front, and immediately commenced firing upon those of the enemy, who by this time had advanced within musket range, and were deployed along their whole front in large numbers and at very short intervals.
The information respecting the advance of the enemy as at first received was to the effect that the enemy were advancing from the left of the position occupied by my brigade. It was, however, soon perceived that he was not only approaching with a greatly superior force from that direction, but that they were also in equal numbers advancing on our front and on our right. Springing as it were from the bushes and corn-fields which had concealed them to this time, and making their first appearance within short musket range, a rapid and vigorous fire commenced immediately, and notwithstanding the vastly superior numbers of the enemy, every man stood his ground firmly, and the line exhibited an undaunted front.
The action now becoming general, it was apparent that the greatly superior force of the enemy would make it necessary for us to retire. The batteries on the opposite side of the river having been brought into position, opened a heavy fire with good effect upon the enemy though, from the close proximity of the contending forces, it was difficult for them to avoid some damage to our own troops. Some of their shot and shell struck in our rear, and some of the casualties of the day may be attributed to that source.
It was soon perceived that the command of General Sykes on our left was retiring, and they had reached nearly to the foot of the hill when I received orders to retire in good order, and to recross the river. I immediately gave the necessary orders to fall back to the regiments posted, as above described, on the left of the brigade, where I then was, and at once dispatched, on the left of the brigade, where I then was, and at once dispatched the orderly to convey the instructions to those upon the right of the line. I immediately followed him to prevent mistake. On my way thither I met Colonel Provost, of the One hundred and eighteenth Pennsylvania, retiring from the field, disabled by a severe wound in the shoulder. I passed rapidly on to the ground occupied by his regiment, and repeated the orders to retire in good order. This order had already been communicated to them by Lieutenant Davis, my aide.
The regiment, then under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Gwyn, had commenced falling back, but, owing to their large numbers and the uneven character of the ground, not without some degree of confusion. Lieutenant-Colonel Gwyn, although deprived of the assistance of the colonel of the regiment, and laboring under the disadvantage of having under his command a regiment, and laboring under the disadvantage of having under his command a regiment but little drilled, succeeded in withdrawing them from their perilous position, not without loss, indeed, but in a manner creditable to himself and to the character of his command, both of officers and men, for courage and coolness. They had advanced in the excitement of the contest from the cover of the ridge where they had first formed in line, and were exposed to a galling fire from the enemy, who were protected by a ravine in front of them. The brigade being thus withdrawn, the several regiments recrossed the river in good order, and with but little loss in crossing. A few, however, were fatally wounded on the passage.
After crossing, the brigade was reformed in rear of the Second Brigade upon this side of the river, but after remaining in this position for the greater part of the day, and no further attempts being made by the enemy with the view of crossing, the several regiments withdrew to their respective encampments.
It is difficult to do full justice to the gallantry displayed by both