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[383] time to make new arrangements, and ordered all the batteries to continue their fire and to direct it principally against the enemy's position in the woods before our front.

Some of our troops placed in front were retiring from the woods, but as the enemy — held in check by the artillery in the centre — did not venture to follow, and as at this moment new regiments of General Hooker's command arrived and were ordered forward, we maintained our position, which Generals Milroy and Schurz had occupied in the morning.

During two hours, from four to six o'clock P. M., strong cannonading and musketry continued on our centre and right, where Gen. Kearny made a successful effort against the extreme left of the enemy's lines.

At a quarter-past six o'clock Brig.-Gen. King's division of Major-Gen. McDowell's corps arrived behind our front and advanced on the Gainesville turnpike.

I do not know the real result of this movement, but from the weakness of the enemy's cannonade and the gradually decreasing musketry in the direction of Gen. Kearny's attack, I received the impression that the enemy's resistance was broken, and that victory was on our side. And so it was. We had won the field of battle, and our army rested near their dead and wounded, who had so gloriously defended the cause of this country.

The battle of the 30th August.

On Saturday, the thirtieth August, I was informed by Major-Gen. Pope that it was his intention to “break the enemy's left,” and that I with the First corps should hold the centre, Major-Gen. Reno should take position on my right, and Gen. Reynolds on my left. The First corps took position behind Groveton, on the right of the Gainesville turnpike. My request to have two batteries in reserve behind the centre for certain emergencies--one of Gen. Reno's and one of Gen. Reynolds's division — was not complied with, although all my batteries were more or less worked down, several pieces unserviceable and short of ammunition, and many horses killed or disabled.

After having taken position as ordered, the corps of Major-General Porter passed between the enemy and our lines, and was forming in line of battle on the open field before the First corps and that of Gen. Reno, masking thereby our whole front. Not understanding the object of this movement, and being requested by one of the staff officers of Gen. Porter to give my opinion in regard to the ground before us, I immediately rode over to the General, (Porter,) and suggested that in accordance with the general plan his troops should pass more to the right and join those of General Kearny on our extreme right, and direct his attack against the enemy's left flank and rear. I also informed him that there were too many troops massed in the centre, and that General Reno and myself would take care of the woods in his front.

While this was going on, I received repeated reports that the enemy was shifting his troops from the Gainesville turnpike to his right. I therefore ordered the Fourth New-York cavalry, under Lieut.-Colonel Nader, to advance in that direction, between Newmarket and Groveton, passing behind our left, and to scout the country as far as they could go. I also sent one regiment of Gen. Schenck's division to the left of our position as an outpost, to observe the enemy's movements. After the lapse of about an hour I received notice that the cavalry pickets had found the enemy, and that the latter was moving against our left.

I sent the messenger who brought this intelligence to General Pope's headquarters. Shortly afterward I received, by Colonel Ruggles, chief of staff of General Pope, an order to occupy the “Bald-headed Hill” on my left with one brigade, which I did immediately. Meanwhile, Gen. Porter's troops, who had not changed their position, advanced into the woods, where we had lost a thousand men the day before. About this time, on our left, where Gen. Reynolds was posted, the musketry and cannonading began to increase.

The troops of General Porter had wholly disappeared in the woods, which led me to believe that the enemy had left his position in part, and that it was the intention of Gen. Pope to advance the first corps on the Gainesville turnpike. Suddenly, heavy discharges began in front, the corps of Gen. Porter having met the enemy, who was advantageously posted behind a well-adapted breastwork — the old Manassas Gap Railroad track. At the same time the enemy opened with shell and solid shot against our centre and left wing. Our batteries replied promptly and spiritedly, and from the general appearance of the battle, it was evident we had the whole army of the enemy before us.

It was now about five P. M., when awaiting the further development of the battle, I received a despatch through Gen. McDowell, and written by General Porter, expressing his doubt as to the final result of his attack, and, requesting General McDowell to “push Sigel forward.” Although I had not received positive orders from Gen. Pope, I immediately made the necessary preparations either to assist Gen. Porter or to resist an attack of the enemy, should he repel General Porter and advance against my own position in the centre, by directing Gen. Stahl to deploy his brigade in front, and Gen. Schurz to form his regiments in a line of reserve.

During the execution of these movements, Gen. Porter's troops came out of the woods, bringing a great number of wounded with them. In answer to my question why they were retiring after so short a time, they said that they were out of ammunition. Expecting that the enemy would follow up this retrograde movement of a whole corps with a strong force, I kept my troops well together to meet such an event. Thus we stood when suddenly incessant volleys of musketry betrayed the enemy in great force on our left, and showed clearly his real plan of attack.

To assist Colonel McLean's brigade on our left, I directed Gen. Milroy to join his brigade

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