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[642] advancing line of the enemy. They were caught in the open field. The effect of every shot could be seen. A rapid fire of shot, shell, and spherical case, delivered with admirable precision, checked their advance. As the shells and spherical case would burst over, in front, and near them, their ranks would break, hesitate, and scatter. This artillery fire alone broke regiment after regiment, and drove them back into the woods. Seeing these successive lines and regiments of the enemy checked and finally driven back, and yet their front line quite close upon Jackson's line, thus leaving an interval of more than six hundred yards between them and the broken, retreating lines, I ordered General Featherston to move his brigade by the flank rapidly down the slope in his front, and thus take in rear, or intercept the retreat of the enemy that were so closely engaged with Jackson. This order was repeated three times, and in the most positive and peremptory manner; but it was not obeyed. At length the front line of the enemy, sadly thinned by the close fire of Jackson's men behind the railway bank, broke, and fell back with great precipitancy and disorder, followed by a portion of Jackson's troops. Featherston now descended the slope in his front, and joined in the pursuit across the open field. Pryor's brigade was also ordered to follow rapidly.

The fleeing enemy, under cover of the woods, endeavored to re-form, and to contest the field with us; but our men, inspirited by their success, eagerly rush forward, scarcely halting to deliver their fire. The Federals are forced to continue their hurried retreat. The wood through which the enemy fled, some six or seven hundred yards wide, are at length crossed, and a second field of three quarters of a mile wide is in our front. The surface of this field, beginning near the woods, ascends slightly, and, then descending somewhat farther, rises again higher than it is near the woods. In the edge of this field I directed my command to halt for a few minutes to re-form line, they having become broken and somewhat scattered, from their rapid pursuit of the enemy, and traversing the thick woods. While my men were re-forming, I rode to the crest of the ridge in front of me, and saw two entire regiments descending rapidly into the valley. The time lost in re-forming my men enabled these retreating regiments to gain shelter in the woods on the far side of the field. It is proper that I should state that the field in which my command was now being formed was swept by a brisk artillery fire, about twelve hundred yards distant, the men being but indifferently protected by the ridge in front. This fire was borne by the men with great coolness, no disorder or embarrassment being perceptible.

Being now occupied in forming the command for an advance across the field into the woods, where the enemy had retreated, and for the attack upon the batteries to our right and front, that were delivering a most annoying fire upon us, I was ordered, by the Major-General commanding, to move with my brigade to the right of the turnpike to the support of General Hood. I now directed General Pryor, who was near me, to confer with General Featherston, and to indicate to him my plans for the further pursuit of the enemy. For information as to the services of these two brigades in the subsequent part of the action, I beg to refer you to the report of their respective commanders herewith enclosed. In obedience to the orders above mentioned, I marched my brigade to the right of the turnpike, and advanced on that side.

In all of this change of position, (in all more than two miles,) the brigade was exposed to a heavy fire of the enemy's artillery, and at two different parts of the field I had to bear off to the rear, so as not to obstruct the fire of our own artillery. This caused some little delay in my advance. On the right of the turnpike, the enemy seemed to have been driven back even faster and farther than on the left. Seeing no person to tell me where General Hood was engaged, I continued to advance as rapidly as possible, frequently at double-quick time, and in the direction of the most advanced and heaviest firing. At length, having crossed a deep ravine, and risen to the summit of the ascent on the far side, the portion of the field where the musketry fight was then going on, was in close proximity, it being in a skirt of woods bordering a small stream, not three hundred yards distant. To reach this, there was an open, level field, and then a short and abrupt descent to the stream. While crossing this field, we were exposed to a close artillery fire of the enemy from a battery in front of where our men were then engaged. In addition to this, two brigades of the enemy's infantry, who were approaching obliquely the field where the musketry fire was then raging, reaching the crest of a hill, and seeing my brigade moving to the same point, halted and fired a volley deliberately at my men, but at near five hundred yards distant. They fired one after the other; the leading brigades moved to the rear after firing through the intervals of the second. The balls in each came near, but inflicted a trifling loss — only two or three men wounded slightly. It was now late — sundown. My men crossed the little stream near which the fight was then still raging, passed through the woods skirting it, and then changed direction to the left, so as to occupy the same line that our troops were then occupying. They were then thrown into the woods, and cautioned to be careful not to fire upon our own men, who were then engaged. My men entered where Wright's brigade had been engaged, and near where General Toombs had been engaged. This was the first time that my men had been engaged in close musketry fight on the right of the turnpike. The fighting here was soon over, but the musketry fire was of the heaviest kind while it lasted. The firing continued till after dark for more than a half hour, and then gradually ceased. The artillery continued to fire after the musketry had ceased, but by half past 8 o'clock it had all ceased. My brigade bivouacked at this point of the field, which was the most advanced point

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Jackson (Mississippi, United States) (3)

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W. S. Featherston (3)
Roger A. Pryor (2)
J. B. Hood (2)
A. R. Wright (1)
R. Toombs (1)
G. W. Jackson (1)
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