This camp having been carried, the whole line advanced through a narrow strip of woods and across a wide field until we reached the main and last camp of the enemy, which was not occupied, this camp having apparently been abandoned without a contest, as there were no evidences of any struggle having taken place there. As we approached this camp few of the enemy were seen on our left, who fired a few shots at us, butt who were dispersed by one shot from Captain Ketchum's battery. When we entered the edge of the field in which their main camp was situated we perceived the enemy in full retreat to our right. The left of the brigade was immediately thrown forward and the whole put in motion at double-quick to cut him off, and the movement would, without doubt, have been successful, but when nearly across the field a deadly fire was received from our own forces on the right, killing and wounding several of the Eighteenth Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Mouton.
Not knowing at first from whence the fire was directed, and fearing that I might have passed some of the enemy's forces, the brigade was halted and thrown back about 100 yards, to the edge of the woods. When our troops on the right advanced across the opening this brigade advanced on the same line, passed through the main camp, and through a very deep ravine beyond it. At this time we were moving a little in advance of the front line, which was commanded by General Hardee.
Upon rising the crest of the hill the command encountered a heavy fire of grape at a distance of about 400 yards. The brigade was thrown back under the cover of the hill, and Captain Ketchum's battery placed in position on the hills to the rear, to silence the enemy's battery and to disorganize its infantry supports. While waiting for Captain Ketchum's battery to get into position I reconnoitered, and discovered the enemy posted in considerable numbers in a camp some 200 or 300 yards to my front and left, and in a similar camp immediately to my front and right, from which the fire of the battery had been received and was still continued.
At this time [about 4 p.m.] Colonel Ferguson brought a peremptory order to me to charge the battery with my brigade. Colonel Ferguson was informed that there was a battery immediately in front, and said he would inform General Hardee and report to me. Immediately after Colonel Ferguson left me the Washington Artillery was placed in battery to the right of the enemy's main camp and made an effort to silence the enemy's battery on my front, but failed to do so.
By orders, said by Colonel Ferguson to be the orders of General Hardee, my brigade was filed, left in front, up a deep ravine, in a direction flanking the enemy's battery, and while the head of the column was 300 yards in front of the battery, by the direction of Colonel Ferguson, speaking as for General Hardee, I ordered the charge. This brought my troops under the fire of the enemy's battery and three of his regiments in an oblique column instead of line of battle, and the fire became so destructive that the troops recoiled under it.
The Eighteenth Louisiana Regiment suffered severely in this charge; also the Orleans Guards; the Sixteenth Louisiana less than either, being on the right, and consequently in what might be called the rear of the column. As my troops were advancing to this charge we again received a severe fire from our own troops on the right, which, added to the fire of the enemy, almost disorganized the command. In order to reform we were compelled to fall back about 150 yards to the enemy's main camp, where we were rejoined by Colonel Looney with his regiment, he having received orders to leave his position on Owl Creek road