War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0252 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

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on the left were very much exposed to the fire of sharpshooters, and in a position from which it was difficult to withdraw under fire. It was not posted under my direction, and I did not consider the position strong, but was obliged to occupy the works as I found them. Immediately upon occupying them the entire pioneer corps of the division, and an additional detail of fifty ax men, were set at work in slashing timber in front of the Consolidated, First and Fourth Brigades, and in cutting roads for the movement of troops and artillery in rear of the line. At 12 o'clock the enemy drove in my picket-line and advanced in some force upon the line of battle, but was quickly repulsed with some loss, and the picket-line re-established. At 1 o'clock he again advanced, driving the skirmishers to the rifle-pits, and, advancing in line of battle, came within thirty yards of them, under a severe fire of musketry, before he was checked, but was repulsed and fell back. The One hundred and forty-eighth Pennsylvania was quickly advanced as skirmishers, and took a few prisoners of Wilcox's division of Hill's corps. Soon after another vigorous attack was made in front of the Fourth Brigade, which was handsomely repulsed, with the assistance of the Fourth New York Artillery and the Consolidated Brigade, firing to the right and left oblique, the troops fighting with determination. In this attack, rebels were killed within three yards of the line. I directed a few skirmishers to be thrown forward in front of each regimental line to pick up prisoners and watch the enemy's movements. Prisoners were taken of Anderson's brigade, of Field's division. Soon after this repulse it was reported to me by officers of the skirmish line and an officer of my staff that the enemy was placing a battery in position and massing troops in my front. A rebel sergeant also reported that his force consisted of Wilcox's division, two brigades of Heth's division, and Anderson's brigade. I directed the Twelfth New York Battery, Lieutenant Dauchy, to shell the woods in my front. During the second assault part of a brigade, five small regiments, of General Gibbon's division, reported to me in place of the skirmish line I had in front of that division, for a support to my line. These regiments were under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Rugg, Fifty-ninth New York Volunteers, and were posted on the eastern side of the railroad cut, about twenty yards in rear of the Consolidated Brigade of this division, within easy supporting distance of any part of the line, and perfectly covered from the enemy's fire.

At this time there were indications of a movement by the enemy to my right. The right of the skirmish line, however, had not been disturbed. This line connected with that of a brigade of cavalry posted at the junction of the Brock road and road running parallel with railroad. I sent the strongest regiment of those from General Gibbon's division up the railroad in charge of Captain Marlin, my division inspector, with directions in case the enemy appeared in that direction, to deploy along the railroad and support the picket-line, or, in case he attacked the front of the Consolidated Brigade, near the angle of our works, to attack him in flank and rear, with the assistance of the picket-line on the right. A more favorable opportunity was never offered a regiment to render distinguished service. I expected the next assault of the enemy would be at this point (the angle) and had every reason to believe he would not only be repulsed with severe loss, but would be attacked by about 300 men in rear, and followed up by the reserve of General Gibbon's division. I had placed one gun (12-pounder) of the Twelfth New York Battery at the angle to rake the railroad cut in case the enemy took it. At 5 o'clock the enemy drove in the skirmish-