to me the approach of an immense force. The enemy advanced steadily in column by regiment, en echelon.
When within a short distance of the line of the Fifty-first Ohio and Eighth Kentucky, the first brigade of the enemy came into line, and both parties opened a crashing fire of musketry. The enemy's second brigade came up to the work, yelling-they were immediately in my front. I considered it best to let them advance to within 30 or 40 paces of my line, as I believed they had no knowledge of my position, before I opened my fire. When their right flank was immediately opposite my line, I gave the order to rise and fire. With a deafening cheer the order was gallantly obeyed. A plunging volley staggered the advancing columns, and before the enemy could recover his surprise my regiment had reloaded and commenced a well-aimed and telling file fire. The flash and rattle of my musketry gave information to the battery in my front, which opened furiously upon me. The close proximity of the belligerent lines obliged the gunners to throw their shell to my rear and solid shot to my extreme left. This accounts for the left wing suffering so much more than the right. After twenty minutes of a murderous fire from the enemy, and seeing that he was steadily advancing upon the regiments on my right and left, I called for the Ninety-ninth Ohio to come forward and support me. I intended to have tried the virtue of the bayonet, according to the instructions of our much-respected general-in-chief. I regret very much to say, after two appeals to the Ninety-ninth Ohio, that regiment failed to come forward. The right wing of the Seventy-ninth Indiana was now engaged, and the whole of our brigade line on our right. Through all this terrible fire of musketry and shell, I am proud to say not a single officer or man flinched.
The enemy soon pressed forward. In my rear the Ninety-ninth Ohio had gone from the field. The Seventy-ninth Indiana then gave way under this terrific pressure. The regiments on my right, the Fifty-first Ohio and Eighth Kentucky, were slowly retiring, and fighting heroically. At the end of forty-three minutes of a desperate and unequal contest, I found the enemy completely around my flanks. To prevent a useless destruction of life, or entire capture of my regiment, I gave the order to retire. I was obliged to repeat it, and even then the brave fellows complied reluctantly-many refused, and they were either killed or captured.
On reaching the river, in our rear some 400 yards, I rallied the torn ranks of my regiment. Here were the remaining fragments of the Fifty-first Ohio, Eighth and Twenty-first Kentucky, with some other regiments that I cannot now designate. A bold and determined fire was opened by this new-formed line. The enemy paused, fought, and then at last broke and fled, our men pursuing them with cheers and a heavy straggling fire. So deafening was the musketry, I did not hear or know a single piece of artillery was giving us any aid until I reached the crest of the hill in the wood upon our right. The enemy made one stand more on this hill; it was but momentary, for our brave lads were upon them, and they fled, never again to rally.
In my efforts, agreeably to your orders, to ascertain what officer or man particularly distinguished himself for gallantry, or disgraced himself by cowardice, I asked a special report from officers commanding companies. I received but one report: They commanded a body of heroes. My own observation goes to indorse the truthfulness of these officers' reports. In the rush for the advance, portions of the Thirty-fifth Indiana, Fifty-first Ohio, Eighth and Twenty-first Kentucky reached