I brought my line of battle up to that point, reformed it on the buildings, re-enforced the skirmishers by a company from the One hundred and eighty-fifth New York, and commenced a rapid advance with my whole command. The skirmishers reached the edge of the woods before the firing became at all severe. I was exceedingly anxious that the troops should gain the cover of the woods before receiving the shock of the fire, but the obstacles to be overcome were so great that this could not be fully accomplished, and my men were obliged to gain the woods against a heavy fire. They advanced, however, with great steadiness and drove the enemy from their position and far into the woods. It was not long, however, before another attack was made upon us, evidently by a greatly superior force, and we became completely enveloped in a withering fire. We replies with spirit and persistency, holding our ground, taking rather the defensive at this state of the action. In the course of half an hour my left became so heavily pressed that it gradually gave way, and at last was fairly turned, and driven entirely out of the woods to a direction parallel with the ready by which we advanced. This position could not be held ten minutes, and nothing but the most active exertions of field and staff officers kept the men where they were, the fire all the time being very severe. At this movement, I sent a request for General Gregory, commanding Second Brigade, on my left, to attack the enemy in flank in their newly gained position. I was assured by Major-General Griffin, who was on the line, that if we could hold on five, minutes he could bring up the artillery. Upon this I succeeded in rallying the men, and they once ore gained the woods. Battery B of the Fourth U. S. Artillery now came into position and opened a most effective fire. By this assistance we held the line until the enemy fell heavily upon our right and center, and my men being by this time out of ammunition, many of them absolutely without a cartridge, began to yield ground. Seeing that this was inevitable I dispatched an aide ot General Gregory asking him for a regimen, and at the same time Major-General Griffin ordered up three regiments of the Third Brigade. These regiments came promptly to our assistance. I was at that movement endeavoring to reform my broken line, so as, at all events, to cover the artillery. The line was falling back in front of the Lewis house when Lieutenant-Colonel Doolittle, of the One hundred and eighty-eighth New York came up, gallantly leading his regiment, as also Colonel partridge, Sixteenth Michigan; the One hundred and fifty-fifth Pennsylvania and First Michigan came on in the most handsome and fifty-fifth Pennsylvania and First Michigan came on in the most handsome manner, passing to my front, Brevet Brigadier-General Pearson, of the One hundred and fifty-fifth, grasping his colors and dashing straight against the enemy's line. The assistance and the admirable service of the artillery compelled the enemy to abandon their position; otherwise I must have been driven entirely from the field.
This action lasted nearly two hours before any support reached us. I need not speak of the severity of the engagement, nor of the conduct of my officers and men, inasmuch as it was all under the eye and direction of the major-general commanding, who shared the dangers, as well as the responsibilities, of that field; but I amy be permitted to mention the fact that more than 400 of my men and 18 officers killed and wounded marked our line with too painful destructiveness. Nor can I fail to speak of the steadfast coolness and courage of Brevet Brigadier-General Sickel, whose example and conduct made my efforts needless on that part of the line, until he was borne from the field severely wounded; the unflinching tenacity of Colonel Sniper at this perilous post, and the desperate bravery with which he rallied his men, seizing his colors after it had fallen from the hands of three color-bearers and a captain, and bearing it into the very ranks of the enemy; the fiery courage of Major Glenn, which could scarcely be restrained; and of the heroic spirit of Major Maceuen, who fell dead foremost in the ranks of honor; nor shall I forget to name the young gentlemen of my staff-Lieutenants Walters and voges my personal aides, both painfully wounded, but keep ewing the field t the last; Lieutenant Mitchell, my adjutant-general, and Lieutenant Fisher, pioneer officer-who rendered me essential aid in the hottest of the fire. Private Kelsey, my orderly, rode upon the enemy's line and captured, under my own eyes, an officer and five men, and brought them in. Remaining on the field that night and the next day we buried our dead and 130 of the enemy's, and brought in the wounded of both parties.
General Griffin's skirmish line was advanced by my order as soon as the enemy gave way, myself accompanying it, and did not stop till it drew the fire of the enemy's artillery from breast-works about half a mile north of the junction of the Quaker road with the plank road to Boydton. This position of the enemy was then thought by us to be his main line. The One hundred and eighteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers drove the last of the enemy out of the position where the two roads join, but a farther advance could not be made across the large, open field, occupied
51 R R-VOL XLVI, PT I