Milton, and passed 3 1/2 miles of open, level country at a quick but steady step, occupying one hour, bringing me through Milton with the head of my column within 500 yards of the sept I desired to reach. Throwing two companies of the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois and half of Blackburn's company of cavalry into the edge of the town as skirmishers, and posting lookouts on my flanks and rear, I put a Napoleon into position, stacked arms, and awaited the enemy's pleasure. In twenty minutes his advance was visible in the eagle of the pike, beyond Milton, about 1,500 yards away, and was promptly scattered by a shell from Harris. A few minutes later the enemy advanced, dismounted, and attacked my skirmishers in the village. By this time a large force was visible, and two heavy columns began passing, one to my right and one to my left, on the gallop. At this moment I started three messengers for the general, to apprise him of my whereabouts and to ask him for a re-enforcement of cavalry. Placing the Eightieth Illinois into position to take care of my right, and the One hundred and first Indiana my left, I drew my skirmishers gently back, re-enforcing them with three more companies of the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois, so as to cover the center, and set Harris to shelling each column as it passed, supporting his guns by the One hundred and fifth Ohio. As the heavy flank movements of the enemy made it necessary, I drew the whole command slowly back, converging my flank regiments to a line with my center along the top of the hillock, where I had determined to make a stand. The heavy column passing to my left was two or three times cut in two by Harris, but from the nature of the ground was enabled to pass out of range. The column on my right was forced to come nearer and run the terrible gauntlet of Harris' fire, which killed and wounded them at every shot, and finally ran against a volley from the Eightieth Illinois, which killed and wounded some 30 men and 8 horses, and but for an unwarrantable delay on the part of the officer commanding the Eightieth Illinois, in giving his men orders to fire, would have been substantially destroyed. As it was, the terrible raking given it by the artillery, and the volley from the Eightieth Illinois which it finally received, quite effectually extinguished its valor and boldness, so that a thin line of skirmishers and part of Blackburn's little company was all that was necessary to control them thereafter.
Each of my regiments came into position on the crest, just as I directed, without confusion or delay; but there was no time to spare on my left. Here the enemy dismounted, and advanced with all the precision, boldness, and rapidity of infantry drill. The blow struck the One hundred and first Indiana and the left wing of the One hundred and twenty-third Illinois. The first attack was at once repelled; but the enemy, quickly re-enforcing his line of skirmishers, renewed it with double force and determination, rapidly advancing his main line. At this moment some confusion was manifest in the One hundred and first Indiana, but the gallant example set the men by their field, line, and staff officers, by the unflinching One hundred and twenty-third Illinois, and the opportune arrival from the right of five companies of the Eightieth Illinois and one of Harris' guns, enabled me to check the disorder. Every man returned to his post and fought to the last. The enemy gained no advantage; the advance he made by it cost him dearly.
The enemy now opened on my center with four pieces of artillery, and vigorously attacked my rear, but was repulsed at the rear by Captain [W. S.] Crowell, with one company of the One hundred and fifth Ohio, and Captain Blackburn's company, dismounted. The enemy's artillery assisted in driving the enemy from my rear. The engagement was now