At 4:30 p.m. on July 20, 1864, 2,700 Confederate soldiers in two brigades of Major General William W Loring's division attacked the Federal '20th Corps, aligned north of Collier Road. "The enemy was in plain view about 700 yards distant occupying a ridge running east and west," Loring reported.
Confederate Brigadier General Winfield Scott Featherston's Mississippi brigade attacked first. They crossed Tanyard Branch, advanced northeast up the ridge and crossed Collier Road. The Southerners encountered Brigadier General William Ward's division, including the brigade of (future U.S. President) Colonel Benjamin Harrison After checking the Confederate assault, Ward counterattacked driving Featherston to the Collier Road ridge. That night the Mississippians withdrew to their original lines. Featherston reported losing half of his 1,230 troops, including, as reported by one Federal soldier, a woman, "shot in the breast and thigh and still alive and as gritty as any Reb I ever saw."
Brigadier General Thomas M. Scott's brigade advanced after Featherston's, en echelon. They overran an advanced position held by the 33rd New Jersey then split. To the right, two Alabama regiments and part of the 12th Louisiana crossed an open field. Colonel John Snodgrass of the 55th Alabama reported, "After the order to charge, my regiment
moved forward under terrible enfilading fire of grape, canister and minie, as well as a galling direct fire." The outnumbered Confederates faltered, and the Federals drove them back across the road.
Scott's left charged Union Brigadier General John W. Geary's division. Unlike Scott's right, these units were not as vulnerable to enemy fire. They overran a Federal battery but were also eventually forced back. The Southerners failed to break the Federal line leading to another major battle two days later.