War of the Rebellion: Serial 043 Page 0520 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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and the Second Brigade (General Ward's) was drawn en potence to prevent a flank movement, while the Third Brigade occupied the apex of the angle, being in column by regiments, ready to support either of the other two brigades according to circumstances. In the meantime the enemy had been steadily moving large masses of troops under cover of the woods toward our left, out of range of musketry, and covering himself with a line of skirmishers, the march by the left flank of which was the indication of the direction of the probable attack. Our skirmishers soon after having been hardly pressed, and the fire becoming more brisk, I was ordered to detach a regiment to their support, and while our artillery was opening fire I sent the Third Regiment michigan Volunteers, which, under the command of Colonel Byron R. Pierce, proceeded forward to a peach orchard close to the road to Emmitsburg, and, deploying rapidly, checked any farther advance of the rebel skirmishers on that point. Still, the forces of the enemy were passing around our left, and when in proper position, their columns rushed forward on General Ward's brigade, drawn in line to receive the shock. The accustomed had scarcely announced the precise point and the violence of the attack, when I extended my right by moving the Seventeenth Maine Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Merril commanding, across a whitfield, in order to fill a gap open there, thereby re-enforcing General Ward. The Seventeenth Maine took a strong position behind a stone wall, and did good service at this point. Soon after, I was ordered to send a regiment to support General Ward, and I immediately detached for that purpose the Fortieth New York Volunteers, Colonel Egan, which marched forward, and aided efficiently in checking the enemy's advance in the most exposed position on our extreme left. The battle was raging on my left and right to the rear on both sides, in consequence of my advanced position as already explained, and soon these two attacks came converging on the angle of which I formed the summit, with the Fifth Michigan, Lieutenant-Colonel Pulford, and the One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania, Major Jones, the only two regiments left at that point. Fortunately my position there was a strong one, i a wood commanding a narrow ravine, which the enemy attempted in vain to cross under our fire. The unflinching bravery of the Fifth Michigan, which sustained the loss of more than one-half of its number without yielding a foot of ground, deserves to be especially mentioned here with due commendation. Had a sufficient force been there under my orders when the enemy gave up forcing our position, I would not have hesitated to try to break his line at that point; but two regiments from the Fifth Corps, sent there to my support, having fallen back without engaging the enemy (by what orders I could never ascertain), and some points of our line yielding under a disproportionate contest for want of timely support, I found myself in danger of being surrounded, and fell back out of the woods, where the enemy did not risk to follow us. I found the Seventeenth Maine in a wheat-field, where it had followed the receding movement of the line. As the enemy was pressing upon us on that side, I made a retour offensif with that regiment, re-enforced by the Fifth Michigan, keeping the enemy at bay in the woods until the arrival of sufficient re-enforcements from the Second Corps allowed us to be relieved when our ammunition was just exhausted. By order of Major-General Birney, who was present with us in the wheat-field, I then took my command to the adjoining wood in the