet live for their country, and the wounded in their suffering may be cheered by the consciousness that all this, and more, they can bear for the cause of American freedom. Among the killed are Lieutenant-Colonel Crane, Third Wisconsin, and Captain Cary, Williams, Abbott, and Goodwin, and Lieutenant Perkings, of the Second Massachusetts. These are some of the names to be remembered as heroes.

I carried into action less than 1,500 men. I lost in about thirty minutes about 466 killed, wounded, and missing.

I refer especially to the reports of colonels of regiments, appended. My staff, Cap. H. B. Scott, assistant adjutant-general, Captain Charles F. Wheaton, and Lieutenant Robert G. Shaw, aide-de-camp, rendered especial service in my movements. I owe them many thanks for their labors and coolness under this terrific fire.

GEORGE H. GORDON,

Brigadier General, Commanding 3rd Brigadier, 1st Div., 2nd Army Corps, Army of Va.