About a half mile to the right or north of the pike and about two hundred and fifty yards in front of our line of battle before advancing, a little to my right, the rivulet before mentioned, where the enemy was, heads, running in a partial semicircle the slightly convex side towards the right half of the Tenth Vermont and the concave side caused by a bend in the rivulet virtually at its source was largely in front of the Second brigade; (See No. 8 illustration) the stream runs southerly and drops rapidly after crossing the pike thus forming a gulch similar to the one we came up from the Opequan in, but apparently deeper and narrower near the left front of the Second Division. This sudden drop to the left of the turnpike made the divide here running north and south quite decided being fully ninety feet high or more which will probably partly account for the enemy's mostly being to the right of the pike there being no protection immediately west from the divide running North and South. In my front on the right of the pike this divide was about fifty feet high running out rapidly on to almost level ground in front of the right of the Second Brigade of our division to my right,* which made its position untenable as the ground was swept by both the enemy's artillery and infantry.
* In my letter about this battle to Chaplain E. M. Haynes, our regimental historian, which he used in his history of the Tenth Vermont, I stated that this ravine headed near my front towards the pike and ran northerly, the bottom spreading out fan-shaped to my right in front of the Nineteenth Corps. I got this impression from the fact that the pike is considerably raised where it crosses this ravine to my left, and looked so much higher than the source of the rivulet to my right that I supposed it headed there and ran northerly. The stress of circumstances or conditions were such when I was advancing under a scorching fire and twice wounded, and the divide is so very flat at the point where the creek first starts, that a hasty glance such as one would get in assaulting, will easily account for such an optical illusion. Under such conditions, too, distances seemed greater than they really were.
SOURCE: Lemuel Abijah Abbott, Personal Recollections and Civil War Diary, 1864, p. 155-7