lieutenant-colonel commanding the brigade, about 7 o'clock on the morning of December 31, 1862, my battalion, comprising 16 officers and 298 enlisted men, being one of the battalions of the brigade of regulars, accompanied that brigade into action.
My orders were to support and defend Lieutenant Guenther's battery (H), Fifth Artillery. While thus employed, Captain Charles E. Dennison, commanding Company B, and the right general guide, Sergt. Joseph Matthew, were severely wounded, and First Sergt. George F. White, of Company F, Third Battalion, was killed.
Subsequently the brigade and battalion took position in a dense forest of cedars, for the purpose, as was understood, of holding in check the advancing enemy, while a rearrangement of our own line of battle might be effected. We maintained this position for over twenty minutes, when we received the orders of the brigade commander to retire, having, however, achieved the result expected and required, but not without great loss-nearly one-half of the command, as will be observed in the annexed list of casualties.
During the subsequent days of the battle we were continuously under arms and under the fire of the enemy's cannon, and were moved from place to place wherever our presence seemed to be required. The last thirty-six hours of the battle we assisted in throwing up and holding intrenchments commanding the central portion of the field, the occupancy of which, owing to the heavy rains, became one of hardship and trial.
It affords me pleasure to state that there was not a single instance of cowardice in the battalion, and that both officers and men did completely and effectively their whole duty.
The names of the officers of the battalion in the engagement of the 31st are as follows: Major Frederick Townsend, commanding battalion; First Lieutenant Frederick Phisterer, adjutant of the battalion; Captain Henry R. Mizner; Captain Charles E. Dennison, wounded severely; Captain Henry Belknap; A. B. Thompson, wounded severely; Captain William J. Fetterman; Captain Henry Haymond, wounded slightly; Captain A. B. Denton; First Lieutenant M. L. Ogden, wounded severely; First Lieutenant H. G. Radcliff; First Lieutenant James Simons, wounded severely; First Lieutenant John F. Hitchcock, killed,and Second Lieutenant Wilbur F. Arnold. Total, 16.
First Lieutenant William R. McCleery, quartermaster of the battalion, was with the train, where he displayed conspicuous gallantry in defending it from capture with its guard and the sick.
I beg to call the attention of the brigade commander to the following enlisted men of my battalion, who were conspicuous for their gallantry in the engagement on the 31st: Sergt. Major John S. Lind; Sergt. Samuel C. Williamson, Company D, Second Battalion; Sergt. Charles B. Meredith, Company D, Second Battalion; Corpl. Sylvester S. Bartlett, Company C, Second Battalion; Lance Corpl. Paul Fisher, Company D, Second Battalion; Private William H. Maxwell, Company A, Second Battalion; Private Jacob Kline, Company D, Second Battalion; Private James McKenzie, Company B, Third Battalion, and James Hofler, Company C, Third Battalion.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major Eighteenth U. S. Infantry, Commanding.
First Lieutenant ROBERT SUTHERLAND,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Brigade of Regulars.