CHAP. XLVIII.] RAPIDAN TO THE JAMES. 323
ren's left and had re-established the line which had been lost by
Cutler's brigade falling back. About 10 a. m. General Gibbon in-
fromed me that the enemy did not hold the Brock road, but that Gen-
eral Miles' skirmishers were engaged on my extreme left, in front of
the Brock road, with the enemy's dismounted cavalry, while in the
direction of Todd's Tavern our cavalry was engaged, it was supposed,
with Longstreet's corps.
The enemy now advanced upon Frank's brigade, of Barlow's di-
vision, which joined the left of Mott's division. That brigade,
having been heavily engaged in the earlier part of the day, had
nearly exhausted its ammunition, and was compelled to retire be-
fore the enemy, whose attack was made with great vehemence.
This was Longstreet's attack. Passing over Frank's brigade, they
struck the left of Mott's division, which in turn was forced back.
Some confusion ensuing among the troops of that division, I en-
deavored to restore order and to reform my line of battle along the
Orange plank road, from its extreme advance to its junction with the
Brock road, by throwing back my left, in order to hold my advanced
position along that road and on its right, but was unable to effect
this, owing to the partial disorganization of the troops, which was
to be attributed to their having been engaged for many hours in a
dense forest, under a heavy and murderous musketry fire, when
their formation was partly lost. General Birney, who was in com-
mand of that portion of the line, thought it advisable to withdraw
the troops from the wood, where it was almost impossible to adjust
our lines, and to reform them in the breast-works along the Brock
road on our original line of battle. This movement was accom-
plished, and by the exertions of the officers order was soon restored.
The troops were reformed in two lines of battle on the same ground
from which they had advanced to the attack in the morning. The
enemy pushed forward until he was within a few hundred paces of
our breast-works, but did not attempt to assault them at that time.
I had dispatched a staff officer to inform General Meade that,
owing to a heavy attack by Longstreet on my left, my troops had
been forced to retire to the Brock road, where the line of battle had
been re-established I also informed him that I was about to attack
the enemy's left with Leasure's brigade, of the Ninth Corps, then
under my orders. This brigade was in position toward the left of
my line, and under the command of General Gibbon. I instructed
him to advance it upon the left flank of the enemy, directing that
Colonel Leasure should sweep along the front of my line to the right
in the direction of the Orange plank road, keeping his right about
100 paces from our breast-works ; that he should attack the enemy's
left and endeavor to drive him back. These instructions were exe-
cuted by Colonel Leasure with great spirit and success. Deploying
his brigade at right angles to our line of battle, he traversed the en-
tire front of Mott's and Birney's divisions, crossing the Orange
plank road in his march, encountering as he proceeded what he sup-
posed to be a brigade of the enemy, which fell back in disorder
without engaging him.
After carrying out ray, instructions very fully and intelligently,
Colonel Leasure's command resumed its former position in the line
At 2.10 p. m. one brigade of Robinson's division, of the Ninth
[Fifth ?] Corps, and two regiments of heavy artillery, commanded by
Colonel Morrison, reported to vie by order of Major-General Meade.