battery with considerable effect upon my command, which was formed in line near the edge of the timber, with the First New York protecting my right flank. Lieutenant Turnbull replied with his battery, and the troops were soon relieved from the annoyance, when General Birney ordered an advance upon the road by which the enemy's train had moved, which was made through the timber to the right, and possession of the road gained and held until orders were received to return. The command returned to an elevated plain in the rear of the old picket line.
During this time the troops on the right (the Eleventh Corps) had yielded their position, and on our return we found the enemy in our rear. At about 10 p.m. my command was formed into a column of attack, to support General Ward in an attack upon the enemy occupying our rifle-pits in our present front. The Seventeenth Maine was formed in column to support the Fortieth New York, moving upon a road leading to the Plank road we had held in the morning. My brigade was directed to take the caps from the rifles and rely upon the bayonet alone. The troops, after advancing some quarter of a mile, encountered a fire from the front and both flanks. The rifle-pits were carried in the face of a terrible fire from both friend and foe; at least such is the opinion entertained by the officers and enlisted men of my command. The prevalence of this opinion no doubt checked the ardor induced by the excitement of a charge, yet a sufficient number advanced to ascertain the fact that the Plank road was occupied by the enemy in force. The Third and Fifth Michigan with other troops occupied the rifle-pits during the night, and the brigade reorganized as well as possible before daylight.
The brigade moved about an hour after dawn on the 3rd instant, and took position in two lines to support the artillery, in front of a brick house near the Plank road, used as headquarters by General Hooker. Here the brigade was exposed to a severe artillery fire, which was admirably served, and from which we greatly suffered. In this movement the Thirty-seventh New York Volunteers brought up the rear, and was attacked in front and on the left flank before a proper formation could be effected, which resulted in some confusion, and but a small portion of the regiment was enabled to participate in the defense of the artillery, many of the best officers having become disabled. Capts. James R. O'Beirne, Jonathan W. Barley, and Richard J. Murphy, and First Lieutenant John Kiernan, all officers of distinguished merit, fell here, and all, except Captain Murphy, dangerously wounded, though I do not deem this a sufficient excuse for the lieutenant-colonel's (Riordan) conducting it from the field of battle about 3 miles to the rear. Lieutenant Colonel C. B. Marrill, Seventeenth Maine Volunteers, also marched a portion of his regiment to the river, for which, in my opinion, there can be no satisfactory excuse.
While supporting the artillery, a small force of the enemy made a dash across the plain, which my brigade, led in person by General Birney, charged, and captured some 20 prisoners, including several officers. This charge broke my formation, and the brigade was not fully reorganized until it was placed in a strong position farther to the rear, which it held until the 6th instant, though a portion of it still supported a battery near the brick house before mentioned, and it was the last organization which I saw leave this part of the field.
I transmit reports of regimental commanders, which exhibit more in detail the services of their commands, and from the same
28 R R-VOL XXV, PT I