War of the Rebellion: Serial 007 Page 0348 OPERATIONS INKY., TENN., N. ALA., AND S. W. VA. Chapter XVII.

Search Civil War Official Records

eenth Tennessee Regiments (the former commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas M. Gordon and the latter by Colonel J. B. Palmer) were sent forward in quick succession to support the Fourteenth Mississippi. As they advanced over the abatis and through comparatively open ground, and especially on reaching the summit of the hill, they were met by a murderous fire. Some confusion ensued, but they returned a steady fire, until the enemy retired, under cover of dense timber and undergrowth, withdrawing his battery, which had been pouring a heavy fire into our reserves.

Further pursuit being impracticable in that direction, and companies having become separated and somewhat intermixed, on account of the obstacles over which they had marched, the command retired within the intrechments, and immediately reformed, to renew the attack still farther to the right, whither the enemy were retiring.

About 12 o'clock, under the direction of Brigadier-General Buckner, I led the Third and Eighteenth Tennessee, as well as the Thirty-Second Tennessee (Colonel Edward C. Cook), across an open field on the right of Wynn's Ferry road, under the fire of a battery posted on that road. As we appeared upon the summit of the hill the force supporting the battery retreated about 300 or 400 yards still farther to our right and farther from our lines, leaving one section of the battery, which fell into our hands.

The hill to which the enemy retreated was so densely covered with trees and undergrowth that our skirmishers could not ascertain his position and numbers, but we were led to suppose that his battery at that point was supported by a force not exceeding 1,000 men, but it was afterwards ascertained that his strength was nearly 7,000, while there were five regiments within supporing distance.

Acting upon the first and only information we could then obtain, a charge was ordered and the whole command moved forward with spirit and animation; but when within about 100 yards of the enemy, who was upon higher ground, we were met by a fire of grape and musketry that was terrific, but fortunately passing above our heads. We halted and opened a fire of musketry upon them, which, although continuing only a few minutes, killed and wounded not less than 800 of the enemy Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon, of the Third, having been wounded, ordered the regiment to fall back under cover of the hill. I rallied it at about 100 yards, and placed it in command of Major Chairs. The Eighteenth and Thirty-second fell back a short distance, and just then, being re-enforced by the Fourteenth Mississippi, we were renewing the attack, when the enemy left the field, leaving his dead and wounded. While we were engaged the gallant Graves came in full speed to our assistance with a part of his battery, and maintained his position until the enemy retired.

Our loss in this engagement did not exceed 50 in killed and wounded; but the brave and accomplished Lieutenant-Colonel Moore, of the Thirty-second Tennessee Regiment, fell mortally wounded while aiding his no less worthy commander in cheering his men to the charge.

Just as the enemy left the field, entirely opening the Wynn's Ferry road, my command was ordered by Brigadier-General Pillow, repeated by Brigadier-General Floyd, to return at once to its position on the right of our line of defenses.

My men had scarcely deployed in the rifle pits when I was ordered to re-enforce Colonel Hanson on the extreme right, whose works had been stormed and taken by the enemy before he had reoccupied them. An obstinate fire was maintained until dark, but we held the ground to