occupied, which gave us an opportunity to advance and attack the enemy on the flank as they moved forward, following General Davies' division, which was falling back toward Corinth, and also secure a road on which we could retire in case of necessity.
The enemy still advancing, General Hamilton ordered me with three regiments to attack their left flank. While the First Brigade would support me on my right. Between my position and the enemy lay a swamp, covered with a dense growth of underbrush, vines, and fallen trees, through the center of which runs the dry bed of a creek, whose banks, some 6 feet deep, afforded a fine shelter for the enemy. Cautioning the men to silence, with the Seventeenth and Tenth Iowa and Eightieth Ohio, numbering about 800 men, I moved forward to the attack. Our advance was so entirely unexpected by the enemy that, had we been supported as intended, I may be pardoned for stating that in my opinion the fight of the succeeding day would not have occurred. Taken by surprise the enemy fell back, but not rapidly enough to save themselves from a loss of 82 prisoners. We were compelled to halt to halt for support, which the enemy noticing rallied and opened on us a heavy fire of grape and canister from two batteries, when the column fell back in good order with its face to the foe. This ended the fighting of the day, although a sharp skirmish was kept up until darkness closed the scene and death ceased from his busy harvest.
Having received a severe contusion during the latter part of the engagement I was unfitted for service, and the disposition of the troops for the anticipated attack of the enemy the next morning was made by Colonel Samuel A. Holmes, of the Tenth Regiment Missouri Volunteers.
There was no desponding heart in camp that night. Our own general we had tried and Rosecrans had ever been victorious. But two short weeks before we had slept victors on the battle-field of Iuka, and memories of that glorious fight but nerved us to more desperate deeds. Ordnance officers were kept busy distributing ammunition; soldiers were occupied cleaning their weapons. while general officers were engaged in consultation.
By 3 o'clock perfect quiet reigned through our entire lines. We knew the enemy were desperate; we left death was preferable to surrender, and friends separated determined to meet no more on earth unless victory perched on our banners.
Just before dawn the enemy opened a heavy cannonade. Ere the first report had ceased reverberating through the woods our whole force was under arms. Our artillery quickly responded and the ear was deafened with the answering reports. General Hamilton's division held the right or our line, having been formed in line of battle by General Hamilton himself, with a support of three regiments, General Davies' division the right center. No attack was made by the enemy on our right until 8 o'clock, when the rebels in force (commanded by Major-General Price in person and numbering as many as our whole army) emerged from the woods in front and advanced rapidly in column of attack on our whole line. Part of General Davies' division fled at the first fire, leaving several of our batteries exposed, which the enemy temporarily took possession of, the Tenth Missouri, Fifty-sixth Illinois, Eightieth Ohio, and Tenth Iowa bravely holding their ground. The Twelfth Wisconsin Battery cool playing grape and canister into the massed columns of the enemy caused them to halt. The desperate charge made by the First Brigade recaptured the batteries and drove the enemy from that portion of the field. By order of General Hamilton two regiments were placed under my command to drive back the enemy, who had penetrated