War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0442 OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD. Chapter XXIV.

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across the river as to the direction of the ford in the river, who also told him it was fordable horseback. When they found the Lieutenant was not inclined to cross they called him to halt and fired upon him, but without effect. The lieutenant on the road to the right, having gone down some 2 miles and not seeing the river ahead, returned nearer the main column to guard the right flank. I then went forward with Lieutenants Godbold and Tucker to select a position for our guns. I found at once that the enemy were strongly fortified. The banks on the opposite shore overlook those on this side some 20 feet at least. Earthworks could be seen in front and on both our flanks on all the prominent hills, and troops could be seen employed building others. These works were laid out with consummate skill, each one in rear commanded and strongly defended by its faces or flanks those in front, and they were so arranged that an enfilading fire could be brought on an enemy opposite in every available position he could occupy. The master-hand of General G. W. Smith was plainly seen in their construction. I soon discovered that there was little choice of position, there being only two hills that were at all tenable should the enemy have many guns. These I occupied, as the inclosed sketch* will show, viz:

The hill on the left by two sections, under Lieutenant Godbold, and one section Parrotts, Lieutenant Barry, their support being the Twelfth Massachusetts Volunteers, Major Burbank.

The hill on the right, distant about three-fourths of a mile, directly north-northeast, was occupied by a section under Lieutenant Brockway, the support being the Twelfth Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Humphrey. The section under Lieutenant Molitor and the Ninth New York Militia, Lieutenant-Colonel Atterbury commanding, I left as a reserve. The cavalry I placed on the flanks and in the woods in the rear.

Having thus disposed of my force, I had the pieces run by hand to the crests of the hills, and as the last echo of the rebel band at guard mounting died away I gave them as a chorus the right piece of Lieutenant Godbold. This was a splendid shot. The shell struck nearly the center of the large fort opposite, and bursting scattered the men on all sides, doubtless killing some. This work was being completed, and the parapet was covered with men at work. The next shot went a little to the right, and the next also. This giving them some encouragement, they returned, and opened fire with two brass 6-pounder smooth-bores, their shot and shell falling short about 30 yards. The fifth shot from Lieutenant Barry's battery blew up the magazine in that work and silenced their guns. When the magazine exploded dark objects were thrown upward, probably men, but I could no say whether they were troops or the logs of which the magazine doubtless was built. This silenced that work.

Lieutenant Barry had thrown a shell through some tents and many in the parapet, tearing it terribly, so that this work was pretty well used up, when suddenly two masked batteries enfiladed us. I made a slight change in our position and replied. These I found were also smooth-bore 6-pounders. We returned their fire briskly for some moments, when I saw two sections of a battery galloping rapidly to our right. I sent word to Lieutenant Brockway, who fired two shells at them, one killing 3 men and a horse. These were seen to fall the distance being not over 1,500 yards on a level plain. They, however, moved on, getting in the woods, and went I could not ascertain whither, though I sent three good scouts to follow them.


* Not found.