War of the Rebellion: Serial 087 Page 0568 OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C. Chapter LIV.

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ing the reconnaissance on the 8th of October. To the members of my staff, Captains Mathews and Van Buskirk and Lieutenants Watts and Todd, I am under obligations for the promptness and ability with which they aided me.

I have the honor, captain, to be your most obedient servant,

J. F. HARTRANFT,

Brigadier-General of Volunteers.

Captain JOHN D. BERTOLETTE,

Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division, Ninth Army Corps.

Numbers 199. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Byron M. Cutcheon, Twentieth Michigan Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, of operations October 27 - 28.

HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, FIRST DIV., NINTH ARMY CORPS,

October 29, 1864.

CAPTAIN: In accordance with orders from headquarters First Division, Ninth Army Corps, October 28, 1864, I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this brigade on the 27th and 28th instant:

At 2 a.. m. of the 27th camp was broken, and at 3 a. m. the brigade was in column ready to move. At 3.30 the column passed corps headquarters en route, and at 4 a. m. halted at our outer vedettes. Waited until Colonel McLaughlen's brigade had passed to my right and filed along the old rebel breast-works. Meanwhile I deployed the Second Michigan as skirmishers along the edge of the woods east of the Smith house, the Twentieth Michigan supporting them in line, and the remainder of the brigade moving by the left flank in the following order: Sixtieth Ohio, Fiftieth Pennsylvania, First Michigan Sharpshooters (the Forty-sixth New York had been left in garrison at Fort Cummings). My order was to advance as soon as I heard from Colonel McLaughlen, which I did, keeping my right in the direction of the Smith house. On reaching that house the left swung forward and we advanced, rapidly in a direction nearly westward. McLaughlen's skirmishers being withdrawn on my right, I ordered my skirmishers to gain ground in that direction as they advanced, until they should cover the road running westward from the Hawks house. The right of the skirmish line being delayed in passing the swamp in front of the Hawks house, and some misconception of orders occurring at the same time, the left of Colonel March's line swung forward until it was formed nearly perpendicular with the Duncan road instead of the one intended. As soon as I discovered this I corrected the error as quickly as possible, but a delay of nearly half an hour was caused by this mistake. As soon as the line was again established on the proper front I directed Colonel March to push forward vigorously and attack promptly any force of the enemy he might encounter. He did so, driving the enemy's skirmishers rapidly before him, closely supported by the balance of the brigade, until, on emerging from the woods in front of the Clements house, at about 9 a. m., he found himself confronted by a line of works well filled with men and protected by an almost impervious slashing. Colonel March advanced his line close up to the slashing, the left of his line entering it, but finding