Nothing but heavy skirmishing and artillery firing on the part of the enemy occupied during the day, until about 4 o'clock in the evening, when our whole line was attacked by a heavy rebel force. My men were under arms, and I knew by the firing that our men were giving way. I was ordered forward, and moved up the hill at a double-quick, through briers and undergrowth, tearing our line badly. Arriving at the crest of the hill, we met our troops retreating in great confusion. Nothing could be more discouraging to me men the aspect of affairs at that time, but heavy never faltered. I allowed the retreating mass to pass through my line, the enemy all the time pouring into us a destructive fire, both infantry and artillery. Our lines closed up, and I ordered my men to commence firing. The enemy gave way after the fourth or fifth round, the colors of the regiment in front of us having fallen no less than three times, and had we had but the enemy in front to contend with, our chances of success would have been tolerably certain; but just when the battle was being decided in our favor, we were flanked by a heavy force on our right, causing our support on that flank to give way, leading us exposed to a raking fire, which was fast decimating my regiment. We had already suffered. Major Grider and Adjutant Bailey wounded; Captains Bryan and Coyle killed; Read badly wounded; Lieutenants Leggett and Carpenter killed; Heeter and Johnson wounded.
I do not hesitate to say that no regiment could have withstood this fresh attack. I ordered the regiment to fall back under the hill. Colonel Grider ordered me in person to rally my men at the foot of the hill. I found the ground almost in possession of a rebel regiment. We continued the retreat across the river, and I there rallied my men. We were here re-enforced by three or four regiments, and the enemy brought to a stand. The firing here was the most terrible I ever heard. The foe fought us bravely, but could not withstanding such a terrible fire. He gave way slowly, we not only retook the lost ground, but drove him over a mile, cutting him up badly and capturing his artillery, changing the result of the battle from a defeat to a splendid victory. The colors of the Ninth Kentucky recrossed the river by the side of those of the Nineteenth Ohio, and under your leadership. The regiments of your brigade, shattered as they were, were the first to wave their flags over the captured guns of the enemy.
My officers and men fought splendidly, under the most discouraging circumstances . Every man in the regiment knew what he had to encounter when we were ordered forward, but not one faltered. They knew that the gallant reserve-the Nineteenth Ohio and Ninth Kentucky--were insufficient to check the victorious enemy.
Major Grider was wounded while gallantly cheering on his men early in the engagement,and Adjutant Bailey soon afterward. I felt the loss of these officers greatly. Captain Bryan was mortally wounded, doing his duty nobly. Captain Coyle was killed while cheering on his men. Lieutenants Leggett and Carpenter were killed at the head of their companies. Captain Read, Lieutenants Heeter and Johnson were wounded while fighting gallantly.
I take pleasure in mentioning the following officers, whose gallant conduct deserves great praise: Captain Somerby, Lieutenants Patton, Downing, Grinstead, Rodes, and Mayes. Private Moses Rourk of Company C, deserves special mention. When the colors were shot down, in the engagement of the 31st, he grasped them and brought them safely through the fight, and in the battle of January 2 he them into the thickest of the fight, and was at times left almost alone.