by way of Charlotte, Tenn. This movement has become imperatively necessary in consequence of the vastly superior and constantly increasing force of the enemy, who had already completely enveloped our position. The general plan was for General Pillow to attack his extreme right, and for that portion of my division remaining under my command, after being relieved in the rifle pits by Colonel Head's regiment, to make an attack upon the right of the enemy's center, and, if successful, to take up a position in advance of our works on the Wynn's Ferry road, to cover the retreat of the whole army, after which my division was to act as the rear guard.
On Saturday morning, the 15th, a considerable portion of my division was delayed by the non-arrival of Head's regiment at the appointed time, and by the slippery condition of the icy road, which fordable a rapid march. My advance regiment, however (the Third Tennessee), reached its position by daylight in rear of a portion of the entrenchments which had been occupied by General Pillow's troops. As no guards had been left in this portion of the line, and even a battery was left in position without a cannoneer, I deployed the Third Tennessee in the rifle pits, to cover the formation of my division as it arrived. The regiments wee formed partly in line and partly in column, and covered from the enemy's artillery fire by a slight acclivity in front. In the mean time the attack on the enemy's right was made in the most gallant and determined manner by the division of General Pillow. For the progress of that actio I refer to the reports of Colonel Pillow. For the progress of that action I refer to the reports of Colonel Baldwin, Colonel Greg, and their subordinate commanders, which have been transmitted to me, as the senior officer left with the army.
In front o my position the enemy had a heavy battery posted on the Wynn's Ferry road, with another battery opposite my left-both sustained by a heavy infantry force.
Major Davidson, acting chief of my artillery, established Graves' battery to the left of the Wynn's Ferry road and opened upon the enemy's batteries a destructive fire. I also directed a portion of the artillery to open upon the flank and left rear of the enemy's infantry, who were contesting the advance of General Pillow's division. In view of the heavy duty which I expected my division to undergo in covering the retreat of the army, I thought it unadvisable to attempt an assault at this time in my front until the enemy's batteries were to some extent crippled and their supports shaken by the fire of my artillery.
About 9 o'clock General Pillow urged an advance to relieve his forces. I accordingly sent forward the Fourteenth Mississippi, Major Doss, deployed as skirmishers. At the request of this commander I assigned the direction of its movements to Major Alexander Casseday, of my staff. The line of skirmishers was sustained by the Third and Eighteenth Tennessee. Their line of march unfortunately masked the fire of my artillery upon the Wynn's Ferry road, but it continued to play with effect upon the force which was opposing General Pillow's advance. The combined attack compelled the enemy to retire, not, however, without inflicting upon my troops considerable loss. Under a misapprehension of instructions, at a time when my artillery was directed over the heads of the advanced troops upon the enemy's battery, these regiments withdrew without panic, but in some confusion, to the trenches, after the enemy's infantry had been driven a considerable distance from their position.
As the enemy's line of retreat was along the Wynn's Ferry road, I now organized an attack farther to my right, up a deep valley, which led