center of the left wing of the three regiments which were in line of battle, the direction of our column being parallel with their line.
The attack was made by the enemy with suddenness and great fury upon the right flank of our brigade. The enemy's balls were already reaching our regiment when we commenced forming our line of battle. We had first to change direction at right angles, and, while deploying, the enemy had gained to within 200 paces, and was driving back through our lines the troops that were in advance of our new front.
The deployment was made under great difficulties. Fleeing men dashed through our lines, while the enemy's musketry and grape and canister killed and disabled many of our men before the formation was completed. It was, however, successfully accomplished, with nearly as much dispatch, and the line was nearly as good, as if no enemy had been present.
The enemy was now within 150 paces, in very heavy column, and steadily advancing. The regiment opened fire with a coolness and deliberation highly commendable, in view of the general confusion with which it was surrounded. Our right wing rested among some scrubby bushes and saplings, while the left was in comparatively open ground. The fire of the enemy as they approached was murderous, and almost whole platoons of ours were falling; but our men stood firmly. The enemy's left flank extended far beyond our right, and was being rapidly pushed farther. There was now of our forces none but broken and retreating troops within 600 yards of our line, every other regiment in our part of the field having broken and retreated, and the enemy were nearer our next line of breastworks than we were.
The men had fired here an average of 5 to 6 rounds when the enemy had approached to within 30 paces of our left wing, and perhaps 50 on our right wing, and was rushing upon us with redoubled speed and overwhelming numbers, when the order was given to about face.
We had in line of battle 333 men and 16 commissioned officers, of whom 5 officers (including the colonel) and over 130 men (inclining the missing last seen here) were killed and wounded at this point.
Two companies were on picket, and escaped with 1 men wounded and 1 officer and 7 men missing.
The line of our retreat was through a dense thicket, from which the men emerged much shattered. A large portion of them were rallied at the breastworks near General Howard's headquarters. Some of them, however, joined with a German regiment (believed to be the Sixty-eighth New York), which was ordered by its colonel to about face and retreat, and all went off together. There was no further organized fighting by the regiment during the engagement.
Next morning what was left of the regiment was reorganized, and lay in the trenches from that time (the 3rd) until the morning of the 6th, when we returned to the camp from which we started.
Appended is a list of the names of the killed, wounded, and missing.* The fact should, however, be noticed that none of the missing have been since the regiment was driven from its position in line of battle.
I am, your obedient servant,
Major, Commanding Twenty-fifth Ohio Volunteers Infantry.
Colonel ORLAND SMITH,
Commanding Second Brigade.
* Nominal list omitted; but see revised statement, p. 182.
41 R R-VOL XXV, PT I