which had taken position, from which, by its effective fire, the advancing lines of the enemy were driven back and dispersed from view in the forest.
While waiting in this position, the enemy's batteries to the front, along the turnpike and railroad, were throwing shot and shell upon our ground, by which Captain Dennison, Second Battalion, Eighteenth, lost his leg, and the heroic first sergeant, George F. White, of Company F, Third Battalion, his life. Other men of the brigade were also killed and wounded.
At about 12 m. the brigade, including the battery, was again directed to advance to the front along the railroad and turnpike, and, after reaching the farther side of the open ground, was suddenly directed to the right, to enter again the cedar forest, to sustain the troops which were receding, exhausted of ammunition. This movement was made in pursuance of orders directly from yourself and Major-General Thomas. The brigade being halted just along the edge of the forest, the battery was ordered to retake the former slightly elevated site near the railroad.
The brigade, having the battalion of the Nineteenth shifted, at the request of its commanding officer, Major Carpenter, from extreme left to position in line between the battalions of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth, was projected about 50 yards into the dense cedar forest toward the enemy, and, after allowing our retiring regiments to pass through the lines to the rear, the fire was opened in return to that of the pursuing enemy. The excellence of the firing by file by all the battalions of the brigade could not be excelled, and was terrifying and destructive to the enemy, who were brought to a stand for about twenty minutes.
During this stubborn combat most of our losses in killed and wounded took place; Major Slemmer, commanding Sixteenth, wounded at its commencement. The enemy's lines extending, however, beyond both flanks of the brigade, enabled them to pour an incessant fire from three directions-the front, left, and right flanks; and the brigade being unsupported by any other forces on either flank, and having secured the required time for the receding regiments to reform, I thought it proper to order a retreat, which was probably quite long enough deferred.
Just after the order to retreat was given, a regiment came up in line in the open field on the extreme right of the brigade, but its fire, though brisk, came too late, and was unavailing against so large a force as filled the forest, three lines being discernible.
It is proper here to remark that, notwithstanding the loss in the brigade had been nearly half its strength, the battalions evidently gave ground with reluctance, probably not having looked to such result, and being too much engaged to know the full extent of their losses. The retreat of the brigade across the open field was done handsomely, and with as much order as was desirable, having in view to prevent further loss of life. On this retreat Major King, commanding the Fifteenth, and Captain Douglass, acting field officer of the First Battalion Eighteenth Infantry, were wounded, causing them both to retire to the hospital.
The brigade was at this time reformed in line near the railroad, in proper place, to the right and left of the battery, as directed in previous orders, for the formation in line of battle, and in this position it remained the balance of the day and during the following night, within reach of the enemy's cannon.
In this last terrific combat in the cedar forest many brave men and officers perished; 4 officers killed and 18 wounded, and 78 enlisted men killed and 430 enlisted men wounded, exclusive of the missing.