creek for fifty or sixty yards. The dace of this slope was clothed with rather thinly scattered trees, and in one place on the left it had a sort of pit large enough to hold twenty or thirty men. Behind the trees at the top of the steep slope ran a rail fence. Along the face of this slope among the trees, in a rather irregular line, to suit the ground, I placed the two regiments, the Second on the right and the Twentieth on the left, with the line of the Twentieth extending forty or fifty yards above the bridge. Thus the greater part of the general line was placed below the bridge. This disposition was adopted because the road to the bridge on the other side of the creek ran from below up the bank of the creek near the water for 100 or 200 yards. The rails were taken from the fence and built up against such trees as were in suitable situations, and where there were no such trees the rails were laid in simple piles. These rude barricades, few and far between, afforded to men lying behind them tolerable shelter against small-arms. Such was the protection on which the regiments had to rely. The creek was fordable everywhere above and below the bridge; in most placed was not more than knee-deep. The hill-side occupied by the regiments was on its left commanded by a sharp ridge about 200 yards beyond the creek, and throughout by good positions for cannon at the distance of from 500 to 600 yards beyond the creek. Pickets and skirmishers were soon thrown across the creek several hundred yards to the front. The day passed off with perhaps an occasional shot from these; and so passed the next day, except that the skirmishing was heavier and that a number of well-directed shells were thrown across the creek from Captain Eubank's battery at small parties of the enemy as they showed themselves and at spots in which it was supposed the enemy lay concealed.
The next morning early (that of the 17th) the skirmishing was renewed. It continued, constantly growing heavier on the part of the enemy, till about 9 o'clock, when our skirmishers were driven in. At about 8 o'clock Captain Eubank discovered a large body of the enemy opposite to him in a wood within range of his guns. He opened fire on them and drove them in confusion from the wood, and with loss, to judge from the movement of their ambulances. not long after his battery had finished this work it was ordered away. Thus the two regiments were left at the bridge without any artillery supports whatever. The general line of battle of our army was nearly, if not quite, three-quarters of a mile in their rear, and nor a soldier was between them and that line. The intervening ground for a great part of the way was a long slope facing the enemy's batteries, and thus commanded by those batteries, so that re-enforcements, if they had been sent, would have been cut up by shells before they could have reached their destination. A regiment had been posted on the right farther down the creek, but this soon after the battle commenced abandoned its post and went to the rear. Thus the two regiments were also without infantry supports, and without the expectation of receiving any re-enforcements. The two together numbered not more than 350 men and officers, the Second having only 97, and the Twentieth not more than 250. In their front was Burnside's whole corps of not fewer than 12,000 or 15,000 of the enemy's best men, with a numerous artillery. In this forlorn condition were the two regiments at about 9 o'clock, when the fight opened in earnest. At this time the enemy's infantry, aided by the fire of many pieces of artillery, advanced in heavy force to the attack; and soon the attack opened on our whole line as far up as the bridge, It was bold and persevering. The enemy came to the creek. The fire not only