to their hips in water, the three temporary planks thrown across it not affording sufficient accommodation under such a heavy fire as we experienced. Immediately on the south side of the canal, and while yet on double-quick, we formed into line of battle, and marched, I should think, about 50 yards, up another slope, and lay down behind a regiment of French's division, to breath and collect the scattered. One minute or so sufficed, when we again took up the line of battle, marching over the recumbent bodies of the last regiment alluded to.
The Sixty-third, after a few paces' march, met with an obstacle which divided its center, causing the right wing to oblique to the right and the left wing to the left. The obstacle passed, I took charge of the left wing, and marched it by the right flank, or,more properly, a right oblique, in a run, to form in line with the right wing. Passed by General Meagher here, waving his sword and closing us in. By the time the junction was formed,we were in hot contest with the enemy, the skirmishers, who were in advance, joining in our ranks. The firing and loading, as far as my eye could detect, was executed kneeling and lying along our line after the first volley.
After being engaged, I think, three-quarters of an hour, I saw Caldwell's brigade advancing to our relief in a perfect line of battle; the two regiments of his brigade on the left that struck my eye were advancing nobly in our rear, and, when arrived on our line, some few lay down amongst our thinned ranks and commenced firing over our heads, but were immediately ordered to cross over our line, which hey did, only to fall back again in less than two minutes. I looked around and saw General Caldwell about 4 paces in my rear, ineffectually endeavoring to rally his brigade. A sergeant of the regiment pointed out to me our flag falling back. Two of my company were wounded alongside of me, one of whom I tucked under my arm and consigned the other to the care of another member of my company. With 7 men and these 2 wounded, I retired, meeting the colonel of the Twenty-eighth Massachusetts, with about 10 men of his regiment and one flag. We shook hands, he (Colonel Byrnes) remarking our brigade was gone, meaning cut up. I recrossed the mill-race, still bearing this wounded man with me, and followed by the other men of our regiment, under a fusilading fire from cannon and sharpshooters, and marched up the street on the sidewalk, then the right-hand one of the road we traveled, about 500 yards; and on a cross-road, to the right from the canal, we overtook our colors, in the hands of Sergeant Chambers, of Company I. Captains Sullivan and Gleeson and Lieutenants Dwyer, Quirk, Higgins, Flynn, and Daidy were there with 11 men. General Meagher was there on horseback, and said that this should be the rallying point of the brigade. In two or three minutes this place became too hot for us, so we marched down the street toward the position we occupied in the lower part of the city before going into action. On our march down, at the very place we had lost the 2 men in the morning, a solid shot came bounding over the hill and struck Captain Sullivan in the thigh (from the effects of which he since died), throwing me down, who was at his left elbow, marching a few paces at the head of the remnant of the regiment.
Major O'Neill was wounded, as near as I can learn, about the time I was rectifying the division of our regiment in the center, caused by the obstacle mentioned in my remarks, convenient to where we crossed French's line. Of this I am not certain, as nobody told me until we were relieved by Caldwell's brigade and falling back.
Allow me to state that loss of our gallant major was felt by all, and by no one more so than myself, for, indeed, he was a gallant and intrepid soldier, every prompt and brave, exacting, but kind and generous