the inner edge of the woods to the angle of our breastworks, where it crossed the ravine eastward, to connect with Geary's division in the woods in front of Chancellorsville. Two regiments of the Second Brigade (the One hundred and forty-fifth New York and Twentieth Connecticut Volunteers) were placed in the rifle-pits in this line. Three broken regiments of Knipe's brigade (all the field officers but one having been captured or disabled the previous night) were placed in reserve in rifle-pits about 200 yards in rear of my right. These regiments were, soon after the attack began, moved to the breastworks, where General Knipe assumed command of the regiments of the Second Brigade, Colonel Ross having left the front, reported wounded.
The lines thus formed with Geary's division presented two sides of a square, with the angle toward some cleared fields and a farm-house on elevated ground, not over 600 yards distant to the left and front, as seen from Fairview. A portion of Berry's and Whipple's divisions, of Sickles' corps, with one or more batteries of artillery, occupied their point during the night of the 2nd and on the morning of the 3rd. It was an important position, as it nearly enfiladed our infantry lines and commanded our artillery position at Fairview.
The enemy commenced his attack at the earliest dawn, pushing his column through the woods in our front with wonderful vigor and obstinacy. He was successfully resisted at all points of my lines, and although his attacks were almost without cessation, he was repeatedly driven back in confusion during three to four hours, always, however, replacing his broken columns with fresh troops.
In the meantime the enemy, either by the withdrawal of our troops or their retreat from the open elevated ground to our left and front before described, had seized upon that important position, and with a strong force attempted to carry our breastworks beyond the angle on the left. They were successfully resisted by the Twentieth Connecticut, One hundred and forty-fifth New York, and portion of Ruger's brigade. A number of the enemy who had penetrated our lines were taken prisoners.
At the same time the enemy placed several batteries in position on this open hill (some of them reported to have been guns captured from our troops), and opened a most vigorous fire upon our batteries at Fairview and our lines of infantry both right and left of this position.
This desperate struggle in front and flank by artillery and infantry continued almost without cessation until about 8.30 a. m. My regiments had literally exhausted their ammunition. Some of them had been twenty-four hours without food, and most of them several nights with but little sleep, while engaged in entrenching. My regiments had several times crossed the breastworks to attack the enemy's repulsed columns, but the nature of the ground, the thickness of the underbrush, the heavy columns of the enemy always at hand, as well as their position on either flank of my line, admonished me to act on the defensive until a more favorable moment for the offensive should present itself.
Finding it was impossible to bring up my ammunition pack train under the tremendous fire of artillery and infantry, or to replenish my ammunition in any other way, I reported to the major-general commanding the corps that my regiments must be replaced with fresh troops, and that it would be impossible for me longer to resist the heavy attacks of the enemy. Soon after, meeting General Sickel on the field, he assured me that troops of his corps had already been sent to replace my line.