In the mean time the whole line had formed in good order, and were pushing the enemy from the woods and open fields. The requisitions made upon the corps would permit of no reserves, and it may be truly stated that, to cover the points threatened or pressed, every regiment (save Thirteenth New Jersey, held in reserve for a while by General Gordon) was, as early as 6.30 to 7 o'clock a. m. engaged with the enemy.
The enemy at this time had pushed his columns into the open fields in advance of a strip of woods, a few hundred ;yards wide, which extended along a gentle ridge from the brick church, on the Sharpsburg road, to the farm-house of J. Miller, and extending beyond in the same direction to a distance not discernible from my position.
In the rocky ravines of these woods, and in a considerable valley in the rear of them, the enemy covered his supports and brought up his re-enforcement. A prominent hill beyond was a strong position for his artillery. Into these woods, after a severe struggle of an hour and a half to two duration, we drove the enemy. A line of high post-and-rail fence on each side the public road between the church and the farm house before named, and rods from and nearly parallel with the inner edge of the woods, proved a great obstruction to our rapid pursuit, checking up our line until the enemy could bring up his strong re-enforcements.
All the regiments of this corps were engaged, and had been under arms from daylight, without food; still, they held their position, exposed) part of the time to an enfilading fire from an enemy's battery on the right and all the time to a tremendous fire of musketry and artillery in front. In the mean time Brigadier-General Greene, on the left, with two small brigades of his division, numbering only about 1700 men, had successfully resisted several attacks, and at about 8 o'clock a. m., making successfully resisted upon the woods where they abut upon the toad at the brick church before mentioned. These he gallantly held for several hours.
I greatly regretted that his repeated calls for aid could be answered only by sending the Thirteenth New Jersey, and subsequently the Twenty-seventh Indiana and the Purnell Legion, of the Third Brigade. Impressed with the importance of holding this position, I made several efforts with the importance of holding this position, I made several efforts to recall the residue of the Third Brigade of his division to his assistance, as well as to procure re-enforcement from other sources, but did not succeed.
At nearly 9 o'clock a. m., it being reported that a portion of the Second Corps (Major-General Summer's) was advancing to our support, I dispatched a staff officer to apprise him of our position and the situation of affairs. Soon after, the firing on both sides wholly ceased. Some of the old regiments had emptied their boxes of ammunition, and all were greatly exhausted by the labors of the day and of the preceding night. As the line of General Sedgwick's division appeared, the regiments of the First Division of this corps were withdrawn to the first line of woods in the rear, within supporting distance of several batteries, and directed to replenish their cartridge-boxes and to rest the men. A portion of the One hundred and twenty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers continued, however, to hold the woods near Miller's house until it was ordered, without my knowledge, to withdraw, by some officer unknown, to the commanding officer of the regiment. Greene's command had also the possession of the woods at the other end near the church.
General Sedgwick's gallant division and the veteran commander of the Second Corps were received by hearty cheers of our men. This