Numbers 298. Reports of Lieutenant Colonel John C. O. Redington, Sixtieth New York Infantry.
CAMP NEAR AQUIA CREEK LANDING, VA.,
May 8, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this regiment in the recent engagement with the enemy:
On Friday morning, May 1, the regiment was for two hours under fire of the enemy's shells, but without serious injury to any man of the command. During Friday night a rifle-pit, protected by abatis in front, was constructed to cover the regiment's front.
During Saturday the regiment was under no very serious fire, though often called to arms.
On Sunday morning, May 3, at 5.30 o'clock, the command was moved out of the trenches to a position at right angles with the trenches, immediately covering the rink flank of the One hundred and thirty-seventh New York Volunteers. Here a temporary brush fence was thrown up, the workmen being meanwhile under fire. The regiment lay here under a severe fire of shell, grape, and canister from two batteries in front for the space of an hour and a half or two hours.
About this time the One hundred and thirty-seventh withdrew, leaving our left flank entirely unprotected, though the enemy's sharpshooters were firing at us from that direction. I immediately threw one company into the trenches to protect our left flank. Brisk firing continued in front until the One hundred and second New York had passed through our lines and formed in our rear. Their splendid fighting and unexcelled valor afforded us untold aid in our desperate defense. The woody nature of the ground required a near approach of the enemy necessary in order to render our firing effective. Orders were, therefore, given to reserve the fire. A rapid and continued fire greeted the appearance of the rebels. This was followed by two charges on the part of the Sixtieth and One hundred and second New York, made with unflinching valor and terrible effect, both regiments rushing over and several rods beyond our brush breastworks. Several prisoners were taken, but were subsequently lost, our unsupported position rendering every effort necessary in order to save our own men.
We retired again to our former position behind the brush breastwork, and received and answered a fierce fire. The One hundred and second now formed on our left flank in the trenches. At this point a lieutenant of the First Division, who had joined our regiment with a few men driven back from our front, said to me that we were entirely unsupported, all troops having been removed to the rear. Not believing this abandonment of our regiment possible, as we had been ordered to hold that line, and no orders had come to us to fall back, I still continued the defense, only remarking that the Sixtieth would always obey orders even in the face of difficulties. I, however, sent a lieutenant to the rear to ascertain where the nearest troops were, and to obtain orders from our brigade commander.
Shortly after his leaving, the enemy appeared in force on our right flank, and fired upon us a heavy enfilading fire. This was fully hall an hour after the One hundred and thirty-seventh New York had been withdrawn. Believing further defense foolishly dangerous against a force several times our own number, and surrounding us on three sides, I gave the order to fall back. We formed line again about 8 or 10 rods in rear of the first position, and again in the