Beauregard ordered me to the left of Shiloh Church and within 200 yards of that house, where I was placed in reserve.
In about an hour, it being now 11 o'clock or later, I was ordered to a position to which a staff officer was to conduct the brigade, with a view of cutting off a portion of the forces of the enemy. It was soon ascertained that their forces were too heavy for the attempt, and I received an order to return. While I was thus in reserve two or three regiments were placed on my left. I did not know what troops they were. They were not put under my command. If they had any battle-flags I did not observe them, attending entirely to my own command. In a short time General Beauregard rode up to them, in company with a gentleman whom I afterwards learned was Governor Harris, of Tennessee, who made them a speech.
At this time I received an order through a staff officer of General Bragg to take position on his right. I moved the command for about 300 yards at the double-quick. After advancing about half a mile I formed the command in line, rested, and spoke to the men, when we moved forward. We were soon engaged with the enemy and immediately charged him. We were met in front and to the right of Shiloh Church. The brigade was small-not over 650 men. The charge was most gallantly made, crossing a pond of water in some places waist-deep, and then entering an open field.
Major Kelly here displayed the greatest gallantry. He was on the right, and, dashing through the pond, sat on horseback in the open ground and rallied his men in line as they advanced.
The enemy gave way and fell back in disorder, but soon rallied on our left so as to pour into us a cross-fire. We retired to the edge of the woods and here maintained for nearly three hours a most unequal contest. The battle was progressing furiously on my left, and when any advantage happened to the enemy it forced my brigade to sustain a galling cross-fire. It now seemed that large masses of the enemy were coming up and pressing my right. A battery, which I afterwards learned was commanded by captain Rutledge, came up to this point and held them in check for more than half an hour. The regiment next to my brigade on the left broke and fell back two or three times. I went to it for the purpose of trying to steady the men. One of the colonels informed me his men were worn-out and could not be rallied. He was alone. The men were scattered in the bushes, which were quite thick. By the assistance of one or two field and staff officers the men were rallied, formed in line, and led back to the fight. Returning to my command, I found all my field officers wounded but two, and they were on foot, their horses killed. The regiments on our left again gave way and my command was forced to retire. In doing so the remnant of the regiment broke around the pond they had previously passed and came out principally on its right.
Just at this time an artillery officer requested me to give him a regiment to support two batteries being put in position on a hill to our rear. I had no regiment, but told him I would protect his pieces with all the men I had. Collecting the parts of companies, I marched them to that position, and gathering up all stragglers, formed them in my line. In forming this line I acted under the supervision and personal orders of General Beauregard, who directed the point the line should occupy. The number of stragglers here collected and held in place by my staff, with the assistance of some cavalry, was about 1,500.
While awaiting orders I received a message from General Beauregard, through his assistance adjutant-general, Captain Otey, to send forward a