progress would be much retarded if we attempted to move by battalions in double column on the center, and, upon the suggestion being made to Brigadier-General Withers and Major-General Bragg, it was ordered that the supporting line should move by the right of companies to the front.
In this order we commenced the march early on the morning of the 6th. The space between Owl and Lick Creeks was about a half mile narrower where we first deployed our line of battle than it was in front of the enemy's line, and as the space between General Gladden's left and Lick Creek increased as we advanced, it became necessary that my brigade should move up into the front line, on the right of General Gladden, which was done, and being now in the front line, skirmishers from each regiment were at once thrown forward.
In obedience to orders from General Withers the right of this brigade was advanced by a gradual left wheel, so that when we first encountered the enemy we were marching in a northeast direction, and met him in line of battle in front of his first encampment on our right.
When we arrived in sight our line of battle was formed, and the brigade moved steadily forward in the following order: The Tenth Mississippi Regiment, in command of Col. R. A. Smith, on the right; the Seventh Mississippi Regiment, Lieutenant Col. H. Mayson, commanding, second; the Ninth Mississippi Regiment, Lieutenant. Col. W. A. Rankin, third; the Fifth Mississippi, Col. A. E. Fant, fourth; the Fifty-second Tennessee, Col. B. J. Lea, on the left, and Gage's battery of light artillery in the rear.
When within about 150 yards of the enemy the line was halted and a heavy firing ensued, in which a number of our men were killed and wounded, and Colonel Lea and Major T. G. Randle, of the Fifty-second Tennessee Regiment, lost their horses. After several rounds were discharged the order to charge bayonets was given, and the Tenth Mississippi Regiment [about 360 strong], led by its gallant colonel, dashed up the hill, and put to flight the Eighteenth Wisconsin Regiment, numbering nearly 1,000 men. The order to charge having alone in the first charge, though it was quickly followed by the Ninth and Seventh Mississippi, when the whole line of the enemy broke and fled, pursued by these three regiments through their camps and across a ravine about half a mile to the opposite hill, where they were halted by command of General Johnston.
The Fifth Mississippi and Fifty-second Tennessee, having been left behind in the charge, were moved up to their positions, and the Fifth Mississippi was now placed next to the Tenth Mississippi.
The enemy was re-enforced and drew up in our front, supported by a battery of artillery and some cavalry. We were about to engage them again, when we were ordered by General Johnston to fall back, which was done.
The enemy, supposing we were in retreat, fired several volleys of musketry at us, whereupon we faced about, returned their fire, and they ceased firing. Being commanded to remain here until we should receive further orders, we rested about half an hour, when a guide [Mr. Lafayette Veal] was sent to conduct us still farther to the right, where we learned that the enemy were attempting to turn our flank.
Moving by the right flank, we filed to the right, directly south, until we recrossed the ravine behind us, and when we reached the summit of the opposite hill we moved in a southeast direction until our right