I now have the honor to report that my brigade, consisting of the Thirteenth and Twentieth Louisiana Regiments, consolidated into the Thirteenth under command of Colonel R. L. Gibson; of the Sixteenth and Twenty-fifth Louisiana Regiments, consolidated into the Sixteenth, under the command of Colonel S. W. Fisk; of the Thirty-second Alabama Regiment, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Harry [Henry] Maury; of two companies of Louisiana sharpshooters, under command of Major J. E. Austin, and of the Fifth Company, Washington Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Vaught, was ordered from the right of General Breckinridge's division, to which it belonged, to cross Stone's River, where I was directed to report to Lieutenant-General Polk. In obedience to this order, received from the commanding general, I crossed the river at the ford above the Nashville pike, and finding Lieutenant-General Polk, reported to him in person, and received from him an order to take a battery of the enemy, which was some 700 or 800 yards in advance of the ford where I had crossed the river, and on an eminence between the Nashville pike and the river, and advanced until reaching a place known as Cowan's house, on the pike, where I found the burnt ruins of a large brick house, a close picket fence, and a deep cut in the railroad, which ran parallel with the pike, and the rough and broken ground on the river bank, presented such serious obstacles as prevented my continuing to advance in line of battle. I therefore moved the First (or Colonel Gibson's) Battalion by the right flank through a gateway in the direction of the river, and formed it in line of battle, with its right resting on the river. I then moved the Second (or Colonel Fisk's) Battalion in column of companies up the pike until clear of the obstacles, where I had it formed in line of battle, with its right resting on the railroad. The Thirty-second Alabama, having moved by the left flank so as to avoid the burnt buildings, was again formed in line on the left of Colonel Fisk's battalion. Line being again formed, I gave the command to charge the battery, which was promptly executed.
As the men approached the brow of the hills, they came fully in view and range of the enemy's guns, and were checked by a terrible fire from his artillery, posted on the second elevation, about 150 or 200 yards distant. At my repeated command, however, they continued to advance until the enemy opened with a battery from a cedar thicket on my left, and what appeared to be a brigade of infantry, and at the same time they commenced moving down the river in force, apparently to get in rear of my command. Under these circumstances, I continued the fight for a period of about one hour, in which my men fought most gallantly and nobly. Finding that I was overpowered in numbers, with a force of infantry on my front, on my right, and on my left, supporting a battery of some fifteen or twenty guns, strongly posted in the cedar thicket on the second eminence on my front, and that my men were being rapidly killed and wounded, and the effort to turn my right likely to prove successful, I had reluctantly to give the command to fall back. Owing to the obstacles before mentioned, some confusion and disorder was created in falling back, which caused some delay in reforming the brigade, much to my regret. The conduct, however, of the officers and men in making the charge and holding the position as long as they did deserves the highest praise. No greater courage or determination could have been displayed.
At one time during the engagement a portion of the enemy's line in