Crawford at about twelve M. I was directed by General Roberts, of General Pope's staff, to take position on the extreme right, which I occupied with my command of three regiments and two batteries. Until four P. M., only a few discharges from the enemy's guns announced his presence. At this hour a severe cannonading began, extending from the left of our line across the road upon which our centre rested. Our batteries, served with great vigor, responded manfully, and with such success, that the whole of our left, consisting of General Augur's division, advanced considerably from our first position, notwithstanding the enemy occupied a height which gave him advantages of a plunging fire. Until half-past 5 P. M., this artillery practice continued with unabating severity. At this hour I heard quite a rapid musketry firing in my front behind a range of timber, distant about one third of a mile from my position. I was ordered by you, sir, to move at once with my brigade and support General Crawford, who was engaging the enemy's left. I moved at once from my well-chosen and exceedingly strong position, gaining the scene of action as briefly as a double-quick movement could carry me. I led into action the Second Massachusetts regiment. Colonel G. L. Andrews; Third Wisconsin regiment, Colonel Ruger; and the Twenty-seventh Indiana regiment, Colonel Colgrove. I should state that five companies of the Third Wisconsin regiment, previously deployed as skirmishers in this same timber, had been ordered by you to join General Crawford's command, which after engaging the enemy with much gallantry, had been compelled to retire. I arrived in the timber as Colonel Ruger was rallying his men, and added them to my command. The enemy were posted in the edge of the woods, on the opposite side of a newly-mown wheat-field — distance across this field, about two hundred yards. As I approached the opening, the enemy, from his concealed position, received me with a rapid and destructive fire, but my regiments, particularly the Second Massachusetts and Third Wisconsin, coolly took their assigned places, and replied with commendable coolness. For at least thirty minutes this terrible fire continued. Companies were left without officers, and men were falling in every direction from the fire of an enemy which largely outnumbered my brigade. Still there was no general falling back. Some disgraceful instances of cowardice there were, but these only served to show in bolder relief the majesty of the courageous bearing of others. The enemy having gained my right and rear, which, by their superior numbers they were enabled to do without a check from me, poured in a destructive fire from this new direction. The fire from the front had not been diminished. It was too evident that the spot that had witnessed the destruction of one brigade would be in a few moments the grave of mine. I had resisted the suggestion of a staff-officer of your command to withdraw when the contest seemed almost hopeless; but now my duty had been performed, as the reports will show. I had lost more than thirty in every hundred of my command; I therefore reluctantly withdrew, assembled my diminished numbers between the timber and my first position, and fell back to the right of the line which I had held since the morning. This position I occupied until relieved at a late hour of the night by troops from General McDowell's division. There we slept upon our position. We had not driven the enemy from his; further than that, if he had any thing of which to boast, it is not in his numerous dead which fell before the rifles of the First and Third brigades of the First division. With my shattered brigade I occupied the front of the centre of our line of battle until near day-light. In conclusion, I ought — as I thus do — to mention the names of Colonel Andrews, Second Massachusetts regiment; Colonel Ruger, Third Wisconsin regiment; and Colonel Colgrove, Twenty-seventh Indiana regiment, as deserving praise for gallant conduct. I by no means limit my commendation to the names mentioned. I would add the names of many commissioned and noncommissioned officers of my command. The dead, the honored dead, speak for themselves; they gave up their lives for their country's sake. The living yet live for their country, and the wounded, in their suffering, may be cheered by the consciousness that all this and more they can bear for the cause of American freedom. Among the killed are Lieutenant-Colonel Crane and Captain O'Brien, Third Wisconsin regiment; Captains Cary, Williams, Abbott and Goodwin, and Lieutenant Perkins, of the Second Massachusetts. These are some of the names to be remembered as heroes — men who have died that our country may survive. I carried into action less than one thousand five hundred men. I lost in about thirty minutes about four hundred and sixty-six killed, wounded and missing. I refer specially to the reports of Colonels of regiments appended. My Staff, Captain H. B. Scott, A. A.G., Captain Chas. F. Wheaton and Lieutenant Robert Shaw, Aids-de-camp, rendered me especial service in my movements. I owe them many thanks for their labors and coolness under this terrific fire. I am, sir, with great respect, truly your ob't servant,
Geo. H. Gordon, Brigadier-General Commanding Third Brigade, First Division, Second Army Corps, Army of Virginia.
Reports of Colonel Andrews.
headquarters Second regiment mass. Volunteers, camp near slaughter's Mt., Aug. 11, 1862.In compliance with orders from brigade headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Second regiment Massachusetts volunteers, August ninth, 1862. The regiment, with the rest of the brigade, marched from camp near Culpeper Court-House,
Brig.-Gen. Geo. H. Gordon, Commanding Third Brigade:
Brig.-Gen. Geo. H. Gordon, Commanding Third Brigade: