retreat had begun, and, before we had recovered from our surprise, were ordered in to support Tompkins
's Rhode Island battery, and the enemy was soon upon us.
At the headquarters of the commissary department all was confusion.
A pile of hard-tack as large as Faneuil Hall was set on fire.
Heads of commissary whiskey barrels were knocked in and the whiskey ran in streams.
This was also set on fire and men were burned as they tried to drink it. Blankets, clothing, stores of all kinds were destroyed, and one would think as an army we were going out of business, but such was not the case, as we had enough on our hands to last us the next seven days.
We made a stand at Peach Orchard
and found that our corps was to cover the retreat of the army.
We were slowly driven back to Savage Station, where a battery went into position and we lay in the rear as its support.
One who has never supported a battery can form no idea of this duty, which is to lie just as snug to the ground as you can and take those shells coming from the enemy that the battery does not want.
Our position at Savage
was a dangerous one.
Shells were constantly bursting in our ranks and our battery was being severely tested.
It did not seem that our lines could be held much longer, yet we knew that our wagon train was crossing the bridge and we must stand our ground until they were safely over.
We heard a cheer, and looking to the left saw Meagher
's Irish brigade moving forward on the run. The entire corps, forgetful of danger, sprang to their feet and cheered them wildly.
On they went; grape and cannister ploughed through their ranks, but they closed up the gaps and moved on up to the mouth of the rebel batteries, whose guns were captured, and the