ultimo,being in command of the First Brigade, Withers' division, I was ordered to leave Colonel Deas' regiment, four guns of Robertson's battery, and a detail of 150 men from each other regiment, and to proceed with the remainder of the brigade to the outpost on the Monterey road, and drive the enemy from a position they had taken that morning, and establish our pickets as they were before the advance of the enemy.
On arriving at the outpost with this force-consisting of portions of the Nineteenth, Twenty-fifth, and Twenty-sixth Alabama Regiments, under Lieutenant-Colonels Tracy and Johnston and Colonel Coltart, in all between 300 and 400 men-I found Lieutenant-Colonel Mills, with about 200 men from the Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Twenty-ninth Mississippi Regiments, and two guns of Robertson's battery. Colonel Mills had been driven back about half a mile by a superior force, who had established themselves in a densely-wooded swamp so favorably, that this gallant officer had been baffled in repeated attempts to permanently re-establish his line of pickets in this retied position, and on our first arrival we were met by the retreat of the pickets stationed between the Monterey and Farmington roads. Finding, after a short reconnaissance, that the enemy was most advanced and strongly posted in the swamp referred to (between the Monterey and Farmington roads), I immediately advanced a line of skirmishers to feel his position, and, if possible,to accomplish the desired object, but they soon returned, reporting the advance of a large force, which proved to be a reconnaissance in force by the enemy.
By this time, hearing this advance and feeling the importance of meeting this additional force before he could choose his position in the swamp, I directed Colonels Mills and Clanton, who had just come up with some cavalry, to hold the line on the left of the Monterey road, which was more open and not at this time menaced by the enemy, while I moved, with the rest of the brigade, rapidly forward in line (the front being covered by skirmishers),and drove the enemy from his position and through the swamp.
On arriving at Bridge Creek I halted the brigade, and immediately deployed the skirmishers in a favorable line some distance to our front, who continued to engage the enemy, who had halted and taken a less advantageous position, and beyond the point we were ordered to drive them.
The conduct of the officers and men in this affair was commendable, subjected as they were to a heavy fire of both artillery, and infantry, from a foe secreted by the density of undergrowth. They advanced steadily,not using their arms until they were ordered, when they fired with good effect.
Among the killed of the enemy was a field officer, supposed to be the reconnoitering officer.
So gallant a dash to dislodge an enemy so favorably positioned was not, I regret to say, without loss to us; 6 of our men were immediately killed and about 10 severely wounded, including Captain W. R. D. McKenzie, Nineteenth Alabama Regiment, a most gallant and efficient officer, who received a mortal wound, from which he has since died.
I then advanced the left, under Colonels Mills and Clanton, and maintained the line during the remainder of the day, that night, the following day, and until 9.30 o'clock on the night of the 29th ultimo, having during that time frequent skirmishes, in which we always had the advantage, as our line was obscured, while the enemy was more exposed,he having lost the advantage of the thick woods.