War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 1054 N. AND SE. VA., N.C., W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

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was not engaged. Nothing of importance occurred until the evening of the 1st of April, when orders were received from Major-General Parke, commanding Ninth Army Corps, to assault the enemy's lines the next morning at 4 o'clock, in connection with other divisions and corps who were also to attack the same time on our right and left. It was designated that Potter's division should attack on the Jerusalem plank road, to the left of Fort Sedwick, and that General Hartranft should move with his division to the right of that fort and connect with the right of this division. Orders were immediate transmitted to brigade commanders and every preparation made for the assault. At 10 p. m. a dispatch was received directing that an attack be made at once by driving in the enemy's pickets and opening artillery fire. The Second Brigade, General Griffin commanding, was immediately advanced from the right of its position which was about half a mile to the left of Fort Sedqwick, attacked the enemy's entrenched picket-line, and carried it for half a mile in extent, capturing eight officers and 241 men. During the execution of this movement dispatches were received directing that the original plan of assaulting the enemy's works at 4 a. m. should still be carried out. Griffin's brigade was hastily withdrawn and placed column of attack on the Jerusalem plank road to the left of Fort Sedgwick, between our own main and picket lines, supported by Curtin's brigade. The column was formed by regiments with a storming party of three companies from the Thirty-first Maine Volunteers in advance, flanked on either side by a corps of pioneers from each brigade to clear away the enemy's abatis to the right and left to allow the column to advance. The Seventh Rhode Island, Thirty-fifth and Thirty-sixth Massachusetts, and the Fifty-first New York, of the First Brigade, and the Ninth and Eleventh New Hampshire, of the Second Brigade, were left to garrison Forts Meikel, Rice, Sedgwick, Davis, and Alexander Hays, and Batteries Nos. 24 and 25.

At 4. 30 a. m., having communicated with General Hartranft and learning that all was ready, the order given to advance. The Column moved forward steadily in good order, receiving the enemy's fire and capturing his picket-line without the slightest check. The storming party dashed forward at a run, seizing and passing through an opening in the enemy's abatis, which had previously been observed and fixed upon as our point of attack, closely followed by the One hundred and seventy-ninth New York, Thirty-first Maine, Sixth New Hampshire, Second Maryland, and the whole column, which passed forward under a deadly fire of grape, canister, and musketry in the most gallant and determined, carrying all before them, capturing guns and turning them upon, the enemy, and sending hundreds of prisoners to the rear. The head of the column, after passing the enemy's main line of works, turned to the left and swept-it for about one-fourth of a mile. The First Brigade, General Curtin, also attacked in that direction, and captured and held an isolated work called Fort Mahone, one-fourth mile to the left of the plank road; but the enemy being well posted and bringing a heavy fire of both artillery and musketry to bear upon our troops, who had unavoidably become somewhat broken and disorganized, our farther advance to the left was checked. Up to the time the charge was made the division had been under the command of Brevet Major-General Potter. Soon after the breaking of the enemy's lines that distinguished officer fell severely wounded, and I Major General John G. Parke.