I then moved forward with those I had up to the top of the hill, where we met with the most obstinate and determined resistance. The enemy's batteries, supported by a heavy force of infantry, rapidly thinned our ranks and held our troops back in a hotly-contested conflict, which lasted nearly an hour. They were finally forced to give way and fall back, closely pursued by our eager troops.
Continuing to advance, we soon encountered a battery, two pieces of which were taken and sent to the rear. Pushing still farther forward, a force was found partially concealed in the bushes in front of our left and extending beyond that flank. Fearing they were some of our Louisiana troops, I caused the firing to cease and halted the line, and sent forward to ascertain their true character. Conflicting reports were brought back.
Just at this time the troops that were on the right were seen to retire. I rode down the line to ascertain the cause. I found them to be the Fifth Tennessee Regiment, of General Stewart's brigade, and was informed that they had orders to fall back. This compelled me to retire a short distance, having first sent Colonel Brewer, who happened to pass by at the time, with his cavalry, to watch the movements of the concealed force (found to be the enemy), keep
in constant communication with me, and not suffer them to turn our left flank and get in our rear.
At this point Colonel Freeman reported his regiment to be out of ammunition, and I had it supplied from a wagon just passing.
Hearing rapid firing on the right, and there being no general officer present, I formed a line of battle as speedily as possible, facing in that direction, out of of the regiments I could get together. Lieutenant-Colonel Venable, though not in my brigade, readily adopted my plans and efficiently co-operated with me at that time and on other occasions throughout the day. Colonel Marks' regiment being nearly out of ammunition I directed them to be supplied from the wagon and placed on the left of the line; but by some mistake they bore too much to the right.
I now moved forward to the support of the troops engaged in front. Having advanced a short distance and passed a small ravine, the enemy were found to be strongly posted on the crest of the hill beyond.
About this time Lieutenant-Colonel Gilbreath [?], commanding a Kentucky regiment, came up and placed himself voluntarily under my command. I joined my forces on the left of Colonel Trabue's brigade, and the whole moved forward to the attack. The enemy soon opened a brisk fire, which was returned with spirit. A long contest here ensued, resulting finally in the enemy being driven from his position by a charge made by our troops.
Falling back to their encampment,another obstinate stand was made; but they were soon forced to retire before the resistless march of our troops. Taking a strong position a third time, protected by a battery which was concealed in the woods on their right, and which soon opened upon us, they attempted to make another stand, but re-enforcements coming up on the left, they soon beat a hasty retreat.
A final stand was made at their next encampment, but after an obstinate resistance, seeing no means of escape, the enemy hoisted a white flag and surrendered as prisoners of war.
Lieutenant J. C. Horne and Private T. M. Simms, of the Twenty-second Tennessee Volunteers, under my command, entered the enemy's camp first, or among the first, and brought a large number of prisoners out.
27 R R-VOL X