so successfully, and most of the brigade was driven back in confusion, rallying at the plank road, the section falling into the hands of the enemy. At the first sound of this attack I sent Major Mitchell, my senior aide, to General Egan, with orders for General Egan to desist from his assault on the bridge and to face his command to the rear and attack the enemy with his whole command. When Major Mitchell reached General Egan he found that the general, with the instinct of the true soldier, was already in motion to attack the force in his rear. I do not think the enemy comprehended the situation precisely. They pushed rapidly across the ridge, resting their right across the Boydton road, and facing south, commenced firing. De Trobriand's brigade was quietly formed just in front of the Dabney's Mill road, with Kerwin's brigade of dismounted cavalry on its left. Roder's and Beck's batteries were opened on the enemy. Major Mitchell in returning from General Egan found the enemy in possession of the road, and taking the First Minnesota, of Rugg's brigade, Second Division, opened fire on them. This was perhaps the earliest intimation they had of the presence of any considerable force in their rear; and they immediately directed a part of their fire in that direction. General Egan swept down upon the flank of the enemy with Smyth's and Willet's brigades, of his own division, and McAllister's brigade was largely composed, faltered but were speedily reformed. The general advance of Egan was, however, irresistible, and the enemy were swept from the field, with a loss of two colors and several hundred prisoners. The Thirty-sixth Wisconsin Volunteers are particularly mentioned for good conduct, capturing more prisoners than the regiment had men. The captured guns were recaptured by us, and were soon afterward drawn off the field by a party of volunteers, under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel J. S. Smith, chief commissary of the corps.
Rugg's brigade, of Egan's division, did not advance with the division as was expected and desired. As the matter is now being investigated by a general court-martial,* I forbear commenting upon it further than to say that had the brigade advanced the rout of the enemy would have been greater, and a larger number of prisoners would have fallen into our hands. The enemy were driven into the woods in complete confusion, and another brigade advanced the rout of the enemy by advancing upon them through the wood from my extreme right. Almost instantaneously with this attack the enemy commenced pressing my left and rear heavily. Mott's skirmishers in the direction of the upper bridge were sharply engaged, and several valuable officers were lost on this line. The enemy in front had hardly been repulsed when the firing in rear became so brisk that I was obliged to send to General Gregg all of his force I had used to meet the attack in front as well as another of his brigades, which I was about putting in on my right to cover the Dabney's Mill road, constantly threatened by the enemy.
*Rugg was found guilty of neglect of duty and disobedience of orders, and by General Court-Martial Orders. Numbers 45, headquarters Army of the Potomac, November 17, 1864, was dismissed from the service. The disability arising from this dismissal was removed by letter from the Adjutant-General's Office January 26, 1865, on report of the Judge-Advocate-General, and the Governor of New York was authorized to re-commission the officer.