On the morning of the 16th General Birney was ordered to attack. As a strong diversion, General Greggs was directed to move up the Charels City road, and General Miles' brigade, of Barlow's division, was placed under his orders with the understanding that when Birney became engaged General Miles was to return by a cross-road and form on Birney's right and take part in the main attack. The advance of General Gregg was made at an early hour and the enemy was driven rapidly before him beyond Deep Creek, nearly to White's Tavern. General Chambliss, of the Confederate cavalry, was killed during this advance, and his body fell into our hands. About 10 a.m. General Terry's division, of Birney's corps, advanced against the enemy's works above Fussell's Mill, and after a severe contest carried the line, capturing 3 colors and 200 or 300 prisoners, most of them from Wright's (Georgia) brigade and Lane's brigade. Craig's brigade, of Mott's division, and the colored troops under Brigadier General William Birney, attacked on the right of the line; both are said to have acquitted themselves gallantly. Colonel Craig, commanding the brigade of Mott's division, was unfortunately killed in this assault. He had but just returned from and absence on account of wounds received during the campaign. The enemy soon rallied and retook the line, but it was several hours before I could ascertain the exact state of affairs, the wooded nature of the country preventing any personal examination. We retained only and advanced line of skirmish pits from which the enemy had been driven. Broady's brigade, of General Barlow's division, was sent to General Birney at his request, and was formed to cover his right flank. About 1.30 p. m. the enemy's cavalry, strengthened by and infantry force, advanced on Gregg and Miles on the Charles City road. Our troops retired fighting to Deep Creek. Here General Miles withdrew his brigade, in accordance with my instructions, and moving in on General Birney's right, took command of his own and Broady's brigade. Smyth's brigade, of Gibbon's division, was formed on Birney's left, but was engaged only in brisk skirmishing. General Mott felt the enemy's line at intervals during the afternoon beyond Bailey's Creek, to prevent them from sending re-enforcements to our front. They showed on each occasion a strong line in Mott's front. General Birney proposed to attack again at 5 p. m., but reported at 6 p. m. that on advancing his skirmish linea he found the enemy had massed in his front, and decided that he could not attack successfully. General Gregg was holding his position beyond Deep Creek in an old line of the enemy's rifle-pits. At 4.45 p. m. he was attacked by the enemy and forced back across the creek. Forming on the south bank he succeeded in holding the enemy in check, although they made a strong effort to cross. The remainder of the day passed without incident. In the evening I received a dispatch from General Grant saying that it was possible that a position secured by General Butler near Dutch Gap would turn the enemy's line in my front and necessitate its abandonment, and that an examination of it would be made in the morning, and perhaps a part of my command would be sent there.
On the night of the 16th a fleet of steamers was sent from City Point to Deep Bottom, returning at 4 a. m. on the 17th, the object being to convey the impression to the enemy that we were withdrawing from Deep Bottom, and to induce them to come out of their works and attack us. There was no change in the disposition of my lines on the 17th, nor could any movements be detected on the part of the enemy. During the day General Birney sent me a note saying that our wounded and those of the enemy in the affair of the 16th were between the lines ex-