War of the Rebellion: Serial 044 Page 0850 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

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to the right of where the One hundred and eighteenth halted, and proceeded along the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad toward the South Anna River. At a short distance from where we left the regiment, by order of Captain Norris, I deployed the first platoon of Company F, as skirmishers, to the left of the railroad, taking intervals on the right group, guiding right, having the railroad track as the line of direction. Lieutenant Stevenson commanded the second platoon as reserve. Proceeding in line about half a mile through an uneven field, and afterward a swampy wood, tangled with brush, I came to a deep marsh, which I could not pass through in line. I assembled the platoon on the right, and while moving by the flank around this marsh, was fired into by what appeared to be the enemy's advanced picket. This fire consisted of about ten guns, part in front on the track, but most on the left of the railroad. I deployed the platoon at once, as before, and under cover of the woods. The fire was not returned, and I moved forward as soon as the deployment was completed. We now entered an open field, through which we cautiously advanced, my line reaching scarcely half way across it. On the left of the field were bushes and trees. It was quite dark, so much so as to make it necessary to feel our way. I had hardly advanced one-fourth of a mile farther, when we were fired upon from the front and from the left. many of the enemy's guns did not go off, and the snap of percussion-caps was distinctly heard, so close had we advanced. We were ordered to lie down and commence firing, which was done. The fire was now pretty sharp from a line in front parallel with mine, but bending around my left. Shortly after this fire commenced, a battery upon the left opened, sending shell, in range with my line, over us and slightly to the rear; another, in front, threw solid shot and shell over us and in range with the track; cannot say that there were more than two guns used against us. Captain Norris ordered bayonets fixed and skirmishers forward. This was promptly obeyed, my men taking advantage of the very few slight accidents of the field, lying on the ground to load, &c. I cautioned them to save their ammunition, and fire only when the flash of guns revealed the position of the enemy's skirmishers. The fire now was more severe and better directed against us than before. It seemed that a party of the enemy were moving across my left, toward my rear. I ordered the fire from my left to be directed that way, without, however, getting a reply. The skirmishers in front fell back slowly as we advanced, while those on the left held their position; my line not reaching them, it did not seem expedient to weaken the line by extending intervals to cover his, the enemy's, right flank, and the danger of advancing farther was becoming more apparent. Communicating with Captain Norris, he ordered the line to march in retreat. At this time I was struck by a spent ball in the hip, knocking me down, and paining me severely for several hours, but was not obliged to leave the field. Falling back until it was safe to rally, I did so, moving to the rear; deployed again behind a ditch which rang along the edge of a belt of woods, the open field in front, the ground for some distance rising. This position could have been held against great odds, as every man was covered. We lay in this position about an hour and a half, when Major Nichols came up with a re-enforcement of two companies. Company D, One hundred and eighteenth, Captain Riggs, were