force would probably be landed that night, and that we proposed to adhere to the original of making and advance early in the morning upon the inland fort in the center of the island, taking it, if possible, and proceeding rapidly up the main road, thus getting in the rear of all the shore batteries, he remarked that it would be dangerous to ourselves for him to renew his attack on the next morning, as his people might fire into our own troops, and I left him with the understanding that the attack would not be renewed without a signal from me.
By 12 o'clock that night the entire division (except the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, Colonel Stevenson, detained below by the grounding of the steamer), together with Porter's battery of Dahlgren howitzers, had been landed. During the night a careful reconnaissance was made by my three brigade generals and their troops most judiciously posted, the leading regiment, the Twenty-first Massachusetts, Lieutenant Colonel Maggi, occupying a position at the forks of the road above Hammond's House.
Early the next morning, in pursuance of the plan of action, General Foster ordered an advance. I arrived on the ground after the first three regiments of the brigade had filed through the woods, the other regiments being in line ready to move forward as room was made for them. General Reno's and Parke's brigades were also in readiness for a forward movement.
On reaching a point some mile and a half by the road from Hammond's house, General Foster came upon the battery across the road which, from information received, we had been led to suppose was there, and immediately commenced the disposition of his forces for his attack; and I here beg leave to say that I must refer you almost entirely to the reports of my brigadier-generals for an accurate knowledge of their movements during the day, as the face of the island precluded the possibility of any general oversight of operations on the field. The road from the opening in front of Hammond's house to the battery, some mile and a half, was very narrow and winding, leading through a deep marsh, covered with small pines and thick undergrowth, presenting the appearance of being impenetrable. The battery is not visible until a point some 600 yards from it is reached, when the road takes a turn to the left, and the timber in front is cleared away, that the guns may have full sweep. For more accurate information I beg leave to refer you to the accompanying map of the road.*
Soon after the attack has commenced I ordered General Parke to place a regiment in the woods to the north of Hammond's house and extending up to the main road, to prevent the possibility of the enemy's turning our left. The Eighth Connecticut, Colonel Harland, was detailed for this service. The Fifth Rhode Island Battalion, Major Wright, had been ordered to occupy Ashby's house. I then ordered Captain D'Wolf, with a boat's crew kindly loaned me by the Delaware, which way lying off the shore, to move down and land, and carefully reconnoiter the ground south and east of Ashby's, thus ascertaining that there was no force in the rear or on our right flank. Soon after this the firing indicated that General Foster was very warmly engaged with the enemy. General Reno's brigade was forcing its way up to his relief and General Parke's to have the Ninth New York, Colonel Hawkins, land their Dahlgren howitzers from their floating battery on the shore, but as the marshy ground would have made it a half-day's work, I counter-