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[211]

On the morning of Wednesday the 31st, the battle opened on our left. From my front information came to me from Pegram's cavalry force in advance that the enemy, having crossed at the fords below, were moving on my position in line of battle. This proved to be incorrect. ...

About 10 1/2 o'clock A. M. I received through Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston a suggestion from the General Commanding to move against the enemy, instead of awaiting his attack. (I find that Colonel Johnston regarded it as an order, but as I moved at once it is not material.) I preferred to fight on the ground 1 then occupied, but supposing that the object of the General was to create a diversion in favor of our left, my line, except Hanson's brigade, was put in motion in the direction from which-the enemy was supposed to be advancing. We had marched about half a mile when I received through Colonel Johnston an order from the General Commanding to send at least one brigade to the support of Lieutenant-General Polk, who was hard pressed, and as I recollect, two, if I could spare them. I immediately sent Adams and Jackson, and at the same time suspended my movement, and sent forward Captain Blackburne with several of my escort, and Captain Coleman and Lieutenant Darragh of my staff, with orders to find and report with certainty the position and movements of the enemy. Soon after an order came from the General Commanding to continue the movement. The line again advanced, but had not proceeded far when I received an order from the General Commanding through Colonel Johnston, repeated by Colonel Greenfell, to leave Hanson in position on the hill, and with the remainder of my command to report at once to Lieutenant-General Polk. The brigades of Preston and Palmer were immediately moved by the flank towards the ford before referred to, and the order of the General executed with great rapidity. In the meantime, riding forward to the position occupied by the General Commanding and Lieutenant-General Polk, near the west bank of the river and a little below the ford, I arrived in time to see at a distance the brigades of Jackson and Adams recoiling from a very hot fire of the enemy. I was directed by Lieutenant-General Polk to form my line with its right resting on the river and its left extending across the open field, crossing the Nashville turnpike almost at a right angle. While my troops were crossing the river and getting into line, I rode forward with a portion of my staff, assisted by gentlemen of the staffs of Generals Bragg and Polk, to rally and form Adams' brigade, which was falling back chiefly between the turnpike and the river. Jackson, much cut up, had retired farther towards our left.

The brigade of Brigadier-General Adams was rallied and placed in line across the field behind a low and very imperfect breastwork of earth and rails. These brigades did not again enter the action that day (which, indeed, closed soon after with the charge of Preston and Palmer). They had suffered severely in an attack upon superior numbers, very strongly posted and sustained by numerous and powerful batteries, which had repulsed all preceding assaults. The list of casualties shows the courage and determination of these troops.


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Polk (5)
J. Stoddard Johnston (4)
Adams (4)
Stonewall Jackson (3)
Preston (2)
Palmer (2)
Hanson (2)
Willie Pegram (1)
Greenfell (1)
Darragh (1)
Coleman (1)
Bragg (1)
Blackburne (1)
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