War of the Rebellion: Serial 080 Page 0699 Chapter LII. THE RICHMOND CAMPAIGN.

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velopment of the attack. From this point, after some little delay, I again moved forward, but receiving no orders I halted for the second time. I then learned, to my surprise, that Potter's division, of the Ninth Corps, was in my rear. I immediately made way for it to pass. Shortly after I received an order, dated 6 a.m., "to follow Potter, cover his right, and prevent it being flanked." His rear had just passed me. I followed it closely with my troops. On reaching our advanced front I found a portion of Potter's troops manning our line; a regiment of it was intrenching itself a few paces just in front, while the head of the division had passed over into the crater produced by the explosion. A few minutes after I arrived at the front in person, and before any number of my troops had come up, I received an order, dated 6.30 a.m., "to move forward on crest of hill to the right of Potter, near or on Jerusalem plank road." This order evidently anticipated that the troops of the Ninth Corps had advanced sufficiently to let me out, the point for my egress being the point at which the assaulting column debouched, but this was not the case. The enemy at this period held his line up to within seventy-five yards on the right of the crater, and any attempt to get out of our lines, except immediately opposite it, would have been futile, and all the Ninth Corps which had previously passed out were massed in confusion in and in the immediate vicinity of the crater. Unless an advance of these troops was made it was only adding to the confusion and loss of life to put more troops out. To ascertain, however, whether I could not render assistance to our forces already in the enemy's lines, or be able to prolong myself along it, I passed over to the crater and examined in person the portion of the enemy's line held by the Ninth Corps. The enemy had a most destructive cross-fire of artillery and musketry on this front, and our men, crowded in great numbers within a narrow limit, were suffering severely. At this moment the troops of the colored division of the Ninth Corps commenced to arrive. I then expected a forward movement would immediately take place, and therefore hurried back and ordered Colonel Bell, commanding Third Brigade of my division, to charge to the right, agreeably to instructions, in order to cover this flank. This brigade advanced very handsomely over the parapet and into the enemy's line to right of crater, securing about 100 yards of it, but the Ninth Corps not advancing this brigade halted. At the same moment Colonel Coan, commanding Second Brigade of my division, advanced over the parapet farther to the right, but was unable to reach the enemy's works. He, however, attained a position in the undergrowth at a short distance in front of it, from which he kept up a sharp fire on the enemy. This position I directed him to hold, as it would greatly tend to divert the fire of the enemy from Bell's brigade, which I had ordered to charge again to the right along the enemy's line. This latter order Colonel Bell prepared to carry out; one regiment of his brigade started on the charge in excellent order along the enemy's line to the right. At this juncture, for some unaccountable reason, the colored troops in the vicinity of the crater and to the right among Bell's troops were seized with a panic and came rushing back to our lines, carrying with them the most of Bell's brigade, and checked the charge, which the enemy seeing advanced in turn, when the most of our troops abandoned the possession of the greatest portion of the enemy's lines which they had held, and came back in great confusion and passed to the rear. Colonel Bell and Colonel Coan succeeded in stopping the most of their men, and my provost-marshal soon brought up the balance. My division