I have not yet ascertained the numbers engaged in the Twenty-fifth Ohio, but have been informed by Lieut.-Col. Richardson that his nine companies were incomplete.
He will report, himself, the exact number in the action.
The enemy were in position on the top of the mountain, entirely screened from our view, and the conformation of the ridge permitted them to deliver their fire with only the exposure of a small portion of their bodies, and in reloading they were entirely protected from our fire by the crest of the hill.
The side of the mountain up which I was compelled to make the attack, was entirely destitute of protection, either from trees or rocks, and so steep that the men were at times compelled to march either to one side or the other in order to make the ascent.
In making the advance, Lieut.-Col. Richardson, by my order, deployed two of his companies as skirmishers, in order to more clearly ascertain the position and strength of the enemy.
As soon as these companies were deployed properly, I ordered Lieut.-Col. Richardson to support them with the whole of his regiment, formed in line of battle, which order was executed with great promptness, and in a few moments the whole of the Twenty-fifth Ohio was advancing steadily to the front, up the mountain, overcoming the difficult ascent with great labor.
As soon as the Twenty-fifth Ohio had advanced so as to make room in the open ground for the movement, I formed my own regiment, the Seventy-fifth Ohio, in line of battle, and gave the order for the advance, so that the whole force under my command was within easy supporting distance.
The enemy did not permit the skirmishers to advance far before a heavy fire was opened upon them from the whole crest of the hill.
The mountain was circular in its formation, so that when the whole line was engaged, the flanks were in a manner concealed from each other.
The enemy received us with so heavy and destructive a fire, that I was compelled to bring forward, as rapidly as possible, the whole of the forces under my command.
I cannot say too much in praise of the conduct of the troops.
Under the most heavy and galling fire from a well-sheltered enemy, and without protection themselves, they steadily advanced up the precipitous ascent, firing and loading with great coolness, until the enemy were forced to retire from their first position to a second ridge in the rear, which, however, protected them from our fire equally as well as the one which they had abandoned.
At this point our troops were halted, and finding that we were attacking a much larger force than I had anticipated, occupying also, a most admirable defensive position, I deemed it prudent to make no further advance, and determined, if possible, to hold on to the ground already acquired.
In the position gained my men found partial protection whilst loading their pieces, by taking advantage of the uneven nature of the grounds.
This, however, was slight, as the enemy were so placed that many of our men were wounded by their fire, some distance below the advanced front.
Our position was one of extreme danger and exposure, and the fire of the enemy was heavy; coming sometimes in tremendous volleys, as if they meant by one fire, to sweep us from the mountain.
Most nobly did our troops sustain themselves.
Both regiments worked together with great coolness, and the men seemed only to be anxious to get steady aim when firing their pieces, without a thought of retiring.
We held this position for at least an hour and a half before any troops arrived to reinforce us, the enemy not daring to make the attempt to drive us back by a charge.
At about this time the Thirty-second Ohio, under command of Lieut.-Col. Sweeney, and the Eighty-second Ohio, under command of Col. Cantwell, came to our aid and took position in our midst.
The fighting continued around the crest of the hill at this point, until I was informed that the Twenty-fifth Ohio were out of ammunition, and that some of my own regiment (the Seventy-fifth Ohio) were in the same condition, although every man of my own regiment started in the action with sixty rounds.
The evening, also, was well advanced, so that our men could only see the enemy by the flashes of their guns.
The moon was shining, but did not give sufficient light to enable the men to shoot with accuracy.
Under these circumstances I determined to withdraw the forces, and so gave the order.
I formed the Seventy-fifth Ohio in line of battle, under the crest of the hill, sufficiently low down to be out of the worst of the fire, and marched them down the mountain in this order, as well as the nature of the ground would permit, so as at any time to be able to face to the rear, and fire upon the enemy in case they should attempt to follow us. Upon reaching the road, I halted, and waited until the Twenty-fifth Ohio, the Eighty-second Ohio, and the Thirty-second Ohio had all returned to the road, when we marched back to McDowell.
The action was a most severe one, as is shown by the report of the killed and wounded, already in your possession.
My officers and men alike bore themselves most bravely in the action.
Lieut.-Col. Constable being sick, was unable to be with us, but Maj. Reilly rendered most important and gallant service, during the whole engagement, rallying the men and keeping them to their work, when, as was the case at times, the enemy seemed, by the increase of their fire, to have brought new forces into the action.
I had but one officer wounded, and of them all, so far as they came under my observation, I can speak in the warmest
|Company A, Capt. Friend commanding,||86 men.|
|Company I, Capt. Fry commanding,||61 men.|
|Company C, Capt. Harris commanding,||71 men.|
|Company H, Capt. Pilcher commanding,||69 men.|
|Company E, Capt. Foster commanding,||46 men.|
|Company G, Lieut. Morey commanding,||60 men.|
|Total of Seventy-fifth Ohio engaged,||444 men.|