from the opposite woods, and Colonel Roberts ordered a skirmishing force to advance and feel the timber on our left. Companies A and B, Twenty-seventh Illinois, were thrown out under Major Schmitt, the balance of the regiment being held in reserve, its left resting on the pike.
About 8.30 a.m. Colonel Roberts ordered the Twenty-second, Forty-second, and Fifty-first to charge the enemy's columns, and gallantly led them in person. The Forty-second and Fifty-first charged in line, with the Twenty-second in rear of the Forty-second, at battalion distance. These regiments went forward at the double-quick, and cleared the wood in front of our lines, the enemy giving way before we reached him. The line was halted, and opened fire in the timber. After some ten minutes, the line on our right giving way, we were ordered to retire to the lane leading at nearly right angles with the pike, and take a new position.
Very soon the whole brigade was moved to the left and rear, and formed in the cedar woods on the pike, east of the hospital. Houghtaling's battery was posted so as to sweep the open ground and timber the brigade had lately occupied. The forty-second and Twenty-second were thrown to the left and rear of the battery, and the Twenty-seventh and Fifty-first formed on the pike, fronting south. The whole command was soon hotly engaged with the enemy, advancing on the east and south. The Twenty-seventh changed front to rear on first company, and the Fifty-first moved by the right flank, so as to form an angle with the Twenty-seventh Illinois. Company K, Fifty-first Illinois, under Lieutenant Moody, was thrown out in advance of the battery to the east, to skirmish the woods, and remained there until driven in. Houghtaling's battery was worked with great spirit and vigor during the whole action; it, as well as the regiments of the brigade, was exposed to a cross-fire from rebel batteries situated at the brick-kiln, and at the point occupied by Houghtaling on the 30th, as well as a heavy fire of small-arms.
There the brigade met its chief loss; 400 were killed or wounded in two hours. Colonels Roberts and Harrington fell about 10.45 o'clock. At this time the ammunition of the battery and of the infantry was nearly exhausted. Being hard pressed by a superior force, and nearly surrounded, it was thought necessary to retire.
At about 11 o'clock I withdrew the Fifty-first in concert with the Twenty-seventh, under Major Schmitt, both regiments moving by the right flank in good order. Houghtaling's battery was left upon the field, after firing the last round of ammunition and losing more than half the horses; being outflanked on both sides, it was impossible to bring it off in its crippled condition. I was not informed of the fall of Colonels Roberts and Harrington until after the Twenty-second and Forty-second had moved. These regiments, after suffering a loss of half their numbers, retired toward the Nashville pike, striking it near the grounds held by General Palmer's division, and, being separated from the brigade, reported to him.
The Twenty-seventh and Fifty-first were the last regiments to leave the ground, the regiments of General Negley's command having already retired. As soon as I was informed that the command of the brigade devolved on me, I sent Captain Rose, of Colonel Roberts' staff, to report to General Sheridan for orders, and fell back through the timber toward the pike.
Not being able to find General Sheridan, I reported to General Davis, who ordered me to re-enforce Colonel Harker's brigade, then engaged with the enemy, who was endeavoring to turn our extreme right and get possession of the road. I took the Twenty-seventh and Fifty-first