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[225] ground manfully, and were nobly sustained by their officers. But it was impossible to resist the force that was hurled against them. Slowly, inch by inch, they gave way; and it was not until after three o'clock that they fell back through Couch's line of battle to the rear, too much exhausted, and their ranks too much thinned, to take further part in the contest as a body.

At four o'clock we had lost nearly a mile of ground, fifteen of our guns had been captured, and the enemy were in possession of Casey's camp. Couch's division was now assailed. His troops stood firm, and the repeated assaults of the enemy were steadily met,--our left being protected by the impenetrable morasses of the White Oak Swamp. Two of Heintzelman's brigades appeared on the field, with the gallant Kearney at their head. The movements of the troops were now directed by General McClellan in person. But a new element of danger intervened. General Couch discovered large masses of the enemy pushing towards our right and crossing the railroad, as well as a heavy column which had been held in reserve and was now making its way towards Fair Oaks Station. This was part of Smith's division, which had come by the Nine-Mile road to attack our right flank. General Couch at once engaged this column with four regiments; but he was overpowered, and the enemy pushed between him and the main body of his division. Our position was now critical; for, if the enemy had succeeded in getting in our rear, we must have been

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Couch (4)
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