the Seventy-third, extending thus the line to the right, and intending to order a charge which should sweep around the enemy's left flank and press him back towards our sustaining forces on the left. Never were troops in better temper for such work. But just as the Thirty-second was marching to the front for this purpose, leaving only the Seventy-fifth in the rear to cover the battery, I received the order of the General Commanding to withdraw slowly and in good order from my position and go to the relief of the left wing, composed of the brigades of Blenker's division. I felt reluctant to obey, because I was satisfied that the advantageous and promising position and condition of my brigade could not have been known at headquarters. I held my place, therefore, and sent back instantly to ascertain whether the emergency was such as to require me with all haste to retire. The order came back repeated. To prevent my being followed and harassed by the rebels while falling back, I then began to withdraw my infantry, moving them carefully by the flank towards the left, until I could uncover the enemy's line sufficiently to enable my battery to throw shot and shell into the woods. This done, I returned the Thirty-second to the support of the battery, and commenced drawing off the whole of my force to the left along the same lines in which I had advanced them. Here again, however, I was met by a messenger from the General Commanding, informing me that if I thought I could hold my ground I might remain, but stating that Milroy's brigade, my supporting force on the left, had also been directed to retire. I stopped, and threw the artillery again into battery, at a point a few rods in the rear of the place which it had at first occupied, and ordered a number of rounds of quick, sharp firing into the woods occupied by the rebels. The severe effect of this firing was discovered the next day, by the number of rebels found lying on that part of the battle-field. But while thus engaged, Captain Piatt, my Assistant Adjutant-General, ascertained for me that Gen. Milroy, under the order he had received, was rapidly withdrawing his brigade, passing towards the left; and so I had to follow him or be left separated from all the rest of the forces. I returned, however, only to the ridge half a mile to the left, which I had at first occupied, and there remained, in pursuance of orders, encamped for the night. My other battery, (Rigby's,) which I understood had been very effectively engaged during the action, on the left, was here returned home. It was now, perhaps, half-past 5 or six o'clock. Late in the evening, the enemy from the opposite point opened a brisk fire upon our camp and upon Hyman's battery, occupying the point of a hill at our left, with what seemed to be a battery of two six-pounders. This was probably a cover to his retreat. But he was replied to with so quick and hot a return by Hyman, Rigby and De Beck, that his fire was very soon silenced, and as afterwards ascertained, both his guns dismounted. Subsequently, a company of skirmishers from the Seventy-third had an encounter with skirmishers of the rebels, in the woods immediately in front of us, in which we had one man killed and another man wounded; but otherwise we rested undisturbed, until called to march in pursuit of the enemy again in the morning. I regret to have to state that in the night a party detailed from the battalion of Connecticut cavalry, Sergeant Morehouse and four men of company D, being sent to ascertain the position of Col. Cluseret, commanding the advance brigade, lost their way, and were captured, as is supposed, by the enemy's pickets. The whole number of effective men of my brigade that I was enabled to take into action was as follows:
The casualties were, altogether, but four killed, seven wounded, and four missing. I append in a separate report the names and corps of the killed and wounded.
I cannot close this report without expressing my satisfaction with the officers and men generally of my command.
Although worn down, and reduced in numbers by days and weeks of constant fatigue and privation, under long marches, with insufficient supplies, which they have necessarily had to undergo, they were actively and cheerfully eager to meet the rebel forces, and only regretted that it could not be their fortune to encounter them for their share in more obstinate and decisive battle.
To the officers commanding my several regiments and detached companies who had any opportunity to be in the engagement, my acknowledgments are especially due--Lieut.--Colonel Swinney, of the Thirty-second; Col. McLean, of the Seventy-fifth; Col. Smith, of the Fifty-third; Col. Lee, of the Fifty-fifth; Col. Cantwell, of the Eighty-second; Capt. De Beck, of the First Ohio artillery, and Capt. Blakeslee, of company A, Connecticut cavalry, commanding my guard.
To the officers of my Staff also--Capt. Don Piatt, A. A.G.; Capt. Margedant, of Engineers; Capt. Crane, C. S., and my two Aids-de-Camp, Lieuts. Chesbrough and Este--1 am greatly indebted for their constant energy and activity in conveying orders and attending to other duties during the day.
I am, very respectfully, your ob't servant,
Robert C. Schenck, Brigadier-General.