The skirmishers soon found the enemy lodged in a corn-field and his advance concealed along fences and under cover, but rapidly drove in his advance, and the regiment moved up steadily in support, the right and center on and to the right of the Hagerstown turnpike, and the left across a corn-field. While advancing into the corn-field, Captain Edwin A. Brown, Company E, a good officer and a genial gentleman, fell, killed instantly by a musket ball.
The portion of the line in the corn-field was under the immediate command of Major Rufus R. Dawes, who discharged his duty in watching and guiding its movements with signal courage and ability. This portion of the line was soon under heavy fire, and drove the enemy from his cover.
The advance of the right wing did not discover the enemy until it reached a rise of ground in front of the barn and stacks to the right of the road, when the enemy's skirmishers lying along the edge of a wood running down in a point to the right of the barn, where they were lying undisturbed-the right of my line of skirmishers having failed to advance, either from a failure to hear or heed commands. [Sic.]
At this moment a piece of artillery which had been stationed in front of my left changed its position and passed into the road in my front. I immediately ordered the company in the road to advance to the summit of a ridge of ground a few rods in front and open fire upon the horses attached to the piece,with a view of disabling and capturing it; and at the same time I ordered Companies G and K, on the right, to advance and occupy a basin between two ridges, and a few yards nearer the enemy. So soon as this was attempted I discovered the enemy in force, lying in line of battle along the fence and across the field to the wood, at right angles with the road, his line being then within musket range. At the same time he increased his fire from the woods on the right flank. This rendered the advance impracticable, and I ordered the company in the road to lie down under cover of the fence. No sooner had I given this order, and while it was being executed, than I received i slight but painful wound in the left arm, but still was able to direct the right companies, G and K, to draw back their line under cover of the fence and fronting the road, which was being executed when faintness compelled me to go to the rear, and I was unable to rejoin my regiment until it had been relieved.
At the request of Major Dawes, who was in command during my absence, I have the honor to report that the regiment conducted itself during the fight so as to fully sustain its previous reputation; that it did not abandon its colors on the field; that every color-bearer and every member of the guard was disabled and compelled to leave; that the State color fell into other keeping, temporarily, in rear of the regiment, because its bearer had fallen; but it was immediately reclaimed, and under its folds, few but undaunted, the regiment rallied to the support of the battery. The color lance of the National color is pierced with five balls, and both colors bear multitudes of testimony that they were in the thickest of the fight.
The regiment remained in the front of the fight until they had expended nearly their last round of ammunition. The enemy broke and ran before their advance, leaving his dead and wounded in large numbers on the field, and the regiment pursued, and only retired again in the presence of a host that it would have been madness to have opposed with a handful of men, brave though they were and fearless.
In this advance two stand of colors were captured and sent to the rear in charge of a wounded soldier, and have become lost or fallen