nothing of the country in front, and only that the enemy were advancing up the Varina road, I immediately moved Johnson's brigade from Four-Mile Creek up to B. Aiken's house to secure Chaffin's farm from disaster. Night closed in before I found the pickets and without my learning anything definite of the enemy. During the night, however, I found that the picket-line had been disturbed only between where it crossed the Kingsland road and the river, and had it adjusted and ready for an advance at early dawn. I moreover discovered by means of scouts that there was no enemy in advance of their usual lines on the left of the Varina road. At daybreak the next morning the pickets on the right (from Johnson's brigade) advanced and found the enemy on Signal Hill, throwing up intrenchments. I received orders to dislodge them if I [could]. During the night three regiments from Pickett's division reported, and were put in position near the B. Aiken house, in all about 600 men. Harris' brigade was found near the B. Aiken house, and with these troops to hold the line I thought that I could drive the enemy away with mine, and was making dispositions with this view when I received orders to suspend operations until further orders. About sunset received orders to proceed, but it would have been impossible to arrange for it by dark. The navy opened upon the enemy during the evening. Johnson's brigade advanced against the hill early the next morning and found it abandoned; 5 or 6 prisoners of various colors and nationalities were captured, several muskets, and a lot of entrenching tools also. The navy claims the credit of driving them from the position, and doubtless aided in producing the result. Something, however, is due to the sharpshooters of Johnson's brigade, who hugged closely the works of the enemy all day and effectually prevented their completion. All of the unburied dead left on the hill were killed by minie-balls, and there were several white. Many of the negroes were known to be killed, and it was supposed they occupied the graves found there. Sharpshooters were thrown well out in the field below Signal Hill, so as to fire upon their line of communication with Dutch Gap, and it was this, in my opinion, that influenced them to leave at night. Our old lines were re-established; remained quiet until I was ordered away.
On 22nd of August I was ordered to move across the river at Drewry's and take cars at Rice's Station for Petersburg; was held in reserve about the lead-works for several days; moved on to a ravine near Reservoir Hill, and worked at night on fortifications. On the ---- moved down the Boydton plank road some five or six miles to meet some movement of the enemy, but he retired, and we were ordered back that night. Marched about two miles, when we were halted and ordered into camp, where [we] remained the next day night, and on the next morning moved back, and were put into camp on Captain Whitworth's farm, near Petersburg. We remained here until September 29. While encamped here built a line of works along the Squirrel Level road.
On the morning of the 29th of September received orders to take cars for Rice's Station, which we did, and moved thence, across the river at Drewry's to the Osborn turnpike. Reached there just before dark; started out from the works near New Market road on reconnaissance, but were ordered back, as night was coming on and went into camp, but about 10 p.m. received orders to move down Osborn turnpike toward Battery Harrison, which had been taken by the enemy. We reconnoitered as well as we could at night, and were making dispositions