about 1,200 yards in our front, which I reported to Colonel Beatty, who sent a battery to the front, posting two pieces to my right and four pieces to the left of the first line. Our battery then opened fire on the enemy, consisting of artillery, cavalry, and infantry, who were posted in the edge of the woods in front of us, the enemy feebly replying with their artillery, their sharpshooters at the same time keeping up a brisk fire on our line of skirmishers all day. Thus passed Thursday. In the evening the four companies that were skirmishing were relieved and formed with the regiment, where we lay that night on our arms.
On Friday morning, at daybreak, the enemy's sharpshooters opened on us with increased vigor. Two companies of the Fifty-first were then sent to relieve the front line of skirmishers. At about 12 m. the enemy changed the position of their battery to the left of our front, and opened a heavy fire on us at this elevated point, and, having got range of the two pieces of artillery posted where we were stationed, our pieces had to be withdrawn a short distance to the rear. The enemy's line of skirmishers was then strengthened, and drove our skirmishers back a short distance, and gained possession of some buildings which our skirmishers were unable to hold. Our line then rallied, drove the enemy from the buildings, who set them on fire before leaving them.
Between the hours of 1 and 2 p. m. we could distinctly see in the distance large bodies of infantry forming in our front and moving to our left, accompanied by artillery and cavalry. I immediately notified the proper officers of the movements of the enemy. Soon thereafter we saw large bodies of infantry forming in our front in line of battle, and moving toward us. They advanced to within between 600 and 800 yards of our front and halted, and commenced throwing down a line of fence running parallel to our line. I immediately directed Adjutant Nicholas to report the fact, and he informed Major Starling of the enemy's movements, as well as the brigade and division commanders that the enemy were in the act of attacking us. The enemy's artillery was playing on us up to this time, when it ceased, and their line of battle immediately advanced, their center moving steadily, while their left was thrown around to Stone's River. After advancing in this manner to within 200 yards of our front, they set up a most hideous yell, and charged upon us in two lines of battle, closed in mass, while their skirmishers rallied to their left.
At this period the eight companies of the Fifty-first were lying down, with bayonets fixed, being partially protected by a depression of the ground, the two companies of skirmishers still disputing the advance of the enemy's left, which was in advance of their center, and moving more rapidly, in order to get between us and the river, to outflank us. When their line arrived within 60 yards of our front, so that we could plainly see their breasts, I gave the command to rise and fire, which was done, the enemy at the same time opening a terrific fire upon us; their front line, using revolving rifles, kept up a continuous fire, and advancing. Being pressed heavily, and our right forced back and outflanked, the artillery having been withdrawn previous to the charge, we were compelled to fall back and cross the river, where I rallied portions of the regiment under cover of our artillery, then recrossed the river, and advanced with our colors and assisted in driving the enemy beyond our first position, capturing one piece of artillery belonging to the Washington Battery, our colors being the first to wave over the gun. It being dark, and the enemy driven from the field, we were ordered to seek quarters for the night.
The following is a list of the killed, wounded, and missing in the reg-