HDQRS. SEVENTY-SEVENTH NEW YORK VOLUNTEERS,
Camp near Strasburg, Va., October 27, 1864.
SIR: In compliance with circular of yesterday, I have the honor to make the following report of the part my regiment took in the engagement of the 19th instant, and to send nominal list of casualties; 140 men and 4 officers having been detailed for picket the day before, my immediate command was very small:
I took position in the brigade line second from the right, having the Sixty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers on my right and the Forty-ninth New York Volunteers on my left. A few skirmishers, under charge of Captain Charles E. Stevens, were thrown to the front for the purpose of observing the movements of the enemy, who were rapidly advancing, a thick fog enabling them to approach close to my line unobserved. The formation was in two lines. The came boldly up to within thirty paces of my line under the cover of a hill. Upon rising they received a full volley from our guns, which seemed to throw them into confusion. I at once ordered a charge, which the regiments on my right and left nobly participated in. The enemy broke and fled in disorder down the hill and beyond the reach of our rifles, leaving a few of his killed, wounded, and prisoners in our hands. A heavy artillery fire opening on us we retired to our original line. He quickly reformed and came up again, this time in single line. A little confusion occurred at this time owing to the giving way of regiments on my left, and we were compelled to fall back, but only a few paces, where we quickly reformed and received the enemy at close range, he coming up boldly within twenty paces, but a well-directed fire sent him reeling to the rear. We again advanced and occupied our former position. Soon the whole force on the right commenced retiring and I followed the movement, leaving no prisoners and bringing off my wounded. At this time I learned of the death of General Bidwell, and at once took command of the brigade. The regiment retired in line and took position on the right of and near the pike, where it remained till about 4 p.m., when it advanced in conformity with the line, at this time having the extreme left of the brigade. It met with no considerable loss until the near the brick mill. Here it received a withering fire from the stone wall in our front, occupied by the enemy, and the sharpshooters posted in the mill. My color sergeant, Benjamin A. Briggs; color corporal, Warren Earl, and the adjutant, Lieutenant G. F. Thomas, were shot down successively with the colors, the last killed. The left regiment of the Vermont Brigade gave way and also the left of my own brigade. The regiment then fell back in good order. The whole line was quickly reformed in its original position; a second advance was made, this time with little loss and much less opposition. The stone wall was gained, which afforded protection from the enemy's musketry from the elevated ground in our front. This position was held for a few minutes and again we advanced. The enemy then broke and ran in confusion. For the rest it was simply a running fight, without order or formation, through Middletown, at the outskirts of which the brigade was formed in line. The regiment advanced without being further engaged during the action of that day.
Too much praise cannot be given to the officers and men under my command; they behaved admirably, displaying that coolness and bravery so necessary and commendable under fire.
W. B. FRENCH,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Major WILLIAM H. LONG,
Asst. Adjt. General, Third Brigadier, Second Div., Sixth Corps.