War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0579 Chapter LIV. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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by which I was advancing, I ordered General Griffin to form his brigade to attack and Curtin to form on the left to cover a road coming in from the left in my rear, understanding that a brigade of Willcox's division would look after the right. Up to this time the indications were that the enemy had mostly withdrawn, and my orders being urgent I had pressed rapidly forward and was some quarter of a mile or more in advance of the skirmishers of the Fifth Corps, on my right. There was no one on the left, but it was stated that no enemy was there. General Willcox did not send a brigade to my right, as he subsequently received orders to cover the left, and I was ordered to push on with my whole force as rapidly as practicable, without reference to any one else. The Second Brigade had now advanced up the hill to the edge of the open ground about the Jones house, which our skirmishers occupied. I now ordered Colonel Curtin to form on General Griffin's left, and to advance simultaneously. It was now about 5 p. m. As soon as it was reported to me that the First Brigade was in position, I ordered and advance. As soon as we had got well out into the open ground we found the enemy advancing in a southwesterly direction from the woods and low ground to the front and on my right, but as yet no considerable force had manifested itself to the left. The enemy were in such large force and so far overlapped my right, that I apprehended they would get on the road by which I had advanced and cut me off. I issued orders for an immediate change in the disposition of the troops, but battle had been joined and became very severe, and before the orders could be delivered the right began to give way, and the enemy pressing vigorously, and having got nearly behind my right, and penetrating also between the two brigades, the lines commenced falling back in considerable confusion. At this time I was near the right; every possible effort was made to rally the troops and check the enemy's advance, but they were in so much force and so close that it could not be done. I dispatched an order to deploy the Seventh Rhode Island (in reserve) and form a new line near the Pegram house and stop all coming to the rear, at the same time sending an order, which, however, was not received, to Curtin to fall back and form on the new line, while I endeavored to check the enemy's advance as much as possible. The enemy now advanced a considerable force to my left, attacking impetuously, and their cavalry advanced and attacked to the left and rear, but I think not in much force. They succeeded in making a junction between the attacking forces on the right and left, and cut off a considerable portion of my First Brigade. Owing to the close proximity of the contending forces when my right gave way, the Second Brigade lost several prisoners. A new line was formed near the Pegram house, and I ordered a section of Roemer's battery, stationed in the corn-field to the left of the Pegram house, withdrawn behind the line. My casualties were: killed, 51; wounded, 280; missing, 1,313; total, 1,644.

The enemy's advance was now checked, and night settling down on us the battle ended and pickets were thrown out. During the night we took up position in the line of works taken from the enemy north of the Peebles house. The majority of the troops behaved well, but the recruits (mostly substitutes, and many unable to speak English) behaved badly, and the greatest inconvenience and serious trouble resulted from the scarcity of officers, large numbers of both field and line officers having been recently mustered out of service. By this serious want I found my efforts to rally the troops nearly paralyzed. The conduct of the few officers remaining, as far as came to my knowledge or observa-