exposed at least an hour. Owing to the crowded lines of troops of the stated divisions immediately in front it was impossible to get my brigade on. Just as the troops in front were about to make a charge a white color-bearer with his colors crossed the work in retreat. The troops gave way and sought shelter in the crater, where was concentrated a terrific fire from the enemy's batteries and intrenchments. My brigade held its position until pushed back by the mass of troops, black and white, who rushed back upon it, and until the enemy occupied the works to its left and the opposite side of the intrenchments, when, becoming exposed to a terrific flank fire, losing in numbers rapidly and in danger of being cut off, it fell back behind the line temporarily occupied by part of the Eighteenth Corps, where it originally started from.
Too much praise cannot be awarded to the bravery of both officers and men. The former fearlessly led while the latter as fearlessly follow through a fire hot enough to cause the oldest of troops to falter. The field officers particularly distinguished themselves. Colonel Delevan Bates,* commanding Thirtieth U. S. Colored Troops, fell shot through the face at the head of his regiment, while his major, James C. Leeke, stood on the ramparts urging the men on, with the blood from a wound through his breast gushing from his mouth. Lieutenant Colonel H. Seymour Hall, commanding Forty-third Regiment, lost his right arm bravely leading his regiment. His adjutant, First Lieutenant James O'Brien, deserves honorable mention, having displayed the most heroic courage and daring, standing on the summit of the crater cheering the men on amidst a terrific fire of shot and shell. He received a severe wound through the breast. Captain A. D. Wright (Forty-third), in charging the rebel line with his men, personally captured a stand of rebel colors and 5 prisoners, bringing all safely to the rear, although receiving a wound through the right arm. Colonel O. P. Stearns, commanding Thirty-ninth, put his regiment into the fight with great coolness and ability. His officers and men bravely did their work. Lieutenant Colonel Charles J. Wright, commanding Twenty-seventh, remained on the rebel works with part of his command until the enemy occupied the opposite side and until but few men remained with him, when he directed them to retire through the ravine on the right. He received two shots, neither of which disabled him sufficiently to leave his command. Where so many displayed such bravery and fearlessness it is difficult to enumerate; suffice it to say that all did their duty.
I have to regret the loss of First Lieutenant William Washburn, of Thirty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, acting aide-de-camp on my staff, a valuable officer, who was wounded in the neck and taken prisoner while delivering an order to the brigade. My staff behaved well, were constantly busy, and of great assistance in maneuvering the brigade. Had it not been for the almost impassable crowd of troops of the leading divisions in the crater and intrenchments Cemetery Hill would have been ours without a falter upon the part of my brigade.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. K. SIGFRIED,
Colonel Forty-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Vet. Vol. Infty., Commanding
Captain GEORGE A. HICKS,
Asst. Adjt. General, Fourth Division, Ninth Army Corps.
*Awarded a Medal of Honor.