On afternoon of 23rd instant were ordered to Reams' Station, which we reached next morning, having halted during the night. Five hundred men were immediately put to destroying the railroad and the Twentieth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers sent on picket, the balance of brigade occupying the breast-works. On the 25th, at 9 a.m., we moved down the railroad, following the Third Brigade, but had not proceeded far before skirmishing commenced. Shortly afterward two regiments (Seventh Michigan and Fifty-ninth New York) were sent out to feel the enemy on the left, and subsequently the balance of the brigade was formed in line of battle some distance in rear of the skirmish line. About 12 m. we were ordered back to the station with orders to report to General Hancock, the two regiments on the left to be withdrawn and posted as pickets from the railroad on a road running at right angles to it and extending to a cluster of houses on the left. On reporting back to General Hancock were ordered to take up a position on Colonel Murphy's (commanding Second Brigade) left, but before getting into position an order came to report to General Miles (commanding First Division) for temporary service, taking up a position in rear of his division as s support. In this position we remained while the second and third assaults of the enemy were repulsed, when we were moved in reserve to our own division, leaving two regiments (the Twentieth Massachusetts and Thirty-sixth Wisconsin) in position in rear of First Division. Shortly after two regiments were ordered to report to Colonel Murphy (commanding Second Brigade), and one (the One hundred and fifty-second New York) to General Miles, and subsequently the two remaining regiments (First Minnesota and One hundred and eighty-fourth Pennsylvania) were also ordered to General Miles, and were posted in the same position occupied before, on the right of the Twentieth Massachusetts and Thirty-sixth Wisconsin (which had not been from their first position). Directly after getting into line the final assault by the enemy was made, in which he succeeded in piercing the line in front of us, which gave away along its whole length, closely followed by the enemy. The reserves could do nothing, as the First Division, apparently panic-stricken, were passing to the rear over our men, which made it impossible for them to fire on the enemy,and shortly after the panic spread to them, and they also left the field, except a majority of the Twentieth Massachusetts and Thirty-sixth Wisconsin Regiments, which being on the left of the line, and at the point where the enemy first crossed our works, were compelled to surrender. Myself and staff exerted our utmost to rally the men and were partially successful in our efforts. Shortly after dark the command was reformed as well as possible and moved from the field to the vicinity of the Williams house, where it encamped about 1 a.m. on the 26th instant.
The total loss was as follows:Officers-killed,1; wounded,4; missing, 14; total.19. Enlisted men-killed,9; wounded,49; missing, 357, total,415. Aggregate,434.*
I am captain, very respectfully,&c.,
HORACE P. RUGG,
Lieutenant Colonel Fifty-ninth New York Volunteers, Commanding Brigade.
Captain A. HENRY EMBLER,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Second Corps.
*But see revised statement,p.130.