our cavalry force. Colonel J. C. Abbott, commanding brigade, ordered me to advance the right wing of my regiment as skirmishers to meet the enemy. Advanced as directed; met the enemy in force about 700 yards from New Market road in line of battle running parallel with the same. The right of my line was soon after connected with skirmishers from Third Brigade, my left connected with a detachment of General Kautz's cavalry. These cavalry skirmishers had been driven by the enemy and claimed position in the opening. I did not deem it prudent to advance farther, as the enemy's line of battle was within 100 yards, his skirmishers being driven handsomely by my men a few moments after gaining this position, and I discovered from the bristling bayonets of the enemy and his quiet yet exposed deportment that he was determined to advance. At this critical moment my orderly reported to me that the cavalry had fallen back, leaving me no word, and my left flank entirely exposed. I immediately faced my command by left flank and covered the ground so unceremoniously left by the cavalry.
The enemy advanced steadily at this point to within eighty yards of my line, and were handsomely repulsed by my skirmishers. At this time my men began to complain their ammunition was getting short, which I reported to Colonel Abbott, who informed me he could not replenish it, but gave me seventy-five men from the Seventh Connecticut Volunteers, armed the same as my own men-Spencer repeating carbines. With these few men (not over 150 in all) I succeeded in keeping the enemy back for more than half an hour, when he advanced in bayonet charge in two lines of battle. My men were confident they could repulse them, and as my orders had been "to hold them as long as possible," there was no chance for those on the left of the line to escape, and nobly they contested the ground with the formidable force within fifteen yards of my line, some of them destroying their arms before surrendering. Thirteen of these brave fellows fell into the enemy's hands-I trust unharmed prisoners. There was no possible chance for escape, for our main line opened fire on the enemy before the left of my line began to give way. I attach no blame to any one for this, for had my men returned to the line it must have been with the enemy. I immediately joined my left wing, which was in the main line of battle, second battalion from the left of the brigade line. The enemy must have been punished severely, as on my left the distance was less than 100 yards, and the enemy stood a long time in full view in line of battle, and received a terrific fire from the seven-shooters. Those of my men who were secreted beneath logs when the enemy charged over them captured 31 of the enemy as they fell back, one man capturing 6 prisoners. Afternoon of the same day advanced with division column in pursuit of enemy, but he would not receive battle. Returned and took position on ground contested with the enemy.
Of the conduct of the men and officers of this skirmish line I make no comment, but I trust the importance of the repeating rifle or carbine for skirmishing will be fully appreciated,as I do not believe the same number of men armed with any other piece would have held the enemy in check for a moment.
My loss was, in Third New Hampshire Volunteers, 1 man killed, 11 wounded, and 13 taken prisoners; total 25.
JAMES F. RANDLETT,
Major, Commanding Third Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers.
Lieutenant E. LEWIS MOORE,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, 2nd Brigadier, 1st Div., 10th Army Corps.
46 R R-VOL XLII, PT I