of the hill, with an interval on the top of the hill of about 80 yards between General Chalmers' left and my right. My line was a prolongation of his, stretching some 300 yards into a dense cedar forest. Colonel Manigault was on my left; his line was deflected to the rear at an angle of about 45. My command was posted from right to left as follows: Barret's battery (four guns) on the crest of the hill, in open field; the Twenty-seventh Mississippi, Colonel T. M. Jones commanding; Twenty-ninth Mississippi, Colonel W. F. Brantly; Thirtieth Mississippi, Lieutenant Colonel Junius I. Scales; Twenty-fourth Mississippi, Lieutenant Colonel R. P. McKelvaine, and the Forty-fifth Alabama, Colonel James G. Gilchrist. The troops remained under arms during the afternoon and night of the 28th.
On the 29th, rifle-pits were constructed along the line of the Twenty-seventh Mississippi, which was in the open field. Captain Overton W. Barret also threw up slight earthworks to protect his cannoneers and horses against the enemy's sharpshooters. The other regiments, all of which were in the cedar forest, erected temporary breastworks of stone, great quantities of which covered the ground about them. A line of skirmishers had already been thrown out from 200 to 300 yards in front, connecting on the right with those of General Chalmers, and on the left with Colonel Manigault's. Some skirmishing took place during the day, and a few casualties were the result.
On the 30th, the skirmishers were more hotly engaged, killed and wounded on this day amounting to 35. At 9 p.m. the order for attack the next morning was received. Regimental commanders were immediately assembled and the order communicated to them.
On the morning of the 31st, soon after daylight, a few shots on our extreme left, quickly followed by the thick roll of musketry and then by booming artillery, announced that the action had commenced. In pursuing the instructions contained in the order, it was necessary that the extreme left of our line should advance some distance, swinging around upon the right, before my command should move beyond the breastworks. The direction of Colonel Manigault's line on my left, as heretofore explained, made it necessary for his left to describe an are equal to the eighth of a circle, the length of his line being the radius, before reaching the point where it would be on a prolongation of my line. The enemy's right was being steadily driven back.
About 9 a.m. Colonel Manigault came to me and informed me that he intended to charge a battery in his front; wished me to send two regiments to his support. I consented to do so, and immediately ordered the Forty-fifth Alabama and Twenty-fourth Mississippi forward to perform that duty. They became hotly engaged soon after leaving their breastworks, the enemy being in heavy force and strongly posted, backed by many pieces of artillery, so planted as to enfilade a portion of our line. In addition to this enfilading fire, Colonel Manigault was exposed to a cross-fire from a battery in front of his left. In the unequal contest our line halted, staggered, and fell back in some confusion, but were easily rallied, reformed and moved to the front. The Thirtieth Twenty-ninth, and Twenty-seventh Mississippi were now successively ordered forward, with instructions to swing round upon and preserve the touch of elbow to the right. Captain Barret, commanding the battery, was directed to hold his fire, not to respond to the long-range guns of the enemy, and only to use his pieces when a favorable opportunity of playing upon the masses or lines of the enemy was presented immediately in front and in short range of these regiments the enemy had two batteries advantageously posted, so as to sweep an open field