War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0184 Chapter XXIX. WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS.

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near the work referred to, we stacked arms, expecting to defend that position. After the troops were here supplied with water and rations (a precaution of the part of the commanding general of inestimable importance) we were again in motion, and, crossing the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, were soon occupying a position in front of Battery Williams, from which General Davies' command was then being withdrawn. The general commanding the division placed the Forty-third Ohio (Colonel J. L. K. Smith) in position near the crest of the ridge fronting to the west, the right of the regiment resting near Battery Robinett, while I, in accordance with his instructions, formed the line fronting to the north as follows: The Sixty-third Ohio (Colonel J. W. Sprague) with left yards from the battery; the Twenty-seventh Ohio (Major Z. S. Spaulding) next on the right of the Sixty-third, and the Thirty-ninth Ohio (Colonel A. W. Gilbert) holding the right of our line. The general having directed me to look well to the guard, as soon as the line was formed I went to the outpost, when I learned that the guard of General Davies' division had been withdrawn; also that immediately afterward the enemy's pickets advanced to the edge of the woods, and had already, from the point where the road leads into the forest, fired with fatal effect upon the small squad of dismounted cavalry which occupied the road leading thence to our position. I immediately sent two companies of the Sixty-third Ohio to hold this road, with orders to press as far toward the woods as possible. The night prevented my seeing with what force the enemy held the woods, and thinking it hazardous to move a small force along this road into the woods to be there deployed, I ordered Major Spaulding, Twenty-seventh Ohio, to deploy a line of skirmishers immediately in front of our lines, with instructions to creep cautiously through the fallen timber, and, if possible, to gain and hold the edge of the woods. The skirmishers were not strong enough to gain the woods, but they held a position from which they replied effectively to the enemy's sharpshooters during the morning, firing no less than 70 rounds per man.

The guard in the road succeeded during the night in making a prisoner of Captain Tobin (and his bugler), who had planted his battery within 200 yards of our position, and who when captured was making a reconnaissance along the road leading from the woods. After daylight a portion of this guard, under Captain Brown, Sixty-third Ohio, crept up to the edge of the forest and captured and brought into our lines a caisson, with 4 horses attached, and soon after the James gun to which it belonged was drawn in by a squad of the First U. S. Infantry, from Battery Robinett.

Between 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning the enemy's guns in front of our position sounded the reveille, which instantly aroused the entire command. Shot, shell, grape, and canister were poured over the entire field with great rapidity, but owing to the protection afforded by the ground occupied, we suffered comparatively little loss. Captain Williams' guns sullenly responded, and the moment that the light enabled him to aim with precision the enemy precipitately withdrew his batteries.

About 9 or 10 a. m. three companies were detailed, under command of Major H. T. McDowell, Thirty-ninth Ohio, with orders to deploy as skirmishers, and, co-operating with those already advanced, to push forward into the woods and ascertain whether the enemy was there in strength. The deployment was made under the personal direction of the general commanding the division, and the skirmishers, soon after