Howlett's house, I advanced with four regiments in echelon with skirmishers well advanced to recover our ground, in order at least to get our wounded. My skirmish line could not get quite up to the position, because the rebels had a line of battle too strong to attack position, because the rebels had a line of battle too strong to attack on this side of our rude breast-work; so that we never regained our original position. I most emphatically say that my line was not forced back at all; four-elevenths of it was crushed, but the other seven-elevenths held their position until they were ordered back. The damage done to Heckman's right was at once repaired by General Smith ordering two regiments of General Ames' division under Colonel Drake to take position across the road on my right and to hold that road. This is said in justice to my men.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Chief Engineer.
Lieutenant Colonel N. BOWEN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Eighteenth Army Corps, in the Field.
IN THE FIELD, May 23, 1864.
COLONEL: In obedience to orders, I submit herewith the operations of my division (the Second) from the 12th to the 16th instant:
I left camp with my division at daybreak, and proceeded on the shortest road to the turnpike in the direction of Richmond, and, after skirmishing from the time I passed our picket-lines, and after a little artillery firing at Redwater Creek, bivouacked for the night at this side of, and near to, Proctor's Creek, with skirmishers advanced during the night to the banks of the creek. I was re-enforced during the day by the Ninety-eighth New York Regiment, Colonel Weas, in orderd to enable me to join General Brooks' line with General Turner's line. Early on the 13th I moved forward, and, after skirmishing continually, bivouacked for the night in line of battle on the cross-road which strikes the turnpike at the 9-mile stone. Early on the 14th I again advanced through the dense woods, and, after quite a spirited little fight, drove the rebels within their works, and silenced their artillery, which bore on me, by my sharpshooters and artillery, and bivouacked in line of rebel works, my sharpshooters continually engaged. On the 15th I was re-enforced by the Eighth Maine and Twenty-first Connecticut Volunteers, and, after continual sharpshooting all day, bivouacked in the following order for the night: My whole command was in a single line, my left resting on the turnpike, and in the following order from left to right, viz: Wistar's brigade, Twenty-first Connecticut, Eighth Maine, Ninety-eighth New York, and Heckman's brigade. The three regiments were attached to Heckman's brigade, and were under the immediate command of General Heckman. The right of this line barely lapped over the direct and shortest road to our entrenchments. From my right to the river, a distance of fully three-quarters of a mile, was a line of cavalry vedettes. In front of my right, about midway between my line and that of the enemy, in the large open field which was in front of me and the line of vedettes, was a farm-house with outbuildings. This was held by a force of 60 men by order of the major-general commanding the corps. My pickets were strong, and advanced close to the enemy along my whole line. Breast-works of logs had been constructed during the day by my