and repelled the frequent and fierce assaults of the enemy, commands the highest praise. Of Col Soest's conspicuous bravery, I have already spoken above. The members of my staff, Major Hoffman, Captains Spraul, Schenofski, and Tiesemann, as well as Major Koenig of the Sixty-eighth New York, temporarily attached to me, performed their dangerous and delicate duties with the greatest fearlessness and precision; nor can I speak too highly of the valuable aid and assistance rendered to me during a part of the action by your able and excellent Aid-de-Camp, Capt. Asmsser. There are many officers and soldiers whose conduct deserves special notice, but to whom I cannot undertake to do justice in this report. In regard to those, I would respectfully refer you to the reports of the brigade and regimental commanders. On the morning of the thirtieth of August, you did me the honor to attach to my division Colonel Koltes's brigade, consisting of the Sixty-eighth New-York, the Twenty-ninth New-York, and the Seventy-third Pennsylvania, together with Capt. Dilyer's battery. Captain Hampton's battery was placed in the reserve. At eight o'clock A. M. you ordered me to take position behind the woods I had occupied for the night, and while I was deploying the division I received further orders to march six hundred or seven hundred yards to the rear and left, and to place myself behind Gen. Schenck's division on the open ground not far from Dogan's farm-house, front toward Groveton. There the division remained, quietly resting on their arms, until three o'clock P. M. For several hours we observed distinctly thick clouds of dust at a distance in our front, indicating a movement of heavy forces of the enemy toward our left. Our position was to be that of a general reserve. Before us we had Fitz-John Porter on our right, centre and right in the woods, and Gen. Reynolds on the heights in our front and left. If our corps was really intended to be a general reserve, its position was too far advanced, for it found itself from the beginning within range of the enemy's artillery, and it was evident that, if the corps in front met with any repulse, we would be entangled in the fight, one brigade after another, thus losing our liberty of action and the possibility of throwing our whole power upon the decisive point. About three o'clock, the fire commenced in the woods occupied by Gen. Porter, and also on our left, where General Reynolds stood. General Schenck's division was drawn forward toward Dogan's farm, and I received your order to be ready at a moment's notice. The artillery and infantry fire in our centre and left had meanwhile become quite lively. It was about four o'clock when you ordered me to advance toward Dogan's and take position immediately behind Gen. Stahl's brigade. I did so. The regiments formed in column by division right in front--Col. Schimmelfennig's brigade on the right, Koltes on the left, and Krzyzanowski behind the interval a little to the left. Capt. Dilyer's battery followed the right and took position on the crest of the hill not far from Dogan's. The artillery fire of the enemy had now become quite severe, and our troops, densely massed upon the open ground behind Dogan's farm-house, were greatly annoyed by the shot and shell dropping among them, but remained perfectly firm. A little after four o'clock we saw Gen. Porter's troops, who had been engaged in our front, leave their positions and retire in the direction of the place we occupied. You ordered Col. McLean to occupy the bald-headed hill, in our left front, and Col. Stahl forward to receive and support the retreating troops who then passed through the intervals of my division. Gen. Reynolds's troops, who had occupied the heights in our front and left, fell back, and the enemy, after having obliged them to retire, planted a battery upon the high ground abandoned by them immediately in our front, and opened a most disagreeable fire upon my three brigades. I ordered Capt. Dilyer to move his battery a little to the left and to open on the enemy's battery above mentioned, which was done. When Stahl's brigade had become engaged, you ordered me to send Colonel Koltes forward to the support of its left, and a few minutes afterward, seeing Koltes hotly received and severely pressed, I ordered Col. Krzyzanowski to ascend with his brigade the wooded hill-slopes on my left in order to prevent Koltes from being turned on that side. This order was executed with great promptness and spirit. But the heights on my left were soon abandoned by Gen. Reynolds's troops, and my two brigades, Koltes and Krzyzanowski, found themselves pressed in front by overwhelming forces, exposed to a most destructive artillery fire and turned by the enemy on their left and rear. The contest was sharp in the extreme. The gallant Koltes died a noble death at the head of his brave regiments; Krzyzanowski, while showing his men how to face the enemy, had his horse shot under him, and the ground was soon covered with our dead and wounded. When it had become evident that we on that spot were fighting alone and unsupported against immensely superior numbers, you ordered me to withdraw my division and to take a position facing toward the left and front on the next range of hills behind the “stone house,” which was the natural second position on this battle-field. I gave the necessary orders at once. The regiments of Koltes and Krzyzanowski's brigades came out of the fire in a very shattered condition. Their losses had been enormous. I had left Col. Schimmelfennig's brigade with Capt. Dilyer's batterry, on my right in reserve. They were exposed to a very heavy artillery fire, especially when the enemy had succeeded in establishing a battery of two pieces directly on our left, enfilading our whole front, but the men stood like trees until the order to retire reached them. Then they fell back slowly and in good order. Captain Dilyer's battery remained in position to check the pursuit of the enemy, whose infantry rushed upon
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.