missioned officers. I was directed by General Terry to hold the left of the enemy's fortifications, from Ware Bottom Church to the river, about three quarters of a mile with my brigade while Howell's and Hawley's brigades and Ames' division, on our left, advanced to destroy the railroad. Intrenching tools were sent for and the pioneers of the brigade ordered up. A banquette was constructed on the front of the enemy's works, thus shifting their front and turning them on the enemy. The abatis and fraise constructed by the enemy were removed and numerous rifle-pits and some regular approaches in rear of the line-now our front-leveled off. These approaches extended to the enemy's rear, to the road running parallel with the enemy's fortifications and had the appearance of having been made the night before.
The Eleventh Maine was strongly entrenched at the church and free communication opened for artillery from the church to and through the enemy's fortifications. The Twenty-fourth Massachusetts occupied the works in front of the church. The Tenth Connecticut on the right of the Twenty-fourth, to the James River, strongly occupying three inclosed works, two near the Howlett house and one on the road leading past the church. During the afternoon, while the brigades at the front were warmly engaged with the enemy, three companies of the Twenty-fourth and three companies of the Tenth were thrown forward to protect Howell's right. Two companies of the Tenth were posted on the parallel road a mile beyond his flank in the direction of Drewry's Bluff, with scouts still farther advanced. A portion of the Eleventh Maine was brought up to the main works to supply the place of these detachments. The two advanced brigades, after having been engaged with the enemy most of the day and in tearing up the railroad, were retired about 5 p.m. through my line to the rear, closely followed by the enemy's skirmishers. After skirmishers with the enemy for half an hour, I retired my regiment by order of General Foster, forming them in two lines in the rear of the Eleventh Maine at the church. The enemy's line of skirmishers, following closely, advanced boldly with yells upon the new line-the old picket-line of May 20, held by the Eleventh and a portion of Howell's brigade. The enemy were met by heavy volleys and driven back to their fortifications. There they were rallied and pressed forward again more cautiously. Lively skirmishing was kept up by the opposing lines until after sunset.
About sunset I was ordered by General Foster, commanding division, to retake with my brigade the enemy's fortifications at the Howlett house, if practicable by deserters to have been buried there by the enemy. I reported to General Foster that I did not deem the enterprise practicable for the following reasons: The only practicable approach to the left of the enemy's fortifications was by the road past the Ware Bottom Church, by reason of the ravine extending from the river to the church. This point at the head of the ravine, some 250 yards only from the enemy's fortifications in front of the church, was more than 800 yards from the enemy's left near the Howlett house, to attack which directly would expose the attacking force to a flank fire at short range the whole distance. Hence, to carry the batteries at the Howlett house, I would be compelled, first, to carry the enemy's fortifications opposite the church, and then his whole left to the river. In front of the church was a heavy inclosed work, capable of holding several companies; near the Howlett house were two similar inclosed works, all of which were connected together by a strong line of rifle-pits. That these fortification were well manned I saw with my own eyes. Besides the strong