The precaution of throwing out pickets at some distance in front had the effect of keeping the sharpshooters of the enemy at a distance, and prevented my line being annoyed, as those on the left of me had been from the beginning, besides giving me the opportunity of strengthening my works unmolested. Notwithstanding my line for the time being but little harassed by the enemy in my front it was greatly annoyed by the shells from the gunboats and mortars established on the peninsula and in the river, which opened daily upon our rear.
About May 29, the enemy by a superior force drove in my picket line. After nightfall I attacked them in turn and re-established my line.
On June 1, the enemy established a battery about 800 yards in my front and opened fire upon me. This gun, however, was soon silenced by Captain Claiborne's rifle pieces.
On the nights of June 3 and 4, the enemy placed in position four guns of heavy caliber, which opened on the 5th at daylight. These guns continued to play upon my works incessantly throughout the siege, except at night and a few hours during the heart of the day.
On June 9, several 20-pounder Parrots were mounted within 400 yards of our line, our pickets having been gradually withdraw, those of the enemy having advanced to within 75 yards of our line, throwing up works much stronger than ; those occupied by our troops. These intrenchments were continuous along my entire line. The sharpshooters were numerous, and kept up such a continual fire that to show any part of the body above the parapet was almost certain to be struck. Frequent sorties from my line were made at night, driving the enemy from their intrenchments and filing them up. Owing to the superior force of the enemy, it was impossible to hold the position gained. The fire increased daily, as the enemy would mount additional guns and increased their number of sharpshooters. This incessant firing continued until the afternoon of July, 3 when it cease, and the garrison capitulated.
Early in the siege the Forty-THIRD Tennessee Regiment, colonel Gillespie commanding, re-enforced General Lee, and bore its part in repulsing the charges on his line. During these forty-seven days, under the terrific fire of the enemy's artillery and infantry, the officers and men of the brigade order themselves with constancy and courage. Often half fed and ill-clothed, exposed to the burning sun and soaking rains, they performed their duty cheerfully and without a murmur. During the siege many valuable lives were lost. Among others I would mention the names of Captain F. O. Claiborne, THIRD Maryland Battery, and Major Boyd, THIRD Tennessee Regiment. The former was killed on the evening of June 24, while gallant officers ever gave up their lives for their country.
The officers of my staff performed their duties faithfully and promptly. Major Phifer, my assistant inspector-general, captain W. H. Claiborne, my acting assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant William a. m. Patton, my aide, were conscious for gallantry and good conduct throughout the siege.
The list of my killed and wounded I have already forwarded to your headquarters.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
A. W. REYNOLDS,
Colonel, commanding fourth Brigade, Stevenson's DIVISION.
Major J. J. REEVE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Stevenson's DIVISION.