Sixth Kentucky and Forty-first Ohio were in the front line, the Sixth being on the right and the Forty-first on the left. The Ninth Indiana and one hundred and tenth Illinois were in the second line, the Ninth being on the right and the One hundred and tenth on the left.
A fierce battle had commenced at daylight on our right, and progressed with ominous changes of position until about 8.30 a.m., when it could no longer be doubted that our entire right being driven around in rear to a position nearly at right angles to its proper line. At this moment authority was given to move forward to seize the commanding positions in front, and the burnt house of Mr. Cowan. The line advanced about 20 yards, when orders were given to face to the rear, the necessity of which was apparent, the enemy having by this time pushed forward quite to our rear. He at the same moment broke cover over the crest in front, at double-quick in two lines. I faced my two regiments to the rear, and moving them into the skirt of woods, commenced to engage in that direction. My two left regiments were retired some 50 yards, and moved to the left of the pike to take cover of a slight crest, and engaged to the front, the regiment of Wagner's brigade occupying that ground (the Fortieth Indiana, Colonel Blake) having fallen much to the rear of it.
The enemy had by this time taken position about the burnt house, and the action became at my position terrific. The efforts of the enemy to force back my front and cross the cotton-field, out of which my troops had moved, were persistent, and were prevented only by the most unflinching determination upon the part of the Forty-first Ohio and One hundred and tenth Illinois Volunteers to hold their ground to the last. All the troops of General Wood, posted on our left, except two regiments guarding a ford some distance to our left and rear, were withdrawn to repel the assault upon the right, so that the Nineteenth Brigade was the extreme left of the army.
Upon this point, as a pivot, the entire army oscillated from front to rear the entire day. The ammunition of the Forty-first Ohio Volunteers was by this time nearly exhausted, and my efforts to replenish were up to this time fruitless. I dispatched word to the rear that assistance must be given, or we must be sacrificed, as the position I held could not be given up, and gave orders to Lieutenant-Colonel Wiley to fix his bayonets and to Colonel Casey (without bayonets) to club his guns and hold the ground at all hazards, as it was the key of the whole left. The responses satisfied me that my orders would be obeyed so long as any of those regiments were left to obey them. I now brought over the Ninth Indiana from the right, and immediately posted it to relieve the Forty-first Ohio Volunteers.
It is proper to state here that, in advancing to this position under a galling fire, a cannon-shot passed through the ranks of the Ninth Indiana, carrying death with it, and the ranks were closed without checking a step. The Forty-first Ohio Volunteers retired with its thin ranks in as perfect order as on parade, cheering for the cause and crying for ammunition.
A few discharges from the fresh regiments sufficed to check the foe, who drew out of our range, and at 9.30 lull and rest came acceptably to our troops upon the left, their advance upon the right having also been checked.
At about 10 a.m. another assault was made by the enemy, in several lines, furiously upon our front, succeeding in pushing a strong column past the burnt house, covered by the palisading, to the wood occupied by the Twenty-second Brigade and the Sixth Kentucky. All of our