sent out from another portion of the line as scouts, were brought in by my pickets, reporting that the enemy were moving in great force upon our right flank. They were immediately sent by me to corps headquarters, under charge of a trusty sergeant, with orders that after reporting to General Howard they should at once proceed to the headquarters of the major-general commanding the army.
Several reconnaissances, made by a small body of cavalry placed at disposition, discovered early in the afternoon bodies of the enemy's cavalry moving upon our right. One of these portions, under the command of Lieutenant [Henry T.] Davis, of my staff, was fired upon, and the fact immediately reported by him to the major-general commanding the corps. Colonel von Gilsa's skirmishers were, between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon, attacked by the skirmishers of the enemy, with the evident intention of feeling our position. After this, Colonel von Gilsa's skirmishers were pushed farther to the front, and the major-general commanding the corps again rode down the line. After his return, a company of cavalry was sent me for the purpose of making further examination of the woods, which examination, though not thoroughly made, was still sufficient to show that the enemy's cavalry were deployed along the front of my First Brigade, accompanied by some pieces of horse artillery. I directed the captain commanding the cavalry to return and report at corps headquarters.
At about 6.30 p. m. the enemy were reported as advancing in great force upon our right flank. This report was immediately telegraphed to headquarters, and I proceeded at once, under a heavy fire of shell, with my staff from my headquarters, at the left of the line, to the position of Colonel von Gilsa. The enemy were moving down in line embracing the right and left of the Turnpike road, with the intention of attacking at the same time our front and rear.
Desirous of protecting as much as possible the line of Colonel von Gilsa, I ordered the Seventy-fifth Ohio, under Colonel Reily, to support him on the right. The Twenty-fifth Ohio, the only other regiment of my reserve, was at once ordered to deploy in rear of the line of Colonel von Gilsa for its support, facing to the west.
As it has been suggested that the First Division was to some extent surprised, I deem it my duty to say that in riding down the entire line I found no officers or men out of their assigned positions, but all prepared to meet the attack. The line of skirmishers along the front of both brigades behaved with great resolution, keeping the enemy back as long as they could be expected to resist so fierce an attack by so overwhelming a force; in fact, they emerged from the woods at the right of the Second Brigade at the same time with the attacking force. From the great extent of the enemy's line, as soon as it came in contact with ours, we were completely outflanked on the right, and the fire began to be felt in the rear of the Second brigade, while the skirmishers of the enemy were finding their way to the rear of and firing on the First Brigade, commanded by Colonel von Gilsa. I had at this time a full view of that portion of the enemy's line which was deployed upon the right or southern side of the road, and, later, of that which appeared on the left or northern side. The formation of the enemy, as well as could be seen in the smoke and confusion of the battle (and I think I distinguished it accurately), was that of a line of regiments in double column, closed in mass, or at half distance, numbering from 25,000 or 30,000 men.
In the position the division was to receive such attack in so large force, no other division being at the time engaged or able to support it,