About 1 p. m. the division advanced in this order through a dense thicket and undergrowth for about a mile without opposition, when, having passed into an open plain beyond the timber, a brisk fire from a battery of the enemy posted in a wood opened upon our column, without, however, doing any damage. The attack was replied to with spirit by Knap, and during the fire his horse was killed under him by a solid shot from the enemy.
The conduct of Greene's brigade was admirable at this juncture. Although exposed for quite a length of time to the fire of the enemy in a position where they could neither shelter nor defend themselves, nor return the assault, they bore themselves with the calmness and discipline of veterans, emulating the example so ably given them by their brigade commander. The fire of the enemy slackened after some half an hour's play upon our line, and I then received orders to fall back to my original position near Chancellorsville. This was accomplished in good order by the whole command, notwithstanding that a harassing attack was continued by the enemy upon our left flank almost up to the line of our defenses.
In this movement great praise is due Brigadier-General Kane, of the Second Brigade, for his coolness and courage in covering with a portion of his command the withdrawal of the troops. by his energy, determination, and force of will, he maintained the most perfect discipline in the entire command, and prevented the least confusion in the ranks in a movement always requiring great tact and delicacy united with firmness of will and purpose. Our line having been gained, sharpshooters were sent out in our front to ascertain the exact whereabouts of the enemy and to check his advance.
Just before dusk, at about 7.30 p. m., these men were driven in on a run by a sudden and fierce charge of the enemy, who dashed up in the dim light almost to our very lines before being discovered, their purpose evidently being to to capture Knap's battery, stationed at that point. Rallying around them, the Seventh Ohio and Twenty-eighth Pennsylvania poured a terrible fire into them, causing them, after a fierce conflict with small-arms and artillery, to fall back in confusion and with great loss.
I should here mention that Lieutenant Muhlenberg, Fourth U. S. Artillery, had been posted by me at this point with two sections of bruen's (New York) battery and one section of Best's artillery, and in this emergency rendered very efficient service.
During the night earthworks were thrown up by the division along the whole line, but owing to the scarcity of intrenching tools many of the men were obliged to use their saber-bayonets, tin-plates, pieces of boards, and, in some cases, merely their hands to scrape up the dirt for the breastworks. I deemed this a precaution of the utmost importance and I am happy to say that my views were seconded and carried our by both officers and men with an alacrity and will rarely equaled under such adverse circumstances.
Picket firing continued along the whole line during the night, and the axes and spades of the enemy gave notice to our pickets that he, too, was employed in the same service as ourselves.
On the morning of the 2nd instant, indications of a movement of the enemy was visible on our front and along a road leading in a westerly direction, apparently from the vicinity of Fredericksburg. Columns of their infantry and artillery could be observed, about 1 3\4 miles distant, moving along a ridge in a southwesterly direction.
Upon one of these columns, about noon, Captain Knap was directed