in my front was utterly demolished. As soon as the debris consequent upon the explosion had fallen to the ground I gave the order for the charge, and my brigades mounted our breast-works and pushed forward gallantly over the slope leading to the enemy's lines, taking possession of the demolished fort and occupying about 100 yards of the enemy's rifle-pits to the left [our right of it], capturing 1 stand of colors and about 50 prisoners. The division was here halted to reform, and hastily constructed traverses to shield the men from a terrible and incessant flank fire, which at the same time afforded our sharpshooters an excellent opportunity for picking off the cannoneers from a battery that enfiladed the position and poured a destructive fire of canister and shrapnel into my line.
At this time the enemy was holding the same line of intrenchments with my own troops, starting from the point where the right of my division rested and extending thence to the left [our right]. It was impossible for my line to advance from this position, as no troops had come up on my right to dislodge the enemy, and had I moved my line forward the enemy would merely by filing to the right in the same trench have occupied my position and poured a deadly fire into my rear. I reported this fact to one of the corps staff officers and soon after received peremptory orders to move my troops forward. I immediately gave the necessary orders, and the brigade commanders had barely got their men into proper position for a charge when the colored troops came running into the crater, and filing through passed into the rifle-pits to the left [our right] of the fort, where my troops now formed for the charge. The colored troops then made a feeble attempt at a charge, but before they accomplished anything the enemy made a fierce attack, and they retreated precipitately into the rifle-pits, breaking my line and crowding the pits to such an extent that it was impossible to reform my line. The enemy seeing the advantage gained by this attack, shortly afterward made another attack, fiercer and more determined than the first and owing to the crowded condition of the troops a panic was created among the colored regiments and they broke and fled in disorder to the rear, pressing back with them a large portion of my line. Those remaining in the pits were than captured, among whom was Colonel S. M. Weld, Fifty-sixth Massachusetts Volunteers, who behaved with great gallantry. This state of affairs left the crater occupied by General Bartlett and Colonel Marshall, with a small portion of their commands, with the position to the right and left of them held by the enemy. About one hour after this occurrence I received orders to withdraw the portions of my command from the crater to the main line as soon as practicable, and sent Lieutenant Randall, Fourth U. S. Infantry, aide-de-camp, to give the necessary order, but it was impossible for him to reach the command. About 2 o'clock the enemy made an attack upon the troops in the crater and captured them. Among the number captured was Brigadier General W. F. Bartlett, commanding First Brigade, and Colonel E. G. Marshall, commanding Second Brigade. I was then ordered to withdraw the remaining portion of my division to the rear, where they were encamped near their former position. When the Second Brigade occupied the works the Fourteenth New York Artillery found two of the guns of the fort buried in the sand. They got them out and worked them by a squad of men under Sergt. Wesley Stanley, of Company D, Fourteenth New York Artillery. The sergeant behaved handsomely but lost his life in the conflict. The flag captured from the rebels was taken by Sergeant Hill, Fourteenth New