General McNair left a sick bed to enter the battle, and after conducting his brigade with gallantry, becoming exhausted, was ordered to retire from the field. The command then devolved upon Colonel R. W. Harper.
By this time Liddell, who was upon the left of Johnson's brigade, had become separated from Cleburne's division by following the movement of McCown. The command was near the Wilkinson turnpike, at a point where the enemy had established a hospital. They had driven them nearly 2 miles. The men were greatly fatigued and their ammunition exhausted. As soon as this was replenished, I ordered that again to advance. Rains' brigade being fresh, was brought forward to the right to attack a battery, while Estor's, McNair's and Liddell's brigades moved forward in the direction of the Nashville road. Ector and Harper, though enfiladed by a battery, forced their way through a cedar brake in which the enemy were posted, while Rains advanced upon the battery. Unfortunately, this brave officer and accomplished gentleman fell, shot through the heart, and his brigade recoiled in confusion. Ector and Harper were ordered to fall back under cover, while J. T. Humphrey's battery bravely engaged sixteen pieces of the enemy until our infantry were sheltered.
The divisions of McCown and Cleburne in single line had now driven the enemy, with great slaughter, for several miles through the cedar brakes toward the Nashville turnpike. Cleburne (originally formed with Brigadier-General Polk's brigade on the right, Johnson's in the center, and Liddell's the left, with Wood's in reserve) had engaged the enemy shortly after McCown commenced the attack. Having changed direction toward the northeast, he encountered their first line, posted behind fences and in dense thickets, a little north of the Triune road. In the open ground beyond were other lines and batteries. Limestone rocks in the thickets furnished the enemy admirable natural defenses. The division dashed forward, and, after a bloody struggle of half an hour, hurled the first line back upon the second, which, in turn, was broken, and the mingled lines were driven in disorder toward the Wilkinson turnpike. Wood's brigade dispersed the One hundred and first Ohio and the brigade composed of the Thirty-eight Illinois, the Twenty-first, Eighty-first, and Fifteenth Wisconsin. The Seventeenth Tennessee captured a Michigan battery, while the Second Arkansas [Mounted Rifles*] again routed the Twenty-second Indiana, capturing its colonels. This regiment is the same that the Second Arkansas had routed at Perryville, and which, during the campaign of last year, had behaved with such barbarity to the people of Arkansas. It was in this conflict that Colonel A. S. Marks, of the Seventeenth Tennessee Regiment, was severely wounded while gallantly leading and encouraging his men. It was also in this conflict that Liddell's and Johnson's brigades suffered their greatest loss. The enemy several times attempted to make a stand, but were each time forced back. Our troops were vigorously pressing forward, when a third line, strongly supported by artillery, stood revealed on the south side of the turnpike. The cannonade was fierce, but could not check our advance. After a stubborn combat the enemy were broken, and field to the cedar brakes between the Nashville and Wilkinson turnpikes.
Cleburne was now in advance of Cheatham and Withers, and as he crossed the open grounds near the turnpike he was enfiladed by a battery posted on an eminence directly on his right flank. Captain T. R. Hotchkiss, acting chief of artillery of Cleburne's division, placed J. H.