night-fall, and it was hence impossible to dispose the brigades in their proper positions until some time in the night. When the division reached the ground a sharp skirmish was going on between the outposts of General T. W. Sherman's division, of General Thomas' corps d'armee, and those of the enemy, while the main body of the division was actively engaged in intrenching itself. Without any knowledge of the ground and with strong indications of an attack in the morning, the division rested on its arms during the night. The division was encamped in two lines; an order of battle considered strong enough to resist any attack which the enemy might make.
On the following morning (18th) the outposts were strengthened and an active skirmish kept up nearly the entire day. Our advanced sentinels were in small-arm range of those of the enemy, and the slightest exposure of the person was sure to be followed by the sharp crack of the rifle.
On the 19th the division gained the front of a brigade disposed in order of battle toward the right, so as to rest its right flank on the main Corinth road, the holding of which, in case of an attack, the division was specially charged with. The remainder of the day was devoted to throwing up a continuous line of intrenchments, consisting of an epaulement, with the ditch inside, to cover the entire space the division has been ordered to hold. The intrenched line was not less then 800 yards in extent, and was thrown up and completed in a few hours.
Several successive subsequent days were devoted to strengthening the position by making a strong abatis in front of the weaker portions of the line. Several hundred yards in front of the general line the main road, turning to the westward, crosses quite an abrupt ridge, which dominates much of the position occupied by my division. It was hence important to hold and occupy this ridge. An intrenchment similar in arrangement to the general line was thrown upon it, and continued, so as to make nearly an inclosed work. By means of the opening made by the extensive abatis formed to strengthen the main line a strong flanking defense was given to the outwork from the batteries on the general line of battle, which assured to it the means of a stout resistance. So long as it could be maintained no advance could be made on the main road, and to have assaulted the general front of the division from any other point would have been a most hazardous and difficult operation. The enemy would have been compelled to cross first the abatis commanded throughout by a heavy fire of artillery and in a considerable portion of its extent by a fire of musketry, and subsequently to cross a broad field swept by a heavy direct and cross-fire both of artillery and musketry. By the intrenched line the grand army assembled for the reduction of Corinth protected itself against the danger of a sudden and violent attack, obtained a place d'armees, under whose cover it could arrange its attacks in security, and, most important result of all, secured a safe place of retreat in case of a reverse of any of its attacks. Under this shelter the broken columns could have been reformed and reorganized and returned to the assault under more favorable auspices. The possibility of the disgraceful and destructive routs which so often follow even a partial disaster with troops not perfectly disciplined was thus almost entirely removed. The outwork was occupied by the reserve of one of the regiments daily on
grand-guard service, and the outposts and deployed sentinels were directed to retire into the work in case of an attack in force. Such an attack the regiment was ordered to resist to the last extremity. A section of artillery was posted in rear of the work, so as to enfilade the main road. In addition