lost little ground, telegraphed again to McClellan
that his position was critical, when French's and Meagher
's brigades of the 21 corps were ordered to cross to his support.
They moved promptly and rapidly; but, before they could reach the field, the Rebels
, rallying all their forces, just at sunset, for a last desperate effort, had stormed our intrenchments both on the left and on the right, and driven back their defenders with mutual carnage, capturing several of our guns.
, seeing his infantry beaten, now called into action all his reserved and remaining artillery, and thus bringing at once about 80 guns into action, was covering the retreat of his infantry and dealing fearful retribution on their assailants, whose advance was suddenly checked; when Gen. Cooke
, without orders, undertook to charge, with a battalion of cavalry, the right flank of the Rebels
advancing on our left, and still covered in good part by woods.
This charge being met by a withering fire of musketry, amidst the roar of a hundred belching cannon, resulted in instant rout: the frightened horses, whether with or without the consent of their riders, wheeling abruptly and crashing through our batteries; leading our gunners to suppose, for the moment, that they were charged by regiments of Rebel horse.
“To this alone,” says Fitz-John Porter
, in his report, “is to be attributed our failure to hold the field, and to bring off all our guns and wounded.”
In another moment, the cheering shouts of French's and Morell
's men were heard, as they advanced rapidly to the front.
Rallying behind these two fresh brigades, our wearied, decimated regiments advanced up the hill down which they had recently been driven, ready to meet a fresh attack, lad one been attempted.
But the enemy, perceiving that they were confronted by fresh combatants, and not knowing our force, halted for the night on the field they had so hardly won.
During that night, our forces were by order withdrawn, unmolested, across the Chickahominy
, losing three guns, that were run off a bridge into the stream.
in addition to 19 that they l}ad left on the battle-field.
Our loss in this action, though not specifically reported, probably exceeded 6,000 killed and wounded: among the former were Cols. Samuel W. Black
, 62d Pa., McLean
, of the 8:)d, Gove
, of the 22d Mass., Maj. N. B. Rossell
, 3d regular infantry, and many other brave and valuable officers.
The 11th Pennsylvania Reserves, Col. Gallagher
, and 4th N. J., Col. Simpson
, while enveloped III the smoke of battle, having too long maintained their position in the farthest front, found themselves at last completely enveloped by overwhelming forces of the enemy, and compelled to surrender; and Gen. John F. Reynolds
, of the 1st brigade of Reserves, will his Adjutant, Capt. Charles Kingsbury
, were taken prisoners just at dark, riding into a Rebel regiment, which they supposed to be one of their own. Altogether, our losses in this desperate action were hardly less than 8,000 men; those of the Rebels
being probably about two-thirds as many.1