flank into the wood, firing as they went, and advancing the line. I directed Major Dawes to advance the right wing on the skirt of the wood as rapidly as the line in the wood advanced, which he did. This movement forward and by the flank I continued until the left wing rested its right on the crest of the hill, extending around the enemy in a semicircular line, and then moved the right wing into the wood so as to connect the line from the open field to the top of the hill. While this was being done, the fire of the enemy, who fought us from behind rocks and trees, and entirely under cover, was terrific, but steadily the regiment dislodged him and kept advancing. Ammunition commenced to give out, no man having left more than four round, and many without any. It was dark, and a desperate enemy in front.
At this moment I received an order from General Gibbon to cease fire and maintain the position, and the battle was won. I directed my men to reserve their fire, unless compelled to use it, and then only at short range, and trust to the bayonet. No sooner did the time of fire cease than the enemy, supposing we were checked, crept close up in the wood and commenced a rapid fire. I directed a volley in reply, and then, with three lusty cheers for Wisconsin, the men sat cheerfully down to await another attack; but the enemy was no more seen.
I held the ground until daylight, when I threw out skirmishers, and soon found the enemy had withdrawn in the night, leaving a few dead on the field, and a large number of muskets also.
Soon after daylight my regiment was relieved by the Second New York, from Gorman's brigade, who had been lying in the field, under cover of a stone wall, at a safe distance in the rear, refreshing themselves with a good night's sleep, after a long and fatiguing march of some 10 miles.
The object accomplished, and the time and place of doing it, speak all that need be said for officers and men of the regiment.
Our loss was 11 killed and 79 wounded; total, 90.*
I have the honor to be, respectfully,
EDWD. S. BRAGG,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Sixth Wisconsin.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
GIBBON'S Brigadier, HDQRS. SIXTH Regiment WISCONSIN VOLS.,
In the Field, September 21, 1862.
CAPTAIN: In compliance with circular from brigade headquarters, I have the honor to report that, early on the morning of the 17th, Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers, under my command, supported by the brigade, commenced the attack upon the enemy's left flank. No sooner was the column in motion then the enemy opened fire on us with artillery, and so accurate was his range that the second shell exploded in the ranks, disabling 13 men, including Captain Noyes, Company A. Notwithstanding this shock, the column moved steadily forward until it reached the wood, when, by direction of General Gibbon, Company I was deployed to the left and Company C to the right in front of the line as skirmishers, and the regiment immediately deployed and advanced to their support.
* But see revised statement, p. 184.