and First Maine were dismounted, and, as skirmishers, waded the creek, and, assisted by the Twenty-first Pennsylvania (mounted), attacked the enemy's line. This line, resisting strongly, was forced back beyond the heights, and then discovering the advance of the Second Army Corps on the right, fled in great haste in a southerly direction. Whilst the Third Brigade was thus engaged forcing the crossing of the run, the Second and First Brigades were skirmishing with the enemy, attacking the rear and flanks of the column. On the Boydton plank road the division was formed on the left of the Second Army Corps- the Second Brigade close upon the infantry and west of the plank road, the Third Brigade on the plank road, and the First on the Quaker road.
The attack of the enemy on the right of the Second Corps at a time when the mass of the corps was thrown forward toward Hatcher's Run, caused me to dismount all the available regiments of the Second and Third Brigades, and to push them rapidly to the point of attack. Two regiments were moved forward on the east side by Colonel Smith, commanding Third Brigade, leaving but one regiment (Twenty-first Pennsylvania) on the plank road in rear; three regiments of the Second Brigade, one (Sixteenth Pennsylvania) already having been dismounted and formed on the left, were moved forward on the west side, to strike the enemy's line in front. The regiments on the left had just about struck the enemy's skirmishers when heavy firing was heard in rear on the plank road. Repairing to this point, I found the enemy's cavalry dismounted, attacking strongly, aided by the fire of four rifled guns. The Twenty-first Pennsylvania Cavalry, Major Knowles commanding, was stoutly resisting this attack. The Sixth Ohio had just joined the Twenty-first. I sent for all my available regiments. The First Maine came at a run, and at once became heavily engaged. The attack of the enemy was very determined and made in large force, but the troops engaged in resisting it, although much inferior in numbers, could not be beaten, save inch by inch. In responses to my request for such other of my regiments as could be spared, Major-General Hancock, commanding, sent me rapidly the Second, Fourth, and Thirteenth Pennsylvania. These regiments, coming up successively as fast as their legs could carry them, entered the fight, and at dark the enemy retired repulsed without having accomplished other than his own punishment, which was severe, much of which was inflicted by a section of Battery I, First U. S. Artillery, under command of Lieutenant Reynolds. At 10.30 p. m. the division began moving by the road upon which it had advanced in the morning, and in the following order: Second Brigade in advance, the Third Brigade following, and the First Brigade in rear.
Owing to the destruction of the bridge over Gravelly Run, by my order, after the command had crossed in the morning, considerable delay was experienced on the return march, and at daylight but one brigade had recrossed the Rowanty. The entire command reached the Perkins house between 7 and 8 a. m. on the 28th, without having seen anything of the enemy on the return march.
In these operations my entire command behaved with great gallantry. Colonel C. H. Smith, commanding Third Brigade, and Major S. W. Thaxter, First Maine Cavalry, were conspicuous for gallantry. This latter officer, although embraced in orders to proceed with a portion of his regiment to Maine to be mustered out, volunteered to remain, and took command of the skirmish line of his brigade during the day.
39 R R-VOL XLII, PT I