Among the number was Brigadier-General Prentiss, who was delivered to me by Private T. M. Simms, and by me delivered to Major-General Polk.
The prisoners being disposed of, I made preparations to move the forces under my command forward toward the river, but Colonel Freeman reported his regiment to be out of ammunition. The Twelfth and Thirteenth Regiments coming up at this time, and being in the same condition, I ordered details to proceed to the enemy's camp and supply them. This being done, General Cheatham directed a line to be formed in rear of the encampment and await further orders. The enemy's gunboats kept up an incessant fire of shot and shell.
After waiting in this position for some time orders were received from General Bragg to fall back out of the range of the gunboats and encamp for the night. Retiring a short distance to the next encampment, I halted the men and quartered them in the tents.
On the morning of the 7th, between daylight and sunrise, the pickets commenced firing on each other, but it was almost impossible to determine when and where the main attack commenced, on account of the constant firing of our troops in every direction, which contributed greatly to the confusion which afterward ensued.
At the discharge of the first guns I formed my brigade in line of battle on the enemy's parade ground in front of the encampment. Colonel Marks' regiment did not join us until later in the day, and on account of the casualties of the preceding day, the force was small.
I now gave the order to advance toward the river, but I soon perceived the enemy was forming a line perpendicular to ours and in the rear of our left flank, and also planting a battery on our left flank. This rendered a change of front necessary and caused us to retire a short distance to the rear. From this front we were ordered to march to the support of General Breckinridge. Proceeding in that direction (guided by a staff officer) until I approached a thick woods, I sent forward two companies as skirmishers, who soon engaged the enemy, concealed in large force, their line extending beyond ours on both flanks. I ordered our troops to advance to the charge, and soon the engagement became general along the whole line.
The enemy had previously opened a battery upon our left, and a staff officer of General Beauregard's passing about this time, I requested him to send a battery to our support, and also a cavalry company to observe the enemy's movements and prevent them from flanking us on the left. Here a long and spirited contest ensued, of doubtful issued for a time, but the enemy, being in largely superior force, sent a detachment around our right, under cover of the undergrowth, at the same time turning our left, and opened a cross-fire upon both wings, which compelled a retreat. Colonel Campbell co-operated with me in this encounter.
Falling back behind the crest of a ridge, I halted the line. The enemy soon advanced upon us, and we were ordered by General Bragg to meet them. I endeavored to move them off at the double-quick step, and two of the regiments succeeded in reaching the top of the ridge, and held that part of the line of the enemy in check.
The enemy had now forced a line across our left flank, and was planting a battery in an open field in that direction. One of our own batteries now coming up, I ordered it to be advanced as rapidly as possible into an open space in front, so as to get the first fire; but before it could be placed in position and unlimbered the opposing battery opened a terrific fire upon our line, killing and wounding many of