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[361] Crittenden, on the left flank; while the Louisville Legion, Colonel Buckley, was held in reserve, a hundred and fifty paces in the rear of the line.

Thirty or forty minutes after this line was formed, Capt. Haughey's skirmishers were driven in, several of his men were shot, and my command fiercely assailed by the enemy. The attack lasted, perhaps twenty minutes, when the enemy were driven off. In this contest, Capt. Acken, of the Sixteenth United States infantry, was instantly killed, and many others of my brigade killed and wounded. The enemy soon rallied, and returned to the attack more fiercely than before, but was met by a very rapid and well-directed fire from the commands of Majors King and Carpenter, and Colonel Smith, the Sixth Indiana being out of range on the left. This attack also was, after a severe contest, repulsed, and the enemy driven off — our loss being much more than before. We were ignorant of the ground in front occupied by the enemy, as it was covered with timber and thick undergrowth, but were informed that it was more open than where we were. I decided to advance my lines after this attack, and at once cautiously felt my way forward, but had not gone far, when I again encountered the enemy in heavy force, and again drove him off after a yet severer contest than any before. About this time I received several messages, announcing that the United States forces to our right and front, after very hard fighting, which we had heard all the morning, were giving way, leaving the centre of the army exposed. I At once decided to move forward the whole brigade to the open ground, except the Sixth Indiana, which had a most important position on our left flank, which position the enemy had menaced in strong force for several hours. I ordered Col. Buckley, with the Louisville Legion, to move up to the right and front and engage the enemy, who had rallied all his available forces and was moving down upon us. At the same time, Majors King and Carpenter and Col. Smith were ordered to advance in line with Col. Buckley. The advance was admirably made and with alacrity.

The brigade steadily, briskly, and in excellent order, moved forward. I afterward learned from wounded prisoners that the force at this time opposed to us consisted of the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Kentucky regiments, and several others from various States. We advanced about two hundred yards to the front, when we came in collision with the enemy. He was stronger at this point than in either of his previous encounters, and the fire of musketry was the heaviest I ever heard. My line, when fired upon, halted of itself and went to work. The issue was important, as my brigade was directly in the road of the enemy to the landing, and they were evidently pressing for that point. I was more fully impressed with the importance of driving the enemy from this position by your words to me when you ordered a change to the front of your original line of battle, which were, in substance, that my position was in the centre, and must be held at every hazard, and that you would support me with the balance of your division, as it arrived on the field.

The fight lasted about forty minutes, when the enemy gave way, and were at once pursued by the whole line up to the open ground in front, my brigade capturing several cannon, retaking a battery of ours captured by the enemy the previous day, and retaking the headquarters of Gen. McClernand. We also took three flags from the enemy. At this time the forty rounds of cartridges in the boxes of the men were exhausted, and the line was halted.

Before I resolved to advance my whole brigade to the front, I looked for the promised support, and found Col. Kirk with his brigade in my rear, within short supporting distance. He told me he was there, by your order, to support me, and was ready for anything. He and his men were eager to move up with me. I requested that he would follow at the proper distance, which he did.

After we had exhausted our ammunition, I called on Col. Kirk, who was immediately in rear of my lines, and informed him of that fact. He at once gallantly and eagerly offered to take my position in front, and did so, a portion of my command on the right passing quietly through his lines, and halting in his rear. All was done without the least confusion or excitement. I told him that if needed before we received our ammunition, we would support him with the bayonet. The part taken in the fight by Col. Kirk and Col. Gibson, and their respective brigades, after this, and also the part taken by Col. Willich, I leave them to narrate, with the single remark that they and their officers and men behaved most gallantly.

About this time a battery of two or three guns, I do not know whose it was, took position about the centre of my lines, and opened on the enemy in front, then forming for attack. This battery I directed Majors King and Carpenter, and the Sixth Indiana, to support; Col. Crittenden having been just before ordered up from his former position on the left. I may here remark that the Sixth Indiana, in its old position, had been exposed to heavy cannonading on the left and front, and had lost several men in killed and wounded, and I had ordered it back into the woods. The enemy soon after advanced in strong force and menaced the battery, and its commander withdrew it, but the support just named stood firm against several times their numbers and gallantly beat off the enemy. In the mean time a supply of ammunition for the whole command was received.

When thus repulsed, the enemy fell back, and his retreat began: soon after which I saw two regiments of Government troops advancing in double-quick time across the open field in our front, and saw that one of them was the First Ohio, which had been moved to our left to wait for ammunition. I galloped to the regiment and ordered it to halt, as I had not ordered the movement, but was informed that it was advancing by

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E. N. Kirk (3)
John H. King (3)
S. D. Carpenter (3)
H. M. Buckley (3)
B. F. Smith (2)
T. T. Crittenden (2)
August Willich (1)
Jonathan A. McClernand (1)
Haughey (1)
William H. Gibson (1)
Acken (1)
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