was on the point of ordering Company B from the front, when several shots were fired from the pickets on our left, who gave way at the point H, leaving our flank exposed. I ordered Lieutenant Stanley to reconnect his line with General Kirk and hold his ground. At the same time I ordered all the company reserves on the picket line, forming a very strong skirmish line. Scarcely had this disposition been made when Kirk's pickets again gave way, and three regiments of rebel infantry, moving abreast in line of battle, were interposed between my picket line and the reserve companies. Many of my men were shot down at their post by the enemy who had moved into their rear.
Seeing that the rebel line of battle was oblique to that of our right wing, and supposing that our brigade would either change obliquely on the Thirty-ninth Indiana, or place the batteries in position to enfilade the rebel lines, I, partly to support such a movement, and partly to secure an opportunity to rally the pickets on the reserve, ordered Captain Herring to move the pickets in double-quick time by the right flank and take position behind the fence D, and open fire on the advancing foe, at the same time sending Lieutenant Neal to the house E, to open the fence and show the companies where to commence filing to the right. We succeeded in rallying Company A, and parts of Companies D and K, behind the fence, when the enemy opened upon us a murderous fire. Lieutenant Neal fell mortally wounded, and of the few who took position there, nearly one-half were either killed or wounded. Twice did our fire cause the enemy's lines to halt and waver, but he quickly rallied and moved forward. Had we been supported here, either with infantry or artillery, the enemy would have been repulsed with great slaughter. But no support came. Three rebel standards were within 30 feet of the fence when I ordered the men to double-quick to the cedar thicket C, where they again made a stand and covered the retreat of one piece of Goodspeed's battery.
Here I first learned that my five reserve companies, under command of Captain Cody, senior captain, had charged, front forward, on seven companies, and had bravely held their ground until the regiment on their left had given way, when they were forced to abandon their position. They retired in good order for some distance, when their ranks were thrown into confusion by the rush of stragglers through their lines. Seeing our colors at a distance, I ordered the skirmishers to fall back at once and join them. I met Colonel Gibson near this point, and we selected a ground on which to rally our two regiments; but ignorance of the topography of the country, and the operations of our cavalry, threw me so far over to the right as to separate me from Colonel Gibson and involve me in difficulty with the rebel cavalry, which was swarming on our flank. The division train being threatened by this cavalry, I rallied as many men as possible to its support, and escorted it safely and in good order to the Nashville pike.
Here both myself and the other officers did our utmost to file the regiment to the right and join the center of our army; but at this time the panic on the pike was at the highest, and our men were swept away as by a whirlwind, leaving me but a handful of men and officers. With these, after having been under a murderous fire for over eight hours, with our colors lost and men dispirited, I joined General Johnson, near the rear of the center of our army. Had I been better acquainted with the topography of the country I might have saved more men; but hour after hour elapsed, and I received no orders, and I did not even know where to direct my line of retreat; yet every obstacle, thicket, fence, or ravine was taken advantage of, and at no time was our fire relaxed.