Such was the nature of the ground from the top of the mountain to Cove Creek, a distance of 1/2 mils, that but few advantageous positions could be found. Just before reaching Cove Creek, Captain Stanley's company, of my regiment, was ordered to an eminence commanding the road on which the enemy were to travel, with order to fire upon them with deliberation, and to retire immediately thereafter. After reaching Cover Creek, Captains Gordon and Carroll, with their respective companies, of my regiment, were directed to occupy an eminence on the right of the road. The captains fired upon the enemy and retired, as directed. From this point on down Cover Creek, I selected suitable positions and placed detachments of my regiment and Colonel Shelby's brigade. At a point 2 miles below the junction of the Cane Hill and Cover Creek roads, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson, with five companies of my regiment and about 200 men of Colonel Thompson's regiment, Colonel Shelby's brigade, to an eminence immediately over the road, with instructions to let the enemy's advance pass them before firing. Immediately in rear of this point, Colonel Monroe formed with 86 men in the valley below. At this time the enemy was pushing the rear with great energy, and made it necessary for the companies left ambushed to receive them to retire very rapidly after firing. The captains of my own command, who have reported to me, state that they obeyed orders, receiving the enemy at close distance, the men behaving almost without exception, with great bravery. When the rear retired past the position occupied by Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson and Colonel Thompson, they were followed very closely by a detachment of the enemy's cavalry, a much larger number halting just before reaching the position above referred to. A lieutenant-colonel of the enemy's force was severely wounded by one of the volleys fired by the men under Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson. At this time the confusion below the position above referred to of our retiring men was disgraceful, and every effort made by officers to halt them futile, the cry extending down the line that our friends had gorged the road and were being sabered mercilessly by the enemy. Just then the roar of shot-guns from the eminence occupied by Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson and Colonel[G. W.] Thompson threw the enemy's advance in confusion, when they were immediately charged by Colonel Monroe, and after the third effort driven for the first time during the day, which gave time for collecting and forming the scattered men, hitherto rapidly moving to the rear. The enemy here concluded, notwithstanding the superior weight and quantity of their artillery and their superior force, outnumbering ours more than ten to one, to risk nothing against the positions of which we were availing ourselves, and at once retired about sunset.
The conduct of the officers and men of my command throughout the entire day, and almost without an exception, evidence entire coolness and determined bravery, as did the officers and men of Colonel Shelby's brigade, of whom I assumed command and placed in position. I would be glad to speak of them more particularly of my personal acquaintance with these officers was such as to do so without a report from the,.
I will take occasion to remark that the retiring fight, lasting from 9 o'clock in the morning until sunset, over a rugged and narrow road, with but a scanty of ammunition, pursued by a greatly superior force moving from position to position with an astonishing rapidity, was well calculated to have confused, and, indeed, demoralized men well drilled and disciplined, and it is, indeed, astonishing that troops without drill should have evinced a nerve so steady, a courage so cool. In moving the battery from the first position taken in the morning, the carriage of