desired me to form and advance behind his second line of infantry. I then repeated the general's orders to me, viz, to wait until the infantry had crowned the crest, and then to rush up and occupy it. Knowing the disposition of all commanders to use artillery, I spoke to General Breckinridge and earnestly protested against crowding a field so contracted as the one which we were to operate with small guns, stating that, in case of a repulse, we would inevitably lose some if they were carried on the field. General Breckinridge, thinking differently, however, formed his batteries and advanced them simultaneously with his infantry and immediately behind it. Colonel Brent, assistant adjutant-general, was present on this occasion and heard the conversation.
After the first reconnaissance and before the final arrangements for attack, two pieces (of Breckinridge's division) had been moved and had opened fire on the enemy's skirmishers. It called the enemy's attention to the very point we desired to attack, and probably to this development is due the fact that we found the enemy's batteries had been located so as to cover completely all the ground over which we would be compelled to pass, and which operated to such an alarming extent on our lines. One of these batteries, I think, was located near Hoover's house; the other was located in rear of the Round Forest, to the right of the railroad, in front of Chalmers' position. I know they must have been across Stone's River, for I could notice the shells falling, and all had considerable elevation.
All being prepared, the movement began in the following order: Infantry in two lines, interval 200 yards; the batteries of General Breckinridge's division formed immediately in rear of the second line; my batteries in rear of all, caisson left at a distance in rear. I followed up the advance with my command until I gained the open field, across which we were to advance; here I halted. The plan for the artillery was as follows: Two 12-pounder howitzers to rake the slopes from the highest point of the hill to the water's edge, firing down the river the heaviest battery; six Napoleons to occupy the highest point; the other battery, four Napoleons, to occupy a station on the ridge running out from the river to the right from the hill top. The two 12-pounder howitzers began early; the ground for the four Napoleons was soon uncovered and occupied by Lieutenant Fitzpatrick, commanding. Before this, however, the enemy's fire had brought the artillery of General Breckinridge's division to a halt; had overturned two pieces; the others had begun firing obliquely to the right, but for a time I though they were firing into their own men. I waited some time for the infantry to clear the crest, so that I could order Robertson's battery up to its place, but saw unmistakable evidences of a retrograde movement, and seeing Colonel G. St. Leger Grenfell at this moment, I sent word to General Bragg that I was satisfied the infantry would be unable to hold their position, and changed my plan, so as to bring the guns of Robertson's battery to bear on the enemy. I ordered it up to take position beside Semple's. It had nearly arrived at the new position when the infantry gave back. I at once ordered the commander, Lieutenant S. J. Benton, to take his battery to the rear and established it in the line of timber, to protect the infantry until it could be reformed; the other batteries were ordered to move off, however, until all the infantry support had disappeared. At this point occurred our loss in guns. Two pieces of Wright's battery were lost, and one fine piece belonging to Semple's battery. The batteries, having kept up the fight some time after the infantry had abandoned the field, drew to themselves a very heavy fire; they were, therefore, much reduced in men.