War of the Rebellion: Serial 070 Page 0242 OPERATIONS IN N.VA., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLIX.

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by General McCook. At the same time we establish our skirmish line so as to fully cover Battery Smead and Fort Kearny, and in accordance with your instructions formed a strong picket-line to the Brookeville road. The enemy were in considerable force in our front and to the left, their sharpshooters annoying our line very considerably from a large house 1,700 yards in our front, which we found it necessary to shell, the enemy having established their skirmished line on a line with said house and parallel to ours. After having established our skirmish line there was considerable activity along it. Noticing a considerable movement of the enemy in the vicinity of Wilson's house, on the Seventy-street road, we deemed it advisable to send in a few shells. We are assured by citizens in that direction that the enemy were surprised at the accuracy of our fire at such distance, and from information since obtained we are led to conclude that the accuracy and activity of our artillery and skirmish line contributed largely to deter them from making the intended assault on Monday night. Colonel Thompson, with the First Provisional Regiment, reported during the afternoon. The night was passed by the men on their arms in the forts and rifle-pits, fully prepared for any emergency, and all in line by 3 a. m.

During the morning more or less skirmishing. The sharpshooters in the house heretofore mentioned became so troublesome to our advance line that we found it necessary to shell it. At the same time Colonel Gile ordered up a company of Veteran Reserve Corps to advance under cover of our fire and destroy the building. They advanced gallantly until very near the building, when they were opened on by the enemy from behind a breast-work of logs and brush. They were compelled to retire, the enemy being in commanding was slightly wounded. The enemy, immediately on seeing the demonstration against said building, commenced sending in re-enforcements across the fields in plain view. We opened on them, when they commenced retiring in considerable confusion. Were rallied by a field officer, but finally obliged to desists, retreating in the direction of Wilson's.

While the above operations were pending Fort Stevens was actively engaged, having opened on the Lay house (reported to your as Blair's house), sending in a portion of the Sixth Corps, the whole line from right of Fort Stevens to left of Fort De Russy being actively engaged.

The great activity on Tuesday night undoubtedly had its effect in causing the hasty withdrawal of the enemy. The forces all rested on their arms during the night in the forts and rifle-pits, and were in line by 3 a. m., in accordance with your orders.

Early on Wednesday morning I communicated to you the movement of troops in the direction of Rockville, and that there were no signs of the enemy. In accordance with orders I risked a scout of ten men, which soon verified the absence of any enemy in our immediate front.

Colonel, you are well aware of the commanding view this position has of the whole ground covered on the right by recent demonstrations. I think I am not overestimating when I say that with the exception of half an hour Tuesday evening, when the Sixth Corps went in, that your brigade did as much, if not more, fighting than any other, and to it can be attributed a large share of the credit for the early withdrawal of the enemy.