length we crossed the bridge, and reaching Big Bethel, formed in column of divisions and closed in mass, and halted about an hour on await the repairing of the bridge. Resuming our march on the Yorktown road we proceeded about 5 1/2 miles to Howard's Creek, which we crossed at 5.30 p.m., and bivouacked for the night. Our baggage trains did not arrive until 2 o'clock the next morning.
At 7 a.m. on Saturday, the 5th instant, took up our line of march in the direction of Yorktown through thick woods for some distance, and over a bad road, rendered almost impassable by a heavy rain, which continued to fall until about 11 a.m. After marching some 6 miles heard firing just in front, both from the enemy's and our own batteries. My regiment being in the advance in the brigade, followed by the Second Maine, Colonel Roberts, I was directed by the general commanding to form in close column of companies right in front, and move forward to the right of the road just in rear of our batteries. Here we halted for a considerable time, our batteries exchanging shots occasionally with the enemy.
It was now about 12.30 o'clock. After remaining here for a short time I received ordered from General Martindale to move across and to the left of the road, and, following him to a point near a house and barn, halted, and directed the men to take off their knapsacks, but to retain their haversacks and canteens, filling the latter with water from a stream near by. Forming again my regiment in close column of companies I moved to the left, leaving the house to the right and rear, to the Warwick road, where I found the Sixty-second Pennsylvania, Colonel Black, deployed and concealed from the view of the enemy by timber to the left. Passing his left I crossed the road and moved some 200 yards to the front, and changing by direction to the left moved directly toward the enemy's works, and halted when within about 1,500 yards. The Second Maine, in column of companies, was directly in my rear. I was directed by the general commanding to throw our a company of skirmishers to the right and feel the enemy in that direction. I ordered Captain Sampson, Company A, to deploy his company, and Captain Thompson, Company F, to support him, sending Lieutenant-Colonel Griswold with the latter to dispose of the line as he should find necessary after an examination of the ground.
Pending this movement the enemy's batteries threw two shells over us, while two struck directly in front in an abatis made of felled timber. I was directed to move my regiment under cover of the woods to the left across the Warwick road, throw out skirmishers into the woods, and occupy a line directly in front of the enemy. I immediately deployed Company B, Captain Wardwell, and advanced some 600 yards through the woods, with my right in the edge of the timber and my left resting on the Warwick road, which runs to the left and diagonally to the front of the woods.
From the edge of the woods where the center lay is an unobstructed field, and within 1,100 yards were the enemy's fortifications, which consisted of four works, mounting at this time nine field artillery guns, but capable of mounting many more. I was immediately followed by the remainder of my regiment, which I advanced through a dense wood and swampy bottom to within 100 yards of the front of the woods, and so disposed as to support the batteries that went down the Warwick road and out into the opening of the timber and those to my right near our first position. As soon as the artillery was in position to my left and rear the enemy opened upon it with a heavy fire, which was vigorously replied to by our own batteries. Cannonading was kept up between