opposite side of the ravine, and here ordered me to open fire, which I did. The firing, however, was soon discontinued. I here ordered my caissons and transportation up under cover of the hill, and about 200 yards in the rear of the battery.
Shortly after it became evident that the enemy were preparing to charge our front, and you at once ordered me to change the front of the battery to the right, and push it down to the rifle-pits, which had been hastily constructed by our division out of the works the rebels had vacated. We had scarcely put ourselves in position when the enemy charged our lines with the greatest fury. I opened fire on their advancing columns with case-shot first, and then with canister, and with great effect. They were checked in the front of our division, but continued to charge with unabated fury in the front of the Second Division, and finally succeeded in breaking the line. This compelled the right of our division to fall back (though not without hard fighting), which was done in good order. In the mean time I had turned three of my guns to the right, firing canister, with the hope of checking the enemy's advance. But the line was too thoroughly broken, and you seeing this, ordered me to take my guns out. Five of them I got out without sustaining any loss in men or animals, but the sixth piece, being on the extreme right, was more exposed. Three of the horses were shot, and it seemed for a time that the piece must be lost; but after much personal exertion I succeeded in getting it off also. For this I am much indebted to Lieutenant Curtis and Private Hugh McKeloogue, who remained with the gun to the last.
I then sent for my caissons, well knowing they were in danger. I had placed then in charge of Corpl. Elliott Frazier, and gallantly did he sustain his trust. Seeing that the caissons were in great da danger, he promptly moved them back out of the reach of the enemy, without the loss of a strap. I am greatly indebted to him for the prompt and energetic action in this affair. To him I feel that I owe the safety of my caissons, and I cannot say too much in his praise.
I must also mention the good conduct of Quartermaster-Sergt. R. Z. Bell in promptly putting my transportation out of danger, which he did with great personal exertion. The battery never sustained itself better than on this occasion, and this I attribute to the indomitable courage of the men. I cannot say too much in their praise. All did duty well.
I cannot close this without mention of the gallant Forty-eighth Illinois, who stood by us to the last, and to them I feel that I owe in a great measure the safety of the battery on this occasion, for, while we were getting out the enemy turned fire on us. At this point more than 100 of the Forty-eight Illinois rushed out in front of the battery and opened fire, which for the moment checked them, and enabled us to get away. In this struggle this regiment lost their gallant colonel, lamented by all.
The following are the casualties on this occasion:*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. H. GAY,
Lieutenant, Commanding First Iowa Battery.
Captain H. H. GRIFFITHS,
Chief of Artillery, Fourth Division.
* Nominal list (omitted) shows 1 enlisted man killed and 4 enlisted men wounded.