in the afternoon of the 3rd, a day later than intended, in high spirits, and eager for the contest.
The road to Monterey (11 miles) was found very bad, requiring us until 11 o'clock on the 4th to concentrate at that place, where one of my brigades joined the column. Moving from there the command bivouacked for the night near the Mickey house, immediately in rear of Major-General Hardee's corps, Major-General Polk's being just in our rear.
Our advanced cavalry had encountered the enemy during the day and captured several prisoners, being compelled, however, to retire. A reconnaissance in some force from the enemy made its appearance during the evening in front of General Hardee's corps, and was promptly driven back.
The commanders of divisions and brigades were assembled at night, the order of battle was read to them, and the topography of the enemy's position was explained, as far as understood by us. Orders were then given for the troops to march at 3 a.m., so as to attack the enemy early on the 5th.
About 2 a.m. a drenching rain-storm commenced, to which the troops were exposed, without tents, and continued until daylight, rendering it so dark and filling the creeks and ravines to such an extent as to make it impracticable to move at night. Orders were immediately sent out to suspend the movements until the first dawn of day. Continued firing by volleys and single shots was kept up all night and until 7 a. m. next morning by the undisciplined troops of our front, in violation of positive orders. Under such circumstances little or no rest could be obtained by our men, and it was 7 o'clock in the morning before the road was clear so as to put my command in motion, though it had been in ranks and ready from 3 a.m., in the met and cold, and suffering from inaction.
At this juncture the commanding general arrived at our position. My column, at last fairly in motion, moved on without delay until arriving near where the Pittsburgh road leaves the Bark road, when a message from Major-General Hardee announced the enemy in his front and that he had developed his line. As promptly as my troops could be brought up in a narrow road, much encumbered with artillery and baggage wagons, they were formed, according to order of battle, about 800 yards in rear of Hardee's line, my center resting on the Pittsburgh road, my right brigade, Gladden's, of Withers' division, thrown forward to the right of the first line, Major-General Hardee's force not being sufficient for the ground to be covered.
In this position we remained, anxiously awaiting the approach of our reserves to advance upon the enemy, now but a short distance in our front. The condition of the roads and other untoward circumstances delayed them until late in the afternoon, rendering it necessary to defer the attack until next morning.
The night was occupied by myself and a portion of my staff in efforts to bring forward provisions for a portion of the troops then suffering from their improvidence. Having been ordered to march with five days' rations, they were found hungry and destitute at the end of three days. This is one of the evils of raw troops, imperfectly organized and badly commanded; a tribute, it seems, we must continue to pay to universal suffrage, the bane of our military organization. In this condition we passed the night, and at dawn of day prepared to move.
The enemy did not give us time to discuss the question of attack, for soon after dawn he commenced a rapid musketry fire on our pickets.