which the enemy had taken position, the batteries being on the road a little in advance of the line. Soon after my arrival our artillery fire was much diminished, owing to the exhaustion of the ammunition, and the fire of the enemy correspondingly increased. I therefore ordered forward the flank companies of the Seventh Connecticut, armed with Sharps breech-loading rifles, to open upon them. This order was obeyed with alacrity, and such was the accuracy and tremendous rapidity of their fire that the opposing battery was completely silenced and the enemy's infantry were able to make only a feeble reply. At about this time the two companies of the Seventy-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under command of Captain Hicks, which were embarked on the gunboat Water Witch, came up, and were formed on the left of the artillery, between it and their own regiment, where they did good service. When the enemy's fire slackened I gave the order to cease firing. As soon as this was done the enemy's again sprang up. I then commenced firing from the whole line, ceasing from time to time as theirs was controlled and again renewing it as theirs revived in consequence of the cessation of ours or of the arrival of their re-enforcements. During this time a considerable body of cavalry appeared on this side of the river, threatening our left flank. Colonel Strawbridge, whose regiment formed our left, promptly wheeled up two companies opened fire, and drove them back. They did not again advance during the day.
Shortly after the fire was first opened I endeavored to ascertain whether the river was fordable, and for this purpose directed Colonel Hawley, of the Seventh Connecticut, to cal for volunteers to examine it, and First Lieutenant E. S. Perry and Private Crabbe, of Company H, gallantly offered too perform this duty. Advancing under the fire of both parties they reached the banks, and ascertained that it is one of the narrow, but deep and muddy, streams common in this region, and that there was no possibility of fording it.
At about 5 o'clock I learned from the general commanding that, i consequence of the breaking lawn of the bridge and the resulting impossibility of effecting a passage across the stream behind which the enemy had retreated, he had determined to withdraw his forces, and I received directions from him to cover the movement, maintaining my position until dusk and until all the wounded should be carried to the rear. The general at the same time directed the Fourth New Hampshire Regiment, then in the road, somewhat in the rear of the front, to form a line on the left and retire slowly. In pursuance of these orders I remained in position till quite dark, and until the wounded were brought in and I received orders to retire.
Prior to the reception of these orders I had relieved the Seventh Connecticut, whose ammunition was nearly exhausted by the Forty-seventh Pennsylvania and the Third New Hampshire, which was still at some distance to the left and rear, in the position where I had posted it was brought back to the road, its right resting upon it; and the boat howitzer, under command of Midshipman Wallace, was brought to the front, when it fired the last discharge of artillery of the day. The regiments were withdrawn one after the other, successively forming lines to the rear to cover the withdrawal of each other, the cavalry occupying the road at charging distance behind the lines thus formed. On arriving at the first causeway I found the genera commanding with the troops first withdrawn, and received from him orders to proceed at once with my brigade to Mackay's Point and put the regiments in bivouac as they should arrive. On my way to this place, while still between 2 and 3 miles from it, I met coming up that portion of the Third Rhode Island