USV 3d Battalion & The Potomac Legion
Antietam 140th Anniversary Reenactment
The Twenty-ninth Massachusetts Volunteers
DYER'S COMPENDIUM Pt. 3 (Regimental Histories)
--Organized at Newport News, Va., December, 1861, from 1st Battalion Massachusetts Infantry (7 Cos.) and 3 new Companies ("F," "G" and "H") organized December 13-17, 1861, which Joined Regiment at Newport News, Va., January 17, 1862. Attached to Newport News, Va., Dept. of Virginia, to May, 1862. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Dept. of Virginia, to June, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to December, 1862, 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to April, 1863. 2nd Brigade. 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Dept. of the Ohio, to June, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, to August, 1863. 2nd Brigade. 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Dept. of the Ohio, to March, 1863. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps. Army of the Potomac, May to June, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to July, 1864. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, to September. 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 9th Army Corps, to July, 1865.

--Duty at Newport News, Va., till May, 1862. Sinking of the "Cumberland" and "Congress" by the Merrimac March 8, 1862. Battle between "Monitor" and "Merrimac" March 9. Occupation of Norfolk and Portsmouth May 10. Duty there till June 2. Moved to Suffolk, thence to Portsmouth and White House Landing June 6-7. March to Fair Oaks June 8. Near Seven Pines June 15. Fair Oaks June 24. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Gaines' Mill June 27. Peach Orchard and Savage Station June 29. White Oak Swamp and Glendale June 30. Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison's Landing till August 16. Movement to Fortress Monroe, thence to Alexandria and Centreville August 16-30. Cover retreat of Pope's army from Bull Run August 31-September l. Battle of Antietam, Md., September 16-17. At Harper's Ferry, W. Va., till October 29. Advance up Loudoun Valley and movement to Falmouth October 29-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15. "Mud March" January 20-24, 1863. Moved to Newport News February 12-14, thence moved to Kentucky March 21-26. Duty at Paris, Ky., till April 26. Moved to Nicholasville, Lancaster and Stanford April 27-29. March to Somerset May 6-8. Movement through Kentucky to Cairo, Ill., June 4-10; thence to Vicksburg, Miss., June 14-17. Siege of Vicksburg June 17-July 4. Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 4-10. Siege of Jackson July 10-17. At Milldale till August 12. Moved to Covington, Ky., August 12-23. Burnside's Campaign in East Tennessee August to October. Action at Blue Springs October 10. At Lenois till November 14. Knoxville Campaign November-December. Campbell's Station November 16. Siege of Knoxville November 17-December 4. Pursuit of Longstreet December 7-28. Operations in East Tennessee till March, 1864. Veterans march to Nicholasville. Ky., March 21-31; thence moved to Covington, Ky.; Cincinnati, Ohio, and to Boston, Mass., March 31-April 9. On furlough till May 16. Moved to Washington, D.C.; thence to Belle Plain, Va., March 16-20. Joined Army of the Potomac May 28. Non-Veterans attached to 36th Massachusetts Infantry February 1 to May 16. Rapidan Campaign May-June. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Bethesda Church June 1-3. Before Petersburg, June 15-19. Siege of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30, 1864. Weldon Railroad August 18-21. Poplar Springs Church, Peeble's Farm, September 29-October 2. Reconnoissance on Vaughan and Squirrel Level Roads October 8. Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run, October 27-28. Fort Stedman March 25, 1865. Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2. Occupation of Petersburg April 3. Moved to Washington, D.C., April 21-28. Grand Review May 23. Provost duty at Washington and Alexandria till July. Mustered out July 29, 1865.

--Regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 53 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 4 Officers and 95 Enlisted men by disease. Total 156.

SEPTEMBER 3-20, 1862.-The Maryland Campaign.
No. 39.--Report of Brig. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, U.S. Army, commanding First Division, Second Army Corps, of the battle of Antietam.
[ar27_277 con't]
Harper's Ferry, September 29, 1862.
COLONEL: In obedience to instructions from the major-general commanding the corps, I have the honor to submit a narrative of the operations of this (Richardson's) division during the battle of Antietam, and the time subsequent thereto, until the enemy had retreated from the field, Major-General Richardson's wound being of such a nature as to render it impracticable for him to make the report as to the period during which he exercised the command.
About 9.30 o'clock a.m. on the 17th instant, the division, commanded by General Richardson, crossed the Antietam at the ford constructed by our engineers; then moved forward on a line nearly parallel to the creek, and formed line of battle by brigades in a ravine behind the high ground overlooking Roulette's house, the Second Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Meagher, on the right, his regiments being placed in the following order from right to left: The Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, commanded by Lieut. Col. James Kelly; the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Barnes; the Sixty-third New York Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Burke, and the Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers, commanded by Lieut. Col. Patrick Kelly; the Third [First] Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Caldwell, on his left, and the brigade commanded by Colonel Brooke, of the Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, in the rear. Meagher's brigade immediately advanced, and soon became engaged with the enemy, posted to the left and in front of Roulette's house. This brigade continued its advance under a heavy fire nearly to the crest of the hill overlooking Piper's house, the enemy being posted in strong force in a sunken road directly in its front.
A severe and well-sustained musketry contest then ensued, which, after continuing until the ammunition was nearly expended, this brigade, having suffered severely, losing many valuable officers and men, was, by direction of General Richardson, relieved by the brigade of General Caldwell, which until this time had remained in support. Caldwell's brigade advanced to within a short distance of the rear of Meagher's brigade. The latter then broke by companies to the rear, and the former by companies to the front, and in this manner passed their respective lines. Caldwell's brigade immediately advanced to the crest overlooking [ar27_278] the sunken road and about 30 yards distant from it, and at once became engaged in a most desperate contest, the enemy then occupying that position in great strength, supported by other troops in their rear toward Piper's house.
The regiments of this brigade were posted in the following order, from right to left: The Sixty-first New York and Sixty-fourth New York Volunteers, consolidated temporarily, under command of Colonel Barlow; the Seventh New York Volunteers, commanded by Captain Brestel; the Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanded by Major McKeen, and the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Cross. At this time Colonel Brooke's brigade formed a second line in support of Caldwell's brigade, the regiments of General Meagher's brigade retiring to the rear to replenish their ammunition, having received an order to that effect from General Richardson.
The enemy having pierced the troops on the right of Roulette's house, belonging to some other division of our forces, Colonel Brooke, observing it, applied for orders to General Richardson to repair the accident, and immediately led three regiments in that direction, and formed line of battle on the crest in front of Roulette's house and inclosures, sending one regiment (the Fifty-third Pennsylvania, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel McMichael) to dislodge the enemy, who had then gained a foothold in the corn-field in rear of those buildings. The enemy was promptly driven out by this regiment, which held the ground until ordered subsequently to march to another part of the field. The enemy having retired on these demonstrations, the other two regiments (the Fifty-seventh New York Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Parisen, and the Sixty-sixth New York Volunteers, commanded by Captain Wehle) were then led by Colonel Brooke to the support of General Caldwell's brigade, forming line on the same crest with it, that brigade being then hard pressed by the enemy, and a vacant space having been made in the line owing to the fact that the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers had been moved to the left by Colonel Cross to prevent a flank movement by the enemy toward our left, which was handsomely frustrated by that officer. A spirited contest arose between his regiment and a force of the enemy, each endeavoring to be the first to gain the high ground to the left, and each force delivering its fire as they marched by the flank in parallel lines. Colonel Cross captured one regimental color in this contest.
The two regiments of Colonel Brooke's brigade last referred to immediately became engaged on the left of the remainder of General Caldwell's, the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers being still farther to the left. The enemy was re-enforced by fresh troops during the contest, his first line having been driven off the field. Finally an advance was made from this position to Piper's house by the brigade of Caldwell and the two regiments under Colonel Brooke, under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, the enemy having a section of brass pieces in the front firing grape and a battery to the right throwing shell. This advance drove the enemy from the field and gave us possession of the house and its surroundings--the citadel of the enemy at this position of the line, it being a defensible building several hundred yards to the rear of the sunken road first referred to. This having been accomplished, the musketry firing at this point ceased. At the time the enemy broke the line on our right previously referred to, when Colonel Brooke advanced toward Roulette's house, Colonel Frank, of the Fifty-second New York Volunteers, then in command of that regiment and the Second Delaware, also observing a movement to our right and rear, [ar27_279] changed front obliquely to the right, and became engaged with the flank of the enemy's advance, and performed an active part in frustrating his intended movement. Colonel Barlow, commanding the Sixty-first and Sixty-fourth Regiments of New York Volunteers, of Caldwell's brigade, observing the same movement of the enemy to the right, changed front and delivered his fire, performing good service in checking the attempt to turn our flank, causing the surrender of 300 prisoners and capturing two colors. Having possession of Piper's house, by direction of General Richardson the line was withdrawn a short distance to take position on a crest, which formed a more advantageous line.
Up to this time the division was without artillery, and in taking up the new position it suffered severely from artillery fire, which could not be replied to. A section of Robertson's battery of horse artillery (brass pieces), commanded by Lieutenant Vincent, of the Second Artillery, then arrived on the ground and did excellent service. Subsequently a battery of brass guns of Porter's corps, commanded by Captain Graham, also arrived, and was posted on the same line. A heavy fire then ensued between the enemy's artillery and our own, ours finally retiring, being unable to reach the enemy, who used rifled guns, ours being smooth-bores.
General Richardson was severely wounded, about this time, while directing the movements of the troops, and while personally directing the fire of one of our batteries. General Meagher's brigade having refilled their cartridge boxes, returned at this time, and took its position in the center of the line. General Meagher had his horse shot under him in the action of his brigade, and, in falling, received bruises which prevented him from returning to the field until the next morning.
Early in the afternoon, after General Richardson had been removed from the field, I was directed to take command of his division by Major General McClellan in person. Having received his orders and those of Major-General Sumner, I proceeded to the ground, and found that the division occupied the right center of our lines My instructions were to hold that position against the enemy. I found the troops occupying one line of battle in close proximity to the enemy, who was then again in position behind Piper's house. The Fourteenth Connecticut Regiment and a detachment from the One hundred and eighth New York Volunteers, both under command of Col. Dwight Morris, were in reserve, the whole command numbering about 2,100 men, with no artillery. Finding a considerable interval at a dangerous point between Meagher's brigade, then commanded by Colonel Burke, of the Sixty-third Regiment New York Volunteers, and Caldwell's brigade, the Fourteenth Connecticut was placed there, and the detachment from the One hundred and eighth New York Volunteers on the extreme left. Application was made for two batteries of artillery to the different commanders within reach, and to the chief of artillery, but none could be spared at that time. I felt able, however, to hold the position as I had been instructed, notwithstanding this deficiency and the fact that the troops were already suffering severely from the shells of the enemy, relying upon the good qualities of the troops, but was too weak to make an attack, unless an advance was made on the right, as I had no reserves, and the line was already enfiladed from its forward position by the enemy's artillery in front of our right wing, which was screened from the fire of our artillery on the right by a belt of woods, which was yet in possession of the enemy.
Some time after arriving on the ground, a command of the enemy was [ar27_280] seen in line of battle, preceded by skirmishers, advancing in a direction parallel to our front, and toward a command of ours situated to the front of my left, whose line was formed nearly at right angles with mine. I immediately sent a pressing message for a battery of artillery, and Captain Hexamer, of Slocum's division of General Franklin's corps, was sent to me. The enemy, after a short cannonading, was forced to retire. In a short time an advance was made by some of our troops on my right toward the rear of Piper's house, the enemy appearing to make preparations to meet them. I assisted these troops by the fire of this battery, and subsequently seeing our troops returning, prevented pursuit. This advance proved to have been made by a single regiment, the Seventh Maine, without concert of action with other troops.
During this time and previously the entire command suffered a severe cannonading from the enemy's artillery, and was also much annoyed by his sharpshooters. The battery above referred to, having no ammunition, retired, and was replaced by Kirby's battery, commanded by Lieu tenant Woodruff (12-pounder brass guns). Captain Tidball's battery had been in position a considerable distance from our extreme left, and toward evening that officer placed a section on the elevated ridge on the left of my line, which did material service by the precision of its fire in concealing the weakness of our position. This section was withdrawn about dark.
Affairs remained in this position during the night. Our pickets were thrown as far forward as practicable (a very short distance). The next morning a battery of light 12-pounders, commanded by Lieut. Evan Thomas, reported to me, and replaced the battery commanded by Lieu tenant Woodruff. Captain Pettit's battery of rifled guns also reported, and was placed in a commanding position on our extreme left. The day passed in this position, I having been directed in the morning, by orders from the commander-in-chief, not to precipitate hostilities, as he expected some re-enforcements to arrive before he desired to recommence movements to the front. Receiving no further instructions during the day, I continued to await the operations of the other portions of the line. The enemy's sharpshooters commenced at an early hour on the morning of the 18th firing upon our troops, and so continued during the day. Their fire was replied to by our pickets and by others detailed for this service.
In the afternoon, being informed that a flag of truce from the enemy was in our front, I dispatched an aide to receive the message, and, on learning that General Pryor appeared on the part of the enemy, directed General Meagher to communicate with him and to ascertain his wishes. It was then learned that no flag had been sent by the enemy, and that a misunderstanding had arisen on account of an unauthorized arrangement which had been made by the pickets of the opposing forces (our own particularly in fault), ostensibly for the purpose of collecting the wounded between our lines. General Pryor was notified that as nearly all the wounded between the lines belonged to the enemy, any communication having for its object their collection must proceed from them, expressing a desire, however, that the wounded, who had been lying on the ground for thirty hours, might be removed. General Pryor had previously stated that he had no doubt a communication from us to the commanding general of the enemy's forces would result in a satisfactory arrangement. General Pryor stating that he had no authority to send such communication as indicated, on my part the conference closed. Subsequently it was reported to me that another flag had appeared. [ar27_281] Again General Meagher was sent to meet the bearer, who proved to be a lieutenant- colonel in the rebel service, who stated that the flag was intended to cover the operations of collecting the wounded and burying the dead, it being supposed that a truce existed by an arrangement which had been made on our night. The officer was notified that it was an error, and in a few minutes hostilities recommenced. Subsequently a number of the enemy appeared in the corn-field in our front, apparently for the purpose of collecting the dead, five of whom approached our picket line. At that moment several shots were delivered by their own sharpshooters, when these five men were arrested and sent to the rear as prisoners of war. A good deal of this uncertainty, no doubt, arose from similar operations on our right, rendering it doubtful on both sides whether or not a truce existed. The troops remained in their position until the following morning, when it was found that the enemy had retreated. We then advanced to their position and commenced the operation of collecting the remaining wounded, burying the dead of both forces, and piling the captured arms.
Nine regimental colors and battle-flags were taken on the field from the enemy by this division, claimed as follows, and explained by the subordinate reports: The Fifth New Hampshire, Colonel Cross, captured one color. Sixty first and Sixty-fourth New York Volunteers, Colonel Barlow, captured two colors. Fifty-seventh New York Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Parisen (killed), subsequently by Major Chapman, and the Sixty-sixth New York, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Bull, both at the time under command of Colonel Brooke, captured two colors. The Seventh New York, Captain Brestel, captured three colors. One other color was captured by the division, not now known by which regiment. About 400 prisoners were captured, and 4,000 muskets collected on the field in front of the division, and piled.
Our loss was as follows: 207 killed, 940 wounded, 16 missing; total, 1,163.(*)
The loss of the enemy in killed and wounded was very heavy. Our troops behaved in the handsomest manner, and performed the part assigned to them successfully and with promptness, and in passing through the trying ordeal exhibited the soldier's noblest qualities. I regret that some of the most valuable officers of the division were killed and many wounded, some of them of those who had distinguished themselves on many previous fields. For their particular services and for details of the deeds of the different brigades, and for the special meritorious services of individuals, officers and men, I respectfully refer you to the interesting reports of General Meagher, General Caldwell, and Colonel Brooke, commanding brigades, and to the reports of regimental and battery commanders. I have, however, obtained the names of some of those who, by their position and the occasions presented, had opportunities of acquiring the highest distinction and availed themselves thereof. I cannot overlook their claim to especial mention in this report, and herewith submit their names:
First [Third] Brigade, Col. J. R. Brooke, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, commanding brigade: Col. Paul Frank, commanding Fifty-second New York Volunteers; Lieut. Col. R. McMichael, commanding Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers; Lieut. Col. P. J. Parisen, commanding Fifty-seventh New York Volunteers, who was killed while gallantly leading his men in the final charge; Maj. A. B. Chapman, who [ar27_282] commanded the Fifty-seventh New York Volunteers after Lieutenant-Colonel Parisen had fallen; Capt. Julius Wehle, commanding Sixty-sixth New York Volunteers; Capt. D. L. Stricker, commanding Second Delaware Volunteers; First Lieut. Charles P. Hatch, acting assistant adjutant-general to Colonel Brooke; Second Lieut. John T. Potts, aide-de camp, wounded; First Lieut. J. M. Faville, adjutant, Fifty-seventh New York Volunteers; Rev. Mr. Dwight, chaplain, Sixty-sixth New York Volunteers.
Caldwell's brigade, commanded by Brig. Gen. J. C. Caldwell: Col. E. E. Cross, commanding Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers; Col. F. C. Barlow, wounded, commanding Sixty-first and Sixty-fourth New York Volunteers; Lieut. Col. N. A. Miles, Sixty-first New York Volunteers, commanding Sixty-first and Sixty-fourth New York Volunteers after Colonel Barlow was wounded; Maj. H. B. McKeen, commanding Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers; Capt. Charles Brestel, commanding Seventh New York Volunteers; First Lieut. D. R. Cross, First Lieut. C. A. Alvord, and First Lieut. G. W. Scott, of General Caldwell's staff; Corpl. George Nettleton, Company G, Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers, for bringing the colors of the Fourth (rebel) Regiment North Carolina Volunteers off the field, being badly wounded at the time.
Meagher's brigade, Brig. Gen. T. F. Meagher commanding the brigade: Lieut. Col. James Kelly, commanding Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, wounded; Lieut. Col. Joseph H. Barnes, commanding Twenty-ninth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers; Lieut. Col. Henry Fowler, commanding Sixty-third New York Volunteers, wounded; Lieut. Col. Patrick Kelly, commanding Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers; Maj. James Cavanagh, commanding Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers after Lieut. Col. James Kelly had been wounded; Maj. Charles Chipman, Twenty-ninth Massachusetts Volunteers; Maj. R. C. Bentley (wounded), commanding Sixty -third New York Volunteers after Lieutenant-Colonel Fowler had been wounded; Maj. James Quinlan, Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers; Capt. Joseph O'Neill, Sixty-third New York Volunteers, commanding that regiment after Lieutenant-Colonel Fowler and Major Bentley had been wounded; Capt. James E. McGee, Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers; Capt. Felix Duffy, Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, killed; Capt. P. F. Clooney, Eighty eighth New York Volunteers, killed; Capt. John O'Connell Joyce, Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers, killed; Capt. Timothy L. Shanley, Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, wounded; Capt. Jasper M. Whitty, Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers, wounded; First Lieut. John H. Gleason, Sixty-third New York Volunteers; Capt. G Miller, assistant adjutant-general to General Meagher; First Lieut. James E. Mackey (wounded), aide-de-camp; Second Lieut. John J. Gosson, aide-de camp; Surg. Francis Reynolds, Eighty-eighth New York Volunteers.
The stair officers of Major General Richardson, Maj. J. M. Norvell, assistant adjutant general; Capt. James P. McMahon, of the Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers; First Lieut. D. W. Miller, First Lieut. Wilber L. Hurlbut, First Lieut. C. S. Draper, badly wounded, acted with heroism. After General Richardson was wounded, Captain McMahon, Lieutenant Miller, and Lieutenant Hurlbut joined me, and were very efficient, and deserve the highest commendations for their good conduct. My personal staff, First Lieut. W. G. Mitchell, aide-de-camp; First Lieut. I. B. Parker, aide-de-camp; Second Lieut. C. S. McEntee, acting assistant quartermaster, conducted themselves handsomely and with their usual gallantry. [ar27_283]
Captain Hoyt, division quartermaster; Capt. C. S. Fuller, division commissary; First Lieutenant Rorty, division ordinance officer, and Surg. J. H. Taylor, medical director of the division, performed their respective duties with intelligence, bravery, and fidelity. Orderly bugler Private John Malone, Sixth Regiment Maine Volunteers, was with me during the day, and for his great gallantry deserves notice at my hands.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.

Lieut. Col. J. H. TAYLOR,
Chief of Staff, Assistant Adjutant-General,
Hdqrs. Second Corps d'Armee, Harper's Ferry, Va.

SEPTEMBER 3-20, 1862.-The Maryland Campaign.
No. 48.--Report of Brig. Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade, of the battle of Antietam.
In Camp on Bolivar Heights, Va., September 30, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following statement of the part which the brigade under my command performed in the battle of the Antietam:
Being encamped 1 mile outside Frederick City, on this side, on the morning of the 14th of September the brigade received orders immediately to proceed to the support of General Hooker, who was at the time hotly engaged in the passes of the South Mountain with the enemy. Being halted for an hour or so, owing to the favorable reports from the headquarters of General Hooker, the brigade had an hour or so to take rest and refreshment, the first opportunity they had of doing so after a rapid and exhausting march over the rocky hills and through the tangled woods from their encampment outside Frederick City.
The Irish Brigade had the honor of leading the pursuit of the rebels from South Mountain through Boonsborough and Keedysville. Along this road and through these villages, in this pursuit, the brigade passed with the utmost alacrity and enthusiasm, Major-General Richardson, commanding the division, riding prominently at the head of the column and directing all its movements.
Early in the afternoon the enemy were discovered in full force, drawn up in line of battle on the heights near Sharpsburg and overlooking the Antietam. The brigade was halted and deployed in line of battle to the right and left of the Sharpsburg turnpike, the Eighty-eighth and Sixty-third Regiments New York Volunteers being on the left of the road and the Sixty-ninth New York Volunteers and the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts Volunteers being on the right. Whilst in this position, though greatly protected by the hill on the slope of which they lay, the regiments forming the right of my command were constantly annoyed by the well-directed artillery of the enemy. The Eighty-eighth and Sixty-third Regiments were also annoyed in a similar way, and the brigade lost several good men even in this comparatively safe position. In this position, however, we remained until the morning of the 17th, when, the men having breakfasted, a sudden order came for the brigade to fall in under arms, and take up the line of march, which Major-General Richardson would indicate. Filing by the right and proceeding at a rapid pace, the brigade crossed the ford of the Antietam a mile or so to the right of the bivouac of that morning, and as hastily, in compact order, following the lead of Major-General Richardson, who conducted the brigade to the field of battle, under cover of the rising ground and depressions which intervened between us and the enemy, we arrived at a cornfield, where Major-General Richardson ordered that everything but cartouch-boxes should be thrown off. The men of the Irish Brigade instantly obeyed this order with a heartiness and enthusiasm which it was rare to expect from men who had been wearied and worn by the unremitting labors of a nine months' campaign.
Deploying from column into line of battle on the edge of this cornfield, they marched through it steadily and displayed themselves in [ar27_294] admirable regularity at the fence, a few hundred paces from which the enemy were drawn up in close column, exhibiting a double front, with their battle-flags defiantly displayed. Crossing this fence, which was a work slow and embarrassed, owing to the pioneer corps of the several regiments of the brigade having been reduced by their previous labors on the Peninsula, I had the misfortune to lose the services of many good officers and brave men. Lieut. James E. Mackey, of the Sixty-third New York Volunteers, whom I had appointed on my staff in place of Lieut. Temple Emmert, whose death from typhoid fever the whole brigade affectionately and sincerely deplore, fell while the brigade was deploying into line of battle at this fence.
The enemy's column, with their battle-flag advanced and deftantly flying in front, was at this time within 300 paces of our line. A clover field of about two acres interposed. Then came the plowed field in which this column of the enemy was drawn up, and from which from their double front they had delivered and sustained a fire before which Sedgwick's forces on the right and French's on the left were reported at the time momentarily to have given way. The fact is, owing to some reason which as yet has not been explained, the Irish Brigade had to occupy and hold a gap in the line of the Union army, which the enemy perceiving had flung a formidable column to break through, and so take the two divisions last named on their flank and rear. This movement was suddenly checked by the impetuous advance of the Irish Brigade, which in a great measure filling up the gap through which the rebel column was descending to the rear of the Federal lines, drew up in line of battle within 50 paces of the enemy, the Sixty-ninth and Twenty-ninth being on the right of the line, and the Sixty-third and Eighty-eighth Regiments on the left. On coming into this close and fatal contact with the enemy, the officers and men of the brigade waved their swords and hats and gave the heartiest cheers for their general, George B. McClellan, and the Army of the Potomac. Never were men in higher spirits. Never did men with such alacrity and generosity of heart press forward and encounter the perils of the battle-field.
My orders were, that, after the first and second volleys delivered in line of battle by the brigade, the brigade should charge with fixed bayonets on the enemy. Seated on my horse, close to the Sixty-ninth Regiment, I permitted them to deliver their five or six volleys, and then personally ordered them to charge upon the rebel columns, while at the very same moment I ordered Captain Miller, assistant adjutant-general of the brigade, and Lieutenant Gosson, first aide on my staff, to bring up the Eighty-eighth and Sixty-third immediately to the charge. It was my design, under the general orders I received, to push the enemy on both their fronts as they displayed themselves to us, and, relying on the impetuosity and recklessness of Irish soldiers in a charge, felt confident that before such a charge the rebel column would give way and be dispersed.
Advancing on the right and left obliquely from the center, the brigade poured in an effective and powerful fire upon the column, which it was their special duty to dislodge. Despite a fire of musketry, which literally cut lanes through our approaching line, the brigade advanced under my personal command within 30 paces of the enemy, and at this point, Lieut. Col. James Kelly having been shot through the face and Capt. Felix Duffy having fallen dead in front of his command, the regiment halted. At the same time Lieutenant-Colonel Fowler and Maj. Richard Bentley, of the Sixty-third, on the left of our line, having been [ar27_295] seriously wounded and compelled to retire to the rear, the charge of bayonets I had ordered on the left was arrested, and thus the brigade, instead of advancing and dispersing the column with the bayonet, stood and delivered its fire, persistently and effectually maintaining every inch of the ground they occupied, until Brigadier-General Caldwell, bringing up his brigade, enabled my brigade, after having been reduced to 500 men, to retire to the second line of defense.
Of other transactions on the battle-field in connection with the Irish Brigade I will not presume to speak. My horse having been shot under me as the engagement was about ending, and from the shock which I myself sustained, I was obliged to be carried off the field. It was my good fortune, however, to be able to resume my command early next morning. For what occurred subsequently to my being carried away from the field I refer you, with proud confidence, not alone to my regimental officers, who remained on the field, but also to many eye-witnesses of superior rank who noticed the opportune action of the Irish Brigade on that day. But I cannot close this communication without specially mentioning the names of Capt. Felix Duffy, of the Sixty-ninth; Captains Clooney and Joyce, of the Eighty-eighth, who, after distinguishing themselves by unremitting assiduity in the discharge of their duties in their commands throughout a very long and very exhausting campaign, fell with their feet to the rebels, with a glow of loyalty and true soldiership upon their dying features.

I have the honor to be, captain, yours truly and respectfully,
Brigadier-General, Commanding the Irish Brigade.

Captain HANCOCK,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Division Headquarters.

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