New Jersey Regiments, supported the batteries, and at the same time were in reserve to repel any attacks upon the approach by the dam.
On the left Dana's brigade, of Sedgwick's division, which had that morning landed, was posted, with Porter's Massachusetts battery on its left, resting upon the river. Captain Wilson's New York battery, of four guns, was held in reserve in the center. The Ninety-sixth Pennsylvania Regiment, Colonel Cake, was placed in front on the left. The Twenty-seventh New York Regiment, Colonel Bartlett, was on picket during the night of the 6th. Three companies helped to commence the contest on the next day. They behaved well, and Captain Jay, of that regiment, was distinguished for his good conduct and good sense. The other seven companies of this regiment supported Wilson's battery during the day. Two companies of the Sixteenth New York Regiment were in the commencement of the engagement, and behaved well. Captain Curtis, in command of one of them, was severely wounded. These two and the remaining three companies of this regiment supported Wilson's battery.
At the beginning of the action the pickets were driven in upon their supports, which held their ground well, falling back steadily when necessary without confusion. Two regiments, the Thirty-second New York and a portion of the Ninety-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, were thrown into the woods to support the reserves, and after a hard fight were driven in good order to the edge of the wood.
The line was then formed with six companies of the Eighteenth New York Regiment, under command of Colonel Young, the Fifth Maine Volunteers, under Colonel Jackson, the Thirty-first New York Volunteers, under Colonel C. E. Pratt, and was afterward re-enforced by six companies of the First and four of the Second New Jersey Regiment, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel McAllister, First New Jersey Regiment. With this force, after a sharp contest, the position of the morning was soon recovered, and by 3 o'clock p.m. the line was considerably advanced in front of its first position.
At this time the action had virtually ceased. The enemy had placed a battery of three pieces on the river on our extreme left. This fired a few shots at our transports and gunboats, but a few shots from the latter soon quieted it. No other attack was made. At 5 o'clock I placed the troops of Colonel Taylor's brigade, consisting of four New Jersey regiments, in the position held by the four regiments previously engaged, with orders to find out during the night the position of the enemy, and if possible to push farther to the front. He performed his work well, though without an engagement and occupied a position 2 miles in advance early next morning. By means of the signals the gunboats were requested to shell the woods on our left, and did very efficient service, making some very effective shots at a distance of more than 2 miles.
The artillery had but little opportunity for firing, but its presence was what saved us from an overwhelming attack by superior numbers. The energy shown by Captain Arnold in getting it first upon the transports at Cheeseman's Creek and then building his wharves and getting it all landed between 5 o'clock in the evening and 10 o'clock of the next morning is worthy of the highest commendation. Captain Arnold was also very efficient during the day in placing the batteries.
I recommend to your favorable consideration Colonel C. E. Pratt and Colonel R. Matheson, of the Thirty-first and Thirty-second New York Regiments. Their regiments lost heavily, and were handled with great judgment and skill by their colonels.