Southern Historical Society Papers.
near at hand I determined to hold the position undl dark. To do this I was compelled to advance nearly my whole line. The fight became very severe, both parties being under cover of the heavy timber, brush, ravines, &c.
Darkness terminated the contest. After establishing a line of pickets I withdrew the main body to the rear and within the line of fortifications.
The enemy's demonstrations on this day convinced me beyond a doubt that he had determined to attack our lines in the vicinity of our commissary depot, arsenal, &c.
Up to Monday night, the 25th of May, no works of any description had been thrown up to defend this position, extending from Colonel Johnson's advanced work, on the right of my command, to a point within five hundred yards of the river on the left, including a space of three-fourths of a mile. There was not a rifle-pit dug nor a gun mounted on Monday night.
I reported my convictions to the Major-General commanding. The evidence was satisfactory to him, and he ordered all the available tools, negroes, &c , to be placed at the disposal of the chief engineer. The work was promptly laid out by Lieutenant Dabney, and ere the dawn of day of Tuesday, considerable progress had been made. A battery of four pieces had been mounted during the night on the hill in the immediate vicinity of the commissary depot, which, since that, has been called Commissary Hill. The emergency being great, this work was pressed with energy all day Tuesday and Tuesday night, so that, by Wednesday morning, an imperfect line of rifle-pits had been thrown up to protect the most exposed points on the left wing.
Two pieces of siege artillery were removed during Tuesday night frfim the heavy batteries on the river and mounted on this line — one rifled 24 pounder, under command of Lieutenant Sandford, Company A, First regiment Alabama volunteers, on the Commissary Hill, and another rifled 24-pounder, under Lieutenant Harman, Company A P'irst regiment Alabama volunteers, at Bennett's house. For three or four days previous to this time (Wednesday, May 27th), the enemy had been making active demonstrations against Colonel Johnson's position. Sharpshooters had become so annoying as to seriously interfere with the construction of the heavy earihworths necessary for the defence of this mos't exposed iiosition. On the extreme left, commanded by Colonel Shelby, the enemy had not been idle while making his approaches in the direction of the mill.
On Monday, the 25lh of May, he advanced in heavy force through