of the ground before us until our whole line was involved in a most vehement artillery and infantry contest.’
‘Meanwhile the fire in front had extended along the whole line and become very lively, my regiments pushing the enemy vigorously before them, about one-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.’
Think of the ‘heavy masses’ of three regiments coming to the support of a fourth.
, who was immediately in front of the First when we sent to ask for assistance, says:2
‘Scarcely had the skirmishers passed over two hundred yards when they became engaged with the enemy.
For some time the firing was kept up, but our skirmishers had to yield at last to the enemy's advancing column.
At this time I ordered my regiments up, and a general engagement ensued.
However, I noticed that the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-eighth regiments had to fall back owing to the furious fire of the enemy, who had evidently thrown his forces exclusively upon those two regiments. The Seventy-fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, which up to this time had not taken part in this engagement, was (at the time the Fifty eighth and the Fifty-fourth retired) nobly led by Lieutenant-Colonel Mahler upon the right flank of the enemy and kept him busy until I had brought the Fifty eighth at a double quick up to its previous position, when those two regiments successfully drove the enemy before them, thereby gaining the position of the Manassas Gap railroad.’
seems to have been everywhere, dashing about independently, even, of his independent brigade.
... After passing a piece of woods I turned to the right, where the Rebels had a battery that gave us a good deal of trouble.
I brought forward one of my batteries to reply to it, and soon heard a tremendous fire of small arms, and knew that General Schurz was hotly engaged to my right in an extensive forest.
I sent two of my regiments, the Eighty-Second Ohio, Colonel Cantwell, and the Fifth Virginia, Colonel Zeigler, to General Schurz's assistance.
They were to attack the enemy's right flank, and I held my two other regiments in reserve for a time.
The two regiments sent to Schurz were soon hotly engaged, the enemy being behind a railroad embankment, which afforded them an excellent breastwork.
The railroad had to be approached from a cleared ground on our side through a strip of thick timber, from 100 to 500 yards in width.
I had intended, with the two regiments held in reserve (the Second and Third Virginia regiments), to charge the Rebel battery, which was but a short distance