War of the Rebellion: Serial 070 Page 0316 Chapter XLIX. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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and, if possible, to take a position behind a stone fence which our reconnaissance of the previous day enabled him to indicate to me. I went forward at once and reached the fence without opposition, but from this position was able to see he enemy very strong in my front, and at the same time massing a heavy force in a wood on my right, from which he could readily turn my right flank. I at once deployed two companies across the woods on my right, and sent information to the colonel commanding of the position, strength and movement of the enemy, which rendered my position untenable, as there was at that time no force on the field to extend our line on my right. In reply the colonel kindly sent me word to exercise my own judgment as to the position I should occupy. Upon the receipt of this order I fell back to a position about 300 yards in rear of the first, but finding upon observation that my line in this position would be exposed to an enfilading fire from the woods, I retired 100 yards farther and took a position behind a board fence and stone wall, and then rode to an eminence on my right, that I might inform myself of the enemy's movements in that direction, as also whether our forces were coming forward to extend our line on my right, the Second Brigade, of the Third Division, having now taken position on my left. I had the satisfaction to learn that Colonel Thoburn, commanding the First Division, was directing the formation of his command on my right, but could at the same time see the skirmish line of the enemy extending across a ridge and advancing toward a wood some distance to the right of his line, to which I called his attention, also informing him of the fact that I had seen the enemy massing heavily in the woods that lay a little to the left of his front and opposite to my right. Returning to my command, I was informed by Major Withers that his command was suffering from the enemy's sharpshooters that were concealed in the woods on his front, our skirmish line, which had been deployed in the woods, having been driving in, and as our position did not allow us to inflict any punishment in return I ordered my command to a position behind a stone fence, the left extending along a board fence, which formed a very obtuse angle with the former, the base presenting to the enemy's line. This latter fence was occupied by Captain Fitzgerald's command, and was by him strengthened with rails from a neighboring fence. This position was about 200 yards in rear of the one we had just abandoned, and afforded not only good protection to the men, but at the same time a good opportunity to return the enemy's fire. Having occupied this position for some time, and assured myself of my connection with our line on my right, I was notified by Colonel Mulligan that he was about to make an advance and that he desired me to hold my brigade in readiness to follow the movement of the Second Brigade of his command, under Lieutenant-Colonel Linton, Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania. I advanced with this brigade to my former position behind the board fence and stone wall, Captain Fitzgerald advancing his command a little beyond the latter to a stone church and grave-yard, which was inclosed by a stone fence that afforded good protection to his men, Major Withers' command, behind the board fence, protecting itself in the mean time by the delivery of a brisk fire into the woods, immediately in front, which for the time had the effect of silencing the enemy's skirmish line in front of him. Having advanced my command thus far I found that the Second Brigade had not only ceased to advance, but