magnificent assault were several pieces of artillery and stands of colors, many stands of small arms, and numerous prisoners. The Second division of the corps, General Elliott's, followed the movement of General Kimball's division, and entered the enemy's works further to the right, shortly after the main assault had been successful. The division, in this movement, captured three pieces of artillery. Further to the left, the Third division, General Beatty commanding, had attacked and carried the enemy's intrenchments and captured several pieces of artillery and caissons, and a considerable number of prisoners. Fortunately, this brilliant success along the entire front of the corps was achieved with comparatively slight loss. The onset was so fierce, the movement of the troops so rapid, that a very brief interval elapsed between the first shout of the advancing lines and the planting of our colors on the enemy's works. But this rapid movement had somewhat disordered the ranks, as well as blown the men, and it was hence necessary to halt the corps a brief space to re-form and prepare for a further advance. The enemy, on being driven from his works, had retired in the direction (eastward) of the Franklin pike. His works, extending across this pike, were still. While the troops were being re-formed I received an order from the commanding General to move towards the Franklin pike, some two and a half miles distant; to reach it, if possible, before dark, drive the enemy, and form the corps across it, facing southward. This order was received about five P. M., almost sunset. The re-formation of the troops was quickly completed, and the whole corps, formed in two lines and covered by a cloud of skirmishers, was pushed rapidly towards the Franklin pike. Soon our skirmishers became engaged with the enemy's, but only to drive them. But the rapidly approaching darkness too soon brought a period to this glorious work. After crossing the Granny White pike and arriving within about three-fourths of a mile of the Franklin pike, the darkness became so thick that it was necessary, in order to avoid confusion and to prevent our troops from firing into each other, to halt the corps for the night. The corps was formed parallel to the Granny White pike, its right resting on General Smith's left, and its left on the most northern line (then abandoned) of the enemy's works. In this position, at about seven P. M., of a bleak December night, the troops bivouacked after their arduous, but fortunately glorious, labors of the day. The result of the day's operations for the corps was the capture of ten pieces of artillery, five caissons, several stands of colors, a considerable number of small arms, and some five hundred prisoners. The enemy's intrenched lines had been broken in two places by direct assault, and he driven more than two miles. Of his loss of killed and wounded I could form no estimate, but it must have been heavy. Fortunately, casualties were unusually light, compared with success achieved, not more than three hundred and fifty killed and wounded in the corps. After having provided for the safety of the corps for the night, I repaired to the quarters of the commanding General to receive his orders for the operations of the morrow. These orders were to advance at daylight the following morning, the sixteenth, and if the enemy was still in front, to attack him, but if he had retreated, to pass to the eastward of the Franklin pike, to face southward, and to pursue him till found. At 11:30 P. M., of the fifteenth, instructions were distributed to the division commanders to advance at daylight, and attack the enemy if found in front of their commands, but if he should not be found, to cross to the eastward of Franklin pike and move southward, parallel to it-Elliott's division leading, followed by Kimball's, then Beatty's. At six A. M., on the sixteenth instant, the corps commenced to move towards the Franklin pike. The movement at once developed the enemy in our front, and sharp skirmishing commenced immediately. The enemy was steadily driven back, and at eight A. M. we gained possession of the Franklin pike. The enemy's skirmishers, after being driven eastward of the pike, retreated southward. Elliott's division was deployed across the road, facing southward. Beatty's division was formed on the left of Elliott's, and Kimball's division massed near the pike, in rear of Elliott's. In this order the corps advanced nearly three-fourths of a mile, when it encountered a heavy skirmish line, stoutly barricaded. Some half mile in the rear of the enemy's skirmish line, his main line, strongly intrenched, could be seen. An effort was at once made to connect General Elliott's right with General Smith's left. The interval being too great to accomplish this, I ordered General Kimball to bring up his division and occupy the space between. Generals Smith and Elliott's commands. This was promptly done, the troops moving handsomely into position under a sharp fire of musketry and artillery. Thus formed, the entire corps advanced in magnificent array, under a galling fire of small arms and artillery, and drove the enemy's skirmishers into his main line. Further advance was impossible without making a direct assault on the enemy's intrenched line, and the happy moment for this grand effort had not yet arrived. I hence ordered the division commanders to press their skirmishers as near to the enemy's intrenchments as possible, and to harass him with a constant fire. In a conflict of this nature I knew we would have greatly the advantage of him, as our supply of ammunition was inexhaustible, and his limited. All the batteries of the corps on the field were brought to the front, placed in eligible positions in short range of the enemy's works, and ordered to keep up a measured but steady fire on his artillery. The practice of the batteries was uncommonly fine. The ranges were accurately obtained, the elevations
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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