left regiment of Ely's brigade, of Willcox's division, was also somewhat broken, but the regiment promptly rallied, and fought the enemy over the traverses so stoutly that time was gained to bring up re-enforcements from the right of the brigade, and form a strong line perpendicular to the intrenchments, with right resting near Battery 9. This line of troops, assisted by the artillery from Numbers 9, Numbers 5, and McGilvery, repulsed with loss a heavy assault on Battery 9, and stopped all farther advance of the enemy in that direction. The picket-line was held up to a point to the left of Battery 9 throughout the engagement.
The rebel column which moved from Fort Stedman toward Fort Haskell met no better success. It gained temporary possession of Mortar Batteries 11 and 12, but the garrisons of those works, the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts and One hundredth Pennsylvania, quickly rallied on the left, and formed in conjunction with troops withdrawn from his left by Colonel Harriman, commanding First Brigade, Willcox's division, a line perpendicular to the intrenchments, connecting on their right with Hartranft's troops and with left resting near Fort Haskell, checking all farther progress of the enemy, and slowly driving him back. He made several desperate assaults on Fort Haskell, but was bloodily repulsed.
At 7.30 a.m. the position of affairs was this: We had regained Batteries 11 and 12, and had drawn a cordon of troops around Fort Stedman and Battery 10, forcing the masses of the enemy back into those works where they were exposed to, and suffered greatly from, a concentrated fire from all the artillery in position bearing on those points and the reserve batteries on the hill in rear. This cordon was composed of Hartranft's division, with regiments from McLaughlen's and Ely's brigades on either flank.
General Hartranft, to whom I had confined the task of recapturing the fort, made his dispositions with great coolness and skill, and at about 7.45 a.m. advanced his whole line. His troops, the vast majority of them new men, for the first time under fire, charged with great spirit and resolution, the veterans on the flanks behaving with their accustomed gallantry, and carried the fort with comparatively small loss. The cross infantry and artillery fire upon the space between the opposing lines deterred many of the enemy from attempting to escape, and caused severe loss among those who made the trial. Nineteen hundred and forty-nine prisoners, including seventy-one commissioned officers, nine stand of colors, and many small arms, fell into our hands. The whole line taken from us was at once reoccupied, and all damage repaired during the following night. We lost no guns or colors.
I reported the state of affairs to army headquarters by telegraphic dispatches to Brevet Major-General Webb, chief of staff, at 5.30, 5.40, 5.45, and 6.05 a.m.; but received no reply until the following, at 6.10, from Colonel Barstow, assistant adjutant-general:
General Meade is not here and the command devolves on you.
S. F. BARSTOW.
This was the first intimation I had of General Meade's absence and that I was in command of the whole line.
It was reported to me that telegraphic communication with City Point was interrupted, and I at once dispatched a courier thither to announce the state of affairs to Lieutenant-General Grant and Major-General Meade. At 6.20 I ordered down the Provisional Brigade from army headquarters, directed General Warren to move his command in my direction, and General Wright to move a division to the threatened