War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0712 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

Search Civil War Official Records

[CHAP. XXXII.

Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson's, that his regiment captured six pieces of artillery and about 400 prisoners. It is possible that these gentlemen, with the most honest intentions and in perfect good faith, may have counted some of the same guns as being captured by their respective regiments, but I am satisfied, upon a full conversation with them all and a knowledge of the ground over which they passed, and the position and movements of the other troops upon the same field, that the brigade captured at least eleven pieces of artillery and over 1,000 prisoners.

Colonel Savage's regiment, with three companies of Colonel Chester's held, in my judgment, the critical position of that part of the field. Unable to advance, and determined not to retire, having received a message from Lieutenant-General Polk that I should in a short time be re-enforced and properly supported, I ordered Colonel Savage to hold his position at all hazards, and I felt it to be my duty to remain with that part of the brigade, holding so important and hazardous a position as that occupied by him. Colonel Savage, finding the line he had to defend entirely too long for the number of men under his command, and that there was danger of his being flanked, either to the right or left, as the one or the other wing presented the weaker front, finally threw out the greater part of his command as skirmishers, as well to deceive the enemy as to our strength in his rear as to protect his long line, and held his position, with characteristic and most commendable tenacity, for over three hours. At the expiration of that time Jackson's brigade came up to my support, but instead of going to the right of the Cowan house and to the support of Colonel Savage, it went to the left of the house and over the ground which the two left regiments and seven companies of my brigade had already gone over. After Jackson's, General Adams' brigades came up to the support of Colonel Savage, when, the latter withdrawing his regiment to make way for it, it attacked the enemy with spirit for a short time, but it was soon driven back in disorder and confusion, Colonel Savage's regiment retiring with it. Subsequently, Preston's brigade came up to the same position, one regiment, and perhaps more, going to the right of the Cowan house, and were repulsed, while the remainder of the brigade went to the left of the house and over the same ground which a part of my brigade and all of Jackson's had already traversed.

About this time I rejoined the two left regiments and seven companies of my brigades drawn up in line of battle on the right of Stewart's brigade at the edge of the open field, after passing through the cedar woods to the right of the Wilkinson pike. Here we remained under a very heavy fire from the enemy's artillery, both of shell and shot, until dark, when I withdrew my brigade about 200 yards, for the night, throwing out a strong picket for its protection. During the night I ordered Colonel Savage's command to rejoin the brigade, and collected all that I could of my stragglers, and had them brought to their respective commands.

On Thursday and Friday but little was done, save to keep my men (under an occasional shelling) in line of battle and on the alert, either for any demonstration on the part of the enemy or any movement that might be in the contemplation of my commanding officers. During this interval my dead were buried, and my wounded, which had not already been cared for, properly attended to.

Friday afternoon, under orders from Major-General Cheatham, I moved my brigade forward, parallel with the Wilkinson pike, about half a mile, in order to relieve Maney's brigade on the front line. There we remained, with a strong picket thrown out in front, and skirmishing with the enemy's pickets nearly all the while, until 1 o'clock Sunday morning, January 4, when, in obedience to orders from Major-General Cheatham, we took up the line of March to Shelbyville.