of the command on the following day-that is, I was to defend the position which I then occupied in front of the enemy, called Blackburn's Ford, and about one mile in his front, where we had been for the last three days. I was also ordered to consider myself under the command of Colonel D. S. Miles, U. S. Army, who was to command his own brigade at Centreville, my own, and that of Colonel Davies, midway between the two, these three brigades constituting what was then called the reserve.
Attached to my brigade was the field battery of Major Hunt, U. S. Army, and also the rifled battery of 10-pounders, under Lieutenant Greene, U. S. Army. I was ordered to open fire on the enemy for the purpose of making a diversion, not before, but soon after, hearing the report of General Tyler's cannonade on my right, to carry out which purpose I made the following disposition of the brigade: Two batteries I placed on the ridge of a hill, in view of the enemy; the Third Michigan Infantry on the left of the road, in line of battle. Still farther, six hundred yards to the left, on a commanding eminence, I had placed the day before two companies of the First Massachusetts Regiment, for the purpose of holding the log barn and the frame barn, which companies pushed, picket style, farther to our left for the security of that point, which I considered a good position for artillery. In a ravine half way between the two position I placed also a company of the First Massachusetts Regiment, which pushed pickets down the ravine to its front; and on the extreme right of all I placed the balance of the Massachusetts regiment in line of battle, with two companies of that regiment pushed four hundred yards to the right and front, which two companies again threw pickets in advance. The New York and Second Michigan Regiments I placed in the road five hundred yards in rear of the line as a reserve.
Soon after making these arrangements, which I did on hearing the report of artillery on our right, Colonel Davies' brigade made its appearance, with him at its head. Inquiring of me the date of my commission, he found that he ranked me by ten days, and he assumed the command. That officer wished a good position for artillery to open, and I immediately proposed the position on our left, near the log house, from which a good view of a large stone barn, called by the people of the country the enemy's headquarters, could be obtained. Colonel Davies brought up with him the rifled 20-pounder battery of Lieutenant Benjamin, and ordered it to open fire immediately. He directed, also, Hunt's battery to his assistance, and I ordered Greene's battery to open its fire at the same time. The enemy appeared to have withdrawn his guns from that position, as he returned no fire, or he might have been reserving his fire for the last attack. An hour's cannonading, however, brought in view a column of the enemy's infantry, which I observed with my glass. There were at least twenty-five hundred men; and soon after two other bodies of men, of at least a regiment each, who soon occupied the lines on the other side of the run, which lines already appeared full to overflowing. Supposing now that they intended to make a push across our front in column, or would endeavor to turn our left, about 11 o'clock a.m. I began to fortify my position by throwing up an earthen parapet, with embrasures across the road for three guns, and commenced an abatis of timber, by felling trees, pointing outward, between this battery and the log house to the left.
About this time the enemy on the opposite side appeared to be falling back in confusion from our right attack, which continued for some time, and then the tide changed, and they seemed to be returned in large masses.