previous next

[391] was ordered to take as a point of direction, and after having passed it to bring his right wing a little forward, so as to execute a converging movement towards the Second brigade, and upon the enemy's left flank. The battery of the Second brigade, Capt. Rohmer, I ordered to follow the left wing of the brigade, and to take position on a rise of ground immediately on the left of a little grove, through which Col. Krzyzanowsky was to pass. The battery attached to Col. Schimmelfennig's brigade was held in reserve.

As soon as the two brigades, consisting of three regiments each, had formed four regiments in column by company in the first line, and two in column doubled on the centre in reserve behind the intervals, the skirmishers advanced rapidly a considerable distance without finding the enemy. Arrived upon open ground behind the little patches of timber the division had passed through, I received from you the order to connect my line of skirmishers with Gen. Milroy's on my left. I pushed my left wing rapidly forward into the long stretch of woods before me, and found myself obliged to extend my line considerably, in order to establish the connection with Gen. Milroy, which however, was soon effected.

Hardly had this been done when the fire commenced near the point where Gen. Milroy's right touched my left. I placed the battery of the Second brigade upon an elevation of ground about six hundred or seven hundred yards behind the point where that brigade had entered the woods, a little to the left, so as to protect the retreat of the regiments composing the left wing in case they should be forced to fall back. The battery of the First brigade remained for the same purpose on high ground behind the woods in which Col. Schimmelfennig was engaged, covering my right.

When the fire of the skirmishers had been going on a little while, two prisoners were brought to me, sent by Col. Schimmelfennig, who stated that there was a very large force of the enemy, Ewell's and Jackson's divisions, immediately in my front, and about the same time one of Col. Schimmelfennig's aids informed me that heavy columns of troops were seen moving on my right flank, and that it could not be distinguished whether they were Union troops or rebels.

I then withdrew the reserve regiment of the Second brigade, the Fifty-fourth New-York, from the woods, so as to have it at my disposal in an emergency, and ordered Colonel Schimmelfennig to form one of his regiments, front toward the right; and to send out skirmishers in that direction, so as to ascertain the true condition of things there.

Meanwhile the fire in front had extended along the whole line, and became very lively, my regiments pushing the enemy vigorously before them about half a mile. The discharges of musketry increased in rapidity and volume as we advanced, and it soon became evident that the enemy was throwing heavy masses against us. About that time Gen. Steinwehr brought the Twenty-ninth New-York, under Col. Soest, to my support, and formed it in line of battle on the edge of the woods behind a fence. I then received information that the column which had appeared on my right and which really seems to have belonged to the enemy, had disappeared again in the woods without making any demonstration, and also that Gen. Kearny's troops were coming up in my rear. Thus reassured about the safety of my right, and expecting more serious business in the centre, I sent the Fifty-fourth New-York forward again with the order to fill up the gap between my First and Second brigades, occasioned by the extension of my line toward Gen. Milroy's right. The Twenty-ninth New-York remained in reserve. Immediately afterward the enemy began to press my centre so severely that it gave way, but I soon rallied it again, and after a sharp contest reoccupied the ground previously taken from the enemy.

It was about ten o'clock A. M., when an officer announced to me that Gen. Kearny had arrived on the battle field, and desired to see me. Gen. Kearny requested me to shorten my front and condense my line by drawing my right nearer to the left, so as to make room for him on the right. I gave my orders to Col. Schimmelfennig accordingly. A short time afterward I discovered that two small regiments, sent to my support, had slipped in between my two brigades, and were occupying part of my line in the woods. Gen. Kearny was just moving up his troops on my right, when the enemy made another furious charge upon my centre. The two regiments above mentioned, as well as the Fifty-fourth New-York, broke and were thrown out of the woods in disorder, the enemy advancing rapidly and in great force to the edge of the forest. The Twenty-ninth New-York poured several volleys into them, checking the pursuit of the enemy only for a moment, and then fell back in good order. The moment was critical. While endeavoring to rally my men again, I sent orders to the battery of the Second brigade, which I had placed in position in the rear of my left wing, to open fire upon the enemy, who threatened to come out of the woods. This was done with very good effect, and the enemy was brought to a stand, almost instantaneously. Meanwhile I succeeded in forming the Fifty-fourth New-York again, whose commander, Lieut.-Col. Ashby, displayed much courage and determination, and placed it en echelon behind the Twenty-ninth New-York, which advanced in splendid style upon the enemy in our centre. My extreme right, under Col. Schimmelfennig, had stood firm, with the exception of the Eighth Virginia, while the extreme left, under Colonel Krzyzanowski, had contested every inch of ground against the heavy pressure of a greatly superior force. The conduct of the Seventy-fifth Pennsylvania, which displayed the greatest firmness, and preserved perfect order on that occasion, deploying and firing with the utmost regularity, deserves special praise.

The Twenty-ninth New-York and the Fifty-fourth New-York had just reentered the woods, when one of your aids presented to me for perusal

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Jackson (Tennessee, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Schimmelfennig (14)
R. H. Milroy (8)
P. Kearny (8)
Steinwehr (2)
Soest (2)
Rohmer (2)
Krzyzanowsky (2)
Krzyzanowski (2)
Ewell (2)
Ashby (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: