by our retiring columns until I came to the field hospital, where I found 8 wounded soldiers, only 3 of whom were willing to be moved. Two of them I had carried the reach of the enemy on litters; the third was able to ride on a caisson. I then continued my march without again confronting the enemy during the entire retreat.
The good conduct of officers and men in performing the responsible duty of rear guard to a retreating army cannot be too highly commended. There was not the semblance of panic or disorder or even unusual excitement during entire retreat, upon which my brigade marched in better order and with more deliberation than it had done at all before of has done since. The signal good conduct which they displayed on the field of battle in the face of dangers and death, and the fortitude and constancy with which they sustained themselves afterward under probations and hardships and sufferings more trying to the soldier than the most appalling dangers, are, I truck, only an earnest to the country of what she may expect from them in the future.
In conclusion it is necessary to say of the Third Kentucky that Colonel Thompson and the men and officers under him fully sustained the reputation they had won on other fields. The only regret of Colonel Crossland and his men, of the Seventh Kentucky, when ordered to the support of the Third, was that this regiment stood so little in need of it. The conduct of the Thirty-fifth Alabama, commanded by Captain Ashford, though deprived by illness of their accomplished colonel (Robertson), could not have been improved by the presence of any officer. The Fourth Alabama Battalion, under Major Gibson, deployed as skirmishers,performed well the part allotted to them. The Ninth Arkansas, under Colonel Dunlop, who was conspicuously for the activity and gallantry displayed in keeping his men in line and moving steadily forward in the face of the deadly fire of the enemy's artillery, won the applause and admiration of all who witnessed its conduct. Its colors were borne by their intrepid bearer, Sergt. John M. Pearce, upward and onward without faltering during the hottest of the fire, while his comrades were falling thick and fast around him.
When all behaved so well the commanding general will not hazard injustice to others by mentioning those who particularly attracted his notice.
I regret that a sense of duty to the service and of justice to the balance of the brigade will now allow me of bestow the same unmixed praise upon the Thirty-first Alabama Regiment. A portion of this regiment, in spite of the gallantry of their colonel and his efforts to make them do their duty, following the example of some of its commanding officers, behaved disgracefully. At a most critical moment it broke in disorder and all efforts to restore it were unavailing. I called the attention of their colonel to the misconduct of several officers whose example was evidently demoralizing to the men, and ordered them to surrender their swords and leave the field. Upon their earnest entreaties to be tried again I permitted them to their swords and remain, with the hope and belief that hereafter their conduct may be in harmony with the brave members of the same regiment, whose conduct would not suffer by comparison with other commanders in the brigade. I withhold their names.
Though there can be no controversy as to the regiments that were first in the strong position abandoned by the enemy and in possession of the "Lady Richardson," which in their flight they left behind them, it is due to the right wing of General Bowen's admirable brigade, the Twenty-second Mississippi, under Senior Captain Lester, to acknowledge