Some delay was had at this point by the constant arrival of troops in fragments of brigades, regiments, and companies. A portion of the Twentieth Louisiana, the Confederate Guards Battalion, and Ninth Texas Regiment had become detached from my immediate command by permitting other troops to cut them out on the march and in falling into line. A line of battle was formed, however, and a forward movement commenced.
By this time our skirmishers on the right had engaged those of the enemy, but no general action had begun. Our advance movement had not continued far, however, till the enemy's lines were disclosed in front. Our troops went into action with a spirit an alacrity scarcely to be expected after the fatigues and hardships of the previous days and nights.
The enemy was evidently in large force and his troops were fresh. The first onset was maintained with spirit by both armies, and for nearly and hour the conflict raged in this part of the field with doubtful results. Several times we pressed forward against the superior numbers of the enemy's fresh columns, but he stubbornly maintained his position. Our officers and men seemed resolved to drive him back, and, summoning everything for another struggle, we led the columns up with a volley and a shout from the whole line, which proved irresistible, and sent him flying back to his second line, which was strongly posted some 200 yards in the rear.
About this time Colonel Campbell, commanding a Tennessee regiment (number not remembered), attached himself to my brigade and fought gallantly during the day. I received an order about the same time to support a column then hotly engaged some half a mile to my right; but before reaching the position our column had fallen back to better ground, and I was directed to support a battery on our left, in conjunction with Colonel Trabue's (Kentucky) command. I filed off to the left, crossing a camp and the avenue under a heavy fire, and reached a ravine on Colonel Trabue's right, with my right resting upon the border of the avenue. The enemy's battery was in position some 400 yards to our front, and ours was about the same distance to my left, in a favorable position to silence it. Sharpshooters had been thrown forward and had taken position behind a line of logs that had been rolled out to one side of the avenue, and were now picking off my men as they stood waiting for our battery to accomplish its work. I ordered forward a detachment of skirmishers to dislodge the enemy's sharpshooters, who were posted behind the breastwork of logs before alluded to. They accomplished their work in handsome style and held the position, from which they annoyed the cannoneers who were playing upon our battery on the left.
Observing this advantage, I rode over to the battery to see the commanding officer of the infantry, posted on my left and between me and the battery, to ascertain if he could spare me a force sufficient to enable me to charge and take the enemy's pieces. I first met Major Monroe, of the Fourth Kentucky, who referred me to General Trabue, to whom I was soon introduced. Hurriedly explaining to him my strength and position, and urging the importance of taking the battery in question, adding my conviction that it could be done, he readily consented to furnish me two regiments for that purpose, and directed an officer near by to accompany me to where the regiments were posted. I had not proceeded, however, beyond his sight when he called to me and, approaching, said, "Upon reflection I think I had better not let those regiments leave their present position, since I am directed to support