Today in History:

135 Series I Volume XXXVI-II Serial 68 - Wilderness-Cold Harbor Part II


formed a good line of defense for my command. During these two days some skirmishing occurred in my front, the details of which are unimportant.

On the morning of the 16th instant my command was under arms ta 3.30 o'clock. Immediately after daylight the enemy commenced an attack upon our lines. My brigade was shelled quite severely, while the enemy made a furious attack with his infantry on the troops to the right of the pike. Our forces here having been withdrawn, the attack gradually extended to the left, and in the course of an hour my brigade became considerably involved in the fight. My skirmishers were driven in after an obstinate resistance, bringing with them 20 prisoners. The attack now became more furious, when Lieutenant Colonel M. B. Smith, commanding the Eighth Connecticut Volunteers, on the extreme right of my brigade, next to the pike, after making but feeble resistance abandoned the line of fortifications in a very discreditable manner, and ordered his regiment to fall back, which it did in considerable confusion. The remaining three regiments met the attack of the enemy, and, pouring a withering fire of musketry upon him, drove him back in confusion. The attack was again renewed, the enemy attempting to carry the position by a furious charge, but he was again repulsed, with a heavy loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners. I think, on this occasion, that some telegraph wire which I had ordered to be strung on the stumps in front of our position had a good effect in throwing the enemy into confusion as he charged my position. The fight continued to rage hotly, my command holding its position with great tenacity, with the exception that the line of the One hundred and eighteenth New York was somewhat modified to protect the right flank of the brigade, which was strongly threatened by the enemy. At about 10 o'clock the brigade was withdrawn to the edge of the woods, by order of General Brooks, the enemy at that time having been driven completely from our front, my brigade, besides heavy loss inflicted upon him in killed and wounded,bringing off rising 100 prisoners. Soon after the brigade was withdrawn to the Half-Way House, my skirmishers being left to hold Friend' house, and the woods to the left of that house, which they did until late in the afternoon. The Tenth New Hampshire Volunteers was left at the Half-Way House to support a battery, and my other three regiments were drawn up in line on the right of the turnpike, forming the extreme left of the Eighteenth Corps. At about 3 p. m. an advance of the whole line was ordered, in which the brigade participated, meeting with no resistance from the enemy. Subsequently, having been rejoined by the Tenth New Hampshire, and my skirmishers left to hold Friend's house, I marched to camp, in obedience to orders from General Brooks.

In this entire series of engagements my loss was 418 officers and men. I think the endurance and bravery displayed by the men of this command very creditable and worthy of commendation.

I take pleasure in bringing to your favorable notice Colonel A. F. Stevens, of the Thirteenth New Hampshire Volunteers; Lieutenant Colonel George F. Michols and Major C. E. Pruyn, One hundred and eighteenth New York Volunteers, for the tenacity and bravery with which they held their positions in the engagement of the 16th instant. Major Pruyn, of the One hundred and eighteenth New York Volunteers, commanded his regiment in this battle after the wound-