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[162] reduced from 10,000 to 6,000 strong, was immediately in their front, and his men for a time held their ground gallantly; but days of fighting, succeeded by nights of marching — always, alas! in the wrong direction — had told upon the spirits as well as the numbers of these green troops, so suddenly transformed into veterans; while the flushed and confident enemy who assailed them were twice if not thrice their number. An attempt to crush their left by the Rebels was met by a charge of the 5th, 8th, 9th, and 10th regiments, led by Col. Simmons, of the 5th, which hurled the enemy back to the woods in their rear, leaving about 200 prisoners in our hands, who were triumphantly marched off the field. But here Simmons fell, mortally wounded; while hundreds of his soldiers strewed tile field; and the charging column, broken as it entered the woods, was unable to reform under the murderous fire of the enemy's infantry and artillery, and fell back in disorder to the woods behind its original position, which they held until night put an end to the contest.

A succession of desperate struggles ensued: the Rebels rushing forward in charge after charge to capture our guns, which poured volleys of grape and canister, at short range, into their close masses, sweeping them down by hundreds and forcing them to recoil in dismay; when our supporting regiments would pour a leaden hail of musketry upon the flanks of the baffled column, hurling it back in confusion to the sheltering forest. Thus, for two hours, the desperate conflict raged; until Kerns's battery, having fired its last charge, was, by McCall's order, withdrawn from the field, and Col. Roberts's infantry, having just repulsed a Rebel charge, was charged again on its left flank and driven from the field by a fresh force, which, rushing furiously on Cooper's battery, drove off the gunners and captured the guns. A counter-charge was instantly made by the 9th, with parts of other regiments; and, after a desperate but brief struggle, the battery was recovered, and the standard of the 10th Alabama taken. The Reserves still held the field, and not one of their guns had been lost, when, between sunset and dark, Meagher's Irish brigade, of Hooker's division, came up on our left, and, charging desperately across the open field, drove the Rebels back again into the woods.

McCall's right, under Gen. Meade, had been likewise engaged with overwhelming numbers, by whom a final charge was made, just at dark, for the possession of Randall's battery; which was carried at the point of the bayonet, though at a fearful cost. Gens. McCall and Meade instantly rallied their infantry for its recapture, and a hand-to-hand struggle of unsurpassed ferocity ensued, wherein the Reserves were overpowered and driven back, though the Rebels had suffered1 too severely to pursue

1 Brig.-Gen. Roger A. Prvor, 5th brigade of Longstreet's corps, says:

About 4 o'clock, I received an order from Maj.-Gen. Longstreet to go into the fight. At once, I moved in line toward the field; but the wood and other obstructions forced me to form column and send my regiments in successively. Arriving on the field, I discovered that the brigade on my right had been repulsed, and that my command were exposed to a destructive fire on the flank as well as in front. Nevertheless, they stood their ground, and sustained the unequal combat until reenforced by the brigade of Gen. Gregg. We did no:, return to our original position until the enemy had abandoned the field and surrendered his artillery into our possession. In this engagement, my loss was uncommonly heavy in officers as well as men. The 14th Alabama, bearing the brunt of the struggle, was nearly annihilated, I crossed the Chicka-hominy on the 26th, with 1,400 men. In the fights that followed, I suffered a loss of 849 killed and wounded, and 11 missing.

Col. J. B. Strange, commanding 3d brigade, 2d division of Longstreet's corps, in his report of this fight, says:

The brigade carried into action 723 muskets; and of this small number the loss was 228, including 4 officers killed and 13 wounded.

Gen. C. M. Wilcox reports the loss of his Alabama brigade in this battle at 471. Among the Rebel wounded were Brig.-Gens. Anderson and Featherston. It is probable that the respective losses here were about equal.

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