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[214] Robertson was ordered to report to me with his own and Semple's batteries of Napoleon guns. Captain Wright, who,with his battery, had been detached some days before, was ordered to join his brigade (Preston's). The brigades of Adams and Preston, which were left on the west side of the river Wednesday night, had been ordered to rejoin me. At the moment of my advance our artillery in the center and on the left was to open on the enemy. One gun from our center was the signal for the attack. The Commanding-General desired that the movement should be made with the least possible delay.

It was now 2½ o'clock P. M. Two of the brigades had to march about two miles, the other two about one mile. Brigadier-General Pillow, having reported for duty, was assigned by the Commanding-General to Palmer's brigade, and that fine officer resumed command of his regiment, and was three times wounded in the ensuing engagement. The Ninth Kentucky and Cobbs' battery, under the command of Colonel Hunt, were left to hold the hill so often referred to.

The division, after deducting the losses of Wednesday, the troops left on the hill and companies on special service, consisted of some 4,500 men. It was drawn up in two lines, the first in a narrow skirt of woods, the second two hundred yards in rear. Pillow and Hanson formed the first line, Pillow on the right. Preston supported Pillow, and Adams' brigade (commanded by Colonel Gibson) supported Hanson. The artillery was placed in rear of the second line under orders to move with it and occupy the summit of the slope as soon as the infantry should rout the enemy. Feeling anxious about my right, I sent two staff officers in succession to communicate with Pegram and Wharton, but received no intelligence up to the moment of assault. The interval between my left and the troops on the hill was already too great, but I had a battery to watch it with a small infantry support.

There was nothing to prevent the enemy from observing nearly all our movements and preparations. To reach him it was necessary to cross an open space six or seven hundred yards in width with a gentle ascent. The river was several hundred yards in rear of his position, but departed from it considerably as it flowed towards his left.

I had informed the Commanding-General that we would be ready to advance at 4 o'clock, and precisely at that hour the signal gun was heard from our center. Instantly the troops moved forward at a quickstep and in admirable order. The front line had bayonets fixed, with orders to deliver one volley and then use the bayonet.

The fire of the enemy's artillery on both sides of the river commenced as soon as the troops entered the open ground. When less than half the distance across the field, the quick eye of Colonel O'Hara discovered a force extending considerably beyond our right. I immediately directed Major Graves to move a battery to our right and open on them. He at once advanced Wright's battery and effectually checked their movements.

Before our line reached the enemy's position his artillery fire had become heavy, accurate, and destructive. Many officers and men fell before we closed

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Preston (3)
Wright (2)
Pillow (2)
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Adams (2)
Wharton (1)
Semple (1)
E. W. Robertson (1)
Willie Pegram (1)
Palmer (1)
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R. L. Gibson (1)
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