I ordered my command to move by the left flank, which, being promptly done, confronted the opposing forces. Here one of the severest con flicts ensued that occurred during the two days. We drove the enemy back and pursued him with great vigor to the edge of a field, a half mile east and to the left of my headquarters, where reserves came to his support. Our position at this moment was most critical and a repulse seemed inevitable, but fortunately the Louisville Legion, forming part of General Rousseau's brigade, came up at my request and succored me. Extending and strengthening my line, this gallant body poured into the enemy's ranks one of the most terrible I ever witnessed. Thus breaking its center, it fell back in disorder, and henceforth he was beaten at all points until our successful pursuit was staid. The generous response of General Rousseau to my request for succor, no less than the gallant bearing of himself, Colonel Buckley, Lieutenant-Colonel Berry, and Major Treanor, officers of the same command,challenge my gratitude, while commanding my admiration. Crossing the field referred to, portions of my own and other divisions again encountered the enemy, who had rallied and offered obstinate resistance. Some of our men temporarily retired, while others persisted until the enemy was again driven back.
Pressing our advantage and moving obliquely to the south in the direction of General Sherman's camp, we came to another field, where Lieutenant Hammond, of General Sherman's staff, brought information that the enemy was hovering upon our left in considerable force. Riding forward from a point on the edge of the field I found this to be so. Directing Lieutenant Hammond to bring up a battery, it was posted near the field, and opening fire, drove the enemy into the woods. Meeting Brigadier-General McCook, I returned with him to the field, and, showing him the direction the enemy had withdrawn, proposed that he should move a portion of his command around the field and fall upon his flank. This was skillfully and successfully done, driving the enemy in the direction his center and left were already retreating.
Meantime, overtaking the enemy's center, we again engaged it. Our forces to the left not yet having come up, Colonel Gibson,-Indiana,*found himself hard pressed and in danger of being flanked. Instructing Lieutenant Hitt, of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, to inform General McCook accordingly, and to request of him re-enforcements, they were promptly sent forward, and the enemy again driven back with loss. In this engagement the Eighth and Eighteenth Illinois charged and took a section of the enemy's batteries, which they afterward brought to my camp.
The next and last stand of the enemy was in a wood skirting a field still farther south. Here he brought into action a number of guns, which were used with most annoying effect until silenced by McAllister's battery of 24-pounder howitzers. Although the enemy was further pursued, this artillery engagement actually terminated the conflict, which had pursued over a space of some 3 miles, and had been continued from 7 o'clock p. m. the second day. So protracted, obstinate, and sanguinary a battle has rarely occurred. In magnitude and importance it is second to but few.
Had our army been captured or destroyed on Sunday the rebellion would have rolled back over Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri before another army could have been raised and equipped adequate to retrieve
*Probably Colonel William H. Gibson, commanding Sixth Brigade, second Division, Army of the Ohio.