move 500 men of my brigade out to recover the line held in the afternoon. This was successfully accomplished before 7 by the Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, Colonel T. F. Ballier; One hundred and second Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, Major Thomas McLaughlin, and One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Captain James McGregor, which deployed as skirmishers, drove the enemy's advance back to their main lines. The position was strengthened at dark by the Ninety-third Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel J. S. Long, and Sixty-second New York Veteran Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel T. B. Hamilton, and extended from a point opposite the center of the line between Forts Stevens and Reno to the west, and a point opposite Fort Slocum to the east, a distance of about two miles. Skirmishing continued through the night and following day.
At 5 p. m. of the 12th, while in charge of the division during the temporary absence of its permanent commander, General Getty, I was ordered to drive in the enemy's skirmish line and to occupy, if successful, two strong wooded hills in our front, the possession of which gave the enemy wooded hills in our front, the possession of which gave the enemy great advantage of position near our intrenched line. I ordered Colonel Bidwell, Forty-third New York Volunteers, commanding Third Brigade, to move his command outside of the fort and, under cover of a ravine and woods, at trail arms, and every precaution taken to prevent the enemy discovering the movement, form in two lines in rear of my brigade (which was all deployed as skirmishers), and about 300 yards on the right of the Rockville pike, the position being entirely covered by scrub timber and underbrush. Colonel Bidwell was then directed to select three of his very best regiments at an indicated point a few paces in rear of our skirmish line and fronting the strong wooded position held by the enemy. The attack was ordered to be made by the whole skirmish line of the First (my own) Brigade, and these three regiments from the third Brigade were to assault and carry the strong position referred to, the remainder of the Third Brigade to be held ready to support the general movement. the Seventh Maine, Forty-third New York, Lieutenant Colonel J. D. Visscher, and Forty-ninth New York, Lieutenant Colonel G. W. Johnson, were every skillfully placed in position near the skirmish line under the direction of colonel Bidwell without the enemy discovering the movement. A preconcerted signal was made by a staff officer when these regiments were in position, at which time the batteries from Forts Stevens and Slocum opened fire upon certain indicated points strong held by the enemy. As had been previously arranged, after the thirty-sixth shot from Fort Stevens had been fired, a signal was made from the parapet of that work and the commander of the skirmish line and three assaulting regiments dashed forward, surprising and hotly engaging the enemy, who was found to be much stronger tan had been supposed.
It became necessary to deploy immediately the three remaining regiments--Seventy-seventh New York, Lieutenant Colonel W. B. French; One hundred and twenty-second New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Dwight, and Sixty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Bidwell's brigade, on the right of those he had already in action, and the picket reserve of 150 men from One hundred and second Pennsylvania Volunteers, and a detachment of eighty men from the Vermont brigade to support the skirmish line immediately on the right and left of the Rockville pike. The enemy's stubborn resistance showed that a farther advance than already made would re-