here we found that the division was retiring, and were by General Whipple ordered to follow the Twelfth New Hampshire Volunteers through a marshy thicket back from whence we had started. In the meantime heavy cannonading was going on in our late rear, now front, and we found that the enemy had turned our position and taken several caissons and prisoners, stampeding our mules an negroes, but were driven back by the artillery. You shortly after posted us as pickets along teh edge of a thick cedar grove, where we remained during the night, with but one alarm from the enemy, who opened fire on us, which we returned lustily, and were annoyed no more.
At daylight on the 3rd instant, you led us away with the brigade, in company with the rest of the division and corps, changing front by the right flank; and, reforming line of battle behind a brass battery, protected by earth works, were ordered to support ut. A short time previous, two companies had been sent out by General Whipple on picket, and here rejoined us, having lost 5 men. In this position we remained about an hour, losing several men by shells, when your ordered us to the right, to repulse any attack an d preserve the battery at all hazards.
Here we found some sharpshooters, under Major Hastings, and as we advanced in line of battle through a thick wood we were opened upon by a large force of the rebel on our front and right flank, the movement being done as our parade guides were coming out and companies dressing on the center, and a severe engagement of about an hour's duration ensued, the enemy, in force, trying to drive us and capture the battery. Our men fought like tigers, cheering loudly and falling fast, the officers, without exception, standing up to their duty and encouraging their commands. Three color-bearers were here shot down in succession, but the colors never touched the ground. In about an hour's time, word was brought me that the battery was withdrawn and our troops on the left had retired. To remain would be certain capture, and, previously passing the word up and down the line to prevent confusion, we fell back step by step to the road in the rear. Here our troops were in some confusion, we fell back stop by step to the road in the rear. Here our troops were in some confusion, and a staff officer of General Sickles (I think Lieutenant Blake) was rallying two or three fragments of regiments for a charge to retake the works abandoned by the battery. He called upon us, and we, right-wheeling, charged on the double-quick, drove out the rebels, captured several, and opened on them with musketry. I was here informed that t but two or three rounds of ammunition were left in the boxed of the men, and perceiving our colors the only one remaining, and being totally unsupported, we fell back with some loss to the main body, who were now retiring in good order. We now, retiring about 500 yards, were ordered to support Meadgher's Irish Brigade, which, it was said, was about charging with the bayonet. We lay down behind it in line of battle, with a battery on our left, and were here shelled by the enemy in the liveliest manner. A caisson blown up in front of us filled the air with fragments, and the roar and bursting of shells was in one continuous thunder. We here lost several men.
About 4 p. m., Meagher's brigade retiring, we again marched to the right and halted in an open space, heavily protected by artillery, where the enemy, after one attack being repulsed, appeared to have had enough. You then ordered us out on picket, to relieve the brave sharpshooters in the open space in front of the batteries, which we did, and were ourselves relieved at daybreak. Tools were now furnished us, and, in company with other regiments od the corps, we entrenched ourselves in many lines of rifle-pits. We here lost 3 men by rebel sharpshooters.
32 R R-VOL XXV, PT I