War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0318 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

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occupy a light line of rifle-pits, the direction of which for 150 yards was very nearly perpendicular to the line of works held by First Division, Second Army Corps, and the left of which line refused, so as to make its continuation almost parallel to the line held by First Division. Throughout the whole this command occupied said line of rifle-pits we were exposed to the fire of the enemy advancing on the front occupied by First Division. For an hour, between 5 and 6 p.m., we were subjected to a most terrific shelling from three different quarters, front, flank, and rear, which made great havoc. About 6 p.m. the First Division broke in great disorder, the men thereof running to our line and thoroughly exposing our flank, deserting some pieces of cannon. I immediately directed two small regiments of this command (One hundred and fifty-fifth and One hundred and seventieth New York Volunteers) to occupy the works, thus abandoned, which was done, though I must admit rather tardily, the men having to advance under a very severe fire. While this was being done the left of my brigade, including the One hundred and sixty-fourth New York Volunteers and part of the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery, advanced over the corn-field, together with the Third Brigade of our division. On my return to the left I found the command much disorganized, partly from contamination with the runaways of some heavy artillery regiments not in our division, and partly from the destructive fire of the enemy's batteries. Measures were at once taken to restore order, which I am sorry to say was but partly done. The One hundred and fifty-fifth and One hundred and seventieth New York Volunteers being engaged with the enemy on the right, the rest of the command still occupied the rifle-pits, but by some mistake for which I am not able to account at present, myself having been to the right, they were moved to the left. While so situated they had to cross the rifle-pits as many as four times, being forced to do so by the enemy's fire, which at one time would come from the rear and then change again to the front. The brigade remained in this position until the advance of the enemy on our front and flank made the capture of the greater part of the command very probable, if it had not retired, which was executed in any way but the best order. the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery on its right had a hand-to-hand fight with the enemy, losing their colors after retaking them from the enemy. The loss of the colors of the One hundred and sixty-fourth New York Volunteers I am not able to account for, their commanding officer, Malor Beattie, being missing. I think that Major John Byrne, One hundred and fifty-fifth New York Volunteers, and Major J. B. Donnelly, One hundred and seventieth New York Volunteers, both missing, and Major Baker, Eighth New York Heavy Artillery, are deserving of praise for their exertions in trying to have their commands face fire. The members of brigade staff acted well. At about 8.30 p.m. the command started for Williams' house, where it arrived at about 2 a.m. of the 26th.

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

MATTHEW MURPHY,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Captain A. HENRY EMBLER,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Second Army Corps.