least three, perhaps four, lines of columns deep, the intervals between lines being very short, the whole presenting a heavy, solid mass.
It was observed by Captain Dilger that several regiments marched from Talley's farm by the right flank down to the Plank road and the low ground south of it, so as to envelop our left. The Seventy-fifth Pennsylvania, which was on picket, was thus taken in the rear, and in its dispersed condition found itself, of course, obliged to fall back, its line of skirmishers, which was facing south, being driven in from the flank or captured. The regiment lost a number of men killed and wounded and a good many prisoners, among the latter Lieutenant-Colonel Matzdorff.
As the enemy emerged from the woods, the regiments of my second line stopped him with a well-directed and rapid fire. Colonel Peissner, of the One hundred and nineteenth New York, a gentleman of the highest order of character and ability, and an officer of great merit, was one of the first to fall, pierced by two bullets.
The enemy was gaining rapidly on the left of the One hundred and nineteenth, which was then exposed to a very severe enfilading fie. The line fell back step by step to the neighborhood of the church grove, facing about and firing as it yielded. Meanwhile the batteries of Captains Dilger and Wiedrich had kept up a rapid fire first wit spherical case, upon the enemy's columns as they descended from Talley's farm, and then with grape and canister. In and on both sides of the church grove the regiments halted, to make another stand.
Colonel Hecker, of the Eighty-second Illinois, fell, wounded, from his horse while holding the colors of his regiment in his hands and giving the order to charge bayonets. Major Rolshausen, of the same regiment, who then assumed command, was wounded immediately afterward.
The Eighty-second Ohio was directed to draw farther to the right, and to occupy the projecting angle of the woods on the right and rear of the church grove; but, while executing this order, one of your aides directed him to occupy the right of the north and south rifle-pit, where the regiment established itself.
About that time one of Colonel Krzyzanowski's aides came to me, asking for re-enforcements, as the Twenty sixth Wisconsin, being nearly enveloped on all sides, could no longer maintain its position. Having no re-enforcements to send, I gave the order to fall back to the border of the woods east of the open ground. The Twenty-sixth Wisconsin then marched in retreat in good order, facing about and firing as often as possible.
Meanwhile the enemy, after having forced back the One hundred and nineteenth New York by his enfilading fire, gained rapidly on the left of Captain Dilger's battery. This battery and that of Captain Wiedrich remained in position until the very last moment. Captain Dilger limbered up only when the enemy's infantry was already between his pieces. His horse was shot under him, as well as the two wheel horses and one lead horse of one of his guns. After an ineffectual effort to drag this piece along with the dead horses still hanging in the harness, he had to abandon it to the enemy. The conduct of this brilliant officer was, on this as on all former occasions, exemplary.
The enemy was now pouring in great force upon our right and left, and the position in and near the church grove could no longer be held. The two regiments still remaining there gave several discharges, and then fell back in good order. Arriving near the north and south rifle-pit, General Schimmelfenning ordered the Eighty-second Illinois to charge