At this time General Zollicoffer rode up to the Nineteenth Tennessee and ordered Colonel Cummings to cease firing, under the impression that the fire was upon another regiment of his own brigade. Then the general advanced, as if to give an order to the lines of the enemy, within bayonet reach, and was killed just as he discovered his fatal mistake. Thereupon a conflict ensued, when the Nineteenth Tennessee broke its line and gave back. Rather in the rear and near to this regiment was the Twenty-fifth Tennessee, commanded by Colonel Stanton, which engaged the enemy, when the colonel was wounded at the head of his men; but this regiment, impressed with the same idea which had proved fatal to General Zollicoffer-that it was engaged with friends-soon broke its line and fell into some disorder.
At this time-the fall of General Zollicoffer having been announced to me-I went forward in the road to the regiments of Colonels Cummings and Stanton, and announced to Colonel Cummings the death of General Zollicoffer, and that the command of the brigade devolved upon him.
There was a cessation of firing for a few moments, and I ascertained that the regiment of Colonel Battle was on the right and the Mississippi regiment in the center, neither as yet having been actively engaged, and the enemy in front of the entire line. I had ordered General Carroll to bring up his brigade, and it was now, in supporting distance, displayed in line of battle.
I now repeated my orders for a general advance, and soon the battle raged from right to left. When I sent my aide to order the Fifteenth Mississippi to charge, I sent by him an order to General Carroll to advance a regiment to sustain it. He ordered up for that purpose Colonel Murray's [Twenty-eighth Tennessee] regiment, which engaged the enemy on the left of the Mississippi regiment and on the right of Stanton's [Tennessee] regiment. I ordered Captain Rutledge, with two of his guns, forward in the road to an advanced and hazardous position, ordering Colonel Stanton to support him, where I hoped he might bring them to play effectively upon the enemy; but the position did not permit this, and he soon retired, under my order. At this point the horse of Captain Rutledge was killed under him.
Very soon the enemy began to gain ground on our left and to use their superior force for flanking in that quarter. I was in person at the right of the line of Stanton's regiment, the battle raging, and did not observe this so soon as it was observed by General Carroll, who moved the regiment of Colonel Cummings, then commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, to the left, to meet this movement of the enemy, and formed the Seventeenth Tennessee, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, to support the regiments on the left. The regiments of Murray, Stanton, and Cummings were driven back by the enemy, and, while reforming in the rear of the Seventeenth Tennessee, that well-disciplined regiment met and held in check for some time the entire right wing of the Northern army. These regiments on my left and on the left of the road retired across the field a distance of about 250 yards, and there for a time repulsed the advancing enemy. Especially the regiment of Colonel Stanton, partially rallied by its gallant field officers, formed behind a fence, and, pouring volleys into the ranks of the enemy coming across the field, repulsed and drove them back for a time with heavy loss.
For an hour now the Fifteenth Mississippi, under Lieutenant-Colonel Walthall, and the Twentieth Tennessee, under Colonel Joel A. Battle, of my center and right, had been struggling with the superior force of the enemy.
I cannot omit to mention the heroic valor of those two regiments. offi-