it will show to the most casual observer how favorable it was for covering the movements and designs of the enemy in resisting our progress.
The resistance of the enemy prevented our troops from gaining possession of the commanding heights immediately south of La Vergne during the first day's operations, and delayed the arrival of my division at the site intended for its encampment until some time after nightfall. The darkness of the evening and the lateness of the hour prevented such a reconnaissance of the ground as is so necessary in close proximity to the enemy; but, to guard effectually against surprise, a regiment from each brigade was thrown over forward as a grand guard, and the front and flanks of the division covered with a continuous line of skirmishers.
The troops were ordered to be roused an hour and a half before dawn of the following morning, to get their breakfast as speedily as possible, and to be formed under arms and in order of battle before daylight. An occasional shell from the opposing heights, with which the enemy commenced to greet us shortly after the morning broke, showed these precautions were not lost.
As it was understood from the commanding general of the corps that the right wing was not so far advanced as the left, the latter did not move forward until 11 a.m. on the 27th. At this hour the advance was ordered, and my division was directed to take the lead. The entire cavalry on duty with the left wing was ordered to report to me. Being satisfied, however, from the nature of the country, that its position in advance would be injudicious, and retard rather than aid the progress of the infantry, I directed it to take position in rear of the flanks of the leading brigade. I ordered Hascall's brigade to take the advance and move in two lines, with the front and flanks well covered with skirmishers. The other brigades, Wagner's and Harker's, were ordered to advance on either side of the turnpike road, prepared to sustain the leading brigade, and especially to protect its flanks. These two brigades were also ordered to protect their outward flanks by flankers. In this order the movement commenced.
Possession of the hamlet of La Vergne was the first object to be attained. The enemy was strongly posted in the houses and on the wooded heights in our rear, whence he was enabled to oppose our advance by a direct and cross fire of musketry. Hascall's brigade advanced gallantly across an open field to the attack, and quickly routed the enemy from his stronghold. This was the work of only a few minutes, but more than 20 casualties in the two leading regiments proved how sharp was the fire of the enemy. The forward movement of Hascall's brigade was continued, supported by Estep's Eighth Indiana Battery.
The enemy availed himself of the numberless positions that occur along the entire road to dispute our further progress, but he could not materially retard the advance of troops so determined and enthusiastic. They continued to press forward through the densely wooded country, in a drenching rain-storm, until they reached Stewart's Creek, distant some 5 miles from La Vergne. Stewart's Creek is a narrow and deep stream, flowing between high and precipitous banks. It is spanned by a wooden bridge with a single arch. It was a matter of cardinal importance to secure possession of the bridge, as its destruction would entail much difficulty and delay in crossing the stream, and, perhaps, involve the necessity of constructing a new bridge. The advance troops found on their arrival that the enemy had lighted a fire on it, but the had been pressed so warmly there had not been time for the flames to be communicated to the bridge. The line of skirmishers and the Third