War of the Rebellion: Serial 039 Page 0720 Chapter XXXVII. N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

Search Civil War Official Records

me of their advance. A spirited skirmish ensued, lasting for an hour, in which Lieutenant Colonel John W. Scott, of this regiment, a brave officer, was killed. The force of the enemy's attack was made upon the regiment on my left, which regiment gave way. Finding my left exposed, I fell back to a new position, covering the brigade, when, by your order, I threw up a breastwork of rails.

On the afternoon of the 2nd, by your order, seven companies of my command were deployed as skirmishers in front of the brigade, in an advance upon the enemy. Knapsacks were left, by your order. On returning from this expedition, it was found that the enemy, having forced in our right, were in possession of the ground where our knapsacks had been left. Thus were lost the knapsacks, shelter-tents, change of clothing, rations of the men, and most of the bedding of the officers.

On the night of the 2nd, in the position where you had placed me, loud shouting and crashing of the brush in my front apprised me of the approach of the enemy. Soon a volley of bullets whistled over our heads, upon which I opened a brisk fire upon the advancing enemy. The affair continued for about half an hour. My loss was 1 killed and 3 wounded.

I deem it proper to remark here that two or three companies of the Thirteenth New Jersey, being in line about 30 paces in my rear, opened a fire also, from which I suffered. Being exposed to their fire as well as that of the enemy, there companies of my right were compelled to give, way, but immediately rallied and returned to position as soon as the fire in the rear had been stopped.

On the morning of the 3rd instant, at daybreak, the enemy made a spirited attack along our line. Awaiting until he came within sight and range, I opened fire upon him, which checked him in my front, and soon compelled him to fall back. Together with the regiments on my right and left, I then advanced, still keeping up a well-directed fire. For nearly three hours my command was thus under a heavy fire, fighting desperately and constantly gaining ground, until the arms of the the men were so foul by frequent firing that they could be loaded but with difficulty. Then I was relieved upon the field, a regiment of another corps taking my position.

I retired from the field in good order and under a galling fire from the enemy's batteries.

On the morning of the 6th instant, while marching from the position the brigade had held toward the bridge, I was ordered by you, sir, to proceed back to the rifle-pits, and there remain until further orders. I marched back, and remained in position until a brigade of the Fifth Corps came to relieve me. As this brigade approached my position, it was ordered back, an aide bringing me the order that all troops on the front should draw in as rapidly as possible. Then, falling back and crossing the river, I hastened on, rejoining the brigade near Hartwood Church.

In conclusion, I cannot speak in too high terms of praise of the manner in which the officers and men of my command have performed the arduous and perilous duties devolving upon them during the late operations of the army. On our marches, rapid and difficult as they were, I have not had a single straggler. With one or two exceptions, my officers have shown that zeal in the advance and that coolness and intrepidity in fight which are the characteristics of the true soldier.

The men have fought coolly, bravely, and with a determination that would have insured decisive victory had it prevailed through the entire army.