"I had not gone 100 yards through the woods before we met the celebrated Stonewall Brigade, utterly routed and fleeing as fast as they could run." -- Confederate Gen. L. O'B Branch

The attack of Crawford's Brigade (Williams' original brigade) crossed a wheat field into a forest where it shattered the Stonewall Brigade and nearly won the battle. Left unreinforced it was struck by a march larger force and suffered 50% casualties.

    When Jackson's leading troops contacted the Federals, it was his forces that were strung out. Banks, unaware that the force advancing upon him were more than twice his size, ordered Williams to attack.

    "The battle was opened by artillery about 3 o'clock. At 5, I had placed my brigade in the woods and orders were sent to push through and if possible take a battery which was doing great mischief to our left (Augur's division). It was in this effort to pass the open ground, which was successfully accomplished, and in the woods beyond where they had concealed their reserves, that we suffered so severely. For two hours the volleys of infantry were incessant and the roar of artillery seemed hushed in the din of small arms. "

    It turned out that Crawford's Brigade overlapped the Confederate left and the shock of their attack rolled up the Confederate lines sending the vaunted Stonewall Brigade flying in a rout to the rear.

    Unfortunately for Williams, he discovered there was no followup force behind him, that he was low on ammunition, and that he was advancing toward a vastly superior force. When A.P. Hill's command arrived to save the day for Jackson the command became engaged in a battle for survival as it was driven from all the ground it had gained and beyond..

    "By the aid of the 2nd (Gordon's) Brigade we held on till dark, though it was every moment apparent that we were greatly outnumbered and exposed to flank movements. We then slowly withdrew to our old position, wondering what had become of the 12 or 15,000 of our troops (Rickett's and part of Sigel's corps) which we had passed in the morning on our way out, not over four miles from the battlefield. If they had arrived an hour before sundown we should have thrashed Jackson badly and taken a host of his artillery. As it was, they came up some time after dark and took up a position that greatly relieved us."

    Night and well positioned Federal artillery combined to stem the Rebel tide in the chaos of night warfare.

    "We had, however, several instances of tremendous cannonading and the Rebels tried once seriously to force our lines. I came very near being caught in it. I was riding towards a road in front of which I had been directed to mass my division, or what was left of it. When but a few rods off, a spirited fire of infantry was opened upon us. Just in front of me was Gen. Gordon and an escort of cavalry. Fortunately we were in a small hollow and the balls passed over us. There was, however, a general stampede of officers and dragoons. Just behind us Gens. Pope and Banks were sitting dismounted with a good many staff officers and escorts. This was a hurrying time with them and altogether the skedaddle became laughable in spite of its danger."

    "It was a grand sight, especially as our batteries were well served and knocked the Rebels to pieces rapidly. Finding the Rebel shells passed far over me, I stood on a little knoll and enjoyed the sight vastly. It was a flaming pyrotechnic display. In the morning, I counted over twenty dead Rebel horses, and they left one lieutenant and several men killed on the position of their battery. They didn't stay long after our guns got the range and quiet reigned the rest of the night."

"...I picked up a bundle of wheat or rye straw, took my horse to a fence near the front, unbridled him, tied the halter about my arm, and went to sleep while he munched straw." 

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