Opposite to these positions the enemy had in position 91 guns of various calibers, from 6 pounders to 8-inch columbiads, and 35 mortars also of various calibers, from 12-pounder Coehorns to 10-inch. Total guns and mortars, 126.
Early on the morning of March 30 the artillery upon the whole line were engaged in a furious cannonade, which had been commenced at 10 p. m. of the day previous. At this hour the enemy threw up several rockets, at which signal his artillery with musketry in addition opened and was replied to. The firing ceased about 1 a. m. of the 30 th.
From this time until 10 o'clock of the 1st of April all was quiet, when, in obedience to orders from the headquarters Army of the Potomac, fire was opened by all the batteries upon our line and continued until about 1 a. m. of the 2nd. This fire was replied to most vigorously by the whole of the enemy's artillery.
At 4 a. m., the hour appointed for the assault upon the enemy's works in front of Fort Sedgwick, the artillery upon the whole line promptly opened and was immediately replied to in the most vigorous manner by the enemy, and it is probable that never since the invention of gunpowder has such a cannonade taken place.
Captain Twitchell, in command of the guns in Fort Sedgwick and Battery Numbers 21, carried out the instructions he had received with the utmost exactitude. Firing rapidly with all his guns for an hour, at 10 o'clock on the 1st, and though at this time the enemy appeared (to some extent) to concentrate his fire but one gun in five minutes between 11 and 12 o'clock was not exceeded.
At 4 a. m. on the 2nd all the guns in these forts opened rapidly for fifteen minutes with evident effect, ceasing in the exact time for the infantry to make the charge that carried the enemy's lines.
The enemy's front line being in our possession the guns were trained and opened on the line and redoubts in rear and a slow fire kept up during the day, except when the three charges made by the enemy on the captured works were made. Captain Twitchell then used his guns with great judgment and promptness, firing shell and case shot with the best effect. In addition to his other duties Captain Twitchell was enabled to keep the captured guns in his front constantly supplied with ammunition.
A detachment of 100 men from the First Connecticut Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant William H. Rogers accompanied the column of attack upon the enemy's works in front of Fort Sedgwick and served the captured guns throughout the day. These men were fully equipped with everything necessary to serve such artillery as would be captured. They at once seized the enemy's guns and opened fire upon him as he fell back to his second line.
During the entire day Lieutenant Rogers and his party, while exposed to all the attacks of the enemy, retained possession of the captured guns, and from position entirely uncovered from the close fire of the enemy kept up a constant fire which besides doing great injury to the enemy inspired our own troops to hold that they had gained. These men were ably seconded by Captain David F. Ritchie, Battery, C, First New York Artillery, who early in the day occupied a small work in rear of Fort Sedgwick, but after the enemy's lines were carried it was deemed advisable to send him with his cannoneers into the captured battery (Numbers 27), inch which were three iron and two brass 12-pounder guns. Captain Ritchie led his men in a most gallant manner through the embrasures of Fort Sedgwick and across the open ground to Battery Numbers 27, and immediately turned with excellent judgment and effect