were still further enhanced by the smoke of battle, and the burning of the woods rendered it impossible to distinguish objects twenty paces in advance. My skirmishers encountering the enemy at an hundred yards or less, I pushed rapidly upon his lines, under a most terrific fire from all arms. There was no position from which my artillery could be served with advantage against the enemy, while two of his batteries immediately in my front, and one almost on my right flank, filled the air with grape, canister, shells and solid shot; while volley after volley of musketry, in quick succession, swept my men by scores at every discharge. For four hundred yards, however, my line steadily advanced without faltering at any point until the enemy had been driven beyond the tangled under-growth and his first line completely routed. A stubborn resistance from the second line, supported by artillery, posted upon a slight acclivity in our front, and pouring showers of canister upon us for a few minutes, checked our progress, but again we advanced, driving back his second line up to and beyond the summit of the ridge, until my right rested upon and my centre and left had passed the crest. Unfortunately, however, at this moment, when the rout of the second line was about being made as complete as the disaster to the first a few minutes previous, a force of the enemy appeared upon my right flank, and had well nigh turned it, compelling the Eighteenth and Forty-fifth Tennessee regiment to retire rapidly and in some confusion under a heavy enfilading fire. This necessitated the withdrawal of the centre and left, there being no support upon my right for a mile and none in my rear nearer than six hundred yards, and which was then not in motion. Before reaching the summit of the ridge, many of the best and bravest officers of my command had been stricken down. Among these may be named Colonel J. B. Palmer, severely wounded; Colonel John M. Lillard, mortally wounded; Lieutenant-Colonel Butler, slightly wounded; Major Joyner and Major Tazewell W. Newman,severely wounded, besides many line officers, whose services were almost indispensable to their commands. Soon after passing the dense under-growth mentioned above, we killed the horses and drove the gunners from five field pieces, three upon the right and two in the centre. The command passed them, but the men were not permitted to fall out of ranks to remove them. Lieutenant Anderson, of Dawson's battery, removed three of them (six-pounder rifle brass pieces) to the rear, and the other two were removed by persons unknown. In addition to this, the Thirty-second Tennessee, in the centre, just before being withdrawn, and while a little beyond the crest of the ridge, drove the enemy from two other field pieces and silenced their fire, but did not reach them; while the left (Twenty-sixth Tennessee) drove him from a battery of the second line, but was retired before reaching it. In this action Carnes' battery of light artillery, of Wright's brigade, which had an hour or two previous been captured by the enemy, was re-taken by my command. Brigadier-General Bate relieved me about----P. M., and I rapidly re-formed and replenished my ammunition in his rear, and, when ready again to move forward, a staff officer announced that the enemy had penetrated between Bate's left and Johnson's right, and that his skirmishers were moving upon my flank. I immediately changed the direction of my line at a double-quick, first sending forward a strong line of skirmishers. But finding that the enemy had either retreated or that the alarm was a false one, I reported the fact to the Major-General commanding, and, in obedience to his orders, moved again to the front and, passing the commands of Bate and Clayton, formed in line beyond their left flank, almost upon the precise ground to which I had previously pursued the enemy. Having placed my artillery in position under the personal supervision of Major-General Stewart, and protected my front with skirmishers, I was directed to remain and hold the position during the night. The enemy was about two hundred and fifty or three hundred yards distant in my front, but did not advance, and, save an occasional shot on the picket line and a few shells about nightfall, there was no firing during that night. Soon after daylight on Sunday morning (the twentieth), in obedience to orders from the Major-General commanding, I moved by the right flank five hundred paces, inclining a little to the rear, so as to keep the crest of the ridge. In a few moments the skirmishers encountered a sharp fire from the enemy and were rapidly driven in on the right, six or eight of them being shot down. They were immediately reinforced, pushed cautiously forward, under such shelter as the ground and timber afforded, to a distance of one hundred and fifty yards; but so near was the enemy that they could not be advanced further without provoking an engagement, which I had been cautioned to avoid until our line could be established. Brigadier-General Bate formed on my right, but at an angle with my line, his right retired. In a short time afterward Brigadier-General Wood, of Cleburne's division, formed on my right, a little in front of Bate. We erected temporary defences of logs, rocks, brush, and such other materials as could be hastily collected. At about half-past 10 A. M., the enemy commenced shelling us from two positions, one immediately in my front, about four hundred yards distant, and the other more to my right, doing but little damage. At about eleven o'clock, when ordered to advance, I moved in line to the front, preceded by my skirmishers, who, soon driving in the enemy's skirmishers, rallied upon the command. We moved at double-quick nearly three hundred yards through an open wood, the enemy retiring before us, when the brigade on my right broke in confusion. My line still advanced fifty or
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.