the woods behind this point, in hopes of being able to establish batteries of howitzers, which, by canister fire, might soon check the enemy's infantry in their advance through the woods. But I found the ground unfavorable, being intersected by a deep ravine and the undergrowth so thick as to require more time to clear it away than we had before the action began.
The instructions given to Captains Brockenbrough and Davidson were to reserve their fire for the enemy's infantry at close range, and not to engage his batteries unless he advanced them to the support of his infantry, and then they were to concentrate their fire on the advancing battery, and not to fall back from their position so long as our infantry supported them. The enemy opened the attack by the fire of some twenty-five or thirty guns directed upon Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's position, and from about sixteen guns [afterward increased to twenty-four] upon our batteries at and near Bernard's cabins. The officers in charge of these batteries obeyed their orders, and the enemy's fire not being replied to, he advanced his skirmishers in heavy line upon the points occupied by the commands of Captains Brockenbrough and Davidson. These were soon driven off by canister, and the exact positions of our batteries being thus disclosed to the enemy, he directed a heavy artillery fire upon them, and advanced one of his batteries near a chimney in the center of the plain. This fire was replied to be our batteries, and soon two of the enemy's batteries were withdrawn and their places supplied by others of longer range.
About this time two of our rifled guns belonging to Captains Wooding's and Caskie's batteries were disabled by their axles breaking from the recoil of the gun, and had to be withdrawn. All this time the enemy's sharpshooters annoyed us greatly, working around to the right of Captain Brockenbrough's position whenever driven from his front, and pertinaciously readvancing whenever they could under the shelter of their artillery fire. Though they were once or twice repelled by canister when advancing imprudently, they were so well protected by the accidents of the ground, and so feebly opposed by our own sharpshooters, that they could not be entirely dislodged, and caused heavy loss in our batteries, both among men and horses. Captain Brockenbrough was wounded while gallantly discharging his duty, and Captain Wooding badly shot while acting as gunner to one of his pieces. Being badly supported by the infantry in their rear, after severe losses in officers, men, and horses, the batteries of Captain Brockenbrough's command were withdrawn, or they would have been lost so soon as the enemy seized the point of woods to their right and rear, as they did. The ammunition in Captain Raine's battery [commanded by Lieutenant [Charles W.] Statham was so defective [from the bad fuses, I think] that, none of their shells bursting, it was withdrawn and its place supplied by the Chesapeake Artillery, of three guns, Lieutenant [John E.] Plater commanding, while a section of Captain Latimer's battery, under his own charge, was sent still farther to the front and left. These latter pieces were excellently managed, and, though losing heavily from the enemy's sharpshooters, drove back their lines with canister, and caused them great loss by an uncommonly accurate and rapid shell-fire, as they were driven back by General Law's brigade in their attempted advance.
Lieutenant [George] McKendree, of Carpenter's battery, exhibited noticeable resolution and composure in managing his battery.
On the right the enemy, after furiously cannonading Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's position till they imagined his batteries crippled, advanced their infantry. One body moved toward the point of woods in our