under which we lay, the troops under my command arose at an early hour, shook the thick covering of snow from their overcoats, partook of a meager breakfast, and cheerfully resumed their old position under the intrenchments. Though suffering from the snow and rain of the previous night, they returned during the whole of the day the enemy's fire, doing him no little damage. Night again coming on, the troops fell back for rest and such refreshment as could under the circumstances be had, reasons before mentioned preventing the building of fires.
Here necessity compels me to state that Colonel Wright, in violation of direct orders, removed his command, the Thirteenth Missouri, to its first position occupied before the investment. Immediately upon being informed of the same, I proceeded on foot, and in person ordered his return. His compliance with the order again left the command in its original line and in readiness for a combined attack on the following day.
Saturday, the 15th, after another night of snow and severe cold, the troops suffering intensely, but without murmurs, four regiments of my command returned to their original position (the Seventh Illinois having been sent the day previous farther to the right to support Captain Richardson's battery), they having been permitted to fall back by companies out of range of the enemy's guns to cook their breakfast and thaw their frozen clothes. At 9 a. m., in pursuance of orders from division headquarters, the Thirteenth Missouri Volunteers was sent to the right to support a battery left unprotected by the withdrawal of a portion of Colonel McArthur's brigade, and the Fifty-second Indiana, Colonel Smith, was ordered to the extreme left to repel any sally which the enemy might make from that quarter, a gap in his breastworks having been left for egress, leaving only the Twelfth Iowa and Fiftieth Illinois, with one battalion of Birge's Sharpshooters, to engage the enemy along a line of half a mile in extent. At 2 p. m. orders came from General Smith to increase the number of skirmishers from my command and more completely engage the enemy's attention, while he in person, with Colonel Lauman's brigade and the Fifty-second Indiana, stormed the entrance previously mentioned.
The fortifications having been gained by General Smith and the enemy's infantry having been driven back, I sent a messenger to General Grant, asking permission to move my brigade up to the support of Colonel Lauman, and, if possible, take the enemy's batteries, which were pouring in upon him a murderous fire of grape, canister, and shell. While awaiting the return of the messenger information was received that the Stars and Stripes were flying over the main battery of the enemy, when orders were immediately given to cease firing, which having been complied with and the companies thrown out as skirmishers ordered to rejoin their commands, I ascertained the Stars and Stripes were raised by the rebels that we might be drawn within their reach. The messenger having returned, I abandoned the position, and with all the speed possible proceeded over the abatis, under a heavy fire of grape and canister. The distance being short, the discharges caused but little damage, overshooting us just enough to tear into shreds the colors of the Seventh Illinois, which regiment had been ordered by General Grant to rejoin me, two pieces of the battery it was supporting having been placed in position within the intrenchments, and succeeded, with the assistance of infantry, in silencing the battery of the enemy, giving us at a late hour full possession of his outer works in his right, he having been driven to take cover under his inner intrenchments. The Fifty-second Indiana, from the lateness of the hour having been ordered back,