and landed without molestation. I landed with the first detachment, and instructed Captain Messinger to remain on the Pilot boy and land the balance of my brigade. I had sent orders to form the Twenty-fourth and advance a short distance on the main road, and on landing I took command and moved on, giving the advance to the Twenty-first Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, of General Reno's brigade, by order of General Burnside, assigning the advance to General Reno I left an aide to form the regiments as they landed and to order them to follow.
I advanced on the main road, throwing out skirmishers and an advance guard of the Twenty-first Regiment Massachusetts, and at a distance of 6 miles I heard from Captain Williamson, of the Topographical Engineers, the result of a daring reconnaissance made by him, accompanied by Lieutenants Pell and Fearing, of General Burnside's staff, and by Lieutenants Strong, Pendleton, and Strong, of mine, discovering an abandoned breastwork. I then pushed on and entered the work, accompanied by General Reno, who had shortly before come up and assumed command of the Twenty-first Massachusetts. the work was found to be a breastwork, well constructed, and running in a straight line from the railroad to the river, a distance of about 1 mile, having a flank facing the railroad and a fort on the river flank. There were four flanking bastions for guns, and the fort was prepared for four guns. None were mounted, however. The troops were halted inside the fort to rest and eat. General Burnside then coming up, I, agreeably to his orders, advanced my brigade about 3 o'clock on the county road, General Reno being ordered to take the railroad track, which ran off to the left of the county road. We marched about 4 miles, halted, and bivouacked for the night near the enemy's position.
At daylight on the next morning (the 14th instant) I advanced my brigade, by order of General Burnside, until I came upon the enemy's position. General Parke was ordered to the left by General Burnside, and I made the following dispositions: The Twenty-fifth Massachusetts was thrown to the extreme right, followed in order by the Twenty-fourth Massachusetts in line of battle, their left resting on the county road, just on the left of which I placed the howitzer from the Highlander, under command of captain Dayton, supported in line of battle on the left by the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts, and opened fire. On the arrival of the navy boat howitzers, under command of Lieutenant McCook, they were placed in line on the left of Captain Dayton's gun, and the Twenty-third was ordered to the left of the Twenty-seventh. The firing was incessant and very severe from the breastwork and within a very short range.
General Burnside arriving, I communicated to him the dispositions I had made, which he approved, sending over to General Parke to push on to the enemy's right, and leaving me to hold the point, he rode off to reach General Reno's position.
The Tenth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, having arrived, were ordered to the left of the Twenty-third, and to support them, if rendered necessary by want of ammunition. This being the case, they formed on and to the left of the position of the Twenty-third and opened fire. Hearing from the Twenty-seventh that they wee very short of ammunition, I ordered the Eleventh Connecticut, of General Parke's brigade, which had just come up, by order of General Burnside, to their support, and sent one of my aides to conduct them to their position. The Twenty-seventh Massachusetts then retired in good order, with orders to lie in a hollow, out of the fire, with fixed bayonets, and wait further orders.