hundred and twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers as a reserve, the Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers having been left, by order of General Williams, to protect the intrenchments.
Having made this disposition, I received an order from General Williams to move in an oblique direction to the left, push forward rapidly, and connect on my right with General Whipple's division, of the Third Corps, while the Second Brigade, Colonel Ross commanding, would connect on my left. The dense underbrush and heavy morass through which I had to pass prevented me from advancing in line of battle. I therefore moved by the flank, and, after emerging from the swamp into an open field, I formed, forward into line, in three lines as before my right connecting with the left of General Whipple's command. I advanced in this order, with skirmishers well to the front. My skirmishers soon became engaged with those of the enemy. The whole command moving steadily forward, I had not advanced more than 100 yards before I received a heavy fire form the woods on my left flank. I at once called in my skirmishers and opened with my first line, firing left oblique, silencing the enemy in a few moments.
The men on this occasion behaved with great gallantry, obeying every order, delivering their fire at the word of command, and ceasing when ordered to do so.
Just after this firing had ceased, an aide-de-camp from Major-General Slocum rode up to me, with orders to fall back in order to our rifle-pits, and informed me that the enemy had turned our right and that the Eleventh Corps was falling back in disorder. This I found to be the case on emerging rom the swamp through which I had previously advanced. That command appeared to be perfectly panic stricken, and in a great measure prevented me from reforming my brigade, as a number of my men became mixed up with the fleeing troops and were unable to join their command until I sent a staff officer to bring them forward.
In this short but sharp engagement I lost Major Strous, commanding Forty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, mortally wounded (since died);
Lieutenant Priestly, of the same regiment, killed, and Colonel Packer, of the Fifth Connecticut Volunteers, missing.
I at this time received an order from General Williams, commanding the division, to form on the right of the Third Brigade, in the edge of the woods and nearly at right angles with the rifle-pits. After occupying this position some fifteen minutes, I was ordered to advance through the woods to my original position. I advanced in line of battle, throwing my skirmishers well to the front, and arrived behind the barricades without meeting any opposition and without the knowledge that the enemy had at any time had possession of them. I had just taken this position when some half dozen of the enemy came forward through the bushes, unarmed. Upon being asked who and what they were, they replied, "We are Confederates, coming in to give ourselves up; we are tired and hungry." I at once sent them to the rear. Immediately after this I observed another party approaching. I hailed them, asking what troops they were. The answer was, "We are friends." I became pretty well satisfied by this time that the prisoners in my hands had been sent forward as a decoy. I was then asked by the parties in my front what troops we were. I answered, "We are Confederates," and the response was, "We are Confederates." I asked of whose command, and received and answer, "General A. P. Hill's." I told them to come in, intending to make prisoners of them as fast as they came over the barricades.