War of the Rebellion: Serial 107 Page 0122 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

also from the enemy's artillery, whose overshots were striking around us. The enemy rapidly worked up the edge of the woods toward our right and commenced very vigorous fire upon us. Our men went forward rapidly, and on arriving at the summit of a slight undulation met a most murderous fire. Seeing that my men had no shelter I commenced to retire them to the woods we had just left, where we might have done excellent service and been comparatively safe. An officer, reporting himself as on General Banks' staff, came forward and forbade this movement, and I ordered the men to halt on the northern slope of the knoll and to lie down and fire. I must mention that I waited some time, unwilling to fire, because scattered parties from other regiments were being driven from the woods by the advancing enemy. Had my men been less determined this crowd of unfortunates would have created a panic in our ranks. At the command every man went to work, and for thirty minutes kept up a continuous stream of fire along the line. The enemy, however, from their shelter and immense numbers had greatly the advantage, and our casualties, all of which happened at this place, show how successfully they used it. A part of General Gordon's brigade soon appeared on our right, but the fire of the enemy being so murderous that I could not believe it to be the desire of any general to allow such useless slaughter I gave the order to retreat.

Previous to this order all had done their duty manfully. I have not heard of a single instance of cowardly or shirking conduct during the fire. The retreat through the woods broke up my command, and many remained behind and, under cover of the woods, prolonged the contest. Others helped off the wounded. We reformed in the timber skirting on the northern bank of Cedar Run, and passed to the rear of Ricketts' division. Learning that two wagon loads of rations were near by, I marched the regiment toward them, thn thirty hours without food. The enemy having created a fright amongst teamsters by firing a few shells, I was compelled to retreat, in all about two miles, where, the teams being halted, the regiment stacked arms, ate their suppers, and went to sleep. We remained in this vicinity til the morning of the 11th, when we received orders to return to Culpeper Court-House and go into camp I cannot distinguish among the many brave any one who did not do his whole duty and prove himself a hero; all promptly obeyed, all gallantry faced the cross fire of the enemy, which in thirty minutes caused the frightful casualties which I am obliged to report. I am happy to state that nearly all of our wounded were brought off and taken care of as well as possible. Our revised recapitulation is: In action, 2 field, 4 staff, and 20 company officers; 435 enlisted men. Officers killed, 2; mortally wounded, 1; severely wounded, 2; slightly wounded, 2. Enlisted men killed, 19; mortally wounded, 8; severely wounded, 73; slightly wounded, 63. Aggregate, 170. There are also missing, supposed prisoners, Lieutenant Beardsley, commanding Company D, as sergeant, and two privates.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEORGE L. BEAL,

Colonel, Commanding Tenth Maine Volunteers.

Brigadier General S. W. CRAWFORD.

Since making the above report 2 wounded officers and 15 wounded enlisted men have died from wounds.

[12.]