prepare it for the erection of a battery. The position was an isolated one, the ground intersected in all directions by deep ravines. I advanced to the hill as ordered, threw out the skirmish line well to the front and both flanks. General Geary was with me, and from the feeble opposition made to our skirmishers and the statements of prisoners he was led to believe that no large force of the enemy was in close proximity. Scarcely had I made dispositions to build my works before the enemy, advancing in mass through the woods, drove back the skirmishers instantly and rushed down upon us with loud yells, pouring in volley after volley. We were without shelter, but my men kept their ground defiantly and returned the fire with vim. Almost immediately another overwhelming force came down upon our right flank. I threw two companies around to protect that flank. They were too weak, and down they came upon us on the double-quick; at the same time still another column came out upon our left flank. Under these circumstances, with such an overwhelming force against us and on three sides of us, with such a withering fire from front, right, and left, and the enemy rapidly gaining our rear, to stand longer was madness, and I reluctantly gave the order to retire fighting. As the men rose and commenced to retire, with a yell of exultation the enemy rushed upon us with his dense masses and pressed so close that he ordered the surrender of our colors. With this order we could not comply. The fire was terrific; the air was literally full of deadly missiles; men dropped upon all sides; none expected to escape. The bearer of our State colors fell; 1 of the color guard was killed and 1 or 2 missing. The enemy were too close upon us to recover the colors; it was simply impossible, and it is with feelings of the deepest sorrow I am compelled to report that our State colors fell into the hands of the enemy, at the same time we feel it to be no fault of ours. We fought as long as we could; we received the first impetus of an attack to repel which it took the entire force of the corps. The most desperate bravery and heroic valor could not balance those tremendous odds. Our brigade commander, Colonel Jones, and division commander, General Geary, both expressed themselves as more than satisfied at my success in saving as many men as I did and in keeping even one color. General Hooker, who before this has complimented the regiment for its gallantry in action, was pleased to say to me, "Colonel, it is no disgrace to lose your colors under such circumstances; I only wonder that a man of you escaped capture." The command feels sad over the loss of their beautiful flag, but feels glad that with all no taint of cowardice can be attached to it. No regiment was more proud of their blue banner than the Thirty-third and none ever fought better to preserve it; it was an impossibility. The regiment was rallied again behind the second line of breast-works, and advanced again that evening, but the enemy was gone, discomfited. On the 22nd we advanced about three miles, passing through a line of the enemy's works to our present position within cannon shot of the city of Atlanta.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major General ROBERT F. STOCKTON, Jr.,
Adjutant-General, New Jersey.
15 R R-VOL XXXVIII, PT II.