HDQRS. FIRST BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION, SECOND CORPS, October 30, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my brigade in the active operations on the Boydton road on the 26th, 27th, and 28th instant:
We broke camp on the 26th and 2 p. m. near the Southall house, and reached the same day a point on the Weldon railroad, where we bivouacked about three-quarters of a mile from Fort Dushane. On the 27th we started at about 4 o'clock in the morning, my brigade following the Second Division, along the Halifax turnpike and the Vaughan road till we halted at some distance of
Creek, the passage of which was forced by the Second Division and some defensive works carried without our assistance. My command relieved soon after the last brigade of the Second Division, which was pushing its advance toward a steam-mill in the woods by the main road (Armstrong's Mill), Pursuant to orders from brevet major-general commanding division, I sent forward two regiments deployed as skirmishers-the Second U. S. Sharpshooters and the Seventy-third New York-which had no difficulty in driving the enemy away from an open field through which we had to pass in order to reach by a side road the mill, where we met the Second Division again. From that point the brigade marched through the woods to the Boydton pike, the possession of which I was directed to cover on our left flank by a line of skirmishers thrown forward at a considerable distance toward the White Oak road, and a curved line of battle facing to the left and rear (west and south, across the pike). The skirmish line was formed by the One hundred and twenty-fourth, Eighty-sixth, and Seventy-third New York, re-enforced soon after by the Second U. S. Sharpshooters, and connecting on the right with the Second Division, and on the left with the cavalry pickets. The line of battle was formed by the Ninety ninth and One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania, the Twentieth Indiana, the Fortieth New York, the First Maine Heavy Artillery, and Seventeenth Maine, extending across the open field on both sides of the road, and covered on both wings by dense pine woods. Such was our position under a brisk shelling, which, however, did not do any to my men, when in the afternoon, the successful advance of our force for several miles having extended our line to a length which could but weaken its solidity, the enemy charged vigorously the point of connection of the Fifth Corps with our Second Brigade, broke it, and pushing its advantage, threatened to cut the Second Division and two of our brigades from the balance of our operating forces. The danger could not be mistaken and was rapidly increasing, as that portion of our troops near the point of attack was giving away on both sides. I at once ordered a change of front to the rear by countermarching my six regiments at hand so as to face the enemy, and by order of brevet major-general commanding division, formed a new line along the road we came by, which I had to defend at all hazards. On the left I then formed the First Maine Heavy Artillery along the Boydton pike, in conformity with direct orders from major-general commanding Second Corps. The line was scarcely completed when the order to charge was given on my right by some officer from Second Corps headquarters, and with a will onward went the Fortieth New York, Twentieth Indiana, Ninety-ninth and part of the One hundred and tenth Pennsylvania, cheering lustily. I joined them at once and up we went, driving the enemy before us, and clearing the whole of the open field, where they were pressing our men. In the meantime, on the Boydton pike, another officer from Major-General Hancock's staff (Major