had no time to throw out skirmishers when the attack commenced.
The Federals had out a few, for a group of fours undeployed were lying dead in front of Company D, and not more than thirty yards distant. This is the only instance I can recall where the main lines engaged in pitched battle without skirmishers in front at first.
But probably the most trying ordeal to which we were ever subjected was the passage of that retreating command through our lines, before we became engaged.
Few fresh troops ever withstand it. The regiment was highly complimented at the time and often afterwards by experienced soldiers.
We advance across the field just spoken of, and halt, while the right wing of the army came swinging around toward the river, thundering heavily as it drove the enemy into the river.
At this point, Governor George W. Johnson
, our Provisional Governor
, joined Company E, and shouldered a musket.
He was killed the next day at his post, like a true patriot and soldier as he was.
We were then moved by the left flank, meeting as we marched, Prentiss
's fine brigade coming out as prisoners, almost, if not quite, intact.
On again, until we formed a line facing the river.
But our victories on that field had ceased.
Disaster was to be our fortune the next day. It was now late in the evening, and, after remaining under the fire of the gunboats for a while, we went into the Forty-sixth Ohio's camp and sought rest.
The next morning, after supporting the artillery for a time, General Bragg
ordered the Fourth Kentucky and a small part of the Thirty-first Alabama to the right and front to intercept the enemy, who were advancing in force, promising us the support of a brigade or two from some other part of the line.
We moved as directed, and found the Federals
had stopped behind bags of corn, watching us move on to our position.
We marched toward them a short distance, when we lay down and commenced firing.
We were fighting Bull Nelson
's division, and we numbered about 250 men all told.
I think the troops set apart for our support tried to reach us, but it was suicidal to attempt an advance in the face of such a deadly storm of bullets.
This unequal contest was carried on for about twenty minutes, when we fell back, leaving a larger number of us lying dead and dying in the line than we retreated with.
We retired from the field about sundown, weary and sick at heart.
If the life of General Albert Sidney Johnston
had been spared the result might have been different.
At this late day, however, we should not censure the conduct of our commanders, who did the best they