over which they had to pass in their advance. The ordeal to which they were subjected was a severe one, but the task was undertaken with that spirit and courage which always deserves success and seldom fails of achieving it. As often as their ranks were shattered and broken by grape and canister did they rally, reform, and, renew the attack under the leadership of their gallant officers. They were ordered to take the batteries at all hazards, and they obeyed the order, not, however, without heavy loss of officers and men.
Not far from where the batteries were playing, and while cheering and encouraging his men forward, Lieutenant Colonel James L. Autry, commanding the Twenty-seventh Mississippi, fell pierced through the head by a minie ball. (The evening before, the colonel of the regiment, Thomas M. Jones, had gone to the rear, complaining of being unwell, and had not returned during the action.
The death of this gallant officer at a critical period caused some confusion in the regiment until they were rallied and reformed by Captain E. R. Neilson, the senior officer present, who subsequently was seriously wounded on another part of the field.
About the same time that Lieutenant Autry fell, Colonel Brantly, of the Twenty-ninth Mississippi, and his adjutant (First Lieutenant John W. Campbell) were knocked down by concussion, produced by the explosion of a shell very near them, but the regiment was soon after carried forward by Lieutenant Colonel J. B. Morgan in gallant style, capturing the battery in their front, and driving the enemy in great confusion into and through the dense cedar brake immediately beyond. On the left of this last regiment was the Thirtieth Mississippi, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Scales. Most gallantly did they perform their part. In moving across the open field in short range, canister, and shrapnel, 62 officers and men were killed and 139 wounded, of this regiment alone, all within a very short space of time, and upon an acre [area] not greater than an acre of ground. The Twenty-fourth Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel McKelvaine commanding and the Forty-fifth Alabama, Colonel Gilchrist commanding, respectively, on the left of the Thirtieth Mississippi also encountered a battery in their front, strongly supported by infantry on advantageous ground. For a moment these regiments appeared to reel and stagger before the weight of lead and iron that was hurled against them. They were encouraged to go forward by the example of their officers, and a battery was taken. A number of prisoners also fell into our hands. Artillerists, who felt confidently secure in the strength of their positions, were captured at their pieces, and others were taken before they knew that their guns had fallen into our hands. One company entire, with its officers and colors, which had been posted in a log-house near the battery in front of the Twenty-ninth Mississippi, was captured by the Twenty-seventh Mississippi, while the pieces were falling into the hands of the Twenty-ninth.
After losing his artillery, the enemy retired through a dense cedar forest in a direction almost parallel to our original [line] and to the right. In this forest they made no obstinate stand, but, owing to the density of the growth and the exhausted condition of our troops, the pursuit was slow and cautious. It was impossible to preserve a regular and continuous line through such obstacles as the fallen and standing cedars presented. After having pushed through this brake a distance of 500 or 600 yards, an open field appeared in front, through which the enemy was fleeing in scattered confusion. The ground in our front was gently ascending for several hundred yards until the crest of the hill was