within sight of the enemy's line, and then to halt and report to corps headquarters. The report of the movements of this brigade is furnished by Lieutenant Colonel A. G. Chamberlain, now commanding, Colonel Holman having been wounded and sent to the hospital at Fort Monroe. The brigade moved to the right and across the York River Railroad, then advanced to the front up the New Bridge road. Moving up this road about a mile they came in sight of the enemy's cavalry and immediately formed line, the First and Twenty-second Regiments on the left of the road, and the Thirty-seventh on the right of the road in reserve. The brigade advanced a little farther, when a column of rebel cavalry was discovered, estimated by Lieutenant-Colonel Chamberlain to be about 1,500 or 2,000 strong. Colonel Holman then ordered the Thirty-seventh to form square, as he apprehended that the cavalry were about to charge. Shortly after he gave Lieutenant-Colonel Chamberlain to understand that he intended to charge with the First and Twenty-second.
The enemy failing to attack, the regiments of the brigade were disposed as follows: The Thirty-seventh in a hollow on the right of the road, in reserve; the First U. S. with its right resting on the road, and the Twenty-second on the left of the First. By this time the enemy had brought two guns into position in our front and opened on our line. Colonel Holman then ordered the charge. The First U. S. Colored Troops had open ground for their charge; the Twenty-second U. S. Colored Troops had to charge through the woods. The First was exposed to a severe fire of musketry, grape, and canister, but advanced gallantly across the open field and carried a part of the enemy's line, getting possession of the two guns (iron 12-pounders). The Twenty-second charging through a wood at double-quick in great confusion, arrived within about 100 yards of the enemy's works, when Colonel Kiddoo, of the Twenty-second, fell dangerously wounded, whereupon the regiment immediately broke and commenced fleeing to the rear. Lieutenant Colonel I. C. Terry, of the Twenty-second, assisted by Major Weinmann, of the sharpshooters, made every effort to rally them, but without success. The commanding officer of the First U. S. had commenced making dispositions to charge down the enemy's line to the left, which was still held, but finding himself unsupported and exposed to a fire on his flank from the woods, and learning that a strong force of rebel cavalry was forming in the open field to the left and front of the enemy's lines in such a position as to cut off his retreat, he was forced to relinquish the advantage which he had gained and to retire from the enemy's works, abandoning the captured guns.
Notwithstanding the general confusion in the Twenty-second it appears that the right company, under command of capt. Albert Janes, advanced in the charge in good order, arriving within five yards of the enemy's line and retired in good order, covering the retreat, and adding materially to the safety of the regiment. It also appears from the statement of Captain Janes, fully confirmed by Lieutenant Colonel Terry, that the confusion in the Twenty-second was caused, at the beginning of the charge, in the following manner: The First and Twenty-second, before the charge, were marching by the right flank at double-quick through the woods, when the order was given by Colonel Holman to march by the left flank, which movement was promptly executed by the First, but at this time the Twenty-second was thrown into disorder, either because the command of Colonel Holman was not properly repeated, or because it was not understood by the regiment.