Colonel Higgins, Twenty-second Louisiana Artillery. The gunboats did not afterward venture another attack, their iron armor being rather readily penetrated.
About noon on the 26th it began to be apparent that the main attack would be against the center of our line, in the endeavors to gain the high ground by the crossing-points mentioned. The available infantry force under Brigadier-General Lee was accordingly placed at these exposed points, with directions to hold the enemy in the bottom to the last and give time for re-enforcements to arrive. This was handsomely done, and they were completely held in check during the remainder of the day at the two points where their columns appeared.
The arrival of three brigades, under Brigadier-Generals Barton, Gregg, and Vaughn during the afternoon and night of the 26th added greatly to our strength and confidence. These troops were moved promptly forward and by daylight were in position, thus enabling the exposed points to be held in force and the whole front to be watched by skirmishers.
The line was now immediately commanded as follows: General Lee was on the right, General Barton int he center, General Vaughn on the left, General Gregg, with brigade, being held in reserve, though subsequently placed in position between Generals Barton and Vaughn. The order was for each brigade to draw re-enforcements from the one immediately on its left, the left itself to be re-enforced by fresh arrivals from the interior or from the reserve.
The 27th was apparently occupied by the enemy in getting their batteries in position and preparing extensive rifle-pits.
Early on the morning of the 28th the enemy opened with a heavy fie of both artillery and musketry along the entire line, which increased with intensity as the day advanced and only ceased with night.
The night of the 28th was pent by both parties in placing new batteries in position, strengthening the works, and preparing for the morrow.
At daylight on the 29th the attack commenced with renewed fury and soon the appearance of a largely-increased force in front indicated an intention to assault, which was attempted almost simultaneously along the whole line. In front of General Lee the attack was the most formidable, as, owing tot he ground, they could deploy on a grater front, thus taking advantage of their superiority of numbers. The assaulting force-estimated at 6,000-moved from their concealed position in the woods, advanced rapidly on an open space of say 400 yards, and made a determined attack upon his intrenched position. Taken in flank by the artillery and met in front by a withering sheet of musketry fire, the enemy struggled up to within a short distance of our line, when he wavered, stopped, and soon fled in irretrievable panic and confusion, strewing the ground with his dead and wounded, leaving in our possession 4 regimental colors, over 300 prisoners, and 500 stands of arms.
In front of General Barton the assault, although not made in such numbers, was persisted in with a tenacity indicating a determined purpose to succeed. Five different times did they attempt to storm his most advanced work, each time repulsed with loss, and from daylight until sunset the troops were under as severe a fire of musketry and pour into the work.
The formidable abatis in front of General Vaughn, together with the batteries in position in the line to his rear, seemed to have disheartened the enemy there from the first, rendering his attack uncertain, feeble,
43 R R-VOL XVII