War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0064 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter XLVIII.

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and H, under Captain Dennis, were posted upon a line turning abruptly to the front along the edge of the woods, and at a distance of some 70 yards making another sharp turn into the woods. Major Sanford made his headquarters with these two companies. On the left of the open field Company I extended a few rods into the woods, and the line was continued by Companies B, G, K, and E, under Captain Mills, over ground heavily wooded and much broken by deep ravines. The whole line was without reserves nearer than the intrenchments, and had become extremely attenuated by the diminishing strength of regiments successively relieving each other. Across the open field the enemy's line of pickets was 150 yards from ours, but in the woods on each side it came at some points to within 20 yards of our own.

Up to half an hour after sunrise on the 2nd there was perfect quiet along our entire, although toward midnight a furious cannonade had been kept up for an hour over one heads by the rebel batteries. At that time an attack was commenced along our whole line by the enemy's pickets advancing from their posts as a line of skirmishers, strongly re-enforces, and 2 or 3 feet apart. In the woods on the left this attack was extremely rapid and sudden. A few steps placed the enemy in our pits, in a position which, favored by the direction of part of the line, enabled them to cut off and capture a large part of Company B. Such part of Captain Mills' command as was not captured, with the exception stated below, fell back slowly, contesting the ground, to a position nearer the works, which they held until later in the morning they were re-enforces and reoccupied and held their first position. In the open field the advance of the enemy began a few moments after firing had been heard on the left. The enemy moved toward us in good line, but slowly and hesitatingly. I opened fire along the whole line, and in two minutes they had all dropped to the ground, where they lay firing from such cover as they could get for a few minutes longer, when the entire line rose and ran to the shelter of their rifle-pits at full speed, followed by our and bullets. From this cover they never ventured again, contenting themselves with a dropping fire from it until we abandoned nearly our entire line. On the right the movement of the enemy was by a dash across that a part of the line which ran along the edge of the woods, nearly at right angles with the general direction of the line. This movement, of which at the time I had no information, cut off nearly the whole of the two companies posted there, together with the major commanding the regiment. Word had already been passed to me repeatedly along the line that "our left was turned;" "was cut off;" "had fallen back;" and at last that the enemy were occupying our rifle-pits on the left. I refused to believe these statements, having great confidence in the strength of that position until I saw our skirmishers falling back across the open field toward the works; but I passed the word to Major Sanford on the right. No communication had yet reached me from that officer. I had seen a body of 30 or 40 rebels dash from their pits into the woods in a direction that placed them in the rear of Companies C and H. Groups of our men now began to be led to the rear of the rebel lines under guard; straggling skirmishers were seen falling back toward the works on our right; the enemy's fire began to enfilade our lines from the woods on the right; the position was critical. I sent at last the question to the right, "Where is Major Sanford?" The answer came back "He is cut off." Up to this time my duty had