As they left their hiding place our men pursued, shouting and charging, until another ditch was encountered. The rebels, now in great disorder, scrambled over the second ditch, our troops still pursuing, until we arrived at the railroad, where the enemy was in full force behind the embankment. Here our troops received a severe check, losing over 300 out of 800 in less than five minutes. Still the men went onward, large numbers crossing the railroad and driving the enemy from their position behind the embankment; and now from the rifle-pits on the hill above a deadly volley was poured into our ranks from an immense force.
With about 350 men (my whole effective force), I was now compelled to retire or remain captive in the hands of the enemy. On retiring, I brought with men some 200 of the enemy as prisoners of war. Many of them were taken in consequence of their being unable to escape the impetuosity of our charge, and others were taken beyond the railroad from their rifle-pits, all other troops that had been sent forward in my front having left the field. On retiring, I was met be the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania, which was sent to my relief. I placed them near the ditch to cover our withdrawal. The enemy now rallied and again came forth, when the Fifty-seventh repulsed them most gallantly, it losing the services of the brave Colonel Campbell by a severe wound in the arm and side. The attacking regiment now reformed in rear of our batteries.
In the mean time the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania, Third Maine, and Fifty-fifth New York, which were stationed in the field to the right, supporting the Second Maine Battery, had a similar encounter to that of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania. The troops that had preceded my brigade to attack the enemy having spread in all directions to the right and left, attempted to break the ranks of these regiments in their retreat, but failed by the firmness of officers and men, who not only checked the retreating masses, but the enemy who were following were repulsed with great loss. The services of Colonel Leidy were lost to the Ninety-ninth by a severe wound during this encounter.
The enemy having now retired to their works, the brigade was relieved by Robinson's, brigade, which had come to our assistance. The brigade thus remained in position, alternating with Robinson's brigade, relieving each other in the front, until Monday evening, the 15th instant, when we again recrossed the Rappahannock and occupied our old camp.
I would call the attention of the general commanding the division to the fact that in naming regiments they were mere skeletons, varying from 200 to 350 men. Many of the regiments lost more than one-third of their effective force.
Before concluding this report, I may be permitted to mention in befitting terms the action of the officers, and men in my command; but, from the number of field and line officers disabled in such great proportion to the loss sustained, comment is unnecessary. The brave Colonel Campbell, with his arm still in a sling from wounds received on the Peninsula, has again been seriously injured by two wounds. This regiment was new to this brigade, and most brilliantly has it sustained the reputation gained by it one other fields.
The Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania was also new to this brigade. Colonel Leidy was wounded whole while his regiment was gallantly repulsing the enemy, and notwithstanding the severe loss to the regiment of its noble colonel, nobly did Lieutenant-Colonel Biles fill his place. The proud reputation of the State of Pennsylvania will always be sustained by the Fifty-seventh and Ninety-ninth.
The Fifty-fifth New York, also new regiment to the brigade, although
24 R R-VOL XXI