again opened fire with such terrific effect that their yells of pain, terror, and anguish, as our shells exploded in their dense ranks, could be distinctly heard where we stood. So well was the battery served that their attack ceased,and darkness closed the conflict.
We slept on our arms without fires, prepared for the battle which we well knew would open on the morrow. During the night we discovered what appeared to me to be a continued movement of troops, which led me to believe that the enemy were massing troops on our right, which information I had the honor to report to my immediate superior, Brigadier-General Davis.
As soon as day dawned I examined the line of battle, and, as I had no supports, placed three pieces in battery on my left, and pointed out to Brigadier-General Sill the weakness of the line at this point, and requested him to order up some regiments of his brigade, held in reserve, to strengthen his right and protect my left, feeling certain that the enemy meditated an attack, and that it would be made at that place. He agreed with me, and immediately ordered up two regiments, which remained there but a short time, and then resumed their former positions as reserves. Deeming the knowledge of this fact of paramount importance, I dispatched a staff officer to Brigadier-General Davis to give him the information. Afterward the general informed me that I must hold the position as best I could, for he had no supports to send me.
Almost simultaneously with the withdrawal of the reserves ordered up by Brigadier-General Sill, the enemy made their attack in five heavy lines, and we were immediately engaged. Captain Carpenter's battery opened with terrific effect with grape and canister, and they were mowed down as grass beneath the sickle, while the infantry poured in a well-directed and very destructive fire. Sheltered by the rail fence, they were partially protected, and fired with the coolness of veterans.
As soon as the battle became general, the Twenty-fourth Wisconsin, which joined my left, gave way, leaving my battery and left flank exposed to an enfilading fire. I finally succeeded in rallying them as a reserve. At this point moment the right of Brigadier-General Sill's brigade commenced to swing to the rear, and Colonel Carlin's was discovered falling steadily back.
I then received orders to take position to the rear, some 300 yards, in the belt of timber. I informed the staff officer who brought the order that we could maintain our position if supported. He said the order was peremptory, and I hastened to execute it, but not until I was flanked both on the right and left. The brigade moved to the rear in good order, and halted on the new line; but the right and left continuing the march, and being severely pressed, we made a vigorous charge and drove the enemy back in our front, and, strange to say, not only carried our point, but swung the enemy's lines upon right and left with it.
Had we been supported here they, would have been routed; as it was, we regained our position occupied when the battle opened, but could hold it but a moment, when we were forced to yield to superior numbers, and steadily fall back to the ground from which the charge was first made. From this point we charged a second time, compelling the enemy to yield ground, but our ammunition beginning to fail, and no wagons to be found from which to replenish the stock, the brigade was ordered to hold its position as best it could, and, if pressed too hard,to fall steadily back until the battery could be got into position to protect their movement the cotton-field. I placed the battery in position, and gave the officer in command (Sergeant German) directions where to