p. m., when my guns and limbers, and the guns and limbers of the First Iowa Battery, were ordered forward to take a position in the margin of an open field, with a view to silencing a rebel battery that was shelling the Seventeenth Army Corps from the opposite ridge.
In company with the chief of artillery. I rode forward and examined the position designated, and joined with him in protesting against the battery occupying the position without defenses, as it was exposed to a front fire from artillery and a flank fire from musketry. Major Maurice, chief of artillery, Fifteenth Army Corps, after examining the position, pronounced it untenable, and ordered the batteries removed. This order was countermanded by his superior officer, and the batteries were put in position. I did not open, however, and while awaiting orders, a rebel battery opened a flank fire upon us from a point that the timber prevented us from seeing, and I could not reply, as an exposure of my position would have resulted in great loss to myself of men and horses, with no certainty of effecting any damage to the enemy. My loss was, fortunately, but 1 man killed. During the night of the 20th a work was erected for the protection of the battery, and on the morning of the 21st I occupied it. Soon after sunrise I opened on the enemy with good effect, but elicited no reply. Toward noon a large working party was discovered erecting and strengthening rifle-pits in front of the position occupied by the Seventeenth Army Corps, and nearly on the flank of my battery. I moved three pieces from my works into the open field, where I could obtain nearly a flank fire, and opened on them, compelling them for a time to suspend operations. An attempt was made to return our fire, but only two shots were delivered from their artillery before they discovered that the place was too warm, and the remainder of the section, making the attempt, hastily retired, leaving, however, a portion of one carriage and some horses on the field. My guns were served with efficiency and zeal, all of my men behaving well. My loss was 1 sergeant killed and 1 corporal wounded.
On the morning of the 22nd the skirmish line was advanced and occupied the enemy's works with very little resistance. The main line was then moved forward to the line previously occupied by the enemy, and my battery was placed in position without works, no danger of a assault being apprehended. Soon after, however, the general commanding the division, ordered works erected, and a slight parapet was built without embrasures. The work was considered needless by all who expressed themselves in my hearing with the exception of General Harrow, commanding the division. Our skirmish line was a long distance in advance and it was supposed that the main line would be advanced immediately. About 10 or 11 a. m., however, we were surprised by a report that the enemy had turned the left flank of our line, and that the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps were falling back in disorder. A few moments proved that the report was too true, for we discovered the Seventeenth Corps falling back an open fled to our left and reforming behind a slight breast-works perpendicular to the line occupied by us.
My caissons were parked in a deep ravine in the rear of my guns, but as they were exposed to a raking fire from the flanking force if they opened with artillery, the chief of artillery of the division, believing no attack need be apprehended on our front, ordered them moved into a road running parallel with, and about 100 yards in the rear of, our main line, affording an exit into the main road in the rear of the Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps. I ordered them