New York and the three left companies of the One hundred and fifty-sixth New York were placed in line facing the southeast, and on a line at right angles with the brigade line and joining its left; the left of the One hundred and seventy-sixth New York reached nearly to and supported Battery D, First Rhode Island Artillery.
These dispositions had scarcely been made, and orders given to the men to reserve their fire until the enemy was near enough to make the fire effective, when we began to receive a heavy fire of musketry from the advancing, but still hidden, enemy. The fire came from our front, our right, and our left, with a heavy, but random, fire of artillery from the heights formerly occupied by General Crook's command. The enemy's lines were not developed until they were within 150 yards of our lines, and then were but dimly visible through the fog. At this time they opened a furious and destructive fire upon us, still advancing, which was vigorously and effectively returned, checking to some extent their advance. The enemy's lines, as now developed, were nearly at right angles wight he main brigade line, and facing the One hundred and seventy-sixth New York and the three companies of the One hundred and fifty-sixth New York, which had changed front. The left of their lines extended very nearly to Cedar Creek, while their right extended as far as the eye could reach through the fog and smoke. In a very few moments they were on us in force, their left swinging to the right, while their right poured heavy volleys in our rear. A desperate hand-to-hand fight ensued on the left of the brigade line. The enemy had planted their colors on our works and were fighting desperately across them, meeting with a stubborn resistance, while they swarmed like bees round the battery on our left and rear. The enemy rushed upon, seized, and attempt to capture the colors of the One hundred and fifty-sixth and One hundred and seventy-sixth New York, but in both instances they were saved by stripping them from their staffs while the enemy had them in partial possession. We were crushed by the weight of numbers, and compelled to hastily fall back by the only road left to us, viz, by the right along the line of works, which was effected with considerable loss, many being shot down or captured in the pits. At or shortly before this time Colonel Dan. Macauley was shot down and seriously wounded while gallantly cheering on his men, and the command of the brigade devolved upon men. The regiments were all rallied on their respective colors in a short time, and at the earliest practicable moment the command was reported to General Grover, and was ordered by him to take position on the right of the Sixth Corps, still slowly falling back. About 10 a. m. I was ordered to halt my command and await further orders, by command of General Emory. In this position we remained (on hill commanding an extensive vies) for some time, when, perceiving that the army was forming for an attack, and seeing that its flank on my front was protected by the advance of the cavalry and horse artillery, and fearing that my exact position might have been forgotten or overlooked, I took the responsibility of collecting all stragglers and organizing them with my command, and marching rapidly with them by the right flank to where the troops were forming. I there reported in person to General Emory, who approved my action and ordered me to take a position on the right flank of the Nineteenth Corps, supporting a section of the Seventeenth Indiana Battery. In a short time we were ordered to support the First Brigade of this division, and moved to assault the enemy, which was rapidly and successfully performed.