working parties in front and on right and left flanks. First and Second Divisions with Gregg's cavalry encamped at Reams' Station for the night.
August 25, 1864 (Battle of Reams' Station).-Early this morning the work of destroying the railroad was continued. Our cavalry well in front and on our flanks to protect working parties. 9.20 a. m., Spear's cavalry began to skirmish in front with the enemy (Wade Hampton's cavalry) on Malone's cross-road. Gibbon's division, Second Corps, immediately moved out to meet enemy's cavalry. Our cavalry forced back to high ground in rear of Smart's house by the time Gibbon's troops had advanced that far. 10.30 a. m., enemy opened on us with one knocked enemy's section out of time in a few rounds. Our skirmishers now constantly engaged in front and on our right flank. Some prisoners just captured state that Hill's corps of infantry with two brigades of Field's division is moving on us in conjunction with Hampton's cavalry. We then commenced to get ready for a battle by retiring our infantry (two small division) within the rifle-pits at Reams' Station, previously thrown up by Sixth Corps when it occupied that point, and very defectively located and constructed. Our cavalry occupied the roads to give notice of the enemy's movements. 1.50 p. m., enemy made quite a heavy assault upon the front of Third and Fourth Brigades, First Division, in front of the small white church. The attack continued about ten minutes, when the enemy was repulsed. Prisoners stated that two brigades of the enemy were engaged in this attack, formed in two lines. Colonel James A. Beaver, One hundred and forty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers, desperately wounded, his thigh shattered by a minie-ball. 3.25 p. m., sharp skirmishing on General Gibbon's front; soon over. 3.35 p. m., another assault on First Division in front of the church; continued only four or five minutes; enemy repulsed, with severe loss. 5 p. m., enemy made another brisk dash against our line, which was at once repelled. 5.20 p. m., enemy opened a fierce cannonade. Carried an order at once from General Hancock to General Miles to open upon enemy with his battery on right of church. The enemy reported to General Hancock to be massing in the wood in front of the church, preparatory [to] another assault upon our lines. 5.30, enemy's artillery fire slackened and was at once succeeded by a powerful assault by their infantry on our lines in front of the Third and Fourth Brigades, First Division. The fighting very close and severe for a short time, when a portion of Third Brigade, First Division (belonging to Second Division), commanded by Colonel Rugg, would not advance against the enemy, and the right of Gibbon's division, at the angle where our line of works crossed the road, gave way almost without contesting the point, leaving Sleeper's and Brown's batteries in the hands of the enemy; 1 gun lost also on line of Third Brigade, First Division, making 9 guns lost in all. The enemy now pressed forward over the crest, forcing our troops back into the wood in rear of the church, although the First Brigade (Miles') of the First Division continued to oppose them along the breast-works, toward where the road to the plank road crosses the swamp. General Hancock now endeavored to push Gibbon's division (Second) forward against enemy from its position in the corn field to retake our lost lines and guns, and ordered General Gibbon to advance with that object. A portion of Gibbon's division advanced a part of his line to the crest in rear of the road (in the corn-field), but upon receiving the