Sharpshooters as skirmishers, promptly taking them from the right of our line for this purpose. I also directed him to press the enemy on his left as much as possible. Finding themselves opposed in this direction the enemy halted for more of their troops to come up, and the ground vacated by the Second Michigan remained unoccupied by either party. The enemy's skirmishers now came down the hill directly to the rear of Stedman, and moved toward my headquarters at the Friend house, the Dunn House Battery, and in the direction of Meade's Station, and this, for a time, rendered my communication with the Third Brigade long and circuitous. Meantime, I had ordered out the Seventeenth Michigan Engineer Regiment, at my headquarters, and sent word to the commanding officers of the Two hundredth and Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania-encamped between Meade's Station and Dunn House Battery-to move, respectively, one of the Friend house, the other in front of the Dunn House Battery. These regiments promptly appeared.
Brigadier-General Hartranft commanding the Third Division, now came up in person, and I request him to move his available force direct upon the fort. He promptly and gallantly took command of the two regiments already out, without waiting for the rest of his command. I ordered the Seventeenth Michigan to deploy as skirmishers on his right. This regiment, with only 100 men in its ranks, under command of Major Mathews, moved forward at the same time with General Hartranft's line, capturing most of the enemy's skirmishers in their front, about twenty-five in number, and inclining to the right, connected with the skirmishers of Ely's brigade.
While Hartranft was operating in rear of Stedman the enemy's force, which had moved down toward Battery 9 and halted, was re-enforced by Ransom's brigade, and opened an attack upon that battery. This attack was handsomely repulsed by my skirmishers and troops of the Second Brigade in Battery Numbers 9, assisted by the artillery, particularly one piece of Roemer's battery, under Major Roemer himself. The enemy attempted to retreat back to his own entrenchments, when they were charged by detachments of the Second Michigan, who captured some prisoners. Troops of the Twentieth and Second Michigan also threw themselves into the picket-line of the Second Brigade, and poured such a fire on the flanks of the retreating enemy that over 300 threw down their arms and surrendered themselves on the spot. On our left the enemy proceeded through the trenches, driving before them the Twenty-ninth Massachusetts, a small regiment, which made the best resistance it could, over its traverses and works, being attacked in front, flank, and rear. From Battery Numbers 11 they proceeded toward Battery Numbers 12 in the same manner, killing, wounding, and capturing a part of the One hundredth Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers. In this attack Colonel Pentecost, commanding One hundredth Pennsylvania, was mortally wounded. A part of this regiment was deployed as skirmishers in the rear, and a part went into Fort Haskell. Brevet Colonel Robinson took a part of the Third Marylad from a portion of his line on the left of Haskell and deployed it on the left of the skirmish line of the One hundredth Pennsylvania. South afterward Colonel Robinson, by my direction, assumed command of the Third Brigade.
I would here state that last winter, when it was thought that the enemy were mining toward Stedman, I gave directions to the brigade commanders that in the event of the line being broken at Stedman or any other point, they should immediately take out troops where they could best be spared from their respective fronts and attack the flanks