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[329] on to the road near Williams's house, and along it toward the cross-roads.

Being out of range of musketry, the artillery was ordered to open fire upon the advancing column, which it did, but from some cause, seemingly with but little effect. Lieut.-Colonel Wells was also directed to send two companies of his regiment (the Fiftieth Indiana) toward the cross-roads, to watch and check his advance. Company G, Capt. Carothers, immediately moved up the road at double-quick, deployed in the lane, opened a galling fire, and held his position until forced back by overwhelming numbers. Company B, Lieut. Davis, also moved forward at the same step, and deployed along the edge of the woods, upon which I afterward changed my line, and did valuable service. The enemy moved past the cross-roads eastward, and appeared as if desirous of escaping in that direction.

Our forces were immediately and rapidly moved to the north (toward the cross-roads) and a new line formed nearly perpendicular to a prolongation of the first, along the edge and under cover of the woods, parallel to the enemy's advancing column, the left resting upon the road and the right upon an open field, with three companies thrown perpendicularly to the rear in the edge of the woods, to cover the right flank, and a vigorous attack was commenced.

The disposition of forces at this time was: first, company G, Fiftieth Indiana, in the lane, who, when forced back as aforesaid, took position at the extreme left; second, the Thirty-ninth Iowa; third, the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois; fourth, the detachment of the Eighteenth Illinois; fifth, the Fiftieth Indiana, holding the right; sixth, two companies, company A of the Thirty-ninth Iowa, and one company of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois, at the house on the mound, to cover our rear and protect our train yet in the hollow.

All had moved into position with alacrity and with the steadiness of veterans. The artillery had been ordered forward with a view to being placed between the Thirty-ninth and One Hundred and Twenty-second, where it was thought it would be made most effective upon the enemy's batteries and be supported by these regiments, but it had not yet got into position.

By this time the enemy had got into position, and the fire from his batteries had become intense along our whole line. Our skirmishers had been forced back out of the lane, which the enemy now occupied, and from which, and a small hill behind which he was, to some extent, sheltered, he poured upon our left a galling musketry fire.

I looked for our guns; two, only, had been brought forward, and they, instead of taking the position indicated, were being put in position in front of the extreme left.

I rode along the line to them. When I came up they had opened fire upon the enemy in the lane and upon the hill last mentioned. I again ordered them to be moved to the place designated. To my utter astonishment I was informed by the lieutenant that his ammunition was about exhausted, and hence that it was useless to change position.

Directing him to do the best he could with his pieces, I turned away to do the best I could without them.

Candor compels me to say, that from some cause our artillery was throughout strikingly inefficient, although both the officers and men with it exhibited the greatest bravery.

The enemy at this time had one battery on the ridge in front of and parallel to our line, one on a ridge nearly perpendicular to, but beyond our line to the right, so situated as to enable him to concentrate a fire upon several portions of our line, and to enfilade a part of it, and his fire had become terrible in its intensity. I determined to take his batteries, at all hazards the one on the right.

The requisite orders had been given, and I was riding along the line to see that they were properly understood, when we were suddenly and furiously attacked from the rear by a heavy dismounted force, which had, under the cover of the hills and woods beyond, turned our right flank and was moving to the rear of our main line in a direction nearly parallel to it, and between it and that of the two companies left to protect the train and rear.

At the same time a regiment of cavalry charged up the Lexington road from the south toward the rear of our left. This was the crisis of the day, and nobly did our gallant men meet it. The main line was faced at once to the rear, and drove the enemy back, inflicting a heavy loss in killed and wounded, and taking a large number of prisoners.

The repulse was complete. The Fiftieth here made a bayonet-charge, never surpassed and seldom equalled, forcing their way entirely through the enemy's line.

The cavalry charging up the road was also completely and severely repulsed by the two companies protecting our rear, who were promptly put in motion for that purpose under the direction of Adjutant Simpson of my staff, but it rallied and made a second charge upon them and was again repulsed.

When the enemy had been repulsed from the rear of our main line, as above described, the Fiftieth Indiana was placed to cover the route by which he had approached. It had barely got into position when its right was furiously charged by a heavy cavalry force from the south, before which it staggered and fell slightly back; but two companies (H, Captain Scott, and C, Captain Marsh) holding the left, quickly changed front and poured into the flank of the charging force a murderous fire, under which it broke and fled, and the right immediately rallied and resumed its place.

This substantially closed the fighting for the day, it being about two o'clock P. M. The repulse of the attack upon our rear had brought our line back to Red Mound, where our first had been formed, but at nearly right angles to it, the left rested where the right of the first had rested. It was in excellent order.

I was passing along it, speaking words of congratulation


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