The infantry, under orders from Major-General Ord, who was constantly at the front, were thrown across the bridge, together with Bolton's battery. This was done under heavy fire of musketry and canister and was one of the most gallant deeds of record.
It unfortunately happened that the peculiarities of the ground on the east side of the Hatchie were not so familiar to the major-general commanding as to those of us who had previously encamped on the very hill we now sought to seize, hence the order to throw the regiments alternately to right and left of the road massed six regiments of men in a triangular space of ground which would have been abundantly occupied by one. They were exposed in this mass to flanking fire of canister from a battery on their left, and here the great loss of men took place.
At this time, about 11 a.m., I came up to the bridge with the last regiment, and here Major-General Ord was wounded and turned over the command to me. I crossed the bridge, ordered the regiments to extend rapidly to the left and crown the hill. This was done gallantly and quickly, and in thirty minutes from the time the line was restored we held the hill.
The batteries were rapidly run forward and placed by Major Campbell, chief of artillery, in positions of mutual support. Some sharp artillery firing them took place, ending in silencing the enemy's battery. A charge was attempted by the enemy on Spear's battery, but the head of their formation was shattered by the cross-fire of the other batteries and the attempt was abandoned.
The battle virtually ceased about 3.30 p.m., the enemy making a strong demonstration at that hour on General Lauman's right, which was met by a charge of front by that brigade. Under cover of this movement they hauled off their crippled battery, leaving the caissons, and retreated southward, crossing the Hatchie that night at Crum's Mill, 6 miles up the river.
The total want of sufficient transportation, the loss of battery horses, the shortness of provisions, and the paramount necessity of burying my dead, taking care of my wounded, and securing the prisoners and captured munitions of war prevented my pursuing.
We had learned from prisoners taken early in the day of the success at Corinth, and I expected during the whole day and night to hear the guns of the victorious column from Corinth.
On Monday communications were received from General Rosecrans, and on Monday night I received orders from Major-General Grant to return.
Captain Walker, of General Veatch's staff, left the Hatchie at 5 p.m. on Monday, and returned with 40 wagons and 4 ambulances from Bolivar by 9 a.m. Tuesday; an instance of activity in the discharge of duty which deserves special notice.
The force opposed to us has been variously estimated. Van Dorn and Price were present. My own best judgment is that it was not less than 12,000 men. It is certain that in the beginning of the battle they used one, if not two, Parrott guns, and two 24-pounder howitzers. I think these pieces did not cross the Hatchie, but were drawn off as our infantry crossed the bridge. Their artillery was well served and exceedingly accurate both at long and short ranges. Their infantry could not stand the rush of our men, though their first fires were very well delivered.
The results of the engagement are, that the main line of retreat for Price and Van Dorn was cut off and their troops forced into the difficult country east of the Hatchie. Four bronze 12-pounder howitzers