force of my brigade was kept out all night on picket, trying to hold this advanced line. The attempt was partially successful. It was suspected that the enemy had rifle-pits and a large force beyond the crest; but the best reconnaissance I could make by night could not furnish the facts. Subsequent knowledge evinced the correctness of the supposition, and also demonstrated the fact that 5,000 troops could not have taken and held the crest which my brigade of 1,200 attempted to reach and hold.
On the 31st ultimo an order was received from the general commanding division, about 8 a.m., to advance in line, with the brigade supporting me on the right and left. The brigade was promptly put in motion, formed in two lines, as follows; The Second Kentucky and Thirty-first Indiana Volunteers (under general charge of Colonel Sedgewick as ranking officer) constituting the front line, and First Kentucky and Ninetieth Ohio (under general charge of Colonel Enyart as ranking officer) forming the second line; Captain Standart's artillery was formed in half-battery on each flank of the front line. The brigade, by this formation, exhibited a front line. The brigade, by this formation, exhibited a front, of say, 600 men, or less than a full regiment. Colonel Hazen's brigade was in position on my left and rear, and brigades of General Negley's division on the right. Upon giving the orders to advance, my skirmishers ran rapidly forward from the wood and engaged those of the enemy in the open field. They drove them, and my front line advanced promptly up to the rail fence in the margin of the woods. The enemy pushed toward us rapidly, and charged my line in great force and in solid rank. The fight became very severe and obstinate about 9 a.m.
My troops fought with heroism. Every officer and soldier acted well, and seemed to me to accomplish more than could be expected of him. For sturdy endurance, stalwart bravery, and manly courage it does not seem to me that the conduct of these two regiments here could be surpassed. The enemy were driven back, although superior in numbers. His charge was made in two lines, with the appearance of a four-rank formation, and in most admirable order and discipline.
After the first repulse, and before my line could be advanced, the enemy made a second charge (reserving fire until a close approach was had), which was more furious than before. The Second Kentucky and Thirty-first Indiana nobly held their ground, and, after some thirty minutes' well-directed fire, drove him back again for a short distance.
A respite of a few minutes in active firing enabled me to execute a passage of lines to the front, to relieve the first line, the ammunition of which was nearly exhausted. This maneuver was well executed, considering that it was done under a brisk fire of the enemy's skirmishers, the cross-fire of flanking parties that had already passed to the right and left of the line, and in face of two of the enemy's batteries.
The rear line (now front) was soon actively engaged. I attempted with it to assail the enemy, and ordered an advance. The First Kentucky, Colonel Enyart, on the right of the line made a gallant charge, and drove the enemy before it, rushing forward to the crest of the hill, clear beyond and to the right of the burnt house. The fire was so severe from the enemy's force at the burnt house, on the left, that the order to move up the Ninetieth Ohio was countermanded; not, however,, until many of the officers and men of this gallant regiment had pressed forward over the fence in line with the old First Kentucky.
The sad list of the killed and wounded of the Ninetieth and First Regiments speaks loudly of the courage and manhood they evinced in this charge. Standart, with his gallant gunners, was throwing in grape