Hascall's and Colonel Harker's brigades were withdrawn, and the latter, under orders from the commanding General, moved to the right and rear. I ordered Colonel Wagner to hold his position in the woods at all hazards, as this was an important point, and so long as it was held, not only were our left front and flanks secured, but the command of the road leading to the rear preserved. The vigorous attack on our right and centre, extended to our left, and our whole line became seriously engaged. Not only was the extreme left exposed to the attack in the front, but was much harassed by the enemy's artillery, posted on the heights on the southern side of Stone River. But the troops nobly maintained their position, and gallantly repulsed the enemy. A slackening of the enemy's fire at this moment, in his attack on our centre and left, and other indications that his forces were weakening in the centre, rendered the juncture apparently favorable for bringing additional and fresh troops into the engagement. Hascall's brigade was now brought forward, and put into position on the right of Wagner's brigade. But the abatement of the enemy's fire was but the lulling of the storm, to burst soon with greater fury. The attack was renewed on our centre and left with redoubled violence. Hascall's brigade had got into position in good season, and aided in gallant style in driving back the enemy. Estep's battery, generally associated with Hascall's brigade, had been detached early in the morning, and sent to the right and rearward, to aid in driving back the enemy from our centre and right. The falling back of the right wing had brought our lines into a crochet. This rendered the position of the troops on the extreme left particularly hazardous, for had the enemy succeeded in gaining the turnpike, in his attack on the right, the left would have been exposed to an attack in the reverse. This danger imposed on me the necessity of keeping a rigid watch to the right, to be prepared to change front in that direction, should it become necessary. Again the enemy were seen concentrating large masses of troops in the fields to the front and right, and soon these masses moved to the attack. Estep's battery was now moved to the front to join Hascall's brigade. The artillery in the front lines, as well as those placed in the rear of the centre and left, poured a destructive fire on the advancing foe, but on he came until within small-arm range, when he was repulsed and driven back. But our thinned ranks and dead and wounded officers told, in sad and unmistakable language, how seriously we were sufferers from these repeated assaults. Colonel McKee, of the Third Kentucky, had been killed; and Colonel Hines and Lieutenant-Colonel Dennard, of the Fifty-seventh Indiana, and Colonel Blake and Lieutenant-Colonel Neff, of the Fortieth Indiana, with others, were wounded. During this attack, the Fifteenth Indiana, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Wood, counter-charged on one of the enemy's regiments, and captured one hundred and seventy-five prisoners. The capture was from the Twentieth Louisiana. While this attack was in progress, I received a message from General Palmer, commanding the Second division of the left wing, that he was sorely pressed, and desired I would send him a regiment, if I could possibly spare one. I sent an order to General Hascall to send a regiment to General Palmer's assistance, if his own situation would warrant it. He dispatched the Fifty-eighth Indiana, Colonel G. P. Buell's regiment, to report to General Palmer. The regiment got into position, reserved its fire until the enemy were in close range, and then poured in a withering discharge, from which the foe recoiled in disorder. Our extreme left next became the object of the enemy's attention. Skirmishers were seen descending the slope on the opposite side of the river, as also working their way down the stream for the purpose, apparently, of gaining our left flank and rear. A few well-directed charges of grape and canister from Cox's battery drove them back. This battery did most excellent service in counter-battering the enemy's artillery, posted on the heights on the southern side of the river. The afternoon was now well advanced, but the enemy did not seem disposed to relinquish the design of forcing us from our position. Heavy masses were again assembled in front of the centre, with a view, evidently, of renewing the onset. But the well-directed fire of the artillery held them in check, and only a small force came within range of our small arms, which was readily repulsed. The enemy concluded his operations against the left, as night approached, by opening on it with his artillery. Cox's and Estep's batteries gallantly and effectually replied. But darkness soon put a conclusion to this artillery duel, and when the night descended brought a period to the long and bloody contest of this ever-memorable day, which found the First and Second brigades, Hascall's and Wagner's, occupying, with some slight interchange in the position of particular regiments, the ground on which they had gone into the fight in the morning. Every effort of the enemy to dislodge them had failed; every attack was gallantly repulsed. I cannot speak in too high terms of praise of the soldierly bearing and steadfast courage with which the officers and men of these two brigades maintained the battles throughout the day. Their good conduct deserves and will receive the highest commendations of their commanders and countrymen. The commanding General of the enemy has borne testimony in his dispatch to the gallantry and success of their resistance. Cox's and Estep's batteries were splendidly served throughout the day, and did the most effective service. They lost heavily in men and horses, and it was necessary for Estep to call on the One Hundredth Illinois, for a detail to aid in working his guns. I have previously remarked that the Third brigade, Colonel Harker's, was detached early
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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