which was the enemy's line of battle. While passing through this wood the enemy commenced firing on us, doing but little damage. I again formed in the order of battle and continued to advance. On emerging from the wood the enemy opened on us a heavy and well-directed fire of artillery and musketry. We moved on at a double-quick and in tolerable order until midway the field we encountered a boggy marsh overgrown with tall marsh grass and a small creek running through it. At this point we were exposed to a murderous enfilade fire of both musketry and artillery from the left, rendered far more destructive by the grouping of companies and the concentration of the line into masses in order to effect a passage of the marsh and the creek by the beaten paths and the open fords. In effecting the passage of this marsh I lost many of my bravest and best officers and men.
Having passed the marsh it was impossible to halt long enough to restore order in the ranks by reason of the terrible and destructive fire that was poured upon us from the front and flanks, and we pressed upon the enemy in a broken line and with disordered ranks. Notwithstanding the great disadvantages under which the attack was made, the enemy in my front was speedily dislodged and driven from his position. A part of my regiment pursued the enemy forty or fifty yards beyond his temporary works, but the troops to the right and left of Featherston's brigade not coming to our support as I expected, and the enemy continuing to enfilade us from the flanks, firing now almost in our rear, we were forced to fall back to the line from which he had been expelled, where the temporary works afforded us partial protection. But even here the fire from the left was very destructive to us. The heat was very oppressive, and some of the men exhausted by the charge fell almost fainting at the enemy's works. The line of battle occupied by the enemy was along an old road which water and travel had cut into a ditch. On the farther side of the road there had been a rail fence running parallel with the road. The rails were transferred to the nearer side of the road, and these, with the advantage of the ditch, afforded ample protection against musketry. No artillery was employed by us. Having riven the enemy from his first, and, I think, his best, position, had the brigade been properly supported on the flanks we might have driven to any distance and punished severely. A few minutes after my line was established on the road from which the enemy had been expelled my attention was directed to a body of the enemy on my left advancing along the road and closing on my left flank. The two regiments on my [left] had been already compelled to withdraw, I suppose, by this same movement of the enemy. Believing the annihilation or capture of my entire command was inevitable if we remained even for five minutes, I ordered my regiment to retire. We withdrew across the open field, exposed to the same murderous enfilade fire under which we had advanced to the attack. Being wounded at the enemy's works, I left the field immediately, and the command of the regiment devolved on Captain J. T. Formby.
For what occurred during the remainder of the action I respectfully refer you to the report* of Captain S. Gwin. I have no act of cowardice to report. My regiment behaved with its accustomed gallantry.