till 10 o'clock at night, when his advance was driven in by an overpowering force of the enemy, our men being much fatigued from long marches and constant fighting. A portion of Colonel Christ's brigade, of the Third Division, participated in this attack, and General Crawford, of the Eighth Corps, rendered very efficient aid on the left. We captured in this action 100 prisoners and 1 stand of colors.
A general attack was ordered by the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac for 4 a.m. on the 18th, and General Willcox was ordered to take the advance of this corps, supported by General Potter. On pushing out the skirmishers in advance of the attacking column it was discovered that the enemy had withdrawn from the line on the open ground in front of the Shands house, but their skirmishers were found in the woods that intervened between it and the Taylor house. General Willcox's division, with the First Brigade of the Second Division, steadily advanced through the woods under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, driving the enemy back to the cut in the railroad beyond the Taylor house. From the open ground in front of this house it was discovered that the enemy had a strongly intrenched line beyond the railroad around the base of Cemetery Hill, which line bore off in the direction of the Hare house, crossing to this side of the railroad at a point nearly opposite our right, the enemy's skirmishers still occupying the railroad cut as well as a deep ravine which crossed the cut at a small angle immediately in our front. After some very severe fighting on the part of these two divisions the enemy was driven from a portion of the cut. At 3 p.m. a general attack was ordered by the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac, which resulted on the part of this corps in driving the enemy entirely out of the cut and ravine, and establishing our extreme advance within about 100 yards of the enemy's main line beyond the railroad. No better fighting has been done during the war than was done by the divisions of Generals Potter and Willcox during this attack, the railroad cut and ravine presenting formidable obstacles to the advance. General Parke, my chief of staff, had the more immediate directions of these divisions during that day. The troops of General Hancock, on our right, and General Warren, on our left, fully co-operated with us in this engagement. Our losses in the engagements of the 16th, 17th, and 18th were very severe, among which were many of our best commanding officers of brigade and regiments. The advanced position gained by us was held as an intrenched skirmish line, and our main line between the Second and Fifth Corps passed by the Taylor house. In a short time the advanced skirmish line was strengthened and manned to such an extent as to make it in reality our main line; covered ways built to it by the division commanders, whilst formidable forts for artillery were constructed upon the main line. Our close proximity to the enemy caused them to keep up a continuous fire upon us of musketry and artillery of more or less intensity for the succeeding forty-two days, with a daily loss of from 30 to 60 killed and wounded. General Potter's division held the bulk of the line for the first few days, after which the general positions of the divisions were as follows: The Third Division, General Willcox, on the left; the Second Division, General Potter, in the center, and the First Division, General Ledlie, on the right.
On the 26th of June a letter was received from General Potter, stating that he believed a mine could be run under the enemy's works, immediately in our front, by which a breach could be made, if it was thought advisable. The suggestion was first made by some non-commissioned officers and privates of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania Regiment [Lieutenant-Colonel Pleasants], which was composed chiefly of