holding this position a short time, Captain Wright, by your direction, ordered me through the woods, to take position near the front and center of the enemy's line, in an open field, where we came under the direct fire of the enemy's batteries, formed in "column by division." After remaining in this position for some ten minutes I received orders rom both your aides and those of Colonel Heintzelman to pass the whole front of the enemy's line, in support of Ricketts' battery, and proceed to the extreme right of our line and the left of the enemy, a distance of about a mile or more. The movement was effected at "quick" and "double- quick" time, both by the infantry and artillery, during which march the men threw from their shoulders their haversacks, blankets, and most of their canteens, to facilitate their eagerness to engage the enemy. on arriving at the point indicated, being the extreme left of the enemy, and the extreme right of our line and in advance of all other of our troops, and where I was informed officially that two other regiments had declined to charge, we formed a line of battle, our right resting within a few feet of the woods and the left at and around Ricketts' battery and upon the crest of the hill, within fifty or sixty feet of the enemy's line of infantry, with whom we could have conversed in an ordinary tone of voice. Immediately upon Ricketts' battery coming into position, and we in "line of battle," Colonel Heintzelman rode up between our lines and that of the enemy, within pistol shot of each which circumstance staggered my judgment whether those in front were friends or enemies, it being equally manifest that the enemy were in the same dilemmas as to our identity. But a few seconds, however, undeceived both, they displaying the rebel and we the Union flag. Instantly a blaze of fire was poured into the faces of the combatants, each producing terrible destruction owing to the close proximity of the forces, which was followed by volley after volley, in regular and irregular order as to time, until Ricketts'; battery was disabled and cut to pieces and a large portion of its officers and men had fallen, and until COMPANIES H, I, K, C, G, and those immediately surrounding my regimental flag were so desperately cut to pieces as to make it more of a slaughter than an equal combat, the enemy manifestly numbering five guns to our one, besides being intrenched in the woods and behind ditches and pits, plainly perceptible, and with batteries on e enemy's right enfilading my left flank and within 350 yards direct range. After an effort to obtain aid from the Fire Zouaves, then immediately upon our left, two nt orders came to retire, as it was manifest that he contest was too deadly and unequal to be longer justifiably maintained. Whereupon I gave the command to retire, seeing that the whole of our forces were seemingly in retreat. Every inch of ground, however, was strongly contested by skirmishers through the woods, by the fences, and over the undulating ground until we had retired some 400 yards in reasonable good order, to a point where the men could procure water, and then took up a regular and orderly retreat to such point as some general officer might indicate thereafter.
I feel it due to my regiment to say that before leaving the extreme right of our line the enemy attempted to make a charge with a body of perhaps 500 cavalry, who were met by my command and a part of the Fire Zouaves and repulsed with considerable loss to the enemy but without any to us. I m more than gratified to say that I kept the large body of my regiment together and march d from he field in order and on the march, and near an open space where Colonel Heintzelman's