War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0462 N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XXXVII.

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right to the next force at the white house, there being no troops between the two points. At early daylight, the enemy drove in our pickets, and commenced the battle with a terrific fire of artillery and musketry, while his sharpshooters were also actively engaged. Our gallant soldiers, however, undauntedly returned their fire from behind their low defenses, and defiantly answered their save yells by hearty cheering, and for several hours maintained their position, when, the enemy having turned our left flank and enfilade the breastworks, the brigade broke off gradually, regiment after regiment, form the left, and reluctantly yielded their ground to a vastly superior force, which was, however, well punished by our men. Owing to the practice of the enemy firing so low, the breastwork was a great protection, with will account for the comparatively small number of casualties in the brigade. Our brigade, however, lost all its knapsacks, shelter-blankets, and rations, which were left at the bivouac near the cross-roads, and which we were forced to abandon during the enemy's assault upon our position.

I here found I was the senior officer of the division present, General berry having been killed and General Mott wounded. On reaching the main road, near the while hose, in the rear of the retiring troops, gather some 500 or 600 men from almost every regiment in the division, and with them reported to Brigadier-General French, who commanded at that point with his division, and asked for instructions. He designated to me a line of abatis and breastworks, facing to the left, as a suitable place to occupy, but, on arriving at them, I found them lined with troops, and to put more there would be superfluous; in fact, the whole place was covered with troops, and, as a constant stream of stragglers was going to the rear by the main road, I decided to intercept them by striking a straight course by compass through the woods from that point toward the ford, where I knew I should strike the main road nearly midway, and be in a position to catch those on each side of the road. I should also be in a position to go to either flank as I might be directed, where our services would be needed the most, and, besides, have the opportunity to renew our exhausted ammunition, rest the troops, and recruit our thinned-out ranks.

On arriving at the point aimed at on the high road, I halted the column, and immediately sent out officers from all the regiments present to collect the stragglers form the vicinity, and ordered ammunition to be procured and served out to the men, which was done.

At noon I called for reports from the regiments, and found that there were present for duty as follows, viz:

First Excelsior ................................... 210

Second Excelsior .................................. 150

Third Excelsior ................................... 204

Fourth Excelsior .................................. 282

Fifth Excelsior ................................... 137

One hundred and twentieth New York Volunteers ..... 224

First Massachusetts ............................... 80

Sixteenth Massachusetts ........................... 74

Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania ......................... 354

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Aggregate (officers and men) ...................... 1,715

All having been supplied with ammunition, refreshed, rested, and gritted again to take the field, I led the division toward the front, our force increasing at every rod of the road.