War of the Rebellion: Serial 070 Page 0022 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLIX.

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the enemy. We again moved cautiously forward, crossing Back Creek, turned to the right, and proceeded along a low ridge some 250 yards, filed to the right, and formed line of battle. I then changed from forward on third company and halted in a deep ravine, the Twelfth Ohio Volunteer Infantry forming upon my left and the Ninety-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry forming in the rear of the twelfth. I then received orders to advance and moved forward through a dense wood and thick underbrush, crossed a fence and a road, both running parallel to our line of battle. I pushed forward about 200 yards, and halted about thirty yards in the rear of the Ninth Virginia Infantry, and communicated with Colonel Duval and learned that I must pass him. I at once ordered an advance past the Ninth, and held the crest of the hill, where Companies A and F were deployed as skirmishers and hotly engaging the enemy. As we reached the crest of the hill the entire regiment discharged a volley at the rebels, who were stationed behind a rail fence in the ravine before us. The regiment slightly wavered here, but was promptly rallied by its officers. I here received orders to push forward and engage the enemy with the assurance that I would be promptly supported. I at once ordered the regiment forward. The rebels, unable to withstand our fire, fell back rapidly to their main work of defense, which was a line of breast-works constructed of logs and fence rails and situated on the crest of the hill about 175 yards in front of our line and commanded the entire space between the two lines. The regiment advanced steadily to within twenty yards of the rebel position, where it halted and discharged a continuous and steady fire upon the works which secreted the foe. I could distinctly see a sheet of flames issuing from the rebel works, but could not see a single rebel, so completely were they protected by their defenses. I repeatedly gave the order to charge upon the works but the roar of musketry was so loud that I could not be heard, and being completely exhausted myself by excessive exertions, the major being wounded and the lieutenant-colonel exhausted and so hoarse that he could scarcely speak, from his extreme exertions with the line of skirmishers, I could not communicate my orders along the line. The regiment fought bravely and determinedly in this position for half an hour, when the Twelfth Ohio Volunteer gave way our left and the rebels advancing exposed my left to an enfilading fire,compelling me to give the order to retire, which I did very reluctantly. But before I gave this order I looked over the entire field in our rear to see if any efforts were being made to supply the place of the Twelfth or to communicate with me as to what should be done. I saw none and deeply regretted that I was compelled to exercise my own judgment at this critical moment, especially as I was entirely ignorant of the position and strength of the enemy, except immediately in my front, and also ignorant of the results of the engagement at other points upon the field. I dreaded a retrograde movement as the regiment was under fire for the first time. I feared it would retire too precipitately. I gave the order, and as I anticipated the regiment retired rather hastily, falling back behind the crest of the hill where the fighting first began. The officers and men being completely exhausted and very thirsty, it was with considerable difficulty that I succeeded in reforming the regiment, when I again moved forward. The rebels had been completely routed and were in full retreat toward Dublin. Re-enforcements reaching the