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[388] dark, but I pushed on in the direction of the firing, which had gradually grown into the thunder of a desperate battle. The night becoming dark and the nature of the ground not admitting of my battery being pushed forward, I left it in charge of two companies of infantry, and started forward with my four regiments in the direction of the heavy firing, which suddenly ceased, with great shouting, which indicated a victory, as we judged, by the rebels. It being now nine o'clock, and the darkness rendering the recognition of friend or foe impossible, I withdrew to my battery, which was on a line with the front of the corps, then fully a mile to my rear, resting my brigade here for the night.

On the following morning, the twenty-seventh, at daylight I was ordered to proceed on in search of the rebels, and had not advanced further than five hundred yards, when we were greeted by a few straggling shots from the woods in front. We were now at the creek, and I had just sent forward my skirmishers, when I received orders to halt and let the men have breakfast.

While the men were cooking, accompanied by General Schenck, I rode up to the top of an eminence, some five hundred yards to the front to reconnoitre.

We had no sooner gained the top than we were greeted by a shower of musket-balls from the woods on our right I immediately ordered up the battery and gave the bushwhackers a few shot and shell, which soon cleared the woods.

Soon after I discovered the enemy in great force about three fourths of a mile in front of us, upon the right of the pike leading from Gainesville to Alexandria. I brought up my two batteries and opened upon them, causing them to fall back. I then moved forward my brigade, with skirmishers deployed, and continued to forward my regiments, the enemy falling back. Gen. Schenck's division was off to my left, and that of Gen. Schurz to my right. After passing a piece of woods, I turned to the right, where the rebels had a battery that gave us a great deal of trouble. I brought forward one of my batteries to reply to it, and soon after heard a tremendous fire of small-arms to my right, in an extensive forest, and knew that General Schurz was hotly engaged.

I sent two of my regiments (the Eighty-second Ohio, Col. Cantwell, and the Fifth Virginia, Col. Zeigler) to Gen. Schurz's assistance. They were to attack the enemy's right bank. I held my other two regiments in reserve for a time. The two regiments sent to Schurz were soon hotly engaged; the enemy were behind a railroad embankment, which afforded them an excellent breastwork. The railroad had to be approached from the cleared ground on our side, through a strip of thick timber, from one hundred to five hundred yards in width. I had intended with the two regiments held in reserve (the Second and Third Virginia) to charge the rebel battery, which was but a short distance from us over the top of a hill to our left; but while making my arrangements to do this, I observed that my two regiments engaged were being driven back out of the woods by the terrible fire of the rebels.

I then saw the brave Cols. Cantwell and Zeigler struggling to rally their broken regiments on the rear of the forest, out of which they had been driven, and sent two of my aids to assist them and assure them of immediate support. They soon rallied their men, and charged again and again up to the railroad, but they were driven back each time with great loss. I then sent the Second Virginia to their support, directing it to approach the railroad at the point on the left of my other regiments, where the woods ended, but they were met by such a destructive fire from a large rebel force that they were soon thrown into confusion, and fell back in disorder. The enemy now came out in overwhelming numbers.

Gen. Carl Schurz had been obliged to retire with two brigades an hour before, and then the whole rebel force was turned against my brigade. My brave lads were dashed back before the storm of bullets like chaff before the tempest. I then ordered my reserve battery into position a short distance to the rear; five guns got into position, and commenced mowing the rebels with grape and canister, but before the sixth gun could get into position one of the wheel-horses was shot dead. I ordered them, however, to unlimber where they were, and pour in grape and canister, which they did with fine effect. My reserve regiment, the Third Virginia, now opened with telling effect.

Col. Cantwell, of the Eighty-second Ohio, was shot through the brain and instantly killed, while trying to rally his men during the thickest of the fight.

While the storm was raging the fiercest, Gen. Stahl came to me and reported that he had been sent by Gen. Schenck to support me. He inquired where he should place his brigade. I told him on my left, and help to support my battery. He then returned to his brigade, and that was the last I saw of him or his troops during the day. I was then left wholly unsupported, except by a portion of a Pennsylvania regiment, which I found on the field, and which stood by me bravely for the next hour or two. I then rallied my reserve regiment and the fragments of the others, in the woods near my battery, and sent out a strong party of skirmishers to keep the enemy at bay, while another party went forward without arms to get off as many of our dead and wounded as possible. I maintained my ground, skirmishing, and occasionally firing by battalion, during the greater part of the afternoon.

Toward evening, Gen. Grover coming up with his New-England brigade, I saw him forming line to attack the rebel stronghold in the same place I had been all day. I advised him to form line more toward the left and charge bayonets on arriving at the railroad track, which his brigade executed with such telling effect as to drive the rebels in crowds before their bayonets. Meanwhile I gathered the remnant of my brigade



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