soon as the Second Brigade found the enemy in its rear on the left it gave way in a good deal of confusion, there being apparently no regimental officer present of sufficient coolness to make any disposition to resist the attack. The retreat of this brigade left McKnight's battery unprotected on its left, and the first thing the troops on its right knew of the disaster they received a volley from the rear and a summons to surrender, which appears to have been obeyed in several cases by whole regiments. I am satisfied that but for the loss of so many of my best regimental and company officers this wholesale surrender could not have taken place in the division in spite of the disadvantageous way in which the attack was made. The enemy was finally checked at a turn in the breast-works on the left of the Twentieth Massachusetts, where its commander, Captain Patten, made arrangements for resistance.
Major-General of Volunteers, Commanding Division.
Lieutenant Colonel F. A. WALKER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Corps.
No. 60. Report of Brigadier General Byron R. Pierce, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, of operations June 22.
IN THE FIELD, June 23, 1864.
MAJOR: I have the honor to make the following report, for the information of the major-general commanding, of the part taken in the action yesterday afternoon by the First Brigade, for the purpose of justifying my conduct on that occasion and sustaining the reputation of the brigade:
The first intimation I had of the assault of the enemy was firing far to the left. Before this, however, a battery of the enemy was firing from the right of my line at McKnight's battery. I proceeded to the latter to see if the was not ready to reply to it, as I had given orders to both batteries not to reply to the enemy's until they had their works strengthened. I also did not wish to invite an attack of the enemy, as my line east very weak, owing to the length of it and the impossibility to build strong works the night previous. As I arrived at the battery McKnight had opened. Having no aide with me, I at once proceeded to Clark's battery and gave him orders to open at once on the enemy's battery, thinking it would draw part of the fire and relieve McKnight. But a few round had been fired by Clark, when I heard the musketry on the left, and in a very short time the road leading to McKnight's battery was filled with troops from the Third Division in a disorganized state, coming to the rear. I ordered them to organize behind the works of the Fourth Brigade. Following the Third Division were all of the Second Brigade of this division. I inquired what they were falling back for. They said they were flanked, and the enemy were in their rear. I tried to stop them in the woods, which was impossible. As they came into the plank road Captain Embler, who had arrived, formed most of them in rear of the Fourth Brigade. Next came too the officers of McKnight's battery, saying their guns were captured. Captain McKnight
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