directly on the Fayetteville road, and furnished with a guide, instead of doing so had taken the left-hand road to the mills. Not deeming it prudent, under all the circumstances, to separate my command I was compelled to follow the same road, in order to get my forces concentrated. On coming up with Colonel Wickersham, I ordered him to proceed in the direction of Fayetteville with all of his cavalry, and endeavor to open communication with General Herron. I also sent forward Major [E. A.] Calkins, with the Third Wisconsin Cavalry, for the same purpose. But a few minutes elapsed after Colonel Wickersham had started with his command, when I heard the discharge of artillery in a northeast direction, and immediately moved rapidly, with the Second and Third Brigades, in the direction of the firing, leaving the First Brigade (General Salomon's) to guard the trains at Rhea's Mills. It was now between 12 and 1 o'clock. The distance to where the firing was heard was about 5 miles, by an obscure road, leading through a valley, with strips of prairie and brush alternating across it. The firing between General Herron's command and the rebel forces was confined to artillery, which, as I approached the field, became more rapid.
At 1.45 o'clock I came upon the field, in advance of the First Division, when a hasty reconnaissance discovered the enemy in superior force, strongly posted upon elevated ground, behind timber, with the Fayetteville road (on which he had advanced) running through it northeast and southwest. On the north and in front of the enemy's lines was an open valley, divided into large fields, a portion of them cultivate in corn. At the east end of this General Herron, with the Second and Third Division, was engaged with the enemy, having met their advance early in the day and driven them back to that position.
For the details of the engagement between the rebels and the Second and Third Divisions, under General Herron, up to the time when I came upon the field, I refer you to the report of that gallant officer.
The road on which my column was advancing entered the valley at its western extremity and in front of the left wing of the enemy. They had no intimation of my approach on that road, until a large force of their infantry, which, for the purpose of flanking General Herron's division and overwhelming it by superior numbers, had been massed upon their left, was suddenly confronted by the troops of the First Division, when the engagement soon became general along their entire line.
At about 2 o'clock the fire from the artillery of the First Division was commenced by Rabb's battery, which opened a cross-fire upon two rebel batteries and a heavy body of infantry that were fronting and engaged with General Herron's division. A few moments later and Tenney's battery of Parrott guns came into position on the right and Hopkins' battery on the left of Captain [J. W.] Rabb's. The fire from all three of these batteries was first directed to the enemy's right, where two batteries of the rebels and a heavy body of their infantry were engaged with the Second and Third Divisions. Shell and case-shot from these eighteen pieces were buried upon the enemy's right with terrible effect. The rebel artillery and infantry, being driven from this position under cover of the wood, the three batteries above named ceased firing, when the infantry of the Second and Third Division advanced upon the enemy's right, and the fire of musketry was opened on both sides with great vigor. The Twentieth Wisconsin and Nineteenth Iowa gallantly charged the rebel batteries and drove the enemy from their guns, but were enable to hold them, in consequence of being overwhelmed by a superior force.