War of the Rebellion: Serial 010 Page 0498 KY., TENN., N. MISS., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records


around on my right and endeavor to press the enemy's right center back upon his right, where General Hardee's evincible columns were driving him towards the river. One of his batteries lay immediately in our front, concealed by a dense undergrowth and sharp ravine. In approaching it I met Colonel Smith, of the Crescent Regiment, who had become detached from his brigade and now proposed to unite with mine, to which I gladly consented, and directed him to form on my left.

After consulting together for a few moments and making some inquiry of General Gardner, who was passing at the moment, and who had reconnoitered the ground in the vicinity of the battery which lay in our front, and which by this time was getting our range pretty well, I determined to move around my right a short distance, letting Colonel Smith go to the left, and from the positions thus gained to make a simultaneous movement upon the infantry supporting the battery, while a section of our own field pieces engaged them in front. In moving forward through the thick underbrush before alluded to I met a portion of a Louisiana regiment (Thirteenth, I think) returning, and its officers informed me that I could not get through the brush. I pushed forward, however, and had crossed the ravine and commenced the ascent of the opposite slope, when a galling fire from infantry and canister from howitzers swept through my ranks with deadly effect. The thicket was so dense that it was impossible for a company officer to be seen at platoon distance.

The enemy's canister was particularly well directed, and the range, being that of musketry, was well calculated to test the pluck of the sternest. So far as I was enabled to observe, however, there was no consternation or dismay in our ranks. The Twentieth Louisiana suffered most, its gallant colonel having his horse shot and many of its rank and file meeting a soldier's death. They fell back, fighting as they retired, to a point from 50 to 100 yards in the rear, where the brow of a hill afforded shelter from the canister.

A hurried reconnaissance revealed a point from which the enemy could be more advantageously assailed. Lieutenant Davidson, of my staff, was dispatched to General Ruggles, not far off, with a request that he would send up a few pieces of artillery to a position indicated whence a vigorous fire, I felt confident, would soon silence the battery, which was the main obstacle to our onward movement.

Changing my position somewhat to suit the circumstances (several officers of the Twentieth Louisiana having reported to me that their men were unable to make another charge by reason of the complete state of exhaustion they were in), I determined to make another effort to dislodge the enemy from his position with what of my command was left.

General Ruggles had now placed our battery in position. Colonel Smith, of the Crescent Regiment, had driven the enemy's sharpshooters from the cover of a long cabin and a few cotton bales on the extreme left and near the road, and the enemy was being sorely pressed upon the extreme right by our columns upon that flank, and I felt the importance of pressing forward at this point. The troops, too, seemed to be inspired with the same feeling. Our battery opened rapidly, but every shot told. To the command "Forward" the infantry responded with a shout, and in less then five minutes after our artillery commenced playing, and before the infantry had advanced within short range of the enemy's lines, we had the satisfaction of seeing his proud banner lowered and a white one hoisted in its stead. Our troops on the right