ceeded in starting off a number of the wagons; but during their hasty retreat the artillery disabled one of the wagons, thereby blockading the road and saving the wagons in rear.
Expecting that an attempt would be made afterward by the enemy to cross the river, I detached the Eighth Kentucky as sharpshooters, to command (under cover of the bank) the ford, and prevent their success in such an attempt. Afterward nothing unusual occurred on that day, and my brigade remained in statu quo.
On the next morning, January 1, I was ordered by Colonel Beatty (who, by reason of General Van Cleve having been disabled by a shell in the action of the day previous, assumed command of the division) to station the brigade again on the east side of the river, which I accordingly did, placing it half a mile up and perpendicular to the river, in two lines, Fifty-first Ohio on the right of the front line, Eighth Kentucky in the center, and Thirty-fifth Indiana on the left; also the Third Wisconsin Battery was in the front line, between the Eighth Kentucky and Thirty-fifth Indiana Regiments, the Twenty-first Kentucky and Ninety-ninth Ohio forming the rear line, the Twenty-first Kentucky on the right and Ninety-ninth Ohio on the left. During the day there was heavy skirmishing in our front, and occasionally bodies of cavalry appeared in the distance in front of my command. Our artillery opened on them at different times and dispersed them; but after the firing ceased they reappeared. At sundown our artillery was ordered back to the rear, to the west side of the river.
The night was passed without any interruption from the enemy, except about 12 o'clock there was very sharp firing on the skirmish line, when one of the skirmishers, and private of the Thirty-fifth Indiana Regiment, was killed.
On the morning of January 2, the Third Wisconsin Battery was ordered up and occupied its former position. Through the day our skirmishers reported at different times the appearance of rebel artillery in our front, and also of fifteen rebel infantry regiments that seemed to pass toward our left, which was promptly reported to the commander of the Third Division, Colonel Beatty. The rebel artillery frequently shelled the woods we occupied, and killed a private of the Eighth Kentucky, at the same time tearing the colors of that regiment in pieces. In the skirmishing of the day a private of the Fifty-first Ohio was killed, and one or two of the Eighth Kentucky and Thirty-fifth Indiana Regiments wounded.
At 3.15 o'clock the rebels advanced in force through the corn-field in our front, supposed to be a division. As they advanced to our skirmish line, Captain Banton, of the Eighth Kentucky, who was in command of the skirmishers of the Eighth Kentucky Regiment, was shot and instantly killed. When they had advanced to within gun-shot of our line, the Fifty-first Ohio Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel R. W. McClain; the Eighth Kentucky Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel R. May, and the Thirty-fifth Indiana Regiment, commanded by Colonel B. F. Mullen, poured into their ranks a deadly and effective fire, which seemed, for a while, to stop their advancing column, but again they advanced slowly, and here the battle raged desperately. The gallantry and coolness there evinced by the officers and soldiers and soldiers of the Fifty-first Ohio, Eighth Kentucky, and Thirty-fifth Indiana Regiments deserve the highest praise, and heartily do I attribute it to them.
After these three regiments had contended with the enemy, far superior in numbers to my command, for ten or twelve minutes, and under a severe fire of three batteries of the enemy (none on our side to