could have withstood. The Thirty-second and Thirty-ninth moved promptly, but were embarrassed by the retiring forces, and their safety endangered by an assault in overwhelming numbers upon front and flanks. Lieutenant Belding moved back with four guns, but was so hotly pressed that he could not put them in position with safety. He had done nothing in his original position, because the lines falling back in our front were between his guns and the enemy's line. He and his men stood at their pieces until the enemy's lines were within 50 yards, when they fell back, leaving two guns on the field, owing to the killing of horses attached to one and the breaking of the pole of the other.
The Forty-ninth-remained in its position until ordered to retire, and fought desperately at every rod. The Fifteenth Ohio, Colonel Wallace, delivered six rounds before falling back, while the Thirty-second and Thirty-ninth Indiana bravely contested the ground on the right. The courage and activity of these regiments kept the enemy in check until our artillery horses could be hitched, and the dead of the foe showed the telling effect of their fire. With cavalry on their right, infantry assailing them on the left, and heavy masses rushing to the assault in front, these regiments were directed to retire as the only escape from annihilation or capture.
Edgarton's battery, after being uncovered by the lines of General Kirk, opened fire, but before three rounds were delivered the enemy reached the guns and captured the pieces. Unchecked, the foe rushed on, and as his advance reached Goodspeed's battery, his second line reached Edgarton's battery, and that gallant officer being wounded and made prisoner, his men continued to defend themselves with their gun-swabs. The Fifteenth Ohio, Colonel Wallace, had got into position, and, under cover of its fire, the Forty-ninth Ohio and Eighty-ninth Illinois were directed to retire by the flank. The Thirty-second and Thirty-ninth were now retiring in good order.
At this juncture, learning nothing of General Willich, I felt it my duty to exert myself as far as possible to save the command. Goodspeed's battery, under command of Lieutenant Belding, was ordered to retire to a position beyond an open field, and Lieutenant-Colonel Drake was directed to place the Forty-ninth Ohio in position at the same point.
Here I had hoped to rally the whole brigade, but Lieutenant-Colonel Drake was killed, and Major Porter, of the Forty-ninth, was severely wounded. My horses was shot, and most of our field officers were disabled or dismounted by the enemy's fire. From my position, looking to our center, I could see our whole line fall back rapidly in some disorder, though a constant fire was kept up to the right.
Lieutenant-Colonel Jones was bravely rallying his men, and large numbers, separated from other regiments, were moving directly west, instead of to our center. Lieutenant Day, in charge of three guns, moved back toward the Wilkinson road, with our extreme right. After retiring for nearly half a mile, and rallying and fighting at every available point, my second horse was killed, placing it again out of my power to communicate with our center.
Soon after, a line was rallied and formed, extending west to a small creek, and Lieutenant Belding's gun was got in position. Beyond the creek Lieutenant-Colonel Jones and myself rallied, under cover of a fence and cedar thicket. As the enemy's columns neared our irregular lines, they were met by a rapid and deadly fire, and Lieutenant Belding opened fire at the same time with terrible effect. The rebel columns were checked and fell back across the open ground. Here they opened
20 R R-VOL XX, PT I