following and taking a number of prisoners. As soon as a charge was made I took the reserve farther to the left, so as to cut off the enemy's retreat upon the railroad above Captain Sanford's position. Most of the prisoners were taken between and in front of these two detachments.
FROM THE REPORT OF LIEUTENANT-COLONEL CURTISS.
The two regiments turned off to the left of the railroad into a kind of path, which was not often traveled. We pursued the wanderings of this path, streams, swamps, swales, and ditches, where it seemed impossible for man to pass. The great difficulty of moving, except by single file, prevented our arrival at the works until about 10 o'clock a. m., when Colonel Jones, who commanded the expedition, directed that two companies from the Fifty-eighth, then under my command, to wit, Company I, under the command of Lieutenant W. W. Wells, and Company K, to be sent forward, under the command of Captain Cecil Clay. These companies immediately deployed as skirmishers and advanced cautiously, under cover of the wood, until they arrived at a cleared field near the railroad and within plain view of the enemy's works. Both companies quickly opened fire, and then under a double-quick charged upon the enemy, capturing one piece of artillery while the officer in charge was endeavoring to discharge it upon us. Company I, commanded by Lieutenant Wells, arrived at the piece, having the shortest distance to go, a little in advance of Company K, which was making with all possible speed to capture the piece. The enemy fled terror-stricken, after discharging their pieces, in all directions into the adjacent swamps, except the rebel lieutenant commanding the artillery, who was vainly endeavoring to discharge his piece upon our advancing column, but which was wrested from him and captured, together with six horses, which had become detached from the piece, and with their drivers were endeavoring to flee.
The other column, under my own immediate command, moved from Core Creek at midnight on the 21st, and at daybreak encountered the enemy's pickets about 1 mile from their intrenched position at Gum Swamp. The column moved up steadily to within 500 or 600 yards of the intrenchments and were there deployed-the Twenty-fifth on the extreme right, the Fifth on the extreme left, and the Forty-sixth in support of the artillery in the center; the cavalry were placed within supporting distance in the rear. My object was simply to attract the attention of the enemy and as far as possible to keep them in ignorance of our real intention. Accordingly I ordered each regiment to send forward skirmishers and draw the fire of the enemy, keeping themselves protected as much as possible. Desultory firing was thus kept up for several hours, with trifling damage to ourselves and probably to the enemy. About half past 9 or 10 rapid firing was heard in the rear of the enemy. Judging that Colonel Jones had succeeded in reaching the desired position, I moved forward the Twenty-fifth Massachusetts on the right and the Fifth Massachusetts on the left, and ordered them to be prepared, if necessary, to charge the intrenchments. The Forty-sixth Massachusetts were ordered to support the Twenty-fifth, advancing farther to the front; Colonel Pickett, commanding Twenty-fifth, advancing farther to the front; Colonel Pickett, commanding Twenty-fifth, prudently threw forward skirmishers reporting that the enemy had left their first line I ordered forward the regiments rapidly to gather up the fruits of the victory. On entering the work we met detachments of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts and Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania bringing in prisoners, many of whom they had captured by brilliantly charging them.
Detached squads were sent into the swamps to hunt out and capture those of the enemy who were there concealed; many prisoners were taken in this manner.
The force of the enemy, from the information received from prisoners, appears to have been between 600 and 700. The escape of so many was principally owing to the fact that the detachment of the Fifty-eighth Pennsylvania sent down the Dover road to attack directly in the rear