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[420] ordered to be pressed forward, to be recalled, and the regiments to move by the right flank until they closed up an interval between the Thirtieth and Twenty-ninth, near the angle in the line. Fowler's battery of my brigade, during the engagement, was put in position by the Brigadier-General commanding, on an eminence to the left of my line, to operate on a battery of the enemy which had been shelling my line, but the enemy withdrew his pieces while Captain Fowler was getting in position, and, in the meantime, the bridge was taken. In this action the Twenty-ninth Mississippi lost heavily, and in the Thirty-fourth an officer and twenty-four enlisted men were wounded. The Twenty-fourth sustained no loss, and Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth but slight. When the condition of the bridge was reported to Major-General Walker, he directed me to move my command by the right flank, under the direction of a guide furnished me, towards Byron's Ford, about one mile below Alexander's Bridge, where my command, followed by the rest of Major-General Walker's corps, crossed, without opposition, and moved about a mile towards Lee and Gordon's Mill, on the Vinyard road. Night, in the meantime, coming on, I halted, under orders from the Brigadier-General commanding, and the next morning, soon after daylight, I moved out, left in front, following Colonel Govan's brigade. The column had not moved more than three-quarters of a mile when it was halted, and rested on the road side until about eleven o'clock, when I received orders from the Brigadier-General commanding to advance in line of battle. After moving forward two or three hundred yards, he directed me to move by the right flank, and, when my right was nearly opposite an old shop near the road, to halt, and front, and advance in line of battle. Just here a staff officer from Major-General Walker came to me with orders to move rapidly forward, as Ector's and Wilsons brigades were badly cut up and largely outnumbered by the enemy. Soon the General came in person, and, meeting me with my command, gave me instructions as to directions, localities, &c. With Colonel Govan's brigade on my left, I moved rapidly forward and encountered the enemy (before I had advanced five hundred yards) in strong force. The firing indicated that the two brigades had met the enemy along the whole line of both at the same time. After moving forward a hundred yards, or so, my line was checked for a moment by a heavy artillery and musketry fire, but, when ordered to advance, the whole line moved promptly forward with a shout, breaking the first and then the second line of the enemy, passing over two full batteries and capturing four hundred and eleven prisoners, of whom twenty-three were commissioned officers. The prisoners, in the main, claimed to be from the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Sixteenth United States infantry, and from Company H, Fifth artillery, and one First Lieutenant from Fourth Indiana battery. A large proportion of the artillery horses attached to the batteries over which we passed, having been either killed or wounded, it was impossible, at the time, to retire the pieces as they were gained. Lieutenant-Colonel Reynolds, field officer of the day, with a detail from the Thirty-fourth Mississippi regiment, removed one Parrott gun to the rear, which was delivered to Major Palmer, Chief of Artillery on Major-General Walker's staff.

After passing beyond the second line of the enemy I ascertained that he was turning my right flank, and, while making a disposition of my right regiment in the effort to prevent it, Lieutenant-Colonel Reynolds, who had been sent to the left of the line to observe the operations there, reported to me that the enemy were already upon the flank of my left regiment. Moving towards the left I discovered a piece of artillery being put in position, opposite, and within three hundred yards of the left of my line, which was already turned. I withdrew my command at once, the engagement having lasted about one hour. The enemy did not pursue, and I took my position, under orders from the Brigadier-General commanding, to the right of the position from which Major-General Cheatham's command just then advanced.

In this engagement my command suffered heavily. Lieutenan-Colonel McKelvane, commanding Twenty-fourth Mississippi regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel Morgan, of the Twenty-ninth Mississippi regiment, were severely wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel McKelvane remained in command of his regiment (after he was wounded) till the engagement was over. In the course of two hours from this time, several immaterial changes having, in the meantime, been made in my position, Lieutenant-General Polk directed me to move by the right flank, in extension of Major-General Cheatham's line, taking my position on the right of Brigadier-General Jackson. This was done under the enemy's fire, whose purpose seemed to be to turn General Cheatham's right flank. Colonel Govan's brigade took position on my right, whereupon the Brigadier-General commanding ordered his line to advance. My command moved forward some three or four hundred yards, the enemy contesting the ground, but falling back until the crest of a ridge in front of me had been gained. Here the enemy, strongly posted, delivered a very heavy fire of artillery and small arms; the advance was checked, and in the course of ten or fifteen minutes my line was forced to retire to its original position on Brigadier-General Jackson's right, and I was directed by the Brigadier-General commanding to remain there until further orders. Four guns of Fowler's battery were posted, during this last movement, in rear of Liddell's division, and opened fire on a battery of the enemy which was shelling the troops on the left, and silenced it in a few minutes. One section under Lieutenant Phelan, in an attempt to follow my brigade when it moved to General Cheatham's right, passed, by reason


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W. H. T. Walker (4)
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