War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0204 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND W. S. VA.Chapter XVII.

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of the enemy's to our front and not far removed from us. Colonel Morrison at once expressed his willingness to yield command of the column to me; and with some reluctance, not having any orders from you on this point, I assumed command of the same, and under the direction and guidance of Captain Stewart, your aide, had them formed in line of battle in the Dover road, fronting toward the redoubts, and distant less than a quarter of a mile from us. The order of position of said regiments was not changed by me, and this placed Colonel Morrison and the Forty-ninth Regiment on the right; the Seventeenth, under Major Smith (colonel and lieutenant-colonel being absent), in the center, and the Forty-eighth Regiment (my own), under Lieutenant Colonel Thomas H. Smith, now deceased, on the left.

Immediately on the formation of the line of battle I directed each regimental commander to deploy skirmishers along the front of the whole line of their respective regiments and to throw them forward from 80 to 100 yards in advance of the main column. This being done, the commandants of regiments were further directed to communicate with me at or about the center of the brigade (center of Seventeenth Regiment) in case of necessity, and to control their movements upon the right and left wings by the center; whereupon I at once ordered the whole line forward towards the enemy's redoubts, situated upon the summit of the opposite hill.

The entire line advanced in good order and with alacrity until the redoubts of the enemy were approached to within a short distance, where from their rifle pits and earthen breastworks, which greatly protected them, the enemy opened a brisk and galling fire upon us. At the same time the enemy's batteries, situated so as to be concealed from us and not before known to bear upon us, were opened and a well-directed fire of shell and canister poured upon our ranks, notwithstanding which our lines continued to advance until almost up to the redoubts of the enemy. In the mean time information which I regarded as reliable reached me that the enemy were in force behind their works and well protected by six guns planted immediately in their rear, and also by cannon situated to their west and north. As quickly as possible I proceeded to ascertain the truth, and became satisfied of the facts.

The entire line had then been held under a brisk and galling fire for nearly an hour. Colonel Morrison, commanding Forty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, had by this time been wounded whilst gallantly leading his men upon the redoubts, and was carried from the field. Other parts of the line had suffered considerably, and seeing that the redoubt could not be taken without great destruction and loss of life, I at length reluctantly gave the order to retire down the hill a short distance and await your orders. This was done by the entire line in good order and without confusion, and was, greatly to my gratification, sanctioned by yourself when reported by me to you.

In this action I am happy to be able to bear testimony to the good conduct of the officers and men of the whole command. All of them under my own observation, with perhaps a solitary exception, labored with the utmost daring and gallantry, challenging my admiration by their heroism and meriting from their general the highest confidence.

I have the honor to be, respectfully,


Colonel Forty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry.


Commanding First Division Illinois Volunteers.