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[22] that flank, and a column composed of the 27th New York, 11th and 5th Massachusetts, 2d Minnesota, and 69th New York, moved up toward the left flank of the batteries; but so soon as they were in position and before the flanking supports had reached theirs, a murderous fire of musketry and rifles, opened at pistol range, cut down every cannonier and a large number of horses. The fire came from some infantry of the enemy, which had been mistaken for our own forces; an officer in the field having stated that it was a regiment sent by Col. Heintzelman to support the batteries.

The evanescent courage of the “Zouaves” prompted them to fire perhaps a hundred shots, when they broke and fled, leaving the batteries open to a charge of the enemy's cavalry, which took place immediately. The marines also, in spite of the exertions of their gallant officers, gave way in disorder. The 14th, on the right, and the column on the left, hesitatingly retired, with the exception of the 69th and 38th New York, who nobly stood and returned the fire of the enemy for fifteen minutes. Soon the slopes behind us were swarming with our retreating and disorganized forces, while riderless horses and artillery teams ran furiously through the flying crowd.

All further efforts were futile. The words, gestures, and threats of our officers were thrown away upon men who had lost all presence of mind, and only longed for absence of body. Some of our noblest and best officers lost their lives in trying to rally them. Upon our first position the 27th was the first to rally, under the command of Major Bartlett, and around it the other regiments engaged soon collected their scattered fragments. The battalion of regulars, in the mean time, moved steadily across the field from the left to the right, and took up a position, where it held the entire forces of the rebels in check until our forces were somewhat rallied.

The commanding-general then ordered a retreat upon Centreville, at the same time directing me to cover it with the battalion of regulars, the cavalry, and a section of artillery. The rear guard thus organized followed our panic-stricken troops to Centreville, resisting the attacks of the rebel cavalry and artillery, and saving them from the inevitable destruction which awaited them had not this body been interposed.

Among those who deserve especial mention, I beg leave to place the following names, viz.: Captain Griffin, for his coolness and promptitude in action, and for the handsome manner in which he handled his battery.

Lieut. Ames of the same battery, who, after being wounded, gallantly served with it in action; being unable to ride on horseback, was helped on and off a caisson in changes of position.

Capt. Tillinghast, A. G. M., who was ever present when his services were needed, carrying orders, rallying troops, and serving with his batteries, and finally, I have to state with the deepest sorrow, was mortally wounded.

Major Sykes, and the officers of his command, (three of whom, Lieutenants Latimer, Dickenson, and Kent, were wounded,) who, by their discipline, steadiness, and heroic fortitude, gave eclat to our attacks upon the enemy, and averted the dangers of a final overthrow.

Major Palmer, and the cavalry officers under him, who, by their daring intrepidity, made the effectiveness of that corps all that it could be upon such a field in supporting batteries, feeling the enemy's position, and covering our retreat.

Major Reynolds of the marines, whose zealous efforts were well sustained by his subordinates, two of whom, Brevet-Major Zulin and Lieutenant Hale, were wounded, and one, Lieutenant Hitchcock, lost his life.

Colonel H. W. Slocum, who was wounded while leading his gallant 27th New York to the charge, and Major J. J. Bartlett, who subsequently commanded it, and by his enthusiasm and valor kept it in action, and out of the panic. His conduct was imitated by his subordinates, of whom two, Capt. N. O. Rogers and Lieutenant N. C. Jackson, were wounded, and one ensign, Asa Park, was killed.

In the last attack, Colonel H. M. Wood, of the 14th New York State Militia, was wounded, together with Captains R. B. Jordan and C. F. Baldwin, and Lieutenants J. A. Jones, J. R. Salter, R. A. Goodenough, and C. Scholes, and Adjutant Laidlaw. The officers of the 14th, especially Major James Jourdan, were distinguished by their display of spirit and efficiency throughout the action.

Surgeon Charles Keeney of the Medical Department, who by his professional skill, promptitude, and cheerfulness made the condition of the wounded of the 2d division comparatively comfortable. He was assisted to a great extent by Dr. Ranch of Chicago, a citizen.

During the action I received extremely valuable aid and assistance from my aide-de-camp, Lieut. C. F. Trowbridge, and Lieut. F. M. Bache, both of the 16th regiment.

Lieut. J. E. Howard, 14th N. Y. S. M., acting brigade-quartermaster, by his zealous attention to duty, brought the wagons of my brigade safely to Arlington.

The staff officers of the 2d division commanding, viz., Capt. N. D. Whipple, Lieuts. Cross and Flagan, served with me after the fall of Col. Hunter, and I am indebted to them for gallant, faithful services during the day. Capt. Whipple had his horse killed under him by a cannon ball. Acting Assistant Adj't-Gen., Lieut. W. W. Averill, sustained the high reputation he had before won for himself as a brave and skilful officer, and to him I am very greatly indebted for aid and assistance, not only in performing with the greatest promptitude the duties of his position, but by exposing himself most fearlessly in rallying and leading forward

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