On the morning of the 13th, by a slight reconnaissance, it was discovered the enemy had withdrawn from his position near the Half-Way House and retired to his intrenchments, running from the turnpike to our left in front of a belt of lumber, supposed to border on Kingsland Creek, leaving a heavy picket in front of his line, and occupying with sharpshooters the brick house known as Friend's. Our picket-line was pushed up to close proximity and in a position to have quite a number of casualties. On the morning of the 14th the enemy evacuated this line of intrenchments. We took possession of the works, cutting down the exterior slope in such a way as to have a slight banquette on which a thin line could stand, protected by the original parapet. This position was maintained during the nights of the 14th and 15th by Burnham's brigade, while Sanders was advanced to the edge of the woods beyond the intrenchments, and took position to Burnham's left, where he remained until the morning of the 16th. The picket-line in our front was almost constantly engaged in skirmishing with the enemy. On the 14th Hunt's and Easterly's batteries were put in position in rear of Burnham's line, and directed to open on the enemy's large high work to our front <ar68_128> and right, which was done, but without any particular effect. On the morning of the 16th, after the attack on our right, the enemy made his appearance in front of General Burnham's line, and made several vigorous attacks, which were handsomely repulsed by the One hundred and eighteenth New York and the Tenth and Thirteenth New Hampshire. I regret to have to report that the commanding officer of the Eighth Connecticut, occupying the extreme right, withdrew that regiment from a position that was susceptible of being turned, but before it was sufficiently endangered. It might have caused trouble to the rest of the line.
On the whole, the conduct of this brigade was very exemplary. They held their ground until ordered to retire, and this was only given after the withdrawal of the division on my right. Sanders' two regiments were moved and placed in a second and third line, :resting with their right on the turnpike.
I submit with this Brigadier-General Burnham's report(*) of the operations of his brigade, and respectfully call attention to its details. I submit also Colonel Sanders' report.(*)
It is my disagreeable duty to report a very disgraceful performance of the Nineteenth Wisconsin, that can only be traced to a general and entire want of proper discipline--a performance that would have been shameful on the part of the rawest militia. While lying in the edge of the wood just in front of the Half-Way House, an order was sent to threw back the right of the first company or division, so as to meet, if necessary, any force likely to turn the right. From the unskillfulness of the officer in command, Lieutenant-Colonel Strong, the whole regiment rose to its feet and began to fall to the rear.
When ordered to resume their position, the regiment moved forward at a double-quick and with cheers, as though this was the only way to get them to advance. On reaching the woods, they completed the performance by delivering a volley from nearly all the regiment, firing into the One hundred and eighty-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers that was in their front, killing and wounding quite a number of them.
I also inclose Major Schenck's report(*) of the artillery brigade during all the time we have been on this peninsula.
I beg leave to call attention to Brigadier-General Burnham's commendation of officers, which I concur in, as being judicious and well deserved. Commendations are also due the officers of my staff for faithful performance of duty. They are: Capt. Theodore Read, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. William R. Howe, assistant adjutant-general and acting assistant inspector-general; Lieutenants Parsons and Wheeler, Fourth Vermont Volunteers, aides-de-camp; Lieut. William J. Ladd, Thirteenth New Hampshire Volunteers, commissary of musters.
On the receipt of special reports in regard to the conduct of individuals, I shall make one in regard to conduct of those that came under my observation.
W. T. H. BROOKS,
ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, 18TH ARMY CORPS.