directed to form on the right of the Second New Hampshire, and to advance as skirmishers until they had reached the Yorktown road, and when that was gained to have word sent me.
Under my chief of artillery, Webber's battery was thrown forward in advance of the felled timber and brought into action in a cleared field on the right of the road and distant from Fort Magruder about 700 yards. No sooner had it emerged from the forest on its way to its position than four guns from Fort Magruder opened on it, and after it was still farther up the road they received the fire from two additional guns from a redoubt on the left. However, it was pushed on, and before it was brought into action two officers and two privates had been shot down, and before a single piece of the battery had been discharged its cannoneers had been driven from mit despite the skill and activity of my sharpshooters in picking off the rebel gunners. Volunteers were now called for by my gallant chief of artillery, Major Wainwright, to man the battery now in position, when the officers and men of Osborn's battery sprang forward, and in the time I am writing had those pieces well at work. Captain Bramhall's battery was now brought into action under that excellent officer on the right of Webber's, and before 9 o'clock every gun in Fort Magruder was silenced and all the troops in sight on the plain dispersed.
Between my sharpshooters and the two batteries the enemy's guns in this fort were not heard from again until late in the afternoon. One of the regiments of Brigadier-General Patterson's brigade, the Fifth New Jersey, was charged with the especial care of these batteries, and was posted a little to the rear of them. The remaining regiments of Patterson's brigade, under their intrepid commander, were sent to the left of the road from where they were standing, in anticipation of an attack from that quarter. Heavy forest trees cover this ground and conceal from view the enemy's earthworks about a mile distant. The forest itself at depth of about three-fourths of that distance. It was through this that Patterson led the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth New Jersey Regiments. Bodies of the enemy's infantry were seen drifting in that direction, and the increased musketry fire proved that many others were flocking thither whom we could not see. Prior to this moment Brigadier-General Emory had reached my position with a light battery and a body of cavalry, which we promptly placed at my disposal by that experienced and gifted soldier; but as I had no duty on which I could employ those arms of service, and as I was confined for room in the exercise of my own command, I requested that he would dispatch a party to reconnoiter and observe the movements of the rebels to the rear of my left. This was executed to my satisfaction.
It was now reported to me that the skirmishers to the right had reached the Yorktown road, when was sent to Colonel Blaisdell to proceed with the Eleventh Massachusetts and Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Regiments cautiously down that road to destroy any rebel force he might find, and break down any barrier the enemy might have thrown up to check the advance of our forces in that direction, and when this was executed to report the fact to the senior officer with the troops there, and on his return to send me word of the result of his mission. This was done, and word sent me through Adjutant Currier, of the Eleventh Regiment.
Up to this moment there had been a brisk musketry fire kept up on every part of the field, but its swelling volumes in the direction of Patterson satisfied me from the beginning of the engagement that the