War of the Rebellion: Serial 029 Page 0738 KY., MID. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

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[CHAP. XXXII.

The regiment advanced to a distance of some 500 yards, until it reached our front line of battle, when it was halted, where the brigade which occupied our front line of battle, for some cause, had been thrown into disorder and confusion. After halting here some twenty minutes, until the broken brigade had reformed, and being all the while under fire from artillery and infantry of the enemy, in position in a skirt of woods a little in advance of the right of the brigade, near what is called the Wilkinson pike, the regiment again received orders to advance, which was done by making a circle through a cotton-field until the direction was changed to the right, when the regiment encountered a strong battery, well and ably supported by infantry, in position not more than 300 yards in advance of the right of the brigade, and apparently not more than 150 yards distant, when the first battery opened upon the brigade. This second battery was considerably-some say 300 yards or more-in rear of the forces of the enemy. On their right, being driven back a considerable distance, and from the artillery and infantry combined a most destructive fire was directed against our advancing column; and it being altogether uncertain whether the missiles of death were directed by friend or foe, the regiment was halted and covered, and protected itself as well as possible upon this ground and behind obstacles until it could be ascertained by whom we were being fired upon. Here the brigade commander, who was immediately in the rear of my regiment, sent some of his staff to ascertain this fact; and I here desire to call attention to the skill, gallantry and cool courage of Sergeant Oakley, color-bearer of my regiment, who, while the regiment was thus waiting and in doubt, volunteered and did march out with the flag of his country some 8 or 10 paces in advance of his regiment, and held aloft the flag, which he bore erect some ten minutes in a conspicuous place for the fire of the enemy, and amid a terrific fire, to test by whole fire the brigade was suffering so severely. The continued heavy firing directed upon our line soon demonstrated that the battery and its support were no mistaken friends of ours, and the battery belonging to the brigade was placed in a position by the brigade commander on an eminence, where it and all the infantry of the brigade opened a well-directed and destructive fire against the hostile battery and infantry, and after a heavy fire from us (continued some fifteen or twenty minutes) we drove the battery and its support from their position, which resulted in the battery (consisting of four pieces of artillery) being carried off by the enemy some 150 yards, when it was captured by and fell into the hands of the brigade, the enemy being unable to carry it any farther, my regiment passing immediately by the captured guns.

The loss to my regiment is dislodging this battery and its infantry support from this well-selected position in the woods (our brigade having to attack them from an open field) was very considerable.

I have to regret the loss of Captain D. P. Skelton, of Company K, in my regiment, who was here mortally wounded. This was a severe loss to his company; also that Captain C. Brown was very severely wounded in the thigh-a brave officer, who is disabled from any further field service; and also the loss of 2 non-commissioned officers and 5 privates, and some 40 non-commissioned [officers] and privates were wounded. And here [Lieutenant] John Shane, adjutant in the regiment, was wounded in the arm, who had rendered valuable assistance on the day of the battle, exhibiting much courage.

After driving the enemy from their position, the regiment, with the brigade, under orders from the commander, advanced through a skirt of