relieve the portion of the Twentieth engaged in the street leading to the left, and lost a number of officers and men. The Forty-second New York was ordered to advance by a street to the left, but, for fear of firing upon our own men, the order was countermarched. The One hundred and twenty-seventh Pennsylvania met some loss in crossing the bridge, but behaved in a very creditable manner.
The positions occupied when the firing was ordered to cease were held till late the night, when it was found that the enemy had retired from the buildings throughout the town. The brigade was relieved at light in the morning by the troops of General Sully.
Nothing transpired necessary to state in this report till about midday on Saturday, the 13th, when I was directed to form a second line of battle behind Colonel Owen's brigade, to support General French's attack upon the enemy in his work before the town. The One hundred and twenty-seventh Pennsylvania was temporarily assigned to Colonel Owen's command.
On arriving at the outskirts of the city (on Hanover street, I believe), I halted to gain the distance ordered, and to clear room before me, so as to pass the hot fire on the road rapidly.
While here I met Generals Couch and Hancock. The latter ordered me to charge the rifle-pits of the enemy, in column, up the road. I formed as broad a column as the street would admit of, and advanced the command, then less than 800 men, to execute the order. But, happily, General Couch changed the order after I had gone a short distance, and a line of battle was formed on the right of the road, with directions to charge upon the rifle-pits and wall in front of the enemy from that position. One of the regiments had countermarched, on starting, without my knowledge, and, in forming line, created some confusion at that point. The remainder of the line advanced rapidly and with good order for some distance over the hill, in the face of a heavy and well-aimed fire of infantry in front, and a terrible one of artillery against the night flank.
A portion of the Seventh Michigan, Forty-second and Fifty-ninth New York fell back, as did the Nineteenth Massachusetts a moment later. The Twentieth Massachusetts stood firm and returned the fire of the enemy, till I had, whit the assistance of my staff and other officers, reformed the line and commenced a second advance.
The firing having commenced in my line, it was impossible to restrain it, so that an effective charge was not expected. The advance was renewed in fine style by the whole line, but gave way from the left. The Nineteenth Massachusetts gained several houses near the enemy on the road and held them, losing 2 commanding officers-9 officers in all, and many men. The Twentieth Massachusetts showed the matchless courage and discipline evinced on the previous day. Further attempts to advance were hopeless. I reported that I could hold my position, and was ordered to do so.
The remainder of the day, till late at night, was spent under a fire of shell from our own guns as well as those of the enemy. Twenty or 30 men were wounded by shots from the former.
After midnight the brigade was relieved by General Sykes' division, and withdrew to the city. The Forty-second New York was detailed for picket duty next day. I know nothing of its operations while thus detached.
On the 15th, Colonel William R. Lee, Twentieth Massachusetts, arrived and assumed command of the brigade.
Nothing is required to be said in praise of the conduct of the officers