Rains into action. Here General McNair became exhausted, having left a sick bed to lead his brigade. I sent him back to camp, Col. R. W. Harper taking command of the brigade. Captain Humphreys, with his battery on my right, engaged one of the enemy's batteries in flank and rear. This battery was soon silenced or captured by our troops in its front.
We were now near the Wilkinson pike. The command was much exhausted, having forced the enemy's left back several miles, and three times defeated the forces sent to check our advance. I may here add that prisoners, except those of rank, were turned to the rear, my command being so small that I could not dispense with a single man, leaving them to be picked up by the cavalry and those in rear. Notwithstanding the exhausted condition of my men, having received orders from Lieutenant-General Hardee, I prepared at once to advance, leaving General Liddell's brigade receiving ammunition, at his request having sent my train to furnish him. I moved General Rain's brigade from the left of my division to the right, being the strongest and lest cut up. He was directed to move some distance to the right, so as to take in flank the batteries posted by the enemy near the Nashville pike, at the same that General Ector and Colonel Harper ([commanding] McNair's brigade) took them in front. General Rains men with a determined resistance, but succeeded in forcing the enemy from the woods and into the fields that lay south of their position on the Nashville pike, General Ector and Colonel Harper moving in a northeasterly direction, General Rains nearly due north. I soon discovered that my left wound become engaged before my right could co-operate. I sent to correct my line, directing the men to be placed under cover and hold their ground. But before this order reached the command, General Ector came under a galling fire from infantry, sheltered in a cedar brake, and artillery. General Ector at once charged them, forcing their first line of infantry beyond their second, and their cannoneers from their guns in their front. I directed Colonel Harper (commanding McNair's brigade) to charge the batteries in his front with a like result. These two brigades were coolly firing into their second line of infantry, not 60 yards distant, notwithstanding they were enfilading by a terrible fire from their batteries on our right. Every moment I expected to see General Rains take these batteries. I was doomed to disappointment. I was informed that General Rains fell, shot through the heart, at the movement the enemy was routed. The fall of this gallant officer and accomplished gentleman threw his brigade into confusion; also about this time General Cheatham gave some orders to a part of the brigade that tended to change their division to their front. I now directed General Ector and Colonel Harper to fall back under cover, which was accomplished without demoralization or molestation from the enemy. As these brigades fell back, General Liddell was met in the edge of the woods, having replenished his ammunition. I directed them to form on his right. Captain Humphreys during this last contest passed through an interval in our lines and engaged the batteries on the hill on our right. The enemy turned sixteen guns upon him, but he gallantly maintained the fight unlit my command was under cover. Four of his guns were disabled and sent to the rear. One regiment of General Rains' brigade received orders from Lieutenant-General Hardee and was again in action.
My division had now been under fire from five to eight hours; although exhausted, the men were in good spirits. By direction of Lieutenant General Hardee, the division was moved to the right, connecting with Lieutenant-General Polk's left.
58 R R-VOL XX, PT I