season to make my dispositions to repel it. The two regiments, the Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth New York, were formed in line on the right, and about at right angles to the remainder of the line. The Eight Michigan and Fiftieth Pennsylvania were formed in line in the center, and the Highlanders in column of companies, with their skirmishers in position, constituted the left.
I now ordered Colonel Fenton to send forward skirmishers from his regiment, the Eight Michigan, to feel the enemy, and, if circumstances favored, to seize the battery. He first sent three companies to the front and left, under Lieutenant-Colonel Graves, and soon four companies to the front and right, under Major Watson, the flanks resting under cover of the woods, which extended to our right and ran down quite closely to our left. These companies advanced in most admirable into the woods at a double-quick, and engaged the enemy. The firing showed that he was in large force. I at once ordered Colonel Perry to push skirmishers from his right the skirt of woods, and Colonel Christ, with one wing of his regiment,to move well to the front and left in column of companies and push skirmishers to the rear of the enemy's position. My object in these several dispositions was to ascertain the force of the enemy, the particular character for the passage of troops of the wooded country in which the enemy lay concealed, and to carry out the plan which I had formed of interposing the bulk of my force between him and his battery, and thus compel the latter to surrender.
These orders were obeyed with great alacrity and without a moment's delay. Both bodies moved forward and engaged the enemy. Colonel Christ's movement was very opportune. It drove back the skirmishers on our left, and enabled the skirmishers of Fenton and Perry to fall back and give information of the condition of the field; for, be it remembered, our men had gained positions from which they could not be dislodged, and rendered certain the feasibility of my plan of attack. Indeed, the cheers at this moment from all portions of our line showed that our troops looked upon the day as theirs. The progress of our troops had been observed from the mast-heads of the gunboats, who threw shells over their heads into the ranks of the enemy. At this moment I received work that the skirmishers of the Highlanders, never once halting, had pushed on and entered the fort almost simultaneously with the force from the front under Colonel Leasure. The enemy's fire had ceased for some fifteen minutes, and I gave orders for moving the whole command into the fort, where we arrived at about 4.30 o'clock. Here I met both Colonel Leasure, who was placed by me in command of the front and of the special movement from the ferry, and Captain Elliott, who commanded the crossing party at Seabrook, and learned of the complete success of the latter. The gunboats, the Seneca, Captain Ammen, and the Ellen, Captain Budd, entered Whale Branch, as originally intended, and opened fire upon the battery opposite Seabrook. Captain Elliott crossed with his party and found a battery ready for guns, but no guns in position, and after destroying the works returned to Seabrook.
Captain Rodgers most kindly sent on shore a 12-pounder howitzer gun, under the command of Lieutenant J. H. Upsheur, and kept there one of the howitzers which had accompanied our march by land under Acting Master Louis Kempff. One of the wheels of the other howitzer had been broken a short time before reaching the fort. Night signals were also specially arranged to communicate with the gunboats.
Just before dark Lieutenant Lyons came in from the pickets, bringing