At 8 a.m. of the 15th all of the vessels, except a division left to aid in the defense of our northern line, moved into position, and a fire, magnificent for its power and accuracy, was opened. Ames' division been selected for the assault. Paine was placed in command of the defensive line, having with him Abbott's brigade in addition to his own division. Ames' First Brigade (Curtis') was already at the outwork above mentioned, and in trenches close around it. His other two brigades, Pennypacker's and Bell's, were moved at noon to within supporting distance of him. At 2 o'clock preparations for the assault were commenced. Sixty sharpshooters from the Thirteenth Indiana Volunteers, armed with the Spencer repeating carbine, and forty others, volunteers from Curtis' brigade, the whole under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Zent, of the Thirteenth Indiana, were thrown forward at a run to within 175 yards of the work. They were provided with shovels and soon dug pits for shelter and commenced firing at the parapet. As soon as this movement commenced the parapet of the fort was named, and the enemy's fire, both of musketry and artillery, opened.
As soon as the sharpshooters were in position, Curtis' brigade was moved forward by regiment at the double-quick into line at about 475 yards from the work; the men there laid down; this was accomplished under a sharp fire of musketry and artillery, from which, however, they soon sheltered themselves by digging shallow trenches. When Curtis moved from the outwork Pennypacker was brought up to it, and Bell was brought into line 200 yards in his rear. Finding that a good cover for Curtis' men could be found on the reserve slope a crest fifty yards in the rear of the sharpshooters, they were again moved forward, one regiment at a time, and again covered themselves in trenches. Pennypacker followed Curtis and occupied the ground vacated by him, and Bell was brought up to the outwork. I had been proposed to blow up and cut down the palisades. Bags of powder with fuses attached had been prepared and a party of volunteer axmen organized, but the fire of the navy had been so effective during the preceding night and morning that it was thought unnecessary to use the powder. The axmen, however, were sent in with the leading brigade, and did good service by making openings in portions of the palisading, which the fire of the navy had not been able to reach.
At 3.25 p.m. all the preparations were completed, the order to move forward was given to Ames, and a concerted signal was made to Admiral Porter to change the direction of his fire. Curtis' brigade at once sprung from their trenches and dashed forward in line; its left was exposed to a severe enfilading fire and it obliqued to the right so as to envelop the left of the land front. The ground over which it moved was marshy and difficult, but it soon reached the palisades, passed through them, and affected a lodgment on the parapet. At the same time the column of sailors and marines, under Fleet Captain K. R. Breese, advanced up the beach in the most gallant manner and attacked the northeastern, bastion, but, exposed to a murderous fire, they were unable to get up the parapet. After a severe struggle and a heavy loss of valuable officers and men it became apparent that nothing could be effected at that point, and they were withdrawn.
When Curtis moved forward Ames directed Pennypacker to move up to the rear of the sharpshooters, and brought Bell up to Pennypacker's last position, and as soon as Curtis got a foothold on the parapet sent Pennypacker in to his support . He advanced, overlapping Curtis' right, and drove the enemy from the heavy palisading which extended from the west end of the land face to he river, capturing a considerable