as that we might consider ourselves out of range, as I had at first suppose.
Captain Good's battery, now coming up, was placed to the right of Burbridge's regiment, and opened fire upon the enemy's battery from its position. The enemy, having got the range of our lines, threw in the shells with great precision and rapidity, concentrating their fire on one point. Wade's battery was ordered up to Good's support, but has scarcely unlimbered when Good's battery retired from the ground. Hart's battery was now ordered to take the place evacuated by Good. Gart's battery did not prove more steady than its predecessor under the enemy's fire, and immediately left the field. Wade's battery, having exhausted its ammunition and several horses, was now ordered to retire to the rear and replenish the caissons. Wade's battery and position was supplied by Captain Clark's battery, which continued to answer the enemy's fire until, by slacking his previous impetuosity, it became evident that a new maneuver was contemplated by the enemy.
From close observation I concluded that we might expect momentarily to be assailed by a charge of infantry. The enemy's line extended for nearly a mile and was supported by heavy reserves. Having ordered the left of my line to move close to the fence on the left of the woods and Whitfield's battalion to the support of Burbridge's regiment, on the right, I reported the expected advance of the enemy's infantry to General Van Dorn, who, in reply, ordered me to hold my position as long as possible.
The enemy advance. On, on they came, in overwhelming numbers, line after line; but they were met with the same determined courage which this protracted contest had taught them to appreciate. For more than half an hour our greatly diminished and exhausted troops held their hosts in check. Their intention of turning our flanks by their widely-extended line becoming now clearly evident, we slowly fell back from our advance position, disputing every inch ground which we relinquished.
It was at this critical juncture that the gallant Rives fell mortally wounded, and, as though fortune sought to dispossess our resolutions by multiplying disasters, within a few minutes after the fall of Rives we suffered an irreparable loss in the fall of the young and chivalrous Clark, whose battery kept up a galling fire on the advancing foe as our lines retired; and as we had now fallen back on a line with his guns, he fell, decapitated by a round shot while executing this maneuver; the last battery in action. Captain McDonald, was now compelled to retire by the intervention of our retiring line between him and the enemy, and it was with regret the order was issued for him to cease firing, so gallant was the conduct of the commander and his men, so terrible was the effect of every round which he delivered into the advancing lines of the enemy with a coolness and courage unsurpassed.
Our latest order from General Van Dorn directed our line to retire by the Huntsville road. To accomplish this movement with safety and success it was first necessary to withdraw Burbridge's and Whitfield's commands from our right wing across the main road, on which their left rested. This movement was successfully effected by their respective commanders after they had retained the enemy in check a sufficiently long time for Captain MacDonald's battery to limber up and retire.
During this movement three companies of Burbridge's regiment became detached from their command, and most happily effected their retreat