south of the Plank road leading toward Orange Court-House. Finding I could not advance just then in that direction, and after consultation with Major-General Sickles, I prepared to return to the plateau at the head of Scott's Run. While doing so, I heard heavy firing and rebel yells in the direction of Hunting Run, and an aide-de-camp of General Warren's, of Major-General Hooker's staff, rode up to say the Eleventh Corps was falling back rapidly and a regiment of cavalry was needed to check the movement. I immediately ordered the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry to proceed at a gallop, attack the rebels, and check them until we could get the artillery in position. This service was splendidly performed by the Eighth, but with heavy loss, and I gained some fifteen minutes to bring Martin's battery into position, reserve a battery of Sickles' corps, detach some cavalry to stop runaways, and secure more guns from the retreating column. Every moment was invaluable. Fortunately, I succeeded before the enemy's columns showed themselves in the woods in the getting twenty-two pieces of artillery into position, double-shotted with canister, and bearing upon the direction the rebels were coming. To support this force, I had two small squadrons of cavalry ready to charge upon any attempt made to take the guns. My position was about 380 yards from the Plank road, on the extreme left of the line of the Eleventh Corps, and as they recoiled from the fierce onset of the rebels, through and over my guns, it was apparent we must soon meet the shock.
It was now near the dusk of the evening, and in rear of the Eleventh Corps the rebels came on rapidly, but in silence, with that skill and adroitness they often display to again their object. The only color visible was a Union flag with the center battalion. To clear up the doubt created by this flag, my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Thompson, of the First New York Cavalry, rode to within 100 yards of them, when they called out to him, '' We are friends; come on! '' and he was induced to go 50 yards nearer, when their whole line opened with musketry, dropped the Union color, displayed eight or ten rebel battle-flags, and commenced advancing. They were then not 300 yards from the guns, and I gave the command to fire. This terrible discharge from twenty-two pieces at that distance staggered them and threw the heads of their columns back on the woods, from which they opened a tremendous fire of musketry, bringing up fresh forces constantly, and striving to advance as fast as they were swept back by our guns. The struggle continued nearly an hour. It was now dark, and the enemy's presence could only be ascertained by the flash of their muskets, from which a continuous stream of fire was seen nearly encircling us, and gradually extending to our right, to cut us off from the army. Finally this was checked by our guns, and the rebels withdrew. Several guns and caissons were recovered from the woods where they fought us.
It would be great injustice to the brave men who fought so valiantly on this occasion to omit the mention of the great difficulties they had to contend with in fighting their guns, nor can I express it better than in the words of the report of Lieutenant Martin, of the Sixth New York Battery. He says:
The guns were served with great difficulty, owing to the way in which the cannoneers were interfered with in their duties. Carriages, wagons, horses without riders, and panic-stricken infantry were rushing through and through my battery, overturning guns and limbers, smashing my caissons, and trampling my horse-holders under them. While Lieutenant Browne was bringing his section into position, a caisson, without drivers, came tearing through, upsetting his right piece and seriously injuring one of his drivers; carried away both detachments of his horses, and breaking the caisson so badly as to necessitate its being left on the field.