occasion, comparatively harmless. The bridge having been torn up, prevented our crossing, at that point, and, making a detour of about a mile and a half northward, we effected a crossing at Byron's Ford, continuing thence our movement to a position nearly one half mile in front of Alexander's Bridge, where we bivouacked for the night on the same ground occupied by a portion of the enemy in our attack on the bridge. The next morning, the nineteenth, about day-light, we continued our movement, in the same direction, towards Lee and Gordon's Mill, for about one and a half miles further, where we halted for further instructions. About eight o'clock, the firing of General Forrest's cavalry and Ector's and Wilson's brigades, became very heavy in the rear of the direction we were taking, and on the right of our intended line of battle. The country around was mostly oak woodland, and in places thick under-brush. About eleven o'clock, Major-General Walker asked me to go with him on a reconnoissance, to know what the demonstration meant then being made on our right. After proceeding northward one and a half miles, we found the enemy pressing back General Ector's and Colonel Wilson's brigades, the latter more or less in confusion, and other evidences of attack, making it apparent that a heavy force was bearing down upon us. I replied to General Walker's inquiry as to what I thought of it, “that I was satisfied a corps of the enemy was about being thrown forward to turn our right wing, which it was absolutely necessary for us to meet promptly with heavy reinforcements.” He agreed with me in this opinion, and immediately wrote the same to General Bragg. At the same time orders were received by him from General Bragg to attack the enemy immediately with all his force, upon which he instructed me to bring up my force to the relief of the two brigades already mentioned, and to retard, if possible, the further progress of the enemy. As soon as my command could reach the place, I formed the line facing northward, General Walthall on the right, Colonel Govan on the left, and at once moved forward to the attack at fifteen minutes past twelve P. M., cautioning Colonel Govan to look well to his left, as I apprehended that his left wing would strike the enemy first, although he was not then visible on account of the thick undergrowth. In a few minutes we became hotly engaged with the enemy's infantry and artillery, and, pressing forward with a shout, we captured all the artillery in our immediate front, with many prisoners of the Fifth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-first United States Regulars, and Fourth Kentucky. I ordered the artillery to be taken to the rear as rapidly as possible, but so many horses had been killed that it was very difficult to secure the pieces. We had now broken through two lines of the enemy immediately in our front, and were just engaging the third when it was discovered that their extended lines were overlapping and flanking us, right and left, upon which it became necessary to retire rapidly, by a flank movement to the right, to avoid destruction or capture. After reaching the next hill in rear of us, we found General Cheatham's division taking position, having just come up a little too late to our support in action. It was now perfectly clear that we had been opposed to an entire corps of the enemy (General Thomas's), to drive back which General Cheatham's division soon after proved to be insufficient. My command now having been re-formed and rested for a short time, I was ordered to the extreme right of General Cheatham's line, forming an obtuse angle with it, upon reaching which position I moved forward to the attack a second time, in line nearly at right angles to that assumed by me in the first attack; Colonel Govan now on the right, and General Walthall on the left. The latter finding the enemy well posted, and in very strong force, after a contest of half an hour, was compelled to withdraw about two hundred yards, the left regiment of Colonel Govan's brigade falling back with him. The right of Colonel Govan's brigade had captured several pieces of artillery from the enemy, which seemed lightly support. ed, and, whilst endeavoring to secure them, was fired upon by a Confederate battery, from the rear, the position of the line in the under-brush having concealed it from view, thus causing the mistake. This unlucky accident caused him to retire to the same line with General Walthall, without accomplishing his object. In this last attack, we fought over a portion of the ground on the left that we had contended for in the first engagement, the enemy having pushed up and occupied two-thirds of it. It was now within an hour of sunset, when General Cleburne's division came up in my rear, as General Cheatham's had done in the first fight, and forming his line of three brigades parallel with mine, moved forward over us upon the enemy, engaging him about two hundred yards from my front. This attack being sudden and unexpected, the enemy gave way for the distance of half a mile or more, when both parties ceased firing for the night. It now being dark, we bivouacked where we were, and next morning, about six o'clock, in obedience to orders received from General Walker, I moved my command with General Ector's brigade, about a mile and a half to the right, on the prolongation, and in support of General Breckinridge's right. After arriving there, I was ordered to move forward to the attack in place of General Breckinridge's division, which had been repulsed in its attack on the enemy's left flank and rear. Here, at the order of Lieutenant-General Polk, General Walthall's brigade was detached from me and moved to the left of General Gist's brigade, which was then making a direct attack on the left of the enemy's line near his breastworks. At the same time an order was given me by General Hill to take Colonel
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag ��� official correspondence and reports.
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