War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 0910 N. AND SE. VA., N. C., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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to the left of the corps line, and massed it outside of Fort Welch, on the right of the Second Division. The brigades were formed in echelon, the left forward, in the following order: Third Brigade, Colonel O. Edwards, in three lines, thirty paces in rear of the right of the Second Division; First Brigade, Bvt. Brigadier General William H. Penrose, in three lines, thirty paces in rear of the right of the right of the Third Brigade; and the Second Brigade, Bvt. Brigadier General Joseph E. Hamblin, in two lines, thirty paces in rear of the right of the First Brigade. At 4.30 o'clock, upon a signal gun from Fort Fisher, the division moved forward with its "guide left," each brigade taking up the movement toward the enemy's lines as soon as the troops on its let had gained their prescribed distance of 100 paces between brigade lines. We were received by a sharp musketry and artillery fire, from which our losses were comparatively small, considering the distance we had to pass over under fire and the line of abatis that had to be cut away. During the advance in the dark each command became more or less disordered, the lines naturally merging in each other, on account of the enemy's opposition and the natural physical obstacles-abatis, frise-work, &c.-encountered. An extra number of axes had been issued to the pioneers of each brigade, and directions given for these men to be deployed along the division front; and although from frequent previous inspections it was known that the works we were ordered to storm were well protected by lines of abatis, all were astonished to find these obstructions such serious obstacles and so difficult to remove; openings were made in them, however, under a severe canister and musketry fire, and all along our front officers and men pushed through and captured the enemy's strong works in the most dashing and gallant manner. The Fifth Wisconsin and Thirty-seventh Massachusetts Volunteers formed the front line of the Third Brigade, which was the advanced echelon, and nearest the rebel works. Portions of these regiments had passed through the enemy's entrenchments and camps, crossed the Boydton plank road, and fired into a train of cars moving on the South Side Railroad before day had fairly dawned. From its position the opposition encountered by the Third Brigade was much greater and its losses in the assault very much larger than in either or both the First and Second Brigades. They gallantly worked their way through the darkeners and obstructions into the enemy's works, capturing guns and prisoners, and the Second Brigade being on the extreme right deployed regiments and companies along the line of works toward Petersburg, occupying battery after of the enemy's lines for more than a mile to the right of the point assaulted. A detachment of the One hundred and twenty-first New York Volunteers, after entering the works, ran forward to the Boydton plank road and cut the telegraph wire leading to Petersburg. The Second Connecticut Heavy Artillery and Sixty-fifth New York Volunteers formed the first line of the Second Brigade, and the Fortieth New Jersey Volunteers formed the first line of the First Brigade.

The troops were perfectly wild with delight at their success in this grand assault, and with difficulty could be restrained and the brigades reformed after the works, guns, prisoners, and camps were indisputably ours. In the original program for the assault it was determined that this division should, after the capture of the enemy's line of works, operate to the right in the direction of Petersburg. The three brigades composing it had hardly been reformed, with a view to a movement in the direction of that city, still held by the enemy, who was distinctly heard resisting the Ninth Corps attack, when orders were received from General Wright to send the two nearest brigades