my command in motion, and go to the support of General French, Lieutenant-Colonel Webb to indicate the position we were to occupy. That officer in person out the line we were to take possession of, directly in the face of the enemy, and on the right of General French's command, in the woods.
The regiments were scarcely in position before the enemy opened fire upon us, which was promptly and effectively returned by our men. I at once saw the enemy outnumbered us, as they were in double line, and extended beyond our right. I immediately asked for re-enforcements, but was informed they could not be furnished. Colonel Webb, who had remained in front for same moments, started back promising to bring up re-enforcements if he could obtain them, but he returned in a short time without them. The rapid and incessant fire of our men prevented the enemy form advancing, although they made several efforts to do so.
After holding our position for nearly or perhaps quite and hour, reports reached me that our ammunition was being exhausted, many of the men supplying themselves from the dead and wounded. About this time, I discovered that the enemy was receiving re-enforcements; another double line was plainly seen advancing and extending farther to our right. I sent for ammunition twice without being able to obtain it, as, I afterward understood, it had not come up from the rear. I reported the fact to General French, with the further information that the enemy were pressing us, and asked for orders. He replied that he could not furnish me with ammunition, and that we should retire in as good order as we could when we had exhausted what we had. The moment our fire slackened the enemy pushed forward with at least twice our number.
As near as I can tell, we were in position from an hour to an hour and three-quarters before we were forced to retire. During this time the whole line was under my eye, and I to say that I never saw officers and men behave with more bravery and coolness than did the entire command. The officers were very active, and I saw many of them aiding the men by preparing their cartridges for the guns. The field officers were passing up and down the line, encouraging their men with great spirit and coolness.
The Ninety-first Pennsylvania Volunteers was on the right, and received the first fire of the enemy. They are entitled to great credit for their conduct during the action. Colonel Gregory received a slight would early in the engagement, and left the field, yet the men kept well at their work, under Lieutenant-Colonel Sinex.
The One hundred and thirty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel O'Brien, was second in line, and no set of men could have behaved better. The officers, one and all, following the example of their colonel (who was constantly on the alert), were very active, and not a man shirked his duty.
The One hundred and twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel D. W. Rowe, was third in line, and for earnest, spirited work it could not be excelled. Colonel Rowe exhibited the true characteristics of the soldier-brave, cool, and determined-and this spirit was infused into every officer and soldier of his command.
The One hundred and twenty-ninth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers was on our left, and no man ever saw cooler work on field drill than was done by this regiment. Their firing was grand-by rank, by company, and by wings, in perfect order. Colonel Frick's stentorian voice was heard above the roar of the musketry, and, with the aid of his lieutenant-colonel and major, his regiment was splendidly handled, doing its duty well.