and I pushed on as rapidly as possible in pursuit of the forces opposed, who appeared to be retreating en masse, Lieutenant-Colonel Erwin, with the right wing, being on the right side of the Greenville road, and Major Goodwin, with the left wing, on the left side of the same road. My colors were in the center of the road. While moving forward in this manner many of the road. While moving forward in this manner many of the enemy were killed or wounded as they retreated. Shortly after passing the place where the enemy's batteries had been, Colonel Baker, with the Indiana cavalry, passed me in pursuit of the retreating forces. I immediately pushed forward to support him. The cavalry has passed me but a few moments when I heard a discharge of artillery and a volley of musketry in front, and almost immediately after Colonel Baker, with a portion of his cavalry, returned, requesting me to hurry forward, and stating that the enemy had planted their batteries in front of him, and that their infantry were behind fences in such a position that he could not charge on them. I at once moved on at a double-quick, passing Colonel Baker's cavalry, who were drawn up on each side of the road.
At this time Lieutenant-Colonel Erwin discovered from the right a battery a short distance in advance, with the Union flag flying. As he had been concealed from the road for some distance by the timber through which he passed, he supposed them to be some of our own forces who had passed while he was out of sight, and, fearful of injuring friends, withheld his fire. While still approaching them they limbered up and moved off at a run. At this point several of the retreating forces were killed and wounded. About this time Colonel Carlin, of the Thirty-eighth Illinois, at the head of not more than two companies, came up the road. I pushed on ahead of him, pursuing the enemy. When about 2 1/2 miles form our starting point my left wing emerged from the timber into an open field. At this instant I discovered, a short distance ahead, a number of cavalry, whom I supposed from their dress to be Union troops. I rode up to a house a short distance in front, and inquiring of a woman who was there, was informed they were Union men. I immediately ordered my left wing, who were firing, fearful that they would kill our own forces. On riding up to the spot we ascertained from a wounded man that they were the rear guard of the enemy, and that Jeff. Thompson in person was with them. Pursuing them at a double-quick, I succeeded in getting within long range of them at a turn of the road, and fired, killing one. At this time I was about 3 1/2 miles from our original position, and received an order to halt and return to Fredericktown, which I did. During the engagement and pursuit my command behaved with coolness, and my orders were obeyed with a readiness truly commendable, taking into consideration the fact that it was the first time they were ever under fire.
When all do well the mention of individual names is unnecessary. My field and staff were in their proper positions, and afforded me efficient aid in the discharge of my duties. Rev. charles Button, chaplain of my regiment, was on the field, and was untiring in his efforts to aid the wounded and dying.
I am happy to report only 3 wounded and none killed, which, considering the long time we were under fire, is truly remarkable.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. C. MARSH,
Colonel Twentieth Regiment Illinois Volunteers.
Catp. GEORGE P. EDGAR,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
P. S. - Whole number engaged, 483.