Grose to steadily advance, supporting the advance brigades,and all to use their artillery freely.
My line had advanced hardly 100 yards, when, upon reaching my own right, I found that General Negley had, instead of advancing, thrown back his right, so that his line was almost perpendicular to that of Cruft, and to his rear; and it was also apparent that the enemy were driving General McCook back, and were rapidly approaching our rear.
Cruft's line was halted by my order. I rode to the left to make some disposition to meet the coming storm, and by the time I reached the open ground to the south of the pike, the heads of the enemy's column had forced their way into the open ground to my rear.
To order Grose to change front to the rear was the work of a moment, and he obeyed the order almost as soon as given, retiring his new left so as to bring the enemy under the direct fire of his line. He opened upon them in fine style and with great effect, and held his ground until the enemy was driven back.
In the mean time General Negley's command had to some extent, become compromised by the confusion on the right,and my First Brigade was exposed in front and flank to a severe attack, which also now extended along my whole front. Orders were sent to Colonel Hazen to fall back from the open cotton-field into which he had moved. He fell back a short distance, and a regiment from Wood's division, which had occupied the crest of a low wooded hill between the pike and the railroad, having been removed, he took possession of that, and there resisted the enemy.
At that time, near 11 o'clock, as I think my command was all engaged with the enemy; Hazen on the railroad, one or two regiments to regiment; some troops in the point of woods south of the cotton-field, and a short distance in advance of the general line, among whom I was only able to distinguish the gallant Colonel Whitaker and his Sixth Kentucky. Still farther to the right Cruft was fighting, aided by Standart's guns, and to the rear Grose was fighting, with apparently great odds against him.
All were acquitting themselves nobly, and all were hard pressed. I could see that Grose was losing a great many men, but the importance of Hazen's position determined me, if necessary to do so, to expend the last man in holding it. I gave my attention from that time chiefly to that point.
The One hundredth Illinois came up on the left of the railroad, and fought steadily. As soon as Colonel Grose was relieved of the enemy in his rear, he again changed front, moved to the left of the railroad, and fought steadily. As soon as Colonel Grose was relieved of the enemy in his rear, he again changed front, moved to the left, and co-operated with Colonel Hazen. One regiment was sent to my support from General Wood's command, which behaved splendidly. I regret my inability either to name the regiment or its officers. Again and again the attack was renewed by the enemy, and each time repulsed, and the gallant men, who had so bravely struggled to hold the position, occupied it during the night.
For further details of the day's operations, I respectfully refer to the reports of the brigade and regimental commanders, which are herewith forwarded, and confess my obligations to them all for their assistance during the day.
Brigadier-General Cruft deserves great praise for so long holding the important position occupied by him on our right, and for skillfully extricating his command from the mass of confusion around it.
Standart fought his guns until the enemy was upon him, and then brought them off safely, while the Second Kentucky brought off by hand three guns abandoned by General Negley's division.