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[446] westward, driving the garrisons from several unenclosed batteries. It was still quite dark, and almost impossible to distinguish friend from foe; this, of course, augmented the difficulty of forming the troops to check the progress of the enemy, and rendered the use of artillery from a distance at first altogether impracticable.

But as soon as Parke was made aware of the assault, he brought up his artillery on the hills in rear of the point attacked, and gave orders to reoccupy the captured work. Hartranft, on the left, massed his division promptly, though one regiment was five miles away; and the rebel skirmishers, who were advancing towards the military railroad that connected Meade's front with City Point, were driven back to the line of works. The column that had turned to the national right was also checked, so that time was gained to bring up reinforcements and form a strong line perpendicular to the entrenchments, which repulsed all further advance of the enemy in that direction. Meanwhile the rebel column, moving westward, had gained temporary possession of several batteries, but the garrisons of these works quickly rallied, and also formed a line perpendicular to the entrenchments, checking any advance towards the national left. At half-past 7, all the open batteries but one had been regained, and a cordon of troops was drawn around Fort Steadman, which forced the rebels back to a point where they were exposed to a concentrated fire from the artillery now opening from the rear. The enemy meanwhile made no attempt to relieve or support the assaulting column.

At 7.45 A. M., Hartranft advanced from the left

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