laying of the pontoons, the train passing at the same time to my right, to its position on the river bank, in the bottom.
The next morning, 11th instant, I divided my battery into sections (after asking advice of Captain Ransom, chief of this artillery battalion), taking with me personally the left section lower down the river, so as to have a raking cross-fire on the enemy, in conjunction with the right section, and prevent any advance which might deter the finishing of the pontoon bridge.
As the bridge was about being completed, the enemy's sharpshooters opened fire on the engineers, under cover of the farm houses opposite the battery, when we immediately shelled the buildings and roads, clearing the ground in a short time of the enemy's presence. My orders were then, from General Jackson, to destroy the buildings, which we tried to do with shot and shell, but they resisted our efforts. This firing, with an occasional case shot at groups of cavalry, was all the firing for that day, when both bridges were completed and ready for the crossing of our troops.
I should here state that two regiments of infantry attempted to charge down from the woods on the bridge, but were driven out by the aid of canister, at the time the sharpshooters opened.
Next day, 12th instant, our battery crossed the river and took up a position on the extreme left of our division, remaining in camp until next morning, 13th instant.
According to orders from General Jackson, I advanced along the road to the front with his brigade; immediately got into position to repel a battery, which was enfilading our troops as they were advancing to the front, and shortly after entering action had the axle of my third piece broken by a shot from the enemy; at the same time destroying the sponge bucket, sponge staff and rammer, and lunette strap.
The enemy were driven off to another position, when I immediately removed the gun for repairs. This left me with but three guns, and in fifteen minutes afterward the enemy opened on my right with a cross and concentrated fire with eight or ten guns. So rapid and effective was their fire that I changed my front by hand, as my horses were being shot down in every direction. As soon as my change was accomplished, under this galling fire (which caused me to lose 11 men and 16 horses), I immediately opened a heavy fire on the enemy, and then removed my dead and wounded horses from the limbers and caissons, placing fresh ones (which I had conveniently by) in their stead, so that when we ceased firing I was just as strong in horses as at first.
The limber of my third caisson was badly damaged; also the hounds, splinter-bar, and pole, as well as the foot-boards, were destroyed. This as well as the harness and gun were all promptly repaired, and reported on the field for service next day. Placed as the battery was on low ground (a large plain), and the enemy on an eminence, they had complete range of us; so, to obviate this, I kept advancing to the front, and at the close of the day found myself 300 yards nearer the enemy, and where his range varied so much that we were not touched afterward.
Shortly after dark the enemy suddenly opened again, but accomplished nothing; and then being ordered back to camp by Lieutenant Mason, of General Meade's staff, we retired. As we did so, a shot struck my first piece, destroying a sponge bucket, staff, hand-spike, and knocking off the lunette strap beneath the piece, and also jamming the end of the bed of the rail between the cheeks of the piece. Nothing serious occurred, and we arrived safe in camp. Two days after, being out daily on picket duty (or awaiting further orders), we recrossed the river, and,