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[26] they came up I led them forward against an Alabama regiment, partly concealed in a clump of small pines in an old field. At the first fire they broke and the greater portion of them fled to the rear, keeping up a desultory firing over the heads of their comrades in front; at the same moment they were charged by a company of secession cavalry on their rear, who came by a road through two strips of woods on our extreme right. The fire of the Zouaves killed four and wounded one, dispersing them. The discomfiture of this cavalry was completed by a fire from Captain Collum's company of United States cavalry, which killed and wounded several men. Colonel Farnham, with some of his officers and men, behaved gallantly, but the regiment of Zouaves, as a regiment, did not appear again on the field. Many of the men joined other regiments and did good service as skirmishers. I then led up the Minnesota regiment, which was also repulsed, but retired in tolerably good order. It did good service in the woods on our right flank, and was among the last to retire, moving off the field with the Third United States infantry. Next was led forward the First Michigan, which was also repulsed, and retired in considerable confusion. They were rallied, and helped to hold the woods on our right. The Brooklyn Fourteenth then appeared on the ground, coming forward in gallant style. I led them forward to the left, where the Alabama regiment had been posted in the early part of the action, but had now disappeared, but soon came in sight of the line of the enemy drawn up beyond the clump of trees. Soon after the firing commenced the regiment broke and ran. I considered it useless to attempt to rally them. The want of discipline in these regiments was so great that the most of the men would run from fifty to several hundred yards to the rear, and continue to fire — fortunately for the braver ones — very high in the air, and compelling those in front to retreat. During this time Reickell's battery had been taken and retaken three times by us, but was finally lost, most of the horses having been killed--Capt. Reickell being wounded, and First Lieut. D. Ramsay killed. Lieut. Kirby behaved very gallantly, and succeeded in carrying off one caisson. Before this time heavy reinforcements of the enemy were distinctly seen approaching by two roads extending and outflanking us on the right. Col. Stewart's brigade came on the field at this time, having been detained by the General as a reserve at the point where we left the turnpike. It took post on a hill on our right and rear, and for some time gallantly held the enemy in check. I had one company of cavalry attached to my division, which was joined during the engagement by the cavalry of Col. Stanton's division Major Palmer, who cannonaded them, was anxious to engage the enemy. The ground being unfavorable, I ordered them back out of range of fire. Finding it impossible to rally any of the regiments, we commenced our retreat about half-past 4 P.. M. There was a fine position a short distance in the rear, where I hoped to make a stand with a section of Arnold's battery and the United States cavalry, if I could rally a few regiments of infantry. In this I utterly failed, and we continued our retreat on the road we had advanced on in the morning. I sent forward my staff officers to rally some troops beyond the run, but not a company would form. I stopped back a few moments at the hospital to see what arrangements could be made to save the wounded. The few ambulances that were there were filled and started to the rear. The church, which was used as a hospital, with the wounded and some of the surgeons, soon after fell into the hands of the secession cavalry, that followed us closely. A company of cavalry crossed the rear and seized an ambulance full of wounded. Captain Arnold gave them a couple of rounds of “canister” from his section of artillery, which sent them scampering away and kept them at a respectful distance during the remainder of our retreat. At this point most of the stragglers were in advance of us. Having every reason to fear a vigorous pursuit from the enemy's fresh troops, I was desirous of forming a strong rear guard, but neither the efforts of the officers of the regular army, nor the coolness of the regular troops with me, could induce them to form a single company. We relied entirely for our protection on one section of artillery and a few companies of cavalry. Most of the road was favorable for infantry, but unfavorable for cavalry and artillery. About dusk, as we approached the Warrenton turnpike, we heard a firing of rifled cannon on our right, and learned that the enemy had established a battery enfilading the road. Captain Arnold, with his section of artillery, attempted to run the gauntlet and reached the bridge over Cub Run, about two miles from Centreville, but found it obstructed with broken vehicles, and was compelled to abandon his pieces as they were under the fire of these rifled cannon. The cavalry turned to the left, and after passing through a strip of woods and some fields, struck a road which led them to some camps occupied by our troops in the morning, through which we regained the turnpike. At about eight P. M. we reached the camps we had occupied in the morning. Had a brigade from the reserve advanced a short distance beyond Centreville near one-third of the artillery lost might have been saved, as it was abandoned at or near this crossing. Such a rout I never witnessed before. No efforts could induce a single regiment to form after the retreat had commenced.

Our artillery was served admirably and did much execution. Some of the volunteer regiments behaved very well, and much excuse can be made for those who fled, as few of the enemy could at any time be seen. Raw troops cannot be expected to stand long against an unseen enemy. I have been unable to obtain any report

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