brigade and follow along the road leading through the middle of the island, and to send four companies to occupy Ashby's house, below our camp and on the right of the road. The First Battalion Fifth Rhode Island Regiment was detailed for this latter duty. Firing was heard in our front, and it was soon evident that General Foster had engaged the enemy. Before my brigade could advance on the road, it being still occupied by General Reno I received orders from the general commanding to detach a regiment and hold the landing and bivouac grounds, and prevent the enemy from turning our position by coming through the timber down the beach. The Eighth Connecticut Regiment was detailed for this duty. Before leaving the bivouac the major commanding the First Battalion Fifth Rhode Island Regiment reported Ashby's house and premises occupied by the enemy. I ordered to throw our skirmishers and hold his position, and if attacked he would be supported. As soon as the last of General Reno's brigade were under way I followed with the Fourth Rhode Island and Ninth New York Regiments.
On reaching the battle-field I found General Foster occupying the road on the edge of the clearing in front of the enemy's battery, and General Reno, with his brigade on the left, endeavoring to turn the enemy's right. The troops of both brigades were exposed to a steady fire from the battery and musketry, but were nevertheless hotly engaging the enemy and gradually gaining upon his flanks. General Foster ordered me to support a portion of his force on his right who were endeavoring to turn the enemy's battery.
The Fourth Rhode Island Regiment,on reaching the boat howitzers, which were in position in the road in the edge of the clearing, bore off slightly to the right, and, exposed to the fire of the enemy's battery and a continuous fire of musketry, were gallantly led by the colonel commanding, I. P. Rodman, and yourself through the clearing,and closing upon the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Regiment,they encountered an almost impenetrable cypress swamp, through which they worked their way with great difficulty. The Ninth New York Regiment, arriving on the ground, was ordered to follow the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment and turn the left flank of the battery. The regiment,under lead of the colonel, Rush C. Hawkins, entered the clearing with great spirit.
It being now ascertained that the natural obstacles on this line were of so serious a character, and that the delay in the progress of the troops through the swamps was so great, it was decided to change the course of the Ninth New York Regiment,and the order was sent to the colonel to turn to the left and charge the battery directly upon the road, and the regiment, with a hearty and cheer, struck into the road and made for the battery on the run."The order was given to charge the enemy with fixed bayonets. This was done in gallant style, Major Kimball taking the lead." The major was very conspicuous during the movement,and I take great pleasure in commending him to your favorable notice. Before reaching the intrenchment the enemy retreated through the timber in great confusion, abandoning their guns, ammunition and private property.
General Reno started immediately in pursuit, and as soon as the Ninth New York Regiment were reformed they were ordered forward and succeeded in taking "some 40 prisoners. Among them were several of the officers and men of the Richmond Blues, with O. Jennings Wise at their head, who was badly wounded and trying to make his escape in a boat across the Nag's Head."
As soon as the Fourth Rhode Island Regiment was reformed I proceeded