At about 1 a.m. of the 15th instant I had moved Duncan's brigade, consisting of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth and Twenty-second Regiments U. S. Colored Infantry; Holman's (Provisional) brigade, consisting of the First U. S. Colored Infantry and one wing of the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry (dismounted); Angel's battery and Choate's (colored) battery, from the several positions which they previously occupied to the immediate vicinity of Broadway, and at 2 a.m. reported in person to Major General W. F. Smith at Brodway. In accordance with his orders I concentrated my command in the immediate vicinity of Cope's house, below Broadway, on the road from City Point to Petersburg, at about daylight, with directions to take my place in column immediately following Kautz's cavalry.
The field return of the day exhibits the following effective force of the division present for duty: Duncan's brigade, officers and men, 2,200; Holman's brigade, officers and men, 1,300; Angel's battery, officers and men, 136; Choate's (colored) battery, officers and men, 111; aggregate, 3,747.
About 5 o'clock, General Kautz's cavalry column having passed, my division was ordered into column and proceeded as far as the railroad, when its march was obstructed by a halt of the cavalry, and sharp firing of musketry and artillery was heard toward the front. I immediately made a personal reconnaissance and found that the enemy had opened fire from a position in Baylor's field, which commanded the road, as it debouched from the wood and swamp, near Perkinson's Saw Mill, and that the head of the cavalry column had been driven in. Having reported the state of affairs to General Smith, I was ordered to deploy in two lines of battle, with skirmishers in front, and force a passage of the swamp. Duncan's brigade was formed on the first line, Holman's in the second. Considerable delay was occasioned by the difficulty in getting the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry into line by reason of its awkwardness in maneuver, it being composed of new recruits, and drilled only in Cooke's single rank cavalry formation, which entirely unfitted it to act as infantry in line. The lines, however, being formed, I ordered an advance, having directed Angel's battery into a position from which its guns were brought to bear upon the enemy over our advancing lines. The wood and swamp, through which ran a creek, was extremely difficult of passage, but the advance was finally made by most of the regiment, though furiously assailed with spherical case, canister, and musketry along the whole line. Some confusion, however, arose among the regiments upon the left of the road, and a few of the men fell back to the open space of ground. The enemy was found to be in a hastily constructed work, occupying a very strong position in Baylor's field, with four pieces of artillery and some force of infantry in the field-works, and two pieces of artillery, with supports, upon the crest of the hill on the right. The distance from the edge of the woods to the works was about 400 yards over open, rising ground, which was speedily overcome, when the enemy fled toward Petersburg, leaving in our hands one 12-pounder gun. This line was carried at a little later than 8 a.m. About 9 a.m. I renewed my march (Colonel Holman's command in advance) by the road from the City Point road to the Jordan Point road. Having reached the Jordan Point road, I turned to the right and again met the enemy's pickets on Bailey's Creek, near Bryant's house, and, deploying Holman's command, drove them in beyond the woods surrounding Ruffin's house. I immediately advanced my command into position in front of the enemy's works, covering my troops with a line of skirmishers from across the junction of the Jordan Point road and
46 R R-VOL XL, PT I