At this time my attention was called to a moment on my right and rear. I immediately rode in that direction, and hailed the party approaching by asking who they were. The answer received was, "Do not come ny farther, or we will fire." I replied, "Do not fire; we are friends," and immediately wheeled about and directed my command to move off by the left flank, stooping, so as to be sheltered from the enemy's fire in front.
At this instant the enemy opened upon my line from both front and rear. I withdrew my command in tolerably good order, losing, however, Colonel J. A. Mathews and Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, of the One hundred and twenty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, with the greater portion of Company K, of the same regiment, as prisoners. They being on the extreme right of my line, were cut off by the enemy coming from the Plank road on my right and rear. Here I also lost three valuable officers form the Forty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, viz, Captains Griffith and Chesbro and Adjutant Witman.
After this I again formed my line in the edge of the woods, on the ground occupied by my brigade previous to the advance on the rifle-pits. This advance to our original position was made after dark, through a dense woods, so that it was almost impossible to distinguish friend form foe. It was at this time that I first learned that, owing to the disgraceful retreat of the Eleventh Corps, Lieutenant-Colonel Cook, commanding the Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers, who had been left in the intrenchments, was captured, with a large portion of his regiment.
I now reported to General Williams for further orders, and was directed to take ground on the right, so as to connect with General Berry's division, on the Plank road. This position I occupied during the greater part of Saturday night, twice repulsing the enemy's advance, with the assistance of the artillery, posted on the ridge in the rear of our line. Toward morning, my brigade was partially relieved by two regiments of the Second Brigade (Colonel Ross commanding), I falling back and forming a second line. Previous to this my men had been constantly employed, when not engaged with the enemy, in strengthening our position.
Just before daylight on the morning of Sunday, May 3, two regiments of the Third Corps were sent forward as an additional support, taking position between my line and that of the Second Brigade. In order to afford room for these regiments, I was compelled to move back a few yards, across a stream running parallel with our line, the whole distance from the first line being somewhat less than 100 yards.
I had hardly time to form my men before the action of the morning of the 3rd commenced. While lying in this position, I saw the necessity of strengthenning our first line, as it was being heavily pressed by the enemy throwing his masses up to our breastworks and there attempting to deploy them. This, however, they failed in, as they were being mowed down like grass, both by our artillery and infantry.
Colonel Ross having been reported wounded and gone to their rear, I felt it my duty to assume command of the first, and at once ordered the regiments from the Third Corps, which were lying down immediately in my front, to move forward and assist our men at the barricades. I failed, however, in my efforts to bring these men forward, for just at this moment a regiment of red-legged Zouaves came pell-mell from our left, with less than half their number of the enemy close at their heels. I endeavored to arrest the fugitives and induce them to defend themselves from behind the rifle-pits, over which they had just retreated.