Today in History:

114 Series I Volume XXXVI-II Serial 68 - Wilderness-Cold Harbor Part II


began skirmishing shortly after leaving the line of pickets of General Gillmore, driving the enemy in front of him until he reached the turnpike crossing of Red House Creek. Here the enemy opened a fire from two pieces of artillery from the turnpike, but were soon driven away, and General Weitzel formed his line of battle across the turnpike road north of Red House Creek. Finding the enemy skirmishing along General Weitzel's entire front, his command was thrown to the right of the turnpike. Six regiments of General Brooks' command were then deployed on the left, the remaining brigade being held as reserve on his left flank. General Turner was at the same time ordered to connect with General Weitzel, leaving a sufficient force to guard from Dr. Howlett's house down into the low open country near the mouth of Red House Creek. The whole line was then pressed forward as far as the nature of the ground on the left would allow, the left brigade of General Weitzel on the right of the turnpike, and the entire line of battle of General Brooks to force its way through an almost impenetrable thicket in a marshy country, between Red House Creek and Proctor's Creek. The right brigade of General Weitzel's and General Turner's division having a more open country, had succeeded in driving the enemy across Proctor's Creek.

Finding that my entire line did not outflank the enemy's line of skirmishers, I sent word to the commanding general to that effect, asking first of General Kautz, who was then about to pass out on his raid, to make a diversion reconnaissance on my left. But that being deemed impracticable, I asked for infantry to extend my line, with the suggestion that the force brought up might move so as to head Proctor's Creek and try to turn the enemy's works in that way. Late in the day General Gillmore with three brigades came up on my left, and the entire command was ordered to bivouac and lie on their arms in that position during the night. To further secure my position, the brigade of General Brooks, which had been held in reserve, was ordered to form a second line in rear of General witzel, whose troops extended in one line, and General Turner was ordered to throw back his right so as to maintain connection with the road from Dr. Howlett's house and the right of General Weitzel's line. A very heavy rain during the day had served to injure the roads, and the soldiers slept on their arms that night, drenched to the skin.

A reconnaissance made by myself during the afternoon on General Weitzel's right developed the fact that the enemy held the left bank of Proctor's Creek with artillery, and that the slopes were steep and heavily wooded. No infantry was seen. During the night General Marston's brigade, which had formed a second line behind General Weitzel, was ordered to report to General Gillmore for the purpose of making a flank movement around the head of Proctor's Creek.

Early on the morning of the 13th instant General Brooks and myself made a reconnaissance on his front, finding a practicable country for infantry across Cattle Run, a branch of Proctor's Creek, and beyond that a high hill which overlooked and commanded the left bank of Proctor's Creek and vicinity of the turnpike. A brigade of infantry was at once thrown forward on the hill, and sharpshooters were so disposed as to cover the passage of artillery down the turnpike to the point necessary to gain this hill. Skirmishers were then thrown forward across the creek, and it was found the enemy had retired. The whole of my command was then brought across the creek and