with my division to Major General W. F. Smith, before Petersburg," and move from Point of Rocks on the night of the 23rd of June, 1864, and reach my position in line of battle, relieving General O. B. Willcox's division, Ninth Corps, about 1 a.m. on the 24th on the left of the Eighteenth Corps. The right center of my position rested immediately in front the locality known as the Hare house, my right retiring a little, connected with General Martindale's division, of the Eighteenth Corps, while my center and left wing, passing over the eminence on which the Hare house is situated, extended down the slope of this hill and over a small creek at its foot, connected with the Ninth Corps in a piece of woods a short distance beyond, having a general direction to the west of north. The exact position of the enemy before my left wing was undetermined, being concealed by a considerable growth of timber, but passing along my front his line appeared to be advanced and occupied a strong entrenched position on a commanding hill, beyond which the ground seemed to fall off rapidly to what is supposed to be the creek bottom, through which the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad passes. This position he had connected with his right and left by rifle-pits, upon which he was at work night and day increasing their strength, and which soon became parapets of considerable relief. The salient of this advanced position was at a distance of from 30 to 400 yards from my advanced position was at a distance of from 300 to 400 yards from my front. Both of my lines were entrenched, and the troops were kept continually at work strengthening their position.
On the afternoon of the 24th I received an order from major-general commanding to assault the enemy's advanced position in my front. Two assaulting columns were immediately formed, composed of 200 men from Colonel Curtis' brigade and 200 men from Colonel Barton's brigade these columns to be followed by the balance of these two brigade as supports. The assault was ordered to take place at 7.30 p.m., but on intimation from the major-general received during the afternoon not to move to the assault till I should hear further from him, a delay in the preparation, through misunderstanding, occurred, and the columns commenced moving at 7 o'clock. Colonel Curtis, however, with his column, was in position at the time appointed, but the other brigade being considerably behind time and darkness coming on it was thought that the artillery would not be able to give the assistance necessary, and the attack was postponed till the following evening. On the succeeding day the order for the assault was indefinitely postponed.
On the night of the 25th and 26th rifle-pits were dug in front of my center from 75 to 100 yards in advance, and a battery of four 8-inch siege mortars put in position in my first line.
During the night of the 29th Colonel Bell dislodged the enemy's pickets in a point of timber some 100 yards in front of my left, and secured a position for forty sharpshooters, which partly enfiladed and with considerable command over the enemy's line. These men did good execution during the following day.
On the 30th I received instructions to again endeavor to carry the enemy's position in my front. Colonel Barton's brigade was selected as the principal assaulting column. His instructions were to move out of the point of woods in front of his position and charge the enemy's works immediately before him. It was to have been supported on the right by a smaller column, two regiments, under command of Colonel Curtis, who was to charge directly for the salient of the enemy's works, issuing for this purpose from the trenches in front of his position, which were within 200 or 250 yards of the enemy's line. The balance of Colonel Curtis' brigade was to remain in the first line, ready