in,however, the skirmishers of the enemy. My first line of battle was now within 180 yards of the enemy's line, at the house of Mrs. William Smith.
At this point a battery, about 100 yards west of the house, opened with canister upon the Twenty-first Illinois Volunteers, and another, on the east of the house, 250 yards distant, on the Fifteenth Wisconsin Volunteers, killing and wounding a number of my men. Here it was my intention to halt until the First and Third Brigades should come up, on my right and left, respectively and left,, respectively; but Col. J. W. S. Alexander, commanding
Twenty-first Illinois Volunteers, without instructions from me, ordered his regiment to charge on the battery in his front. His command was moving, with a shout, at double-quick step, within 80 yards of the battery, already abandoned by its cannoneers, when a very heavy fire was opened upon it by infantry, which lay concealed behind fences and outhouses, on the right and left of the battery. This fire killed and wounded a large number of the
Twenty-first Illinois Volunteers, and threw the left companies into some disorder, when the regiment was halted and formed on the right of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Volunteers.
The fight was now fairly opened, and continued vigorously until night by the front line of my infantry and the battery which had been placed between the two regiments. The batteries in our front were soon silenced, but another was then opened on my right flank, distant about 500 yards, which completely enfiladed my lines and considerably injured us; but this, too, was driven out of sight by Captain Hotchkiss, after a vigorous and well-directed fire.
Again I sent a request to Colonels Post and Woodruff to come up, but they continued to remain in rear of my lines. I maintained my position during the night, having at dark relieved my front line by the night, having at dark relieved my front line by the
Thirty-eighth Illinois and One hundred and first Ohio Volunteers.
My loss during this day, in killed, wounded, and missing, was about 175 officers and men. Before daylight on the morning of December 31, perceiving indications of an advance by the enemy, I retired my battery about 200 yards. At daylight the enemy advanced. Seeing that the troops on the right and left of my line would not come, up, I fell back, with my infantry on a line my battery, and made a stand; the Twenty-first Illinois Volunteers about 200 yards to the rear, and on the right of the One hundred and first Ohio Volunteers; the Fifteenth Wisconsin Volunteers were posted on the rocks in front of my battery and the Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteers on the left of the One hundred and first Ohio Volunteers.
My men were falling rapidly on the front line, and wishing to increase the fire on the enemy, I sent an order to Colonel Alexander to advance and form on the right of the One Volunteers, and to Colonel Heg, Fifteenth Visconsin Volunteers, to form on the left of the Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteers, and to my battery to retire. To my surprise, I received a reply from Colonel Alexander that he was already so hotly engaged that he could not come forward. The startling intelligence was also at this moment communicated to me, by one of my orderlies, that all our forces on our right had left the ground. Immediately afterward a heavy fire of musketry and artillery from the enemy, from my right flank and rear, unmistakably announced that I was also attacked from that direction.
On my left Woodruff's brigade had left the ground. My command was thus exposed to fire from all points, except the left of my rear. When too late to retire in good order, I found that I was overpowered, and but a moment was wanting to place my brigade in the hands of