War of the Rebellion: Serial 068 Page 0202 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter XLVIII.

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arrive, charge, and drive him back from the front of our left center, where the affair occurred, over and along the works to the turnpike.

It will be seen in a subsequent part of this report that one of Hagood's advance regiments had unexpectedly come in contact with the enemy and been ordered back, it not being contemplated to press in the battle order. This possibly originated Ransom's impression as to the situation of Hoke's left, which had, in fact, steadily maintained its proper position. At 7.15 a. m. Colquitt's brigade, of the reserve, was recalled from Ransom, and a slight modification of the original movement was made to relieve Hoke, on whose front the enemy had been allowed to mass his forces by the inaction of the left. Ransom was ordered to flank the enemy's right by changing the front of his right brigade to support it by another in echelon, to advance a third toward proctor's Creek, and to hold a fourth in reserve. This modification was intended to be temporary, and the original plan was to be fully carried out on the seizure of the river road and Ptoctor's Creek crossing. In proceeding to execute this order, Ransom found the reserve brigade engaged and his own troops moving by the right flank toward the firing at the center. He therefore sent Barton's brigade back instead of Colquitt's, and reported a necessity to straighten and reform his lines in the old position near the line he had stormed. Here his infantry rested during the greater part of the day, Dunovant's cavalry, dismounted, being thrown forward as skirmishers toward a small force which occupied a ridge in the edge of George Gregory's woods, north of Proctor's Creek. This force, with and insignificant body of cavalry, believed to be negroes, and a report of threatening gun-boats which came some hours earlier, as since ascertained, were the only menace to our left. At 10 a. m. I withheld an order for Ransom to move until further arrangements should be made, for the following reasons: The right was heavily engaged; all of the reserve had been detached right and left at different times; the silence of Whiting's guns, which had been heard a short time about 8 a. m.; gave reasonable hope that he had met no resistance and would soon be on. A dispatch had been sent to Whiting at 9 a. m., which was repeated at 9.30 a. m.; to "Press on and press over everything in your front, and the day will be complete;" and Ransom not only reported the enemy in strong force in his front, but expressed the opinion that the safety of his command would be compromised by advance.

On the right Hoke had early advanced his skirmishers and opened with his artillery. The fog and other causes temporarily delayed the advance of his line of battle. When he finally moved forward he soon became hotly engaged and handled his command with judgment and energy. Hagood and Johnson were thrown forward with a section of Eshleman's Washington Artillery, and found a heavy force of the enemy, with six or eight pieces of artillery, occupying the salient of the outer line of works on the turnpike and his own defensive lines. Our artillery engaged at very short range, disabling some of the enemy's guns and blowing up two limbers. Another section of the same command opened from the right of the turnpike. They both held their position, though with heavy loss, until their ammunition was spent, when they were relieved by an equal number of pieces from the reserve artillery, under Major Owen. Hagood with great vigor and dash drove the enemy from the outer lines in his front, capturing a number of prisoners, and, in