it. I would here state that, before arranging my troops, one of the cavalry belonging to Captain Montgomery's company returned, informing me that the enemy had landed a large force; that they were forming into line some 2 1/2 to 3 miles from our camp, with a view, as was supposed, of making an attack upon us. We had been ready in line some twenty minutes or more, when Brigadier-General Pillow came up with Colonel Russell's and Colonel Freeman's Tennessee regiments and took command, directing my three companies left with the guns to return to the regiment, and putting Colonel Russell's regiment on my right and Colonel Freeman's regiment on my left, between the Watson Battery and my left wing, a little to the rear of the battery. This was about 9.30 or 10 o'clock in the morning. I am informed that Colonel Pickett's Tennessee regiment came across the river about the same time and was placed in line on the left of the Watson Battery.
By order of General Pillow I sent out Captain Shelton's company as skirmishers; they were absent some three quarters of an hour, when they were driven in by the enemy, who opened upon us with a heavy firing, and the engagement became general between them and our regiments on the right of the Watson Battery.
From the time my command took their position in readiness for the enemy had the commencement of the general engagement at least an hour and a half elapsed, during which time we were advised every few minutes by our cavalry of the progress the enemy were making towards our line. My regiment was engaged over an hour and a half, being subject to and returning the fire of an overpowering force of the enemy, when, Colonel Russell's regiment getting out of ammunition, we gradually and in good order, without any confusion, retired through the timber recently cut down by my command to the bank of the river, where upon the bank I again formed my regiment into line. The regiment suffered more during the above period than at any other time during the day.
After our last formation we remained some half an hour exposed to the fire of the enemy, which we returned, when some of our troops, being overpowered by an overwhelming force, were compelled to retire, and my camp fell into the possession of the enemy, which they only partially destroyed. I then fell back some 150 yards up the river, where I again formed my line in connection with troops commanded by Colonel J. Knox Walker, Lieutenant-Colonel Vaughan, of Colonel Wright's Tennessee Regiment, and Major Stewart, of Colonel Freeman's regiment. Just as our line was formed Brigadier-General Cheatham came across the river, leaving his forces to be brought over by yourself, took charge of our troops thus formed, and led us in person. We came across the enemy about 200 yards from the river, and for fifteen minutes or more the firing was exceedingly spirited on both sides. The order being given for a charge by General Cheatham, we rushed upon the enemy, killing a great many of them and causing them to run in great disorder and confusion. I pursued them some short distance, when we were overtaken by yourself, General Pillow, and directly afterwards by General Cheatham, with Colonel Smith's Tennessee regiment and Colonel Blythe's Mississippi regiment, who pursued the enemy to their boats. I take great pleasure in alluding to the gallant conduct of Colonel Beltzhoover, of the Watson Battery, who did great execution with his guns, and who only retired after getting out of ammunition. His report is herewith attached. The gallant conduct of the two cavalry companies before mentioned deserves to be referred to with praise. They watched the movements of the enemy, resisted their approach, and