a charge, and tried to flank our right, when my battalion changed positions by the right flank and fronted toward them. General Van Cleve here rode up from my right, and asked what troops we were, and said we must fall back. I here learned that a small part of his command was on my right and near the pike. I replied that I was ordered to hold this position at all hazards. I then ordered my men to lie down and wait until the enemy were well upon us. They then rose, gave them a volley, and charged with the Seventy-ninth Indiana, and drove them from the woods.
Our loss here was 4 killed,including my orderly, Bennett Smith, Eleventh Michigan, who was shot from his horse beside me, and several wounded. Lieutenant Sherman, Twenty-fifth Illinois, was wounded in the arm, slightly, but did not leave the field. We remained under arms all night, with one company under Lieutenant Sands, Thirty-sixth Illinois, as advance picket, and brought from the field in front some 25 wounded men of our own and the enemy's.
Early in the morning of January 1, we changed position with the brigade to the front and center of our lines and on the brow of the hill. Here we remained all day under fire of the enemy's sharpshooters, with continual fighting with their skirmishers, our skirmishers being under command of Lieutenant Sands. Late in the evening we were relieved by the Thirty-third Ohio, and retired beyond the brow of the hill and bivouacked. I then gave the immediate command of Lieutenant Hartsough, Forty-ninth Ohio, acting lieutenant-colonel, as I had become so hoarse that I could not speak aloud. Early in the morning of the 2nd, while a part of my command were at fatigue duty, the enemy commenced firing solid shot from the center at the battery in front of us and on the hill, but, shooting too high, their shot struck in front of us and ricochetted, and made bad work with us. Our men formed and marched forward to the support of the Chicago Board of Trade Battery, with shot falling among them thick and fast, and, as near as can be ascertained, 3 were killed and several wounded. Lieutenant Hartsough here had his horse shot under him, and the command fell upon Lieutenant Moore, Sixth Indiana, acting major, who commanded them gallantly. Firing soon ceased, and we remained upon the ground until late in the afternoon, when, as the enemy charged across the river upon General Negley's division, we were ordered to his support, and my command charged across the river under Lieutenant Moore. My command was ordered back, and, under the direction of General Thomas, worked all night in the rain on the rifle-pits in front, and without rations.
With few exceptions, officers and men behaved gallantly,and on the 31st behaved like veterans; and, taking into consideration that they are formed of detachments from forty different regiments,and have never drilled together in either company or battalion drills, moved in the face of the enemy splendidly.
I would especially mention Lieutenant Moore, Sixth Indiana, acting major; Lieutenant Baker, Thirty-ninth Indiana, acting adjutant, and Lieutenant Sands, Thirty-sixth Illinois, who rendered me valuable assistance throughout.
Your obedient servant,
Captain, Commanding Right Battalion.
Capt. JAMES ST. CLAIR MORTON,
Commanding Pioneer Brigade.