them. The men were full of animation and enthusiasm, and, regardless of the active work of the sharpshooters in the gorges and from the crest, in the lucid intervals of the fog drifts, and of the heavy musketry in front, animated with rallying cheers of officers, they made a sudden and vigorous assault, Ireland's brigade and Cobham's One hundred and eleventh Pennsylvania closing in with the enemy, and the Twenty-ninth Pennsylvania, on the right, hurled themselves upon their flank with furious effort.
Our fire was delivered in continuous volleys while hotly pressing upon and encompassing the camp, and, with wall of steel, colors and men were over the works and hand to hand disputed the enemy's possession of them. The ardor of our men surprised and stultified the enemy, and we punished him severely in his irresolution. Walthall's men offered a sturdy but brief resistance, and when we closed with them they soon yielded and threw down their arms, pleading for protection. Our first success was gained in less than fifteen minutes after the lines became engaged.
Detachments, starting in flight, were checked by the fire from Reynolds' batteries beyond Lookout Creek, and they preferred capture to running the gauntlet of shells exploding with such precision in their retreating path. The whole brigade was ours, and its camp thickly strewn with rebel killed and wounded, small-arms, and equipage. The One hundred and forty-ninth New York here took three battle-flags, and the Sixtieth New York one, from the hands of the color bearers, during the fight. The prisoners were at once dispatched to the rear, to be disposed of by General Whitaker's command, which had enthusiastically cheered our onslaught and pressed on in support, eager to participate in it, but as the front had neither faltered nor halted, the opportunity was not offered. As Cobham's and Ireland's forces could not be weakened by detaching guards, the prisoners captured had therefore to be disposed of in this manner, and my wounded left for the attention of the ambulance corps, close in rear of the line.
At this time the rebel signal flag was active on a bench below the pinnacle of the mountain, but our onward progress soon compelled its withdrawal. All seemed influenced with the conviction that rapidity of action would conduce to corresponding success, and without halting upon the site of the victory, like a vast piece of machinery the column pressed eagerly forward in original formation, Ireland's colors ever in advance of the center. The obstructions now surmounted at every step, of ravines, precipices, immense bowlders, abatis, slashing, and carefully-constructed works, plainly showed the place could have been defended to great advantage by a small determined force, against heavily outnumbering assailants.
They did not intercept the speedy passage of the troops, who impulsively disregarded the necessary toil which, under ordinary circumstances, could have early exhausted them. With indomitable perseverance, they were carrying out the order to "sweep every rebel before them, moving with rapidity."
Sharpshooters were busy in secreted places in front, from which they were dislodged and mostly captured, and of those on the cliffs many were killed and wounded by sharpshooters on our side.
Stretching over a large plateau and down the mountain side toward the valley from the base of the precipitous rampart of rocks, which like a promontory, bears the could-soaring peak of Point Lookout on its apex, was a systematically-arranged chain of fortifications, outer and inner, like a honey-comb.