front line of the brigade slackened its pace, and the men, without orders, commenced firing. A halt seemed imminent, and a halt in the face of the terrific fire to which the brigade was exposed would have been death; or, worse, a disastrous repulse. At this moment Brigadier-General Taylor came up in person, and rendered me timely assistance in encouraging the brigade to advance, and Colonel Bates, Twelfth Massachusetts Volunteers, whose ammunition had been exhausted, promptly complied with my request that his regiment unite with my brigade in a bayonet charge. By the strenuous exertions of the regimental commanders and other officers, the firing was nearly discontinued. The brigade resumed its advance, and as the men recognized the enemy their movement increased in rapidity until, with a shout and a run, the brigade leaped the ditches, charged across the railway, and occupied the wood beyond, driving the enemy from their position, killing a number with the bayonet, and capturing upward of 200 prisoners. These prisoners belonged principally to the Thirty-third North Carolina Regiment, including its lieutenant-colonel and several line officers, and were at once sent to the rear under a small guard. In charging over the railway,the brigade had necessarily become somewhat broken, especially as the Ninety-fourth and One hundred and fourth New York Volunteers had, in their eagerness to engage the enemy, broken through the first line of the brigade.
Leaving my aides, Lieutenant Scovile and Small, and the regimental commanders to reform the lines, I rode rapidly to General Gibbon, reported the success of the charge,and asked for further instructions. General Gibbon directed me to go on. On returning to the wood, I found that the enemy had rallied in superior force, and were vigorously pressing the front and flank of my brigade. I again rode to General Gibbon and requested support, to enable my position, and was informed that re-enforcements would shortly arrive. I applied also to Colonel Lyle, commanding the Second Brigade, and entreated him to return with his men to the assistance of my brigade, but could not persuade him to do so. While urging detached parties of men back to the wood, I was informed that General Gibbon had been wounded, and had left the field. General Taylor, of the Third Brigade, being the next senior officer, I reported to him the situation of the brigade, and was directed to withdraw it from the wood whenever its safety demanded it. Returning to the railway, I found that the enemy, in an attempt to turn the flanks of my brigade, were emerging from the wood in defiance of the shells with which Hall's battery, to the left and rear, and Thompson's battery, to the right and rear endeavoring to protect my flanks. In short, the position, which, with supporting brigade, would have been perfectly tenable, was, by the absence of any infantry support whatever, rendered simply murderous to my command. It was with real pain that I gave the order for the brigade to fall back. The officers and men received it with surprise and grief, and retired so reluctantly that the enemy was enabled to close upon the rear of the brigade and inflict a loss exceeding that incurred during the charge itself.
As the brigade retired, most of the wounded were brought from the wood and field, but the dead were left where they fell. On again arriving at the Bowling Green turnpike, I halted the brigade, faced it about, and reformed it in line of battle, and deployed the Ninety-fourth Regiment New York Volunteers, Major Kress commanding, as skirmishers, 40 rods to the front. The enemy, however, did not endeavor to pursue the brigade.