was unable to send them, to apply to General Thomas, or anybody else whom he might see in command of troops, for assistance.
My whole command held their ground until the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-seventh had fired away not only their own ammunition, but that of their own dead and wounded, which in some cases was handed to them by their officers. When these regiments had ceased firing, the enemy, in column doubled on the center, bore down in mass from behind the hill upon the left of the Twenty-eighth and right of the Thirty-third, and the power of numbers forced them entirely across the railroad. The Twenty-eighth and Thirty-seventh, being flanked right and left, fell back in an orderly manner, and were resupplied with ammunition. A well-directed volley from the Thirty-third checked the enemy for a time, and Colonel Avery ordered a charge, but, being unsupported on his right, he countermanded the order and withdrew his regiment into the woods, about 75 yards from the railroad. The Eighteenth Regiment then fell back about 100 yards, the right companies firing into the foe until he reached the woods in the pursuit. The Seventh, being on the left, fell back about 50 yards in perfect order. During the greater part of the engagement the enemy's artillery played upon the woods in our rear. While awaiting re-enforcements, I sent my aide, Lieutenant Lane, to the left to tell Lieutenant-Colonel Hill, if he could possibly be spared, to come to the assistance of my right, as it was heavily pressed. The right, however, was forced to fall back before the order could be delivered. General Thomas came to my assistance, but too late to save my line. He encountered the enemy in the edge of the woods, drove them back, and, with the Eighteenth and Seventh Regiments of my brigade on his left, chased them to their first position. The Thirty-third, in accordance with orders, held the position in the woods to which it had fallen back until I could move up the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-seventh, when all again resumed their positions on the railroad.
That night the whole brigade was aligned on the track, and skirmishers thrown forward preparatory to a general advance. After this order was countermanded, my command rested on their arms until morning, when, having already been on duty upward of forty-eight hours, there was heavy skirmishing along my whole front, a number of men being killed and wounded.
We formed a portion of the second line on Monday, and, as we occupied an exposed position, the men soon constructed a very good temporary breastwork of logs, bush, and dirt, behind which they rested until Tuesday morning, when it was ascertained that the enemy had all recrossed the Rappahannock.
I cannot speak in too high terms of the gallantry of Colonels [C. M.] Avery, [W. M.] Barbour, [S. D.] Lowe, and [T. J.] Purdie, and Lieutenant-Colonel [J. L.] Hill. They all commanded their regiments with bravery, and to my entire satisfaction. Colonel Purdie was slightly wounded. Colonel Barbour received a painful wound on the neck, which for a time paralyzed his right arm, but he reported for duty again on Tuesday. The other officers, both field and company, generally discharged their duties well. Colonel Avery alludes in high terms to the efficiency of Lieutenant-Colonel [R. V.] Cowan. Colonel Purdie, in his report, makes an unenviable allusion to one of his officers, name not given. The Yankee wretches dragged Lieutenant J. W. Pettus, Company C, Thirty-seventh Regiment, some distance by the legs after he had been wounded in the head and leg. The men of the Twenty-eighth and Thirty-seventh "fought like brave men, long and well," while those of