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[452] beleaguered troops in the works. Fortunately for us, the guns of the enemy upon the northern bank, bearing upon the crossing, had just before, by a well-directed fire from our own, under Lieut. Mason, been silenced, and from those upon the southern side he had only time to throw a shell or two at our rear as it disappeared under the cover of the bank, resulting only in slightly wounding one man. His cavalry came dashing down in an attempt to cut us off, but only in time to be as hastily driven back, as we promptly turned and fired upon them.

We found the engagement still progressing. By Gen. Gilbert's written order, the command was to go according to seniority, and I being the senior officer, Col. Wilder promptly tendered me the command, but I promptly refused to assume it, feeling that to do so during the progress of the engagement would be ungenerous in me and unjust to him; but I placed myself and force under his command. He has reported the proceedings of that day.

On Monday, the fifteenth, I assumed command. The enemy had, under the cover of the night, withdrawn from before us — the infantry and artillery to Cave City and the cavalry up the river. Work upon the intrenchments was at once resumed and pushed forward with vigor that day, the night following, and in fact throughout all the affair on Tuesday. Wagons were sent to the wrecked train for the provisions upon it, and steps successfully taken, by the aid of Mr. William Gibson, a patriotic Union citizen of Munfordville, of whom I cannot speak in too high praise, to bring in the ammunition which had been upon it, but which the loyal men of the neighborhood had carried to the woods and concealed. Efforts were also made to repair the telegraph line. Messengers were sent to different points northward to communicate to the headquarters in this city our situation, and inform them that we expected a renewal of the attack by a largely increased force, and ask for reenforcements. Messengers with a like object, I was informed, had been sent by Col. Wilder to Bowling Green. I regarded the place as of great importance to the Government, and made every effort to save it.

On Monday night, reinforcements, under command of Colonel Owen, Sixtieth Indiana, were received from Lebanon Junction, consisting of a part of the Sixtieth Indiana, (four hundred and twenty men,) including one company of the Twenty-eighth Kentucky, Lieutenant Conaway, which had been attached to it for duty; a part of the Sixty-eighth Indiana, Colonel King, (five hundred and seventy men,) and a battery of six pieces, Captain Conkle in command.

On Tuesday, the sixteenth instant, about half-past 9 A. M. the advance of the enemy attacked our pickets on the south of our works, and from the direction of Cave City. His advance was sternly resisted by companies A, B, and H, Fiftieth Indiana, and part of company K, Seventy-eighth Indiana, under Major Wells, who, as well as the officers and men under him, in this little skirmish, displayed great coolness and courage. They held the enemy's advancing column at bay for over an hour, and were only pressed back by overwhelming numbers. The object evidently was to avoid the field-work on our left, known as Fort Craig, from which he had been so fatally repulsed on Sunday, and, under the cover of the woods, to approach and carry by storm the breastworks of our right. But the promptness and energy with which he was met seemed to deter him from the attempt. Before eleven A. M. the engagement had become general along our south line, the heavy pressure being upon the west or right. The men were cool and eager for the expected assault. The fire was rapid and continuous on the part of the enemy, who kept himself under cover of the woods.

Between two and three it slackened, and by three it had almost ceased, and, supposing the enemy had withdrawn from the woods which fronted our entire south line, and, being anxious to occupy the farther edge of it that I might be advised of, and check a renewed attack, company A, Fiftieth Indiana, Captain Barrell, was thrown out as skirmishers, to feel through it. They soon became hotly engaged with the enemy, who attempted to turn their left flank. I immediately ordered Captain Carothers, with company G, of the same regiment, to his support. The order was promptly obeyed and the company gallantly deployed under a galling fire. This was a brilliant little affair. In it Lieutenant Burton, of company G, fell severely wounded, nobly doing his duty.1 Finding that the enemy still occupied the woods in force, our men were withdrawn under a fire from the works. I should also mention that company A, Sixtieth Indiana, was thrown out as skirmishers upon the left early in the engagement, and there remained for some time, doing excellent service with a loss of one man wounded. By half-past 4 the firing on both sides had nearly ceased, there being only an occasional shot from our guns as opportunity offered to prevent the planting of batteries by the enemy. Between five and six o'clock a flag of truce from the enemy was seen approaching. I sent Colonel Wilder to receive it. It covered a note from General Bragg, commanding the enemy's forces, asserting that we were surrounded by an overwhelming force, all hopes of reenforcements cut off, and demanding a surrender to save the loss of human life which must result from carrying the works by storm. I promptly and peremptorily declined, but when Colonel Wilder returned, after the delivery of my reply, and informed me that so far as he had been able to observe, the force against us was truly over-whelming, and especially in artillery, and situation critical, and being a senior officer of equal rank with several others in the works, some of whom had had greater experience, I, at his suggestion, deemed it my duty to call a council of war of those officers. I desired also to gain time in hopes of relief from this place or from Bowling Green. I, therefore, sent a note to Gen. Bragg,

1 Since dead.

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