Here, assisted by Captain Simonson's [Fifth Indiana] battery, this brigade, unsupported, except by the Third Brigade, which was on our left, and almost alone, succeeded in checking the enemy, bringing his columns to a halt, and requiring the utmost exertions of his officers to keep his men from fleeing in disorder from the field, during all of which time a tremendous fire was kept up. The enemy finally succeeded in throwing his left wing forward across the fence, thus outflanking this brigade and dislodging us from that position; but the number of dead left by him on that ground for five days afterward shows conclusively that it was by far the dearest position to him that he gained that day.
Colonel Read, of the Seventy-ninth Illinois, was killed instantly while bravely urging his men on. In his death the service has lost a fine officer, a brave soldier, and a true man. Adjutant Stribley, of the Thirtieth Indiana, was also killed here. The service contained no braver or cooler officer than he. The Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania, Lieutenant-Colonel Housum commanding, at the time of the occurrences above mentioned was some 600 yards on the left of the troops under my immediate command, acting with a brigade in General Davis' division. While hotly engaged with the enemy, Colonel Housum was wounded severely, from which he died shortly afterward. He was a cool, clear-headed, courageous officer and gentleman.
After being driven from the fence, I retired my command to a piece of woods in the rear of my former position, the enemy closely following up with infantry on our rear and cavalry on our left flank. I halted my command twice, and formed a line and undertook to hold him in check, but it was impossible to do but little, owing to our weakened condition and the absence of all support.
I finally fell back to near the Murfreesborough and Nashville turnpike, and made up my mind that the enemy must be stopped there. I had at that time the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania, Captain Rose commanding, Twenty-ninth Indiana, Major Collins commanding, and about 100 men belonging to the Thirtieth Indiana, Thirty-fourth Illinois, and Seventy-ninth Illinois; in all, about, at that time, 500 men. By command of Brigadier-General Johnson, I formed my little force on the right of Captain Simonson's battery, which was in action with one of the enemy's batteries, which was soon silenced, immediately after which it [Captain Simonson's battery] was placed in another position.
I wish to be pardoned for testifying here to the skill, efficiency, and courage displayed by Captain Simonson and his officers and men during that day. I then moved my command some 150 yards to the right of where it had been while supporting the battery, into a piece of woods, and took a good position for defense.
Some troops belonging to some other division moved in on my left just at that moment, and a moment after the remains of the column that made the first attack in the morning made its appearance, coming up on a double-quick. I immediately gave the command forward, and my command met them, poured in a deadly volley, and rushed forward. Their advance was stopped, their line wavered, and in a moment was in full retreat, and thus the brigade that received the first attack from this column in the morning had the satisfaction of giving it the first repulse it received during the day. I followed them but a short distance, when I got a regiment to relieve the command I had left, as they were entirely out of ammunition, and, by order of General Johnson, I took them back and formed along the railroad, and got a supply.
I was then ordered back to the bank of the river, where I awaited