War of the Rebellion: Serial 010 Page 0518 KY.,TENN.,N.MISS.,N.ALA.,AND SW.VA. Chapter XXII.

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and unite with the brigade. The camp on my right was subsequently abandoned by the enemy and occupied by our troops, the enemy withdrawing his battery. I heard sharp firing from my right on that camp, in which the Thirty-eighth Tennessee was engaged before it united with the brigade. The camp to my left continued to be occupied in considerable force, and as the duty of guarding the left was placed in my hands, and being separated about a quarter of a mile from the forces immediately on my right, I felt that any rash or inconsiderate advance or engagement of my troops might result in the exposure of our left and rear, and therefore made no attack on it. The charge made on the enemy's battery, by which the Eighteenth Regiment suffered so severely, was not in accordance with my judgment. I did it reluctantly and in obedience to peremptory orders. If left to myself I had the means of taking it, and would have taken it in twenty minutes after my battery had been brought into action. There was a wide gap between my left and Owl Creek. I was alone with my brigade, without anything to support my own rear or the left of the general line, and therefore felt it my duty to take every step with extreme caution and to keep my force in hand to hold Owl Creek against any and every contingency.

In this I was acting in strict accordance with the plan of battle communicated to me by General Bragg on the evening of the 5th instant, and to this plan I rigidly adhered, no advices having reached me of change of plan.

At night, after the battle ceased, acting in obedience to orders received through the day from a great variety of sources, I found my infantry line considerably in advance of our general front. I immediately fell back to this line, resting my right on the main camp of the enemy and extending my left to Owl Creek, establishing police guards around each regiment, with pickets in rear and front and to the left, across Owl Creek. My ranks were then opened and the men caused to lie down on their arms. There was some picket firing during the night, but nothing important developed itself.

I would mention that on Sunday evening, just after the firing ceased, I heard cheering on the river below me, evidently proceeding from a large force, to which my men responded, thinking it to be from their friends, and when the cheering ceased a band played the air of "Hail Columbia" from a boat which was ascending the river.

My bivouac on Sunday night was within a mile of the river and within 400 yards of the enemy's lines. During the night our main line was thrown back about three-quarters of a mile, without the movement having been communicated to me.

On Monday morning at daylight a sharp skirmish took place between pickets, and was immediately followed by a spirited engagement between my lines and those of the enemy. A battery was also opened against my right at a range of about 400 yards. At this time I discovered that our main line had fallen back and that my brigade was alone in the presence of the enemy, who was in strong force. I regarded the position as perilous, and would no doubt have been cut off or cut to pieces but for the cool, intrepid, and gallant conduct of Captain Ketchum, who brought his battery into position on my right and maintained a spirited and effective fire against the enemy within infantry range, while my regiments were withdrawn under the lead of their respective commanders.

I cannot speak too highly of the coolness and intrepidity of Colonel Mouton, Major Gober, Colonel Looney, and Captain Mouton, manifested by the orderly manner in which they withdrew their respective