and being the right of the entire army, the Fifty-ninth Regiment Illinois Infantry in reserve to support the battery, and the Twenty-second Regiment Indiana Infantry in a position to protect the right flank from the enemy's cavalry, which were continually hovering about and engaging the skirmishers. I directed Captain Sherer, who, by order of Brigadier-General Davis, reported to me with Company B, Thirty-sixth Illinois Cavalry, to throw out skirmishers and march upon our right flank, where he repeatedly engaged and drove back the cavalry threatening our line. The skirmishing in front grew more brisk, and late in the afternoon the enemy were found in force, strongly posted, and opened upon us, with artillery from our front and right, killing 1 and wounding several men. Captain Hale, acting as major of the Seventy-fifth Illinois, and Lieutenant Hall, of my staff, each had a horse killed under him.
General Kirk's brigade at this time moved into position upon our right. Captain Pinney's battery drove back the enemy from our front, and, under cover of his fire, our skirmishers were advanced to the open field, when night closed the contest. The men lay down without fires or shelter, and in the morning were awakened and standing in order of battle one hour before the first dawn of light. The battery horses stood at their pieces during the night, ready for any emergency.
As soon as it became light, the enemy were discovered moving in great number toward our right, and nearly parallel with our line, with the evident design of turning the right wing of the army. I immediately dispatched Lieutenant Jones, of my staff, to inform Brigadier-General Davis.
The right of the brigade extended into a dense and almost impenetrable thicket of cedars, connecting there with the left of General Kirk's brigade, and in that direction nothing could be seen on account of the thicket. For more than half an hour the enemy's dark column flowed toward our right, where the volleys of musketry and their advancing cheers from that direction me that they had driven the brigades on our right from their position, and were already in our rear, and I accordingly changed front nearly perpendicularly to the rear to meet them.
The Seventy-fourth Illinois, Col. Jason Marsh, and the Seventy-fifth Illinois, commanded by Lieut. Col. J. E. Bennett, were stationed behind a fence in the edge of the timber. By order of Brigadier-General Davis, several companies were added to our force of skirmishers, and, under his direction, Pinney's battery took position in a
corn-field, with the Fifty-ninth Illinois Battery, commanded by Capt. H. E. Paine, supporting it on the left. Perceiving that the enemy were still far beyond our right, I deployed my reserve regiment, the Twenty-second Indiana, Colonel Gooding commanding, on the right of the battery. The Sixth Regiment Indiana Infantry, having been separated from its brigade, was placed about 400 paces in rear as a reserve.
Captain Pinney opened upon the advancing line with all his guns, and when they came within range of his canister and the fire of the supporting regiment, the execution was so great that the entire line recoiled before it, but, after temporary confusion, they were rallied and lay down. The enemy opened a battery upon the hill and advanced a second line.
Captain Pinney's guns were splendidly handled, and great credit is due to Lieutenants Humphrey, Gardner, and McKnight, and to the men of the company, for their promptness and skill. No shots were wasted over the heads of the enemy. For about thirty minutes this