General Davis' force, and finding that regiment employed by him, I did not deliver the order to its commanding officer with which I had been intrusted.
General Davis desired me to hold my regiment in column in rear of his infantry, on the Shelbyville road, until such time as his skirmishers, operating to the right and left, should engage the enemy, posted with artillery about 3 miles to our front. I remained as directed for a short time, during which Major-General McCook came forward, but did not apparently assume command. The enemy having moved from the road before our skirmishers reached them, I was ordered to advance. Proceeding about 2 miles down the road, and passing the deployed infantry, my advance, consisting of Captain Davis' and Captain Newcomer's squadrons, came within musket range of the enemy, and was briskly fired upon. I immediately ordered the command of halt, deploying portions of it to the right and left, under cover, leaving two by a small elevation in their front. At this time General Davis came forward, and I informed him that I could not advance upon the enemy unsupported; that I had three times requested the commanding officer of the infantry skirmishers to advance and take possession of a wood which covered our left flank, but they had failed to do so, and at that time were falling still farther back. He directed me to continue engaged with the enemy in front, and, if possible, draw them on, as he had forces operating on both their flanks. I failed during the evening to see or hear of these forces, but I obeyed my instructions. The enemy having opened fire upon us from two pieces, I suggested the Lieutenant Newell's one piece of artillery be brought into action. The general assented, and Lieutenant Newell at once opened fire. His second shell coursed the enemy's artillery to fall back and cease firing. The gun was then advanced to a more commanding position, and made ready for action, but the enemy had retired to the right, and could not be seen in any considerable force. Dismounted skirmishers form my regiment were then thrown through the woods to the left already refereed to, and Lieutenant Dixon's squadron was deployed to the extreme right. In this position was remained until the Thirty-ninth Indiana came up, when I concentrated my command on the right of the road, the thirty-ninth Indiana taking the left, and the artillery the road, and in this order, covered by a line of skirmishers, we advanced t the house of a Mr. Lytle, where the enemy had been posted. Here we learned that the forces in our front consisted of General Cheatham's division of Bragg's army, numbering 9,000; that the force with which we were engaged consisted of about 1,000 cavalry and mounted infantry, with four pieces of artillery.
Orders were here issued for the entire command to return to Murfreesborough, and at dusk we moved backward, my regiment being in the rear. We arrived in camp at 9.30 p. m.
Sergeant [James A.] Crinnian, of Company I, was shot in the shoulder, inflicting a painful but not dangerous wound. I have no other casualties to report.
My entire command behaved gallantly and coolly, executing their maneuvers under fire as steadily as on parade.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. B. SIPES,
Lieutenant Colonel, Commanding Seventh Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry.
Captain R. BURNS,
Actg. Asst. Adjt., First Brigade, Second Division, Cavalry.