Captain Gerrish's New Hampshire battery was now placed on the right of my line, and Lieutenant Stewart's battery (B), Fourth U. S. Artillery, was posted on the left, for purpose of shelling a piece of wood in advance of us, on the bank of the river,in which a body of rebel infantry and cavalry had taken position apparently whit the intention of disputing our farther progress. The action of the batteries having prepared the way for an infantry attack, I directed General Meredith to take these woods with his brigade. The Seventh Wisconsin Volunteers and Twenty-fourth Michigan led the advance, preceded by the Second Regiment U. S. Sharpshooters, and carried the wood in gallant style, taking a number of prisoners and horses.
In this staff my attention was particularly directed to the
Twenty-fourth Michigan Volunteers, a new regiment, for the first time under fire. I was pleased to see the alacrity and courage with which they performed the duty assigned them. The wood proved to be a very strong position, intersected with ravines and covered with a thick undergrowth. They contained masked batteries for eight guns, arranged to sweep the river for a long distance. While the left of my line thus gained a strong point d'appui, Colonel Rogers, with the Third Brigade, changed front forward, advanced rapidly, and took possession of the Bowling Green road, driving back the enemy's sharpshooters and silencing a battery not more than 500 or 600 yards in our front. Gerrish's battery was now placed to the right and rear of Rogers' position, near the intersection of a cross-road with the Bowling Green road. Colonel Rogers supported the guns in rear, leaving two companies in the road to protect the cannoneers from the rebel skirmishers.
The enemy now kept up a heavy and continuous fire upon our lines. Colonel Phelps, with the First Brigade,also changed front forward and formed line of battle to the rear of, and parallel to, the road, and to the right of Colonel Rogers' position, leaving three companies in the road to check the enemy's sharpshooters. All these roads we found lined with ditches and embankments, making excellent positions for infantry against infantry, but not against artillery. Colonel Gavin came up about the same time and occupied the road to the right of Colonel Phelps, engaging the skirmishers in his front and acting as a support to Captain Reynolds' battery, on his left. He held this position with his brigade during the whole action, throwing out strong pickets at night and skirmishers during the day to within 150 yards of the enemy's advanced line.
Having made these dispositions, I directed General Meredith to meet some demonstrations against our left flank by forming line in that direction at an obtuse angle to the main road, his right connecting with Rogers' brigade, and his left resting on the wood and river. In the mean time Gerrish's battery was contending with two batteries on our extreme left. Stewart's battery was sent to its assistance, and took part on its right. The latter officer soon succeeded in silencing the enemy's fire, blowing up one of their caissons and driving them off. Their guns could have been captured at this period without a doubt, had not a new and startling event occurred on our right, to which our attention was immediately directed. Meade's and Gibbon's attack had failed,and the enemy, with loud yells, were following back the two divisions to our lines. I immediately called in my troops from the left, and altered the position of the artillery to meet this new danger. A portion of Birney's division, however, came up just in time to cover Meade's and Gibbon's retreat and send the enemy flying back to his intrenchments.
The danger over, I immediately ordered the troops to resume their