Howe's division had not crossed Hazel Run, and General Brooks, being threatened with an attack form the enemy in his front, had not left his position on the Bowling Green road in front of the bridges.
The general commanding having ordered and assault to be made upon the works of the enemy and directed General Howe to advance upon the left of Hazel Run, and General Newton upon the right, the batteries of Howe's division, Martin's and Cowan's, under command of Major De Peyster, were placed in position to cover the advance of the assaulting column. The batteries of Newton's division were directed to concentrate their fire upon a certain point in the stone wall at the foot of the crest, and behind which the enemy's infantry was concealed, until the assaulting column had nearly reached the wall, and then to direct their fire upon the batteries upon the crest.
These instructions were fully carried out. The practice was excellent, inflicting great damage upon the enemy and aiding very materially in the success of the assault. During their time Brooks' division, on the left, was hotly engaged with the enemy in their immediate front. For the part taken by the batteries of that division in the engagement I respectfully refer you to the report of Major Tompkins,* who commanded them.
The crest having been carried, and the enemy in full retreat, Harn's battery, followed by McCarthy's, was moved rapidly up the Telegraph road. Both were placed in battery some distance in rear of the works from which the enemy had been driven, Harn upon the right and McCarthy upon the left of the road, and immediately opened fire upon the retreating enemy. From this point to Salem Heights, the advance of the corps was annoyed by a section of horse artillery, the only guns not captured form the enemy in the assault, which took position upon every available point, and opened upon our troops, firing until driven off by the fire of the batteries (Harn's and McCarthy's), which were with the advance, and the near approach of the infantry, which continued steadily to advance.
At Salem Heights the enemy were found to be in force. Brooks' division, which had come up and taken the advance, moved forward to the assault on the left of the Plank road, and Newton's division upon the right. Williston's, Rigby's, and Hexamer's (Lieutenant Parsons commanding) batteries were placed in position near the toll-gate, where a slight rise in the ground afforded good cover for the limber sand caissons. One section of Williston's was placed in the road, the other two sections on the left, and Rigby's and Hexamer's (Parsons') upon the right of the road. From the batteries to the wood, which begin at the foot of the heights, was about 500 yards of open ground. The infantry moved steadily across this ground, the wood, and, after a severe contest, reached the crest, held it for a few moments, and then, being greatly outnumbered, was forced to retire. It came out of the wood, many of the regiments in great confusion, closely followed by the enemy. Already had the batteries opened fire over the heads of the retiring troops, firing slowly at first, and, as the enemy attempted to follow our troops out of the wood, rapidly, Williston using canister. The enemy were checked and driven back by this fire. The infantry reformed behind the batteries, advanced, entering the wood, and held the position until darkness ended the conflict. Shortly after dark, I ordered Butler's, Cowan's, and Harn's batteries, which had been held in reserve, to relieve Willston, Rigby, and Parsons, who were sent to the rear to replace their ammunition.