re-enforcements from the left, rendering it, perhaps, injudicious to send out more of the troops from the rifle pits, I directed Colonel Forrest, with a portion of his cavalry, to give aid to Colonel Drake, if necessary and practicable. Colonel Forrest soon returned and reported to me that he had advised Colonel Drake to fall back. Yet the enemy were finally driven back in gallant style by the brigade with heavy loss to them and without the loss of a single man on our side. Having nearly exhausted his ammunition, Colonel Drake fell back with his brigade into the rifle pits. Thus ended the conflict on the left wing on February 15, the enemy having been driven back at every point where we had engaged him with heavy losses.
The Eighth Kentucky, Seventh Texas, and First Mississippi regiments, of Colonel Simonton's brigade, suffered, perhaps, the greatest losses. The Eighth Kentucky reports 17 men killed and 46 officers and men wounded, making its total loss, including 1 man wounded on the 14th, 19 killed and 57 wounded. Captain Robert Slaughter's company (A), of the Eighth Kentucky, which advanced immediately on the two pieces of artillery on the first hill, is said to have suffered severely.
The Seventh Texas Regiment, under Colonel Gregg, met with heavy losses near the top of the same hill. Here Lieutenant-Colonel [J. M.] Clough and Lieutenant [J. W.] Nowlin fell nearly together, nobly performing their duties on the field.
When the two guns were carried on the first hill there were no troops on the right of Simonton's brigade. The Virginia brigades occupied a position on its left, having driven the enemy from his first position and planted its colors on the top of the hill. Colonel Simonton's brigade continued in action until the battery near the Wynn's Ferry road had been carried by Colonel Forrest's cavalry, where it was found in line of battle in advance of the point when the action ended, and was finally withdrawn into the trenches.
I regret that I am unable to give any particulars in regard to the Virginia brigades during this day's action. I learned from some of its officers that it had suffered severe losses.
During February 12 and 13 the whole of my command were in the trenches day and night, toiling, watching, and fighting, amid rain and sleet. On the night of the 13th the weather was very inclement and the men were exposed without shelter of fire.
On the nights of the 14th and 15th the men were withdrawn a part at a time from the rifle pits, but by reason of their being marshaled for combat they found little repose. Perhaps but few instances of such continued fatigue and exposure will be found on record. It would seem that the command should have been well nigh exhausted, yet not a single instance of repining ever reached my ear. Every privation was endured with unconquerable courage, and at all times, even at the surrender of our forces, they manifested an invincible spirit.
After the battle of the 15th the left wing remained in the trenches until between 1 and 1 a. m. on the 16th, when, having received orders from the commanding general, I drew out the whole of my command with a view to cut our way through the enemy's right and retreat, as proposed on the night previous. The left wing was duly paraded in column of regiments outside of the left of our entrenchments by 3 a. m. Somewhat later I discovered the Virginia Regiments moving from my command to the Dover landing, and learned that they moved by order of General Floyd. After waiting some time for orders I sent an aide to report my command ready to move, and received a written communication from General Buckner to the effect that the command had de-