Fortieth was ready to relieve him; but it was ascertained that the enemy's guns engaging this line were silenced, and that our assistance was not required. In a few minutes another order came from Colonel Wagner, directing the regiment to the support of General Hascall's brigade, which was now engaging the enemy and occupying the ground which we had been resting on in the morning.
The regiment was reported to General Hascall, and was by him ordered to take a position, with the right resting at the old house near the toll-gate, and the left extending across the railroad, which struck the line about the colors, and lie down. This ground being elevated several feet above that occupied by the front line, placed the regiment in a position much exposed to the fire of the enemy, which was at this time very heavy, both artillery and musketry. Many of our men were wounded here, 1 mortally, and 3 were killed outright.
It was while lying here that I was advised that Lieutenant-Colonel Neff was severely wounded in the arm, and had quit the field in consequence thereof. After having laid about three-fourths of an hour on this spot, we were ordered to relieve the Fifty-eighth Indiana, which occupied the advance line in our front. I called up the regiment and advanced at once, notifying the officer commanding the Fifty-eighth of my purpose. The Fifty-eighth was withdrawn and the Fortieth took their place.
For some minutes after getting into a position we were only annoyed by artillery fire, but soon we observed a brigade of the enemy moving toward us in order, with the evident intention of attacking us. On nearing the ruins of the burned brick building in our front, one regiment was detached from the brigade and bore down upon us. I allowed them to gain a point within easy range of musketry fire, and directed the regiment to open upon them, which they did with great briskness, and with such effect as to repulse the enemy handsomely.
When I found the enemy had been effectually driven back, I ordered my command to cease firing, and immediately set about replenishing the cartridge-boxes with ammunition, and quietly awaited any further advance on the part of the enemy, which, however, was not made. Nightfall found the regiment occupying the same ground upon which we had bivouacked since arriving, on the 29th.
The regiment remained in position, with a picket thrown forward, till 4 a.m. of the 1st instant, when we were ordered to retire, which we did quietly, and took a position a few rods to the left of the railroad, and about half a mile to the rear of one abandoned. Nothing of any moment occurred to the regiment on the 1st. We kept the front well covered with skirmisher, and kept in readiness for any attack.
On the 2nd, early in the day, we were subjected to a vigorous artillery fire from the enemy, which, however, had no serious result. On the evening of the 2nd, at nearly sundown, the enemy attacked the troops on the left of our position, and the regiment threw forward an additional skirmishing company to support our line, which, being in the open field, was much exposed, and had been subjected throughout the day to a vicious fire from the outposts of the enemy, who were concealed by the timber in front, which resulted in wounding Captain Wallace and two of his men. The enemy were repulsed on the left, and the regiment was directed to move to that part of the field.
Crossing the river we moved forward to the advance line, and taking position remained till the evening of the 3rd, when we were relieved and retired to the skirt of woods on the bank of the river, where we bivouacked till 4 a.m. of the 4th, when we were withdrawn to the rear,