this lane some 200 yards the enemy had rallied apparently with the determination of making an effort to check our advance, and as one of my regiments, in consequence of the inequalities of the ground over which we had passed, had become detached, the brigade was halted a few minutes until it could resume its proper place in the line. As soon as this was accomplished the brigade recommenced its forward movement, the enemy retiring before it as if panic-stricken, and continued it until we had passed into the woods beyond and to the left of Middletown, where, finding that any farther advance would expose me to an attack on my left flank, and it being reported to me that the enemy's cavalry were in strong force in the second woods in front, I moved to the outer edge of the woods and halted until I could reconnoiter the position. The major-general commanding rode up at this time, and by his order the command was moved half a mile to the right in the direction of the turnpike, and the forward movement again resumed. After proceeding some distance the troops on our right having halted this command was halted also, and my skirmishers, together with those of Bryan's brigade, advanced to clear the woods of a body of skirmishers in front of my left, which was handsomely done, when the line again moved forward and occupied a road half a mile distance in advance. Here the Third and Fifteenth Regiments, which had been temporarily detached, rejoined us and were sent to the right to fill up a gap between this brigade and that of Humphreys. Soon after this the enemy made an attack on Humphreys. Soon after this the enemy made an attack on Humphreys, which was met by such a heavy fire, so coolly delivered by that brigade and by the right of my own that they were at once checked and driven back. A repetition of the attack met with a like result, and the firing for a time seemed to have ceased along the whole line, but between 3 and 4 o'clock it was resumed, and it was soon ascertained that the troops on our left had given way and the enemy threatening our left flank while pushing us in front.
In this condition of affairs the command fell back to the position it had previously held, and for one hour and a quarter kept the enemy at bay, foiling every direct effort to draw us from our position, and it was not until the enemy had passed completely around our left flank and were moving on our rear that the order was given to withdraw. So closely were the enemy pushing us at this time that I found it necessary to move out by the right flank while my skirmishers held them in check in my front. After moving sufficiently far to my right to uncover my rear the command was faced to the right and moved in the direction of the pike at Middletown, with orders to halt on the crest of the hill.
Up to this time both men and officers had obeyed with commendable cheerfulness and alacrity all orders given them; but, unfortunately, in moving to the rear a very high fence was encountered, and in clearing it my line was necessarily broken, and being without a staff officer or courier and with no horse myself, before it could be reformed a stream of flying fugitives from other portions of the field became so mixed up with my own men, infecting the latter with their own fears, that they soon became oblivious of everything save to leave the enemy as far in the rear as possible.
I shall say nothing of the panic and flight that ensued, so much deplored as it is by all. I cannot, however, while alluding to the shortcomings of this brigade forbear giving both officers and men that praise which is so justly their due for the noble display of all the admirable and true qualities of the soldiers up to the time the retreat was ordered, and no one who witnessed the advance of the brigade on that day against the different positions of the enemy will hesitate to bestow upon it their