I take pleasure in saying that in this part of the operations of my troops they were aided by the Crescent Regiment of Louisiana, Colonel M. L. Smith.
This command was composed chiefly of young men from the city of New Orleans, and belonged to General Bragg's corps. It has been posted on the left wing in the early part of the day to hold an important position, where it was detained, and did not reach the field until a late hour. On arriving, it came to the point at which I was commanding, and reported to me for orders. The conduct of this regiment during the whole afternoon was distinguished for its gallantry both before and after the capture of the command of General Prentiss, in which it actively participated.
Immediately after the surrender I ordered Colonel Lindsay, in command of one of the regiments of cavalry belonging to my corps, to take command of all the cavalry at hand and pursue such of the enemy as were fleeing. He detached Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, of his own regiment, on that service immediately, while he proceeded to collect and take charge of other commands. Colonel Miller dashed forward and intercepted a battery within 150 yards of the river-the Second Michigan-and captured it before it could unlimber and open fire. It was a six gun battery, complete in all its equipments, and was captured-men, horses, and guns. A portion of this cavalry rode to the river and watered their horses.
By this time the troops under my command were joined by those of Generals Bragg and Breckinridge and my Fourth Brigade, under General Cheatham, from the right. The field was clear; the rest of the forces of the enemy were driven to the river and under its bank. We had one hour or more of daylight still left; were within from 150 to 400 yards of the enemy's position, and nothing seemed wanting to complete the most brilliant victory of the war but to press forward and made a vigorous assault on the demoralized remnant of his forces.
At this juncture his gunboats dropped down the river, near the Landing, where his troops were collected, and opened a tremendous cannonade of shot and shell over the bank in the direction from where our forces were approaching. The height of the plain on which we were, above the level of the water, was about 100 feet, so that it was necessary to give great elevation to his guns to enable him to fire over the bank. The consequence was that shot could take effect only at points remote from the river's edge. They were comparatively harmless to our troops nearest the bank, and became increasingly so as we drew near the enemy and placed him between us and his boats.
Here the impression arose that our forces were wagons an unequal contest; that they were exhausted and suffering from a murderous fire, and by an order from the commanding general they were withdrawn from the field.
One of my divisions (that of General Clark), consisting of Stewart's and Russell's brigades, now under the command of General Stewart, bivouacked on the ground with the rest of the troops, and were among the first to engage the enemy on the following morning. They were actively engaged during the day, and sustained the reputation they had won the day before.
The other division, under General Cheatham-a brigade of which was separated from me at an early hour on the 6th was fought throughout the day with a skill and courage which always distinguishes that gallant officer-was moved by him to his camp of the night before. They were taken there to obtain rations and to prepare for the work