[John A.] Buckner and Major Graves, with Captain Edward P. Byrne's battery, and a portion of the Washington Artillery, under Lieutenant W. C. D. Vaught, went forward to our line of skirmishers toward the right and engaged those of the enemy, who had advanced perhaps, 1,000 yards, from the east bank of the river. They soon revealed a strong line of skirmishers, which was driven back a considerable distance by our sharpshooters and artillery, the latter firing several houses in the fields in which the enemy had taken shelter. At the same time, accompanied by Major W. D. Pickett, of Lieutenant-General Hardee's staff, and by Major James Wilson, Colonel T. O'Hara, and Lieutenant J. Cabell Breckinridge, of my own, I proceeded toward the left of our line of skirmishers, which passed through a thick wood about 500 yards in front of Hanson's position and extended to the river. Directing Captain Chris. Bosche, of the Ninth, and Captain Thomas Steele, jr., of the Fourth Kentucky, to drive back the enemy's skirmishers, we were enabled to see that he was occupying with infantry and artillery the crest of a gentle slope on the east bank of the river. The course of the crest formed a little less than a right angle with Hanson's line, from which the center of the position I was afterward ordered to attack was distant about 1,600 yards. It extended along ground part open and part woodland. While we were endeavoring to ascertain the force of the enemy and the relation of the ground on the east bank to that on the west bank of the river, I received an order from the commanding general to report to him in person. I found him on the west bank, near the ford below the bridge, and received from him an order to form my division in two lines and take the crest I have just described with the infantry. After doing this I was to bring up the artillery and establish it on the crest, so as at once to hold it and enfilade the enemy's lines on the other side of the river. Pegram and Wharton, who, with some cavalry and a battery were beyond the point where my right would rest when the new line of battle should be formed, were directed, as the general informed me, to protect my right and co-operate in the attack. Captain Robertson was directed to report to me with his own and Semple's batteries of Napoleon guns. Captain Wright, who with his battery had been detached some days before, was ordered to join his brigade (Preston's). The brigades of Adams and Preston, which were left on the west side of the river Wednesday night, had been ordered to rejoin me. At the moment of my advance, our artillery in the center and on the left was to open on the enemy. One gun from our center was the signal for the attack. The commanding general desired that the movement should be made with the least possible delay.
It was now 2.30 p.m. Two of the brigades had to march about 2 miles, to other two about 1 miles. Brigadier-General Pillow, having reported for duty, was assigned by the commanding general to Palmer's brigade, and that fine officers resumed command of his regiment, and was three times wounded in the ensuing engagement. The Ninth Kentucky and Cobb's battery, under the command of Colonel Hunt, were left to hold the hill so often referred to. The division, after deducting the losses of Wednesday, the troops left on the hill, and companies on special service, consisted of some 4,500 men. It was drawn up in two lines- the first in a narrow skirt of woods, the second 200 yards in rear. Pillow and Hanson formed the first line, Pillow on the right. Preston supported Pillow, and Adams' brigade (commanded by Colonel Gibson) supported Hanson. The artillery was placed in rear of the second line, under orders to move with it and occupy the summit of the slope as soon as the infantry should rout the enemy. Feeling anxious about
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