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[218] was at right angles to our advancing line, and the enemy reserved his fire until we were flanked. So soon as I discovered the disposition of the enemy, I rode across the railroad and informed General Adams. It was, however, too late to accomplish a timely change in our positions. Moreover, from the moment of our advance in the face of the enemy, their artillery had kept a constant fire upon us, while the fire of his infantry was reserved, rendering it the more difficult, in addition to the broken nature of the ground, to make new dispositions.

The first fire we received was from the river bank and directed upon the Infirmary corps of the regiment, posted considerably in our rear. I immediately moved the regiment double-quick by the right-flank towards the river, but finding a front as well as flanking fire open upon us, I commanded a halt, and determined to contest the field. The right of the regiment stood firm for a few minutes, but under the combined fires gave way. The men naturally faced the direction in which the severest fire came, and this caused some confusion. We were enabled to hold the left in its position, the fence in its front affording some protection. I felt the necessity of holding our position until the balance of the brigade, already falling back, should pass the point at which the enemy was pressing us on the right. Should this be prematurely lost, there had been a much larger force than the rest of the brigade, with every advantage of position, covering its entire front and enveloping its right flank. I called upon Major Austin to form on my line and assist in its defence. In a few moments he disposed his battalion of sharpshooters as I suggested. We were successful in holding the high-ground on the right of the railroad until the left portion of the brigade, driven back by a storm of artillery and infantry fire on its front and flank, had reached a point beyond our line. The ground was much broken; a continuous line of battle could not be formed on the hill, and this was one of the main reasons why there was some apparent irregularity in falling back.

I should do injustice to the officers and men of the Thirteenth Louisiana volunteers, did I not state that they displayed the best qualities of soldiers. It is difficult for troops to stand firm against great odds, under a heavy fire from the front and on the flank. This was not only done for some minutes, but at the outset and until the full force of the enemy was developed on our right flank. We drove back his line on our front, charging beyond the fence in the cornfield and rescuing the colors of some Confederate regiment, which had previously engaged the enemy in this position and whose dead marked plainly its line of battle. I send the colors that you may return them to the gallant regiment, whose brave dead spoke its eulogy.

Major Charles Guillet, acting Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the right, contributed much to steady this exposed flank of the command.

I am indebted chiefly to Captain M. 0. Tracy, acting Major, and in charge of the left wing, for the steadiness with which it moved forward and for its handsome behavior on retiring.

This officer has been mentioned in every report of various battles in which the regiment has been engaged-Shiloh, Farmington, Perryville — and having


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