night without fires. My skirmishers were busy all night, almost constantly exchanging shots with those of the enemy.
At 3 p.m. January 1, I was sent for to report at General Thomas' headquarters in person, which I did, and was there instructed to watch my front with great vigilance, and keep a strong body of skirmishers in advance to prevent any surprise. This I did, and daylight had no sooner broken upon us than I saw the wisdom of the warning that I had received, as the enemy showed himself in strong force upon the margin of the woodland immediately on my front. General Johnson had in the mean time ordered me to move to the left, about the distance of a brigade front, and form in two lines. The ground I then occupied was covered with a somewhat dense cedar forest. I directed my men to throw up a breastwork upon our front, which they very soon did, constructing it of loose rocks and logs gathered together for that purpose. So well was this work constructed, and with such rapidity, that by 10 o'clock we had a strong line of defenses, which were continued by other troops on our right, who evinced equal energy, skill, and industry.
The Fourth Michigan Battery, under command of Captain Church, assisted by Lieutenants Wheat, Corbin, and Sawyer, acted an important part in this morning's operations. Twice during the early hours of the morning the enemy showed himself upon our front. Captain Church had placed his guns in the most commanding positions, and, whenever the opportunity offered, the most destructive fire I ever witnessed from artillery was poured upon the rebel masses as they thickened upon the margin of the opposite woods. Other batteries, however, to our right and left opened their fire with, perhaps, equal effect.
It is not my business to speak of what they did, further than to admit the noble part that they took in the work. I watched the progress and observed the effect of my own shot, and saw the rebel masses torn down and scattered before it like leaves before a storm.
One rebel battery on our extreme right, and one or two guns in front of our center, replied with shell and round shot, many of which struck in the timber, and fell crashing and bursting in dangerous proximity, but not a man of the brigade was injured by them. The day was spent in skirmishing upon the front and in these artillery duels, in one of which a rebel gun on our right front was dismounted in a very handsome manner by a shot from Lieutenant Wheat's section of the Fourth Michigan Battery, which was sent with the accuracy of a rifle ball.
About 8 o'clock on the night of the 1st, I was ordered by General Sheridan to send a strong reconnoitering party to the front, which I did. The enemy were found in force but a short distance in front of our line, and apparently engaged in the same business.
In this reconnaissance I had 3 men from the Seventeenth Ohio Volunteers wounded-John Zeigler, of Company A, and Corpl. Edward Lacy and W. R. Sain, of Company B. The first two were severely, the third but slightly wounded.
On the morning of the 2nd, the enemy could again be seen threatening our front, but so vigorous and well-directed was the fire from Church's battery and others upon the right and left of our position that no body of soldiers could have attacked our front successfully, covered as it was by the batteries. Heavy skirmishing continued upon our front all through the fore part of the day, until the action on our left appeared to command silence upon every other part of the field. There being no firing on our front, I reported in person to Major-General Thomas that the enemy appeared to have withdrawn, upon which he ordered me to