the enemy away we found it one of great natural strength,and we proceeded to fortify it. Lines were laid off by the engineer, Captain Kossak, and a very excellent parapet was constructed by the men in a style that elicited the approval of General Halleck. Men worked day and night, and as soon as it was done and the dense trees and undergrowth cleared away in front, to give range to our batteries, I directed our pickets to drive the enemy farther back behind a large open field to our front and right. This was handsomely executed by the regular detail of picket guard under the direction of the field officer of the day, Lieutenant-Colonel Loudon, of the Seventh Ohio.
We remained in that intrenched camp at Russell's until the night of the 27th, when I received from Major-General Halleck an order by telegraph "to send a force the next day to drive the rebels from the house in our front on the Corinth road, to drive in their pickets as far as possible, and to make a strong demonstration on Corinth itself," authorizing me to call on my adjacent divisions for assistance. I asked General McClernand for one brigade and General Hurlubt for another, to co-operate with two brigades of my own division. General John A. Logan's brigade, of General Judah's division, of McClernand's reserve corps, and General Veatch's brigade, of Hurlbut's division, were placed subject to my orders, and took part with my own division in the operations of the two following days; and I now thank the officer and men of these brigades for the zeal and enthusiasm they manifested and the alacrity they displayed in the execution of every order given.
The house referred to by General Halleck was a double log building, standing on a high ridge on the upper or southern end of the large field, before referred to as the one to which we had advanced our pickets. The enemy had taken out the chinks and removed the roof, making in an excellent block-house, from which with perfect security he could annoy our pickets. The large field was perfectly overlooked by this house, as well as by the ridge along its southern line of fence, which was covered by a dense growth of heavy oaks and underbrush.
The main Corinth road runs along the eastern fence, whilst the field itself, about 300 yards wide by about 500 long, extended far to the right into the low land of Phillips' Creek, so densely wooded as to be impassable to troops or artillery. On the eastern side of the field the woods were more open. The enemy could be seen at all times in and about the house and the ridge beyond, and our pickets could not show themselves on our side of the field without attracting a shot. The problem was to clear the house and ridge of the enemy with as little loss as possible. To accomplish this I ordered General J. W. Denver, with his brigade (Third) and the Morton battery of four guns, to march in perfect silence from our lines at 8 a.m., keeping well under cover as he approached the field; General Morgan L. Smith's brigade (First), with Barrett's and Waterhouse's batteries, to move along the main road, keeping his force well masked in the woods to the left; Brigadier-General Veatch's brigade to move from General Hurlbut's lines through the woods on the left of and connecting with General Morgan L. Smith's brigade, and General John A. Logan's brigade to move down to Bowie Hill, cut off the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and thence forward and to the left, so as to connect with General Denvers' brigade on the extreme right; all to march at 8 a.m., with skirmishers well to the front, to keep well concealed,and at a signal to rush quickly on to the ridge, thus avoiding as much as possible the danger of crossing the open field exposed to the fire of a concealed enemy.