before the enemy reached us. He was then but a few hundred yards to the front, sweeping up in immense numbers, driving everything before him. This ground was new and unknown to us all. The woods were almost impassable to infantry, and artillery was perfectly useless, but the line was promptly formed; the Seventeenth Brigade, Col. John Beatty commanding, on the left; the brigade of regulars, Lieut. Col. O. L. Shepherd commanding, on the right; the Ninth Brigade, Col. B. F. Scribner commanding, was placed perhaps 100 yards in rear and opposite the center of the front line, so as to support either or both of the brigades in front, as occasion might require. My recollection is that, perhaps, the Second Ohio and Thirty-third Ohio Regiments filled a gap between General Negley's right and the Seventeenth Brigade, occasioned by the effort to extend our lines far enough to the right to afford the desired aid to General McCook.
The Twenty-eighth Brigade, Col. John C. Starkweather commanding, and Stone's battery of First Kentucky Artillery were at Jefferson Crossing, on Stone's River, about 8 miles below.
Our lines were hardly formed before a dropping fire of the enemy announced his approach. General McCook's troops, in a good deal of confusion, retired through our lines and around our right under a most terrific fire. The enemy, in pursuit, furiously assailed our front, and, greatly outflanking us, passed around to our right and rear. By General Thomas' direction, I had already ordered the artillery [Loomis' and Guenther's batteries] to the open field in the rear. Seeing that my command was outflanked on the right, I sent orders to the brigade commanders to retire at once also to this field, and, riding back myself, I posted the batteries on a ridge in the open ground, parallel with our line of battle, and as my men emerged from the woods they were ordered to take position on the right and left, and in support of these batteries, which was promptly done. We had, perhaps, 400 or 500 yards of open ground in our front. While the batteries were unlimbering, seeing General Van Cleve close by, I rode up and asked him if he would move his command to the right and aid in checking up the enemy, by forming on my right, and thus giving us a more extended line in that direction i the new position taken. In the promptest manner possible his command was put in motion, and in double-quick time reached the desired point in good season. As the enemy emerged from the woods in great force, shouting and cheering, the batteries of Guenther and Loomis, double-shotted with canister, opened upon them. They moved straight ahead for a while, but were finally driven back with immense loss.
In a little while they rallied again, and, as it seemed, with fresh troops, and assailed our position, and were again, after a fierce struggle, driven back. Four deliberate and fiercely sustained assaults were mad upon our position and repulsed.
During the last assault I was informed that our troops were advancing on the right, and saw troops, not of my division, led by General Rosecrans, moving in that direction. I informed General Thomas of the fact, and asked leave to advance my lines. He directed me to do so. We made a charge upon the enemy and drove him into the woods, my staff and orderlies capturing some 17 prisoners, including a captain and lieutenant, who were within 130 yards of the batteries. This ended the fighting of that day, the enemy in immense force hovering in the woods during the night, while we slept upon our arms on the field of battle. We occupied this position during the three following days and nights of the fight. Under General Thomas' direction, I had it intrenched by rifle-pits, and believe the enemy could not have taken it at all.