Defence of Battery Gregg. 477
forward a little beyond the Banks house advanced skirmishers, but with orders not to become engaged with his line of battle. It was the purpose to delay the forward movement of the enemy as much as pos- sible, in order that troops from the north side of James river might ar- rive and fill the gap between the right of our main Petersburg lines and the Appomattox. The enemy, moving by the flank, crossed the Boydton plank-road near the Pickerell house, north of it; then con- tinuing the march across an open field of six or eight hundred yards wide halted, faced to the right, and, preparatory to their advance, fired a few rounds from a battery. Several pieces of artillery were placed in rear of Harris, and opened fire on the enemy, over a mile distant; they moved forward unchecked, and but little annoyed by this fire. The fragments of Thomas and Lane's brigades were with- drawn. ****** The lines of battle of the enemy, im- posing from their numbers and strength, advanced ; slowly, but steadily, our artillery that in rear of Harris's brigade was with- drawn, and the brigade, after a slight skirmish, retired."
The above is substantially correct ; instead of five hundred muskets, I had about four hundred, as I had left about one hundred men on picket on the lines between Swift Run creek and the James river. In- stead of "Barnes' " house, it should be "Newman's" house.
After receiving instructions from General Wilcox to retire' my com- mand from its advanced position on the Plank road I fell back, and, by his orders, placed two regiments, the Twelfth and Sixteenth, numbering about one hundred and fifty muskets, in Battery Gregg, the first com- manded by Captain A. K. Jones, the second by Captain James H. Dun- can. I placed Lieu tenant- Colonel James H. Duncan, of the Nineteenth regiment, in command of the two regiments in Battery Gregg. I placed the Nineteenth regiment, under command of Colonel R. H. Phipps, and the Forty-eighth regiment, commanded by Colonel James N. Jayne, in Battery " Whitworth." These two regiments numbered about two hundred and fifty men. These works were situated in an open field, about three hundred paces apart, the surface of the earth sinking gradually to a point about equi-distant between the two works. The enemy, making dispositions .carefully, advanced slowly. I rode to the front of Battery Gregg, and instructed Colonel Duncan to have plenty of ammunition brought into that work, telling him where the ordnance wagons were located (having derived this information from General Wilcox or one of his staff), and that he was to hold the work to the last extremity. After having the cabins (quarters of my brig- ade the preceding winter,) located in front of Whitworth set on fire, so that they would not be a cover for the enemy, I assumed immediate command of Whitworth, as the larger part of my command occupied