My skirmishers were ordered forward at a double-quick, and charged upon the enemy, who instantaneously fled from their hiding places. At this moment it became evident, from the brisk firing of the enemy, that large numbers of them were concealed in the standing corn on the hill side; and fearing that my skirmishers would be overwhelmed, I ordered the whole regiment forward at a double-quick, but before the regiment had entirely crossed the river, Captain Russell informed me that the enemy was advancing in line of battle bust beyond the crest of a ridge, about 400 yards to our front.
I at once determined to seize the crest before the enemy could get there, if possible; consequently the whole line was ordered forward on the run, and although the whole ridge seemed to issue forth a continuous flame of fire, not a man faltered, but each seemed to strive to reach the desired point in advance of his comrades. The boldness of the movement, and the alacrity with which it was executed, together with the brisk and well-directed fire of my men struck terror to the enemy, who fell back in great confusion at our approach. I was at this moment ordered to advance no farther,but hold my position. I then ordered my men to lie down, so as to conceal them as much as possible, and in a few moments the enemy
were plainly seen advancing upon our position. They were allowed to advance to within 30 paces, when fire was opened upon them with such effect that they hardly waited to reply, but broke and fled again. Re-enforcements soon arrived on my right and left.
We remained in our position without further molestation until about 10 o'clock at night, when I was notified that orders had been given to retire to the opposite bank of the river. After waiting until the balance of the troops had recrossed, my regiment was marched by the rear rank to the river, when it recrossed also. In the mean time my skirmishers were gradually withdrawn. The regiment was marched about 500 yards from the ford, where it bivouacked for the night.
Slight skirmishing was all that occurred of interest until the morning of the 31st, when it became evident from the terrific roar of artillery and musketry that the enemy was turning the extreme right of our army. We were at once ordered to the right and rear at double-quick. We had moved but a short distance, when we came within range of the enemy's artillery; and, although several were wounded when we had no chance of striking a blow at the enemy,yet my men moved a distance of over a mile as regularly as they could have moved had we been on drill; and even when we came in contact with excited teams and teamsters, every command was promptly obeyed without confusion. After marching about 2 1/2 miles we reached the extreme right of the army.
We had hardly reached our position, when we were ordered forward in line of battle across open cotton and corn fields. Companies A, B, and F were deployed as skirmishers to cover my extreme right and front. We had proceeded in this order but about one-half mile, when my skirmishers, approaching the crest of a ridge in front, running at an angle of about fifteen degrees to the right, were fired upon by a large force of the enemy concealed in the standing corn to my front and right. I at once ordered the whole line forward at a double-quick. My skirmishers came in sight of the enemy in a moment, when our well-directed fire soon put them to flight. I was here again, by rapid movements, particularly fortunate in getting the advantage of the enemy in my position. We had a fair chance at them while they were retreating some 400 yards, and large numbers of them were killed and wounded. Although the