rifle-pits from that point to a certain tree, where my old line of pickets had been advanced during the previous night in view of the contemplated operations. The colonel being deceived by the darkness, and carried on by the success, did not stick literally to his instructions, but having got beyond the limits assigned, occupied a portion of the enemy's rifle-pits which only ought to have been leveled. The consequence of this more bold than wise advance was to put a part of his regiment in a position untenable after daybreak, and to involve the loss of 2 officers and 52 men when they had to retire, leaving a gap open where they should have established themselves strongly during the night. It was at this place that Lieutenant George W. Ellsler was killed and Captain Thomas A. Kelly wounded and taken prisoner, both bravely defending the undefensible pits, both of the Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers. However, the mistake arising from the darkness of the night, as well as from a generous impulse to pursue a retreating foe, did not otherwise impair the complete success of the operations, the gap having been filled with great ability by Captain H. G. Harrower, Eighty-sixth New York Volunteers, while in charge of the pickets, during the following night. My picket-line is now strongly established on the crest in front of the main works, part of which was formerly occupied by the enemy's pickets.
I have the honor to report that the officers and men engaged in the operation most gallantly did their duty, and performed the work instructed to them in a manner worthy of their old services and well-earned reputation.
Thanks are due to Brigadier-General De Trobriand, commanding First Brigade, who had a general supervision of this delicate movement, and gave it his undivided attention; and to my their to my entire satisfaction: also to the different battery commanders on the line, who fully carried out instructions, and effectively silenced the guns of the enemy that opened on us.
It is with deep regret I have to report the death of Lieutenant Colonel George W.. Meikel, Twentieth Indiana Volunteers. He fell on Saturday morning, on the ground wrested by him from the enemy with marked ability and his usual gallantry, and died with the consoling feeling of a victory, the most arduous and important of which was due to his generous efforts.
A list of casualties is herewith transmitted.*
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
Captain W. P. WILSON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Army Corps.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND CORPS, September 17, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded together with a return of casualties.
The number of prisoners reported as received by the provost-marshal of the corps is 83 aggregate. The line which we desired to occupy as a picket-line is now in our possession, so that the operation in justly claimed by General Mott as a complete success.
WINF'D S. HANCOCK,
Major-General, Commanding Corps.
*Shows 2 officers and 6 men killed, 14 men wounded, and 1 officer and 58 men captured or missing.