War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0262 OPERATIONS IN SE.VA. AND N.C. Chapter LIV.

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Volunteers, McKnight's battery, Second New York Heavy Artillery, Sixty-first New York Volunteers, and One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and about 12 o'clock the enemy made his appearance to the south and west, and at the same time threatened our right and rear. In accordance with orders from General Miles, I directed Captain Henry, commanding One hundred and fortieth Pennsylvania Volunteers, to make a reconnaissance with his regiment on a road running to the Jerusalem plank road from a point on the Jerusalem plank road from a point on the Reams' Station and Wood's Shop road, near the right of my line. Captain Henry moved out about three-fourths of a mile, meeting no enemy, and established his skirmish line across this road, his right connecting with the left of the picket-line of the division. He occupied this position during the afternoon, and did not rejoin the brigade till after its withdrawal from Reams' Station. The main portion of the brigade did not become engaged until about 4 p.m., when the enemy, having made a successful assault on the work on my left, broke through and attacked my left and rear with vigor, causing considerable confusion, and for a few moments McKnight's guns were in the hands of the enemy; but several colors having been halted, men were rallied around them without regard to organization, and by a prompt advance recaptured three of the guns and nearly all of the rifle-pits previously occupied by this brigade. These three guns were hauled off the field by volunteers from the Fifth New Hampshire Volunteers, Eighty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, and the Sixty-first New York Volunteers.

About this time I was directed by General Miles to move across the railroad and attack the enemy in his left flank, for which purpose I had a force of about 200 officers and men, in which nearly every regiment in the First and Second Divisions of the corps was represented. We took position at the white house, on the enemy's left flank, and annoyed him considerably by our fire; but the main object of the attack (to repossess the works captured from the Third Brigade) failed on account of the column being exposed in its advance to a galling fire from our own troops occupying the rifle-pits, as well as to the fact of there being no regimental or other organization in this force, the officers for the most part being strangers to the men and in many instances rather discouraging than urging an advance. Had it not been, however, for the fire on the flank, I have no doubt that the attack would have proceeded and been successful. Just before dark the enemy advanced a strong force against this party and finally succeeded in forcing it to withdraw and re-enter the breast-works. At dark I was directed by General Miles to establish a picket-line covering the left and front of the brigade, in accordance with which the Sixty-first New York Volunteers was deployed as skirmishers parallel with the railroad and its right resting on the rifle-pits. This regiment advanced to the dirt road in front of the church and each of the other regiments threw out vedettes, forming a line communicating with the right of the Sixty-first New York Volunteers. At about 9 p.m. received orders to withdraw, which was accomplished in good order, each regiment being well organized and having its colors with it. We marched via Wood's Shop to a position on the Jerusalem plank road, near the Williams house, where we bivouacked till morning.