War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0083 Chapter XLVIII. SOUTH SIDE OF THE JAMES.

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the scene of a sharp attack by the enemy the previous evening. I had my pickets posted, and soon received orders to intrench, and procuring tools the men were worked by reliefs all night, throwing up a good infantry breast-works on three sides of the square inclosing the house and several acres of land, the fourth or southeasterly side being already nearly covered by the parapet erected by the enemy, being a part of his line which was taken at the first attack.

Here early on the 16th, while enveloped by the dense fog, the firing, yells, and cheers of the first fight of that day struck our ears. The men were just finishing their breakfast of coffee and hard bread, when orders came from the division commander for me to return and occupy the position where the regiment rested the previous day. I had reached and formed line of battle when I was further ordered to a new position in the field nearer the enemy's line, where the battle was then going on. After half an hour General Terry in person ordered me to hasten with the regiment to the turnpike in the shortest possible time. The march was taken up and I hurriedly led the regiment past the lines, where desperate fighting was raging, through the woods while the enemy's shells went crashing through the trees, and emerged into the field at the Half-Way House. It was at a point some 200 yards from the front where the battle still fiercely rolled on that I formed my line, and at once, in the absence of orders, judging it to be my duty to take position for attack or defense, as might be necessary, before finding a commanding officer. Here a slight depression of the surface furnished a little cover to my men, as they lay on the ground in obedience to my command. Immediately, however, Major-General Smith rode up, and learning the name of the regiment thus suddenly appearing and the cause of it, he remarked, "It must be one sent over to General Ames for securing the intrenchments, but you must remain you must remain where you now are for a while, prepared to open fire upon the enemy, as he seems to be approaching," and ordered my front slightly changed forward on the first company to uncover a regiment in front of my left flank, and to cover the ground where the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers had been forced out of the woods in which the foe was already advanced near to the edge of the field and probably would, in the flush of success, make a sudden dash forward to complete his victory. The utmost coolness was manifested by the men while thus awaiting an opportunity to meet the enemy, and which would, I doubt not, have been proved in the hardest of fighting had the enemy advanced from his cover. He was satisfied, however, with some practice in sharpshooting, by which several of my men were wounded, with frequent unsuccessful attempts to hit the officers without rushing upon the force which stood ready to receive him. Nearly two hours passed thus, when orders came from General Smith to move down the turnpike and report to Brigadier-General Ames for orders. Doing so, I had taken the road to Ware Bottom Church, where I had just learned General Ames held his headquarters, when I was overtaken by General Ames' chief of staff, who, learning my destination, directed me to countermarch to the pike, where Brigadier-General Martindale, as General Ames' superior, ordered me to a position lower down and near the pike, where I formed line of battle, threw forward my skirmishers, and rested the men for half an hour when orders came to move to and down the pike a short distance and connect my left with the right of two regiments which were to advance also. I moved according to directions, but some time elapsed before I could find the co-operating force, and