The lines of both armies were formed at once and the battle commenced with artillery.
At nearly the right of our line our principal battery was posted, and was instantly engaged. A few hundred yards to the right of this battery, and in front of our line, was a clump of woods, from which was had a good view of the enemy and also of the fields they occupied. Lieutenants Marston, Fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and acting signal officer, were ordered to establish a station here to observe the enemy and to report by signals to Lieutenant Horner, Sixth New Jersey Volunteers, and acting signal officer, who was placed at the battery, and to headquarters station, near the general commanding.
Lieutenant G. H. McNary, Tenth Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, and acting signal officer, was posted on a house some distance in the rear of the battery and commanding a view of the fields in front. He was directed to report at headquarters station. (It was intended to use this station to communicate with the front in case our line advanced fighting.)
Lieutenant Thickstun, Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, and acting signal officer, was placed upon a house on the left, where he could see the open country, in order to report any movements of the enemy from that direction. Lieutenants Norton, Tenth Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, and acting signal officer, and Wiggins, Third New Jersey Volunteers, and acting signal officer, were held in reserve. All the officers mentioned were in the range of artillery fire.
The fire upon the stations occupied by Lieutenants Marston and Gloskosky, Horner, and McNary was particularly severe. The flag had no sooner been raised on the advances station than in was greeted by a volley of musketry. Though immediately screened behind trees, its position was much exposed throughout the action. Lieutenant Horner, stationed with the battery, received, of course, his share of the shots directed at the guns, whilst Lieutenant McNary, posted in the rear of the battery, was in line of shots, which went over it, and seemed by his elevated position to attack not a few intended for himself.
Messages were received from the advanced station by the station at the battery, directing the aim of the guns, announcing the retreat of the enemy, and replying to a question as to the nationality of a body of troops which appeared on the field; this latter, fortunately, just in time to prevent our own forces, which, advancing, had that moment come in view, from receiving the fire of our guns.
The enemy were driven from their first position after a contest of an hour's duration. Our line advanced toward Hanover Court-House in pursuit. The stations at first established were abandoned by order of General Porter. The signal officers were sent forward with the first skirmishers, reconnoitering and reporting from elevated points in the field and on the right and left of the line as it advanced. A station was erected on the top of large house overlooking the field of battle near which it was and the valley in which the village of Hanover is located. From this station a report was made that some regiments of the enemy with artillery were visible in the valley near Hanover. Our advance soon after moved rapidly to that village. The signal party was hurried to the front to seek the position of the enemy, and kept on the road going west of Hanover until a camp of the enemy was visible. It was here learned from the returning troops that the general advance of the army was not in this direction, whilst the sounds of