War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0286 OPERATIONS IN KY.,TENN., N.ALA., AND S.W.VA. Chapter XVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

at which it was determined to give the enemy battle at daylight next day, so as to cut up the investing force, if possible, before the fresh troops were in position.

In that council I proposed, as the plan of attack, that with the force in the entrenchments of our left wing and Colonel [R. W.] Hanson's regiment, of General Buckner's division, I would attack the enemy's main force on his right, and, if successful, that would roll the enemy on his line of investment to a point opposite General buckner's position, when he would attack him in flank and rear, and drive him with our united commands back upon his encampments at the river.

To this proposition, so far as allowing me to have Colonel Hanson's regiment, General Buckner objected, and I warned the point, saying I only asked the assistance of that regiment because my portion of the labor to be performed was by far the greatest, and that upon my success depended the fortunes of the day, and that a very large portion of the force I had to fight were fresh troops and badly armed.

General Buckner then proposed, as a modification of my plan of battle, that he should attack the enemy simultaneoulsy with my attack; that his attack should be against the position on the Wynn's Ferry road, where he had a battery nearly opposite the center of the left wing, and that he would thus lessen the labors for my command and strike the enemy in a more vital point. To this modification I agreed, as an improvement upon my proposed plan.

In carrying out this plan thus agreed upon it became proper for Colonel Heiman's brigade to maintain its position in the line, otherwise the enemy might turn the right of General Buckner's position and take his forces on the right flank, and thus defeat our success. It was arranged accordingly.

General Floyd approved this plan of battle and ordered that it should be carried out next morning at daylight. I then sent for all the commanders of brigades, to explain to them our situation (being invested), our purpose and plan of battle, and to assign to each brigade its position in my column; all of which was done, and I gave orders to have my whole force under arms at 4.30 o'clock and to be ready to march out of our works precisely at 5 o'clock.

At 4 o'clock I was with my command, all of which was in position, except Colonel Davidson's brigade, none of which was present. I immediately directed General B. R. Johnson, who was present,, and to whose immediate command Colonel Davidson's brigade belonged,t o dispatch officers for that brigade, and to ascertain the cause of its delay. He did so. I likewise sent several officers of my staff upon the same duty. Both sets of officers made the same report, viz, that Colonel Davidson had failed to give any orders to the colonels of his brigade, and that Colonel Davidson was sick. It is proper to state that he was complaining of being unwell when the orders were received. The instructions to the brigade commanders were given abut 2 o'clock that morning. My command was delayed in its advance about half an hour by the necessity of bringing up this brigade.

My column was finally ready and put in motion about 5.15 o'clock. I moved with the advance, and directed General B. R. Johnson to bring up the rear. The command of Colonel Davidson's brigade devolved upon Colonel Simonton, which, owing to the reasons already stated, was brought into column in the rear and into action last, under General Johnson, to whose report for its good behavior on the field I particularly refer, having in my original report omitted to state its position on the field.