good service as long as it remained under my observation. I then ordered up the Seventeenth Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, and formed it behind a fence, within 80 or 100 yards of the enemy. This position they held for nearly one hour against an overwhelming force, meanwhile pouring a most destructive fire against the advancing column, spreading terror through the ranks of the enemy.
I cannot speak too highly of the striking influence over this regiment, of the thorough and rigid discipline to which it had been reduced by its efficient commander, Colonel T. W. Newman, who I regret was prevented from being present at the engagement by some indisposition.
Perceiving that the enemy was being re-enforced in this quarter by several fresh regiments, and that they were pushing on with a most determined courage, I directed my aide, W. H. Carroll, to return and order up the regiments of Colonels Wood and Powell, that had up to this time been held in reserve. Colonel Wood brought his men forward with the steadiness of veterans, and formed them in battle array with the coolness and precision of a holiday parade. Advancing very near the enemy, we kept up a constant and most destructive fire until we were forced to quit the field and fall back before superior numbers. Returning a short distance we rallied and renewed the contest, but were again assailed by an unequal force and again driven slowly back, stubbornly contesting every inch of ground over which the enemy were advancing. The action had now become general all along my entire line-the Federals fighting with unusual vigor and courage. Re-enforcements of the enemy continuing to pour in upon us in every direction, the ground was soon covered with the dead and wounded, and the discharge of small-arms and the roar of cannon were incessant. Whenever we could succeed in driving back one regiment another would supply its place and meet us with a more determined resistance. Their artillery, having been brought into play, swept the entire field, throwing shell, grape, and canister shot into our very midst.
In the mean time the Twenty-eighth Tennessee, Colonel J. P. Murray, being assailed by more than twice its numbers, after making a brief resistance, broke and fled in confusion from the field. The Twenty-ninth Tennessee, Colonel Powell, was also attacked in a similar manner, and, the colonel himself being seriously wounded, his men fell back in considerable disorder and could not be induced to face the enemy again, though every effort was made to rally them back by their own officers and members of my staff. Two regiments of General Zollicoffer's command had already been forced to retire from the field. Their retreat through my ranks contributed very much to throw my columns into disorder. The regiments of Colonel Wood and Lieutenant-Colonel Miller continued to hold the enemy at bay, slowly retiring from the field now lost to us.
Perceiving the fortunes of the day were against us, and that we could not longer maintain the unequal contest, I reluctantly permitted my entire command to retreat in the direction of our works at Mill Springs. I was not able to bring either my cavalry or artillery into action, in consequence of the rugged and uneven nature of the ground over which the battle was fought. While retiring from the field the enemy evinced little disposition to pursue us, having evidently suffered, in all probability, a greater loss than our own.
Late in the afternoon my command reached our encampment at Beech Grove and took possession of the fortifications formerly erected at that place. I succeeded in bringing from the field as many of my wounded as my limited means of transportation would permit.
8 R R-VOL VII