in brigade, I detached three companies to occupy the hill to the left of the wood. This enterprise was committed to Company K, Captain Patterson; Company E, Captain Foster, and Company H, Lieutenant Miles, all under the immediate orders and direction of Major S. F. Gray and Adjt. C. A. Norton. Moving to the left, this detachment rushed up the slope, and found the enemy in force, who opened with heavy fire. This hill was the key to the position, and covered with timber and masses of broken rocks, affording strong natural defenses. The remainder of the regiment, consisting of Company I, Captain Tyler; Company C, Captain Green, and Company D, Lieutenant Miller, were hastened forward to support the three companies engaged on the hill; and, as the conflict soon became furious, the general commanding brigade sent forward Captain Mank, with two companies of the Thirty-second Indiana, to sustain our advance. These forces quickly came into position, Captain Mank holding the right of our line on the hill. They advanced rapidly, and, with heroic courage, drove the enemy from his position, capturing 1 prisoner and the camp of one regiment, with tent-age, mess-chests, blankets, &c. Our advance was arrested at one time by a severe flank fire from our left; but the timely arrival of Colonel Harrison, with a squadron of the Thirty-ninth Indiana Mounted Infantry, and his skillful and vigorous movements soon drove back the enemy, and closed the day in this portion of the field. Our extreme right moved on cautiously, under the heroic Captain Chance. The ground was open, but, by the prudent bravery of our men, aided by a few shells from Goodspeed's battery, the enemy was driven from the field, and beyond the margin of the woods on the hill-slope. Here Captain Chance fell, and expired in a few moments, Lieutenant Ray assuming command. At this juncture our forces were relieved, as our ammunition was exhausted. Advancing to the Liberty Gap Meeting-House, we went into camp for the night.
The next morning, the Thirty-second Indiana and Eighty-ninth Illinois occupied the front picket line, this regiment moving forward to another hill-top, and taking up position as a reserve to the Eighty-ninth Illinois. Throughout the day the firing was frequent, and often brisk, on our pickets, but the veteran Thirty-second and gallant Eighty-ninth bravely held the line, and met every demonstration of the enemy. The conduct of these two regiments if worthy of all praise, for their heroism and prudence exhibited in this emergency.
At about 5 p.m. our lines were attacked in force, and we were ordered forward to relieve the Thirty-second Indiana, then nearly out of ammunition. Advancing rapidly to the base of a wooded hill in rear of the Thirty-second, the regiment wheeled into line, and moved to the front in splendid order, in the face of fire from musketry and artillery.
In consulting the general commanding brigade as to the best mode of attacking the enemy, he directed me to try our drill, recently originated and introduced into the brigade, for firing "on an advance." It was a complete success, and I claim that it was then first used in actual battle. As we advanced, our front was on a ridge in the open woods. Twenty rods from the woods, in front of our right and 5 rods in front of the woods in front of our left, was a low rail fence. Beyond this was a corn-field, stretching off 400 yards to a high hill covered with timber. A hundred yards to the front of the fence was a narrow gully. While our right was covered by some small farm buildings and an orchard, the enemy, moving down the road under cover of his artillery, had organized a strong line in this gully, and behind the orchard and buildings. At the command, "Advance, firing," the regiment, though then under fire, formed