of the church, and the other through General Prentiss
' camp, intersecting the road from Hamburg
, seven miles further up the river.
These troops, particularly the advance division under Sherman
, were mostly fresh from the recruiting camps, and wholly unpracticed, even in the simplest company maneuvres.
Many of the regiments were not supplied with arms until their departure up the Tennessee
This was the case with my own regiment.
With such disadvantages we went into the great battle of Sunday.
At gray dawn, on the morning of the 6th, Lieutenant Burriss
, of Captain Sisson
's company, Seventy-seventh Ohio Volunteers-a regiment recruited from the border counties of Western Virginia
-came to brigade headquarters and communicated the intelligence that the enemy were gathering in great force.
He was sent back with orders to Captain Sisson
to maintain the picket line, but if attacked to retire in order, holding the enemy in check.
We heard dropping shots over the whole of our immediate front and tolerably brisk firing on the left, in the direction of General Prentiss
As Colonel Hildebrand
was not well; he was advised to remain quiet, and I would report the facts to General Sherman
, whose headquarters were about four hundred yards to our rear.
In a few minutes Captain Sisson
reached camp, confirming all his lieutenant had communicated, and adding that the enemy swarmed in the old cotton field already referred to; that he had watched them from the moment he discerned a man, and felt confident they were gathering for an attack.
They had already commenced firing on our pickets, and believed, from the rapid firing on Prentiss
' line, that he had been attacked in force.
returned to his command, and the writer went at once to General Sherman
He was met at his tent.
The facts related were communicated, and for some minutes we listened to the firing.
The General appeared to be in doubt as to attack, but ordered the brigade into readiness for action.
Returning to regimental headquarters, the men were found promptly responding to the long-roll and preparing for action.
Partaking of a hasty breakfast, they fell into line.
The morning was bright, warm, and genial.
Although early spring in that luxuriant Southern clime, nature had robed herself in a rich mantle of green; the woods were vocal with feathered songsters, and the air redolent of perfume from bud and wild flower.
The swamp lily, with its brilliant petals, contrasted beautifully with the deep green foliage and spotless blossom of the American cornus
. The scene was altogether lovely, save where man, by his unlicensed passions, was