while the engagement between the fleet and the enemy's battery on Pork Point was still in progress. I embarked 500 of the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment on the Pilot Boy, and towing all the boats from the vessels of my brigade loaded with detachments from the different regiments composing it, in all 1,400 men, I headed for Ashby's Harbor, which had been agreed upon as the landing point. As I approached closely I detected with the glass the presence of an ambuscaded force of infantry and artillery, and in consequence immediately headed the boat for the point just above the harbor, in front of Hammond's house, where the force landed without molestation. General Reno, with the Union and Patuxent, and General Parke, in the Phoenix, landed immediately after my detachment, making in all over 4,000 men landed in twenty minutes.
As soon as the force at Ashby's Harbor saw us land at the point above they commenced a hasty retreat, in order not to be cut off by road from Hammond's house, which intersects the main road through the island above its intersection with the road from Ashby's. During the landing Captain Rowan, U. S. Navy, commanding the first division of the fleet, ordered the Delaware, Captain Quackenbush, U. S. Navy, and Captain Hazard, U. S. Navy, ordered the Picket, Captain T. P. Ives, to run in and cover the landing with their guns. This was handsomely done, although it required but a few shells to accelerate the retreat of the force from Ashby's.
I returned and brought on shore a second load, and then landed, leaving Captain Potter, assistant commissary of subsistence of my brigade, on board the steamer to continue the debarkation. Finding that the general commanding had returned to the fleet, I assumed command as senior officer present. During the night my entire brigade (with the exception of the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts, on board the Guide and aground) were landed, as also the brigades of Generals Reno and Parke. The night was rainy, and the men, wet from their march from the landing, were obliged to bivouac around their fires, but kept in excellent spirits. I made a reconnaissance in the evening with Generals Reno and Parke, to ascertain the position of the enemy, the roads, &c., and made all the proper dispositions for the night.
At daybreak of the 8th I advanced my brigade across the creek in accordance with the plan of operations above referred to, the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts being in the advance. On reaching a clearing I met the enemy's pickets, and was fired upon by them. They then fell back on a run, followed by our skirmishers. We advanced to the main road, and then upon that road until, when near the middle of the island, we came upon the enemy in a strong position prepared for battle. The impassable marsh, with thick underbrush on either side. In front of the battery the trees were cut down, so as to give a clear sweep of their guns for a distance of 700 yards in front, for the whole of which distance the advance in front was fully exposed to the fire of three pieces in embrasure, supported by a force of about 2,000 men. Of the seven light pieces from the ships' launches, six were placed on the road so that two could be used at a time, flanked by the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers in line. This regiment was supported by the Twenty-third Massachusetts Regiment, also in line. We then advanced to the attack. As soon as the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts and the Tenth Connecticut Volunteers came up I ordered the Twenty-third Massachusetts, supported by the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, to advance through the morass on our right and endeavor to turn the enemy's left.