Col. William Preston
of the general commanding, in his account of the events of Sunday, April 6th, said:
Between dawn and sunrise sharp skirmishing was heard rather more than half a mile in advance in the forest.
General Johnston rode forward, when we found the action commenced by General Hindman's brigade, which was suffering under a heavy fire.
There were many dead and wounded, and some stragglers breaking ranks, whom General Johnston rallied in person.
I rode forward and found General Hindman rallying and animating his men, who were advancing toward the camp.
General Johnston then, through me, ordered General Bragg to advance.
Our forces then entered the enemy's camp under a heavy fire of musketry and artillery.
Passing to the left, General Johnston reconnoitered, from two cabins at the edge of a large field, the position of the enemy beyond.
The field extended toward the river, and beyond was fringed with woodland, and 200 or 300 yards beyond was the enemy's camp.
Through this field General Cleburne's brigade moved in fine order, with loud and inspiring cheers, to attack the camp.
The surprise was complete.
It was carried between 7 and 8 o'clock, and its colors, arms, stores and ammunition were abandoned.
The breakfasts of the men were on the tables, the officers' baggage and apparel left in the tents.
's account of the opening of the battle is as follows:
Hindman's-brigade engaged the enemy with great vigor in the edge of a wood, and drove him rapidly back over the field toward Pittsburg, while Gladden's brigade dashed upon the encampment of a division under the command of General Prentiss.
At the same time Cleburne's brigade, with the Fifteenth Arkansas deployed as skirmishers, moved quickly through the fields, and though far outflanked by the enemy on our left, rushed forward under a terrific fire from the serried ranks drawn up in front of the camp.
A morass covered his front and caused a break in the brigade.
Deadly volleys were poured upon the men as they advanced, from behind bales of hay, logs and other defenses, and after a series of desperate charges,