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[30] been previously compelled to retreat in the face of superior numbers and a great loss in their ranks. Before arriving at the brow of the hill, we met the enemy in large force, one of his infantry regiments, apparently fresh upon the field, advancing steadily toward us in line of battle. A large number of the men of this regiment had advanced in front of their line, and had taken possession of Rickett's battery, and were endeavoring to turn the guns upon us. A well-directed and destructive fire was immediately opened upon the enemy by my regiment, and a portion of another that had rallied upon our left (I think the Fourteenth, New York State Militia), and after a sharp conflict he was forced to retreat in disorder and with great loss, seeking shelter in the woods from whence he had previously emerged.

The enemy not succeeding in taking with him Rickett's battery, which seemed to have been the chief object of his attack, it fell into the hands of my regiment, by whom three of its guns were dragged a distance of three hundred yards, and left in a road, apparently out of reach of the enemy.

Another rally was then again made by my regiment, the gallant men readily responding to the orders of their officers. Advancing in double-quick time to the right and front towards a dense wood, in which the enemy had been concealed in large force during the day, and from which evidences of a retreat were now visible, my regiment, with detached portions of others of our force, became engaged in a sharp and spirited skirmish with the enemy's infantry and cavalry, and we appeared for a time to have complete possession of the field.

This was the last rally made by my regiment: suddenly and unexpectedly the enemy, reinforced by fresh troops, literally swarming the woods, poured in upon us a perfect shower of lead from his musketry; his batteries reopened upon us with terrible effect; and a panic at this moment seeming to have taken possession of our troops generally, a retreat was ordered, and my regiment, in comparatively good order, commenced its march towards Centreville, where a greater portion of it arrived about 9 o'clock that night. Here, on the same ground that we had bivouacked previous to the battle, the regiment was halted. After a rest of about two hours, it again resumed its march, joining in the general movement made by the army towards this place.

After a forced and wearisome march of seven hours, the men suffering from the fatigue of the previous fifteen hours, without food for that length of time, with scarcely water enough to moisten their parched tongues, many of them wounded, sick, and otherwise disabled, my regiment, with the exception of about fifty, who had straggled from their respective companies and joined the mass that were thronging to the capital, halted at its original camp ground near Alexandria — the only regiment of the brigade that did so — the only regiment, in fact, that was under fire the previous day, that returned to and occupied their old camp ground previous to their advance towards the field of battle. It is with great pride, sir, that I mention this fact, evincing, as it emphatically does, a degree of subordination commendable in any regiment, and reflecting great credit upon the gallant officers and men of my own, particularly under the extraordinary circumstances connected with the occasion.

From the time my regiment was ordered into the battle-field until forced to retire therefrom, a period of four hours, it was almost constantly under fire from the enemy's batteries, and engaged with the infantry; and through your coolness and courage alone, during that time — your frequent orders for the men to lie down when the enemy's fire was the hottest, and your constant effort to protect them as far as possible at all times — was the regiment saved from presenting a larger number of casualties than its large number now shows.

Of the courage displayed by the men generally on the field during the entire day, of the readiness of the gallant fellows to obey at all times all orders, I cannot speak in too high terms, or express in words my admiration. During all my experiencing a former campaign, and presence on many a battle-field, I have never witnessed greater bravery or more soldierly requisites than were displayed by the men of my own regiment during the entire battle.

The conduct of the officers generally, I cannot speak too highly of. Always at their posts, cheering on their men by their soldierly examples, and displaying marked gallantry under the trying circumstances, I acknowledge my inability to do them justice in words. Major Potter was disabled during the early part of the engagement, while gallantly performing his duty, and subsequently fell into the hands of the enemy. The brave Captain McQuaide, while cheering on his men, fell, from a severe wound in the leg. Lieut. Thomas S. Hamblin, a gallant young officer, also received a wound in the leg while discharging his duty; and he, with the former officer, subsequently fell into the hands of the enemy. Captains McGrath and Allason both received injuries during the engagement, the former by being run down by the enemy's cavalry, (from the effects of which he is now suffering,) and the latter by a slight musket shot. Lieut. John Brady, Jr., while bravely participating in the fight, was severely wounded in the arm. Assistant Surgeon Stephen Griswold was on the field, and, under a heavy fire, at all times humanely and fearlessly discharging his duties to the wounded. He and Quartermaster Charles J. Murphy, who was assisting the wounded, were also taken prisoners.

In conclusion, I again assert my inability to do justice to the gallant conduct of the officers generally; and while it would afford me great pleasure to mention the names of many whose

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Rickett (2)
James D. Potter (1)
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Eugene McGrath (1)
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