War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0358 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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which opened on us, but we had no difficulty in driving them back through the woods with four regiments, soon after occupying with my brigade the whole of the line of breast-works alluded to. A new line of skirmishers was formed at once, and under the able command of Colonel E. R. Biles, Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, who had already led the advance, the enemy was driven across open fields and woods to his main position under the protection of a very strong line of works. Our picket-line forming the extreme left of the line of battle and resting on some impenetrable swamps, was maintained close to the enemy although pressed hard by them in the afternoon, one of my regiments having been sent at once to strengthen it. On Monday, the 15th, I relieved early in the morning the picket-line of General Miles' brigade (First Division), and made some demonstrations during the day so as to draw the enemy's attention to my front, and prevent his sending re-enforcements to its left, where an attack was anticipated, which, however, did not take place until the following morning. On Tuesday, the 16th, having re-enforced my front, in compliance with orders from division headquarters, with two more regiments before daybreak, I opened fire on all my line to keep the enemy on the alert and to force them to strengthen their line while General Birney's attack was progressing on our right. Our demonstrations were renewed several times during the day on different points, assisted materially by a steady shelling of the enemy's position by Rickett's (Pennsylvania) battery and one of the gun-boats in the river. They secured to us the possession of two heavy mortars and a magazine of ammunition, which, however, exploded by accident without injuring any of our men.

No active operations took place on the 17th and the picket-firing ceased in the afternoon during a suspension of hostilities under a flag of truce.

On the 18th (Thursday) the day had been very quiet along my line, when, about 5 p. m., a strong attack of the enemy on our right soon extended to our front, evidently to create a diversion and to keep us engaged where we were. The demonstration of the enemy twice repeated was twice repulsed without difficulty, and I had just posted my reserves to be ready for any emergency, when, about night, we received the order to withdraw, my picket-line being soon after relieved by the Second Division. After crossing the pontoon bridges on the James and Appomattox Rivers during the night, we halted near Dunn's house in front of Petersburg on Friday morning, the 19th, and soon after relieved Potter's division (Ninth Corps) on the extreme front in a position occupied previously by the Fifth Corps, and where we are still stationed.

I beg respectfully to state that during that period of operations all my officers and men have done their duty well.

The list of casualties has been forwarded.* I regret to have to record among them the names of Colonel D. Chaplin, First Maine Heavy Artillery; Captain G. W. Tomlinson, Ninety-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Captain William E. Mapes, One hundred and twenty-fourth New York Volunteers, all dangerously if not mortally wounded.

I have the honor to be, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.


Assistant Adjutant-General, Third Division.


*See p. 118.