Maine, Colonel Nickerson; the Twenty-first Indiana, under Lieutenant-Colonel Keith; the Sixth Michigan, under acting Lieutenant-Colonel Clarke, and the Seventh Vermont, Colonel Roberts, were encamped-the first with its right resting on the intersection of the Greenwell Springs road and fronting on a road running to the intersection of the Bayou Sara and Clinton roads. These encampments were in heavy timber. The Twenty-first Indiana was encamped on about the same line front and on the right of the Greenwell Springs road. On nearly the same line front, but still farther to the right, at the intersection of the Clay Cut and Perkins roads, was the Sixth Michigan. The Seventh Vermont was some distance to the rear and between the positions of the Sixth Michigan and Twenty-first Indiana, with the camp fronting the city. Everett's battery, under Lieutenant Carruth, was in bivouac on the right of the Fourteenth Maine and on the right of the Twenty-first Indiana. Still farther to the right were the guns, in charge of [Lieutenant Brown], of the Twenty-first Indiana. On the extreme right the guns of Nims' battery, under Lieutenant Trull, were brought into position early in the action on the right. The Thirtieth Massachusetts, under Colonel Dudley, was brought up from their quarters in the Capitol, on the right of the Fourth, and took position on the left of the Sixth Michigan. On the extreme left, in advance of the left bank of the Bayou Gross, with an oblique front toward the intersection of the Bayou Sara and Clinton roads, with two pieces of Manning's battery, were the Ninth Connecticut and Fourth Wisconsin. The remaining guns of Manning's battery were in position on the right bank of the bed of the Bayou Gross. This was the real line of defense for the left flank, covering the north and east of the Arsenal grounds.
General Williams, in his instructions to myself and Lieutenant-Colonel Bean, commanding Fourth Wisconsin Volunteers, was very clear and positive in his orders to hold this position at all hazards, as he anticipated the enemy would advance (under cover of the fire from the ram Arkansas, with the gunboats from the Red River) through the open grounds of the saw-mill and Dougherty's plantation and take possession of the Arsenal grounds. The above-mentioned advance on the left bank of the bayou was only ordered by General Williams after a lengthy consideration, on the evening of the 4th instant, with the intention of checking an advance on the same position by the Bayou Sara and Clinton roads, and for that reason we only brought forward the light howitzers of Manning's battery to the advance position, leaving the heavy guns on the original lines.
At early daylight on the morning of August 5 the enemy threw his entire force on the camps of the Fourteenth Maine, Twenty-first Indiana, and Sixth Michigan, with the batteries attached to each regiment. These troops stood their ground nobly, meeting the tremendous force thrown upon them with unflinching bravery.
On looking over the battle ground since the engagement I cannot conceive how it was possible for so many men to h ave engaged on so small a piece of ground. The attack was nearly simultaneous, but the first fire in line from the enemy's right was directed on the Fourteenth Maine, and instantly answered by that regiment by a solid line volley, which must have done terrible execution. The companies of the Twenty-first Indiana which were in advance as pickets had fallen back in order. The whole regiment advanced toward the Magnolia Cemetery and east it. At this time Major Hays was seriously wounded and was taken from the field. The regiment worked, advancing and retiring and changing front as the enemy showed himself through the smoke.