War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0244 OPERATIONS IN KY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA.Chapter XVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

fury and was replied to with effect by our men. I was then at the left of the line. At this juncture it was reported to me that two officers from other regiments then on the right came up, and, without consulting the colonel of the Twenty-fifth Kentucky, ordered his men forward down the enemy's line. They pressed down under a heavy volley and again opened their fire. While thus fighting, officers from the other regiments then at the right rode up and ordered the Twenty-fifth Kentucky to cease firing, and it accordingly did. Almost simultaneously with this, troops from the other brigade at the right retreated in confusion, and some of them passing obliquely against my line broke through it, disconnecting a portion of the Twenty-fifth Kentucky, with Colonel Shackelford and his associate field and staff officers, and Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn, of the Thirty-first Indiana, with a few of the privates of his command.

The brigade was now left without support, occupying the extreme right of the line of investment and in advance of it half a mile. It was ordered to fall back in line and occupy the slope of the hill a few hundred feet in the rear of the point of attack. The movement was accomplished in good order. This brought the Forty-fourth Indiana in line on the left. A message was now received from one of the Illinois regiments, requesting that the left should not fire. This message was regarded, and the Forty-fourth Indiana commanded to reserve their fire till ordered. In the mean time a heavy fire was poured into the regiment by the enemy. The line was here twice attacked and the enemy each time repulsed. From this position an effective charge was made, forcing the enemy to retire for some distance. An attempt was now made to outflank my line on the right. It was continually worked to our right, however, to resist this. A company of the Thirty-first Indiana was detailed as skirmishers on the right, in the bushes beyond. The fight was still progressing, but at this time the regiment to our left, supporting the battery, gave way (from want of ammunition, as was said), and a portion rushed into our rear, creating some confusion in the Forty-fourth Indiana, carrying with them some men of that regiment and exposing it to the flanking fire of the enemy, who appeared at that point with a considerable force of both cavalry and infantry. It was ordered to return the fire, and soon repulsed the enemy. The whole brigade was now moved in line to the rear in complete order, and occupied a better position on a commanding ridge in front of the enemy. An ineffectual advance was again made by the enemy, which was repulsed, and the firing ceased, except some skirmishing between a small detail of men sent to the front and the enemy's sharpshooters. Here the enemy drew off, leaving us in possession of the ground, and commenced retreating to the right, pursuing the woods, at times in sight, to a ridge across a large ravine about a half mile to our right, and establishing himself there in force. This threw him to the right and rear of us, and endangered the hospital buildings in our rear, to which our wounded had been conveyed.

The firing had now ceased on all sides. It being impossible to communicate with General Wallace or get dispatches to him, and information being casually received that the main line had been established farther back, it was deemed prudent to retire upon it. This was accordingly done, and the brigade was formed in column and marched to the high ground just north of the hospital buildings, with a view to protect them, to form part of the main line and to watch the enemy on our right. Upon communicating with the general commanding division, the position was regarded by him as well taken, and the order given to hold