was awaiting the approach of the enemy on the morning of December 31, 1862, when I received an order from division headquarters directing me to join my brigade. I immediately assembled my command and marched it rapidly to the place occupied by the brigade a short time before, but found that it had gone across the river for the purpose of attacking a strong position that the enemy had taken up near the railroad and river bank. I accelerated my movements as much as possible, and came up with the brigade as it was marching upon the enemy's position in line of battle, and reported to General Adams, commanding, in person, and asked him where I should take position. The general informed me that he had already made his dispositions for the attack, and ordered me to take position about 100 yards in rear of the brigade, as a reserve. I formed my command as directed, and followed the brigade as it advanced up the hill, upon which the enemy had planted his artillery and disposed infantry. Here a furious fight ensued, which lasted about thirty minutes, when the brigade was forced to fall back before the terrible flank and front fires of the enemy. Learning from Colonel Gibson, commanding Thirteenth and Twentieth Louisiana Regiments, the flank movement of the enemy, I changed front forward and formed along a fence running near and parallel to the railroad. I found the enemy directly in my front, and opened fire upon him with a staggering effect. His attention had been drawn just previous to this to the brigade, which was falling back, and the rapidity of my movement caused a confusion in his ranks, which, I am of the opinion, was fortunate for the brigade, for his fire was directed upon me until the brigade had retreated some distance [almost out of range], when I withdrew with but little confusion from a contest so unequal, and fell back upon our artillery, which had been brought up as a support.
On January 2, I was deployed in front of a portion of General Stewart's line [I think his right], and my command did some excellent service in driving from the field in front of the cedar thicket a body of the enemy's skirmishers.
Late on January 2, I was ordered with my command to join the brigade, which I did, and was placed as a reserve in the celebrate charge of Friday evening, January 2, in which the [Breckinridge's] division participated. My command, together with the Thirty--second Alabama Regiment, constitute the reserves, and were not ordered forward, but when the shattered battalions fell back they formed upon us.
My officers, without an exception, acted in the most gallant manner.
Captain [T. W.] Peyton, commanding Company A, was severely wounded while leading his company.
Lieutenants [W. Q] Lowd and [A. P.] Martin, of Company A, and [S. R.] Garrett, and [C. F.] McCarty, of Company B, as well as Adjt. A. O'Duhigg, deserve the highest praise.
My loss was 4 killed, 9 missing, and 2 wounded.
I am, very respectfully, captain, your obedient servant,
J. E. AUSTIN,
Major, Comdg. [Fourteenth Louisiana] Batt, of Sharpshooters.
Capt. E. P. GUILLET,