my right flank, with battery A, First Ohio artillery, near the right flank of the Forty-ninth Ohio, and the left flank of the Fifteenth Ohio, the Thirty-second and Thirty-ninth Indiana regiments being on picket, covering the front of our position both south and west, thus protecting the rear of the extreme right, Kirk's brigade of the right wing. In this position my men bivouacked, without fires, for the night. At half-past 5 o'clock on the morning of December thirty-first, rapid firing of musketry was heard on Kirk's front, which was almost instantly followed by the men of his brigade rushing in confusion and indiscriminately through our ranks, and over my men, closely followed by a heavy column of rebel infantry. The enemy's fire being very heavy and severe upon us, and the large number of fugitives passing through and covering my front, together with peremptory orders communicated to regiment commanders in his brigade by Gen. Willich the night previous, made it impossible for me to make a deployment, or otherwise advantageously change my position. To protect my men as much as possible from the enemy's fire, I ordered them to he down. In that position they remained, without confusion, until my left wing was uncovered of fugitives, and the enemy within fifty yards of my position, when I ordered that wing to fire, which was done with good effect, the colors of the leading column of rebels falling. Having received no orders as yet, and seeing the other regiments of the brigade falling back, I gave the order to retire by the right flank, on double-quick, which was done (but with some confusion) to a lane about four hundred yards in a north-westerly direction, where I placed Capts. Willett, Whiting, and Comstock, and Lieut. Wells's companies, in a very good position. But few of our shots were wasted, the colors of the leading column of the enemy again falling under our fire; but being closely pressed, I ordered these companies to retire on the same line of direction to a point on a small creek, about five hundred yards distant, where I placed Capts. Rowen and Blake's companies under the partial cover of a thicket, and their fire materially checked the enemy's advancing skirmishers, allowing me time to cross the creek with and partially reorganize my command, Capt. Rowen gradually following. Following the line of the creek, I again crossed to a point some five hundred yards south-east of the Second division hospital, where, in an open field, I found a portion of each of the Forty-ninth and Fifteenth Ohio, and Thirty-second Indiana regiments. The enemy's cavalry appearing in large force on our right, and their infantry approaching on our left flank, threatening to cut us off, I moved by the left flank (the other regiments following) in a north-easterly direction, to a position in the woods on the south side of “Wilkinson pike,” and about equi-distant from the hospitals of the First (Gen. Davis's) and Second (Gen. Johnson's) divisions — a position from which our fire, at short-range, over an open field, thinned the ranks, and partially checked the advance of the rebels' closely pressing columns. At this point, being informed of the loss of Gen. Willich and Col. Gibson, the next senior officer, the command of the brigade was assumed by Colonel Wallace of the Fifteenth Ohio. The forces (to me unknown) which here formed upon the right and left flanks of our brigade having retired, in obedience to orders, I retired my regiment in line and in good order, making several stands in the same woods — with the balance of the brigade to a point near the right of General Rosecrans's division, where I was ordered by General Johnson to take position in a cedar thicket on the right, with some troops (to me unknown) who were in front and joining on the right of said division. Soon afterward the troops on my right and left of the line, which they and I in common held, having unexpectedly and rapidly retired, and my position just then received the brunt of the enemy's artillery and musketry-fire, and my ammunition being exhausted, I retired my regiment by the flank toward the rear, there replenishing my ammunition and resting my men, who had, up to that time, taken and delivered an unceasing fire for nearly five hours. Later in the day, being informed of the position of the balance of the brigade, I at once rejoined them, when I was put in position on the right of the same, (now under the command of Col. Gibson.) thus unitedly forming the second line of infantry (Gen. Davis's division being in front) on the extreme right of the right wing, where we bivouacked that night without fires. The operations of the regiment during the subsequent four days were in common with the brigade, and were not of a character to need from me particular mention, with the exception of the part taken by it on the night of Friday, January second, when, under the command of Capt. Williams, myself being unable to take active command,) it held the responsible position of guarding the ford, and supporting Capt. Stokes's (Chicago Board of Trade) battery, while the forces under General Negley made the successful charge upon the enemy's right. The behavior of the officers and men during this period, particularly in the trying action of the thirty-first, was, in steadiness and bravery, all that could be required by a commander. This phrase fully expresses my estimate of their conduct: “Every man that day did his duty.” Where bravery and obedience were so general, it is difficult for me to make personal discrimination, but among my non-commissioned officers, I particularly commend for their gallantry in rallying to my colors fugitives from other commands, Sergeant-Major John M. Farquhar and First Sergeant Erastus O. Young, of company A; also, Captain Button G. Cady, of the Thirty-ninth Indiana, and Lieut. Seifert, Thirty-second Indiana, who tendered their services to me on the field, and fought gallantly in my ranks. The following is the list of casualties during the period above specified: Killed.--Captain Henry S. Willett and Corporal Wm. H. Litsey, Co. H; privates Jas. Nichols,
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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