I immediately started in person to the right, and at the same time ordered the Two hundred and eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers to report to General McLaughlen. I then went to communicate with Major-General Willcox, commanding First Division, whose headquarters were at the Friend house. I found the Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers moving toward General Willcox's headquarters and the Two hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers had already moved out of camp and had halted with the right resting near the Dunn House Battery. This was done by the order of Major-General Willcox, the regiment having had directions to obey the orders of General Willcox in case of an attack, to avoid delay, the distance to my headquarters being so great owing to the length of the line covered by my command. I asked General Willcox to send one of his staff to direct the Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and he designated Captain Brackett, aide-de-camp, to perform this duty, who led the regiment by the flank down the road to the left of the Friend house. It was now sufficiently light to see the enemy's skirmishers advancing from the rear and our right of Fort Stedman toward the ravine and covering the main road leading from Stedman to the Ninth Corps hospitals. Seeing this movement of the enemy's skirmishers, and finding a small party of men from the Fifty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers in front of the Two hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers, under command of a captain, engaging them, and from whom I ascertained that this detachment had been driven its camp and that all that was left of the regiment had been rallied at that point, I ordered his detachment to move forward to its old camp, and I immediately his detachment to move forward to its old camp, and I immediately advanced the Two hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers to the camp of the Fifty-seventh Massachusetts, in rear of Stedman, without sustaining any very serious damage. The enemy's line of skirmishers was broken, but he was in force in the left end of of the Fifty-seventh Massachusetts camp, on the road running in rear of Stedman and in a line of works running about parallel with our line. I sent Major Shorkley, of my staff, to bring up the Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers to form a connection on the right of the Two hundred Pennsylvania Volunteers, and I immediately attacked with the Two hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers, but finding the enemy too strong and my right suffering very much from a heavy fire from Stedman and the troops in the road, the regiment was forced to retire to an old line of works about forty yards in rear of and to the right of the Fifty-seventh Massachusetts camp. The enemy seeing this regiment retire, I feared that he would take advantage of it and attack me, and I therefore attacked a second time and gained quite a good position. I held this position for about twenty minutes, losing very heavily (the loss in this regiment being about 100 at this point), when the line wavered and fell back to and was rallied on the old line of works from which it had advanced the second time. Here the Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers formed a connection on the right of the Two hundredth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and with the aid of the fire from Battery 9, which had opened, and the Twentieth Michigan, which garrisoned this battery, and the Second and Seventeenth Michigan, of the First Division, which covered the ground between the right of the Two hundred and ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers and Battery 9, I had a strong line, which I determined could be held and check any farther advance in this direction, and I therefore ordered the troops to act on the defensive.
I saw that I could accomplish nothing more with the force I had engaged, and having fully satisfied myself that this advance was not a