After fighting for an hour or more in this position some officer came down to my right and gave an order, which several of my officers say to me was "Rally to the rear." Had the officer passed down as far as my colors he would have found me, and I am satisfied I could have had my command heard my voice; have about-faced the regiment, and led them anywhere without confusion; but, being raw troops and imperfectly drilled, they mistook the command for an order to retreat and commenced breaking to the rear from near the right of the regiment which, despite my efforts, became propagated along the whole line. I hastened toward the right of the retreating men and ordered a halt and the command to form, and had done much toward reforming when we were opened upon by a heavy fire of dismounted men, who had advanced under cover of the thick underbrush to within 50 feet of my men. They then in more confusion fell back toward the fence, and received standing the fire of the enemy's artillery, and under it and the fire from the rear the confusion became worse. Companies F and D, and several from other companies, formed upon the now right of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois, which had faced to the rear and assisted them in driving the rebels back at the point of the bayonet, taking a number of prisoners.
Under this fire, so unexpected from both front and rear (and the enemy's cannon seemed to be entirely concentrated upon our left, to save their own force in our rear), about half of my regiment broke to the left of our line as formed behind the fence and crossed the road into the corn-field upon the opposite side.
Assisted by Colonel Dunham, Lieutenant-Colonel Redfield, who was severely wounded; Major Griffiths, who had been struck on the head by a spent grape-shot, and yourself, I attempted to halt and reform the scattered men. The enemy turned their cannon upon us and we were fired upon by their cavalry, and I was unable to form a line until we reached a skirt of timber about a quarter of a mile from where we laid in line. Here I formed and marched back upon the left again of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois and of the Fiftieth Indiana, ut they fell in with us and marched back to the battle ground. Shortly afterward, perhaps half an hour, and at about 1.30, re-enforcements arrived and the battle ended.
I have omitted to state that at the cross-roads Company A was detached from the regiment and guarded our trains. When we fell back to the ground on which the battle was fought, they, or rather all but 15 of them, with Company G, of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois, were stationed at the house in the rear of our line of battle. Here they three times repulsed a regiment of cavalry who attempted to force their way through the lane to reach our main body. The 15 spoken of were near the trains, and there succeeded in capturing over 40 of the rebels.
There were many cases of individual bravery among those under my command; but to particularize would make my report too lengthy. I must, however, say that from information received through reliable men of my command who were taken prisoners and paroled, I am satisfied that the rebels had men dressed in our uniform so close in our rear that they could see our exact position-knew the numbers of our regiment and strength.
Allow me to add that while I cannot take the room to name the many of my company officers who did their whole duty, I must bear witness