great slaughter, and then in turn being driven back. During the night both armies slept on their arms within speaking distance of each other, and certainly not more than 100 yards apart. It was apparent to all that on the morning of the 13th the decisive battle would be fought. I immediately made a pressing call for re-enforcements from the opposite side of the river, assuring Colonel Miles that at least three regiments must be sent to my relief during the night, or all must be lost in the morning, as the enemy were then on the mountain in ten times our number. So anxious was I to obtain re-enforcements, that, in addition to sending couriers twice to headquarters, I sent major Hewitt, at 11 o'clock at night, for the purpose of impressing Colonel Miles with the importance of having re-enforcements at once.
Colonel Miles reiterated to major Hewitt just what he said in his letter to me during the evening-"that re-enforcements should be on the heights by the break of day in the morning;" that he did not wish to remove troops at night, lest he might create a panic among the remaining troops at bolivar Heights. Notwithstanding these assurances, I did not receive re-enforcements until 9 o'clock, at which time Colonel Downey's battalion of five companies arrived.
On the morning of the 13th, about 6.30 o'clock, the battle commenced, with great fury, on the top of the mountain, about a mile from the lookout, and 400 or 500 yards from a slight breastwork, thrown up two days before by Captain Whittier, of the Potomac Home Brigade. Our forces were driven back, after two hours' hard fighting, to the breastworks, where they made a most obstinate and determined resistance. At this point the gallant Colonel Sherrill, of the One hundred and twenty-sixth New York (in command of the forces at the time), fell, severely wounded, and was carried from the field. This produced a panic, particularly in his own ;regiment, many of them leaving the field in confusion and disorder. The residue of the troops, either hearing or imagining from the general backward movement that and order to retreat had been give, commenced a precipitate retreat down the mountain; the enemy in the mean time taking possession of our fortifications and the lookout (having driven us by this time, about 11 o'clock in the day, a distance of 2 miles) on the top of the mountain. At this critical juncture Colonel Miles and his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Willmon, arrived on the heights, and witnessed for themselves the consternation among the troops, when I was making an effort to reorganize and induce the troops to return to the field, in which Colonel Miles and his aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Willmon, joined with great spirit and energy, but as fast as we forced them up one mountain path they returned by another, until all seemed to be lost. But after the efforts of Lieutenant Willmon, assisted by my aide-de-camp, Major Steiner, Adjutant Pearce, Lieutenants Bentley and Patterson, for one and a half hours, partial order was restored, and a portion of the troops returned to the field.
Colonel Miles acknowledged that he had been misled by his scouts and informers as to the number of the enemy in Pleasant Valley and at the entrance at Solomon's Gap, and told me repeatedly, both in private and in the hearing of his own aide-de-camp and others, that if my troops gave way again I must immediately withdraw my forces from Maryland Heights to Bolivar Heights, on the opposite side of the river. I have forgotten to mention that on the arrival of Colonel Downey with his battalion, he was immediately sent up the west side of the heights with his command, in addition to four companies under command of Captain Palmer, of the Thirty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Colonel Downey with his command made their way, thought all