Major-General Hancock to move the division out toward the pontoon bridge after dark, following the First Division. Having moved the division out and massed near the road to the bridge, I was ordered by General Hancock to take the road and recross the river. The division marched all night and arrived at the Southall house at 7 a.m. on the 21st. Here the command of the division was resumed by Major-General Gibbon.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. A. SMYTH,
Colonel First Delaware Veteran Volunteers, Commanding Division.
Lieutenant Colonel FRANCIS A. WALKER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Corps.
Numbers 47. Reports of Major General John Gibbon, U. S. Army commanding Second Division, of operations August 25 and November 5.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION,
Near Petersburg, Va., August 30, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the part taken by my division in the action at Reams' Station on the 25th instant.
The division reached the station early on the morning of the 24th and took its position in the entrenchments. About 9 a.m. on the 25th I was ordered to move down the railroad and continue its destruction, but had scarcely got in motion when skirmishing at the outposts commenced. The regiments of Smyth's brigade were at once deployed as skirmishers on the right of the railroad with orders to press in the enemy's. It soon became apparent that we had an infantry force in front of us, and two of my brigades were ordered back to the entrenchments and as soon as the enemy commenced to drive in our skirmishers, the Third was ordered to fall back and take up its position in a corn-field to our left and rear, where out entrenchments were being extended to protect that flank. Rugg's brigade (the First) had been sent to support the First Division on the right, where the enemy made several ineffectual attempts to break our line. About 5 p.m. the enemy, having placed his batteries opened a heavy fire, most of which took my part of the line in reverse. Soon afterward he made his assault on General Miles' line, from which a portion of my First Brigade had been withdrawn to strengthen mine, under the impression that an attack was to be made there. The enemy broke through General Miles' line and pushing forward his troops appeared to be for a time carrying everything before him. His fire taking my line in reverse, I shifted my men to the opposite side of the parapet, prepared to resist his farther advance, but this was checked by the steadiness of a portion of Miles' division, and my division was then ordered forward by General Hancock to attack the enemy and retake the breast-works. In the attempt to obey this order, that portion of the division with me did not sustain its previous reputation, and, demoralized, partly by the shelling and musketry firing in its rear, partly by the refugees from other parts of the line, retired after a very feeble effort and under a very slight fire in great confusion, every effort of myself and staff failing to arrest the rout until the breast-work was reached. Soon after this the enemy