War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0595 Chapter XXXV. THE MIDDLE TENNESSEE CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

twice) while this firing was going on, and instructed my men to hold fire until the enemy came in short range. While on the second [line], I learned from a courier that a column of infantry was approaching the east pass, and that the entire line of my skirmishers were engaged. I also learned from Colonel Murray that two regiments of infantry had passed around to his left. Knowing, from the nature of the country, that I could not be surprised to such an extent as to be captured, and that General Liddel would soon be on the field, I ordered him to hold his position and watch the enemy in his front, who kept up a heavy fire, he having already taken the precaution to throw out flankers.

On returning to the church, I met General Liddell; informed him of what dispositions I had made of the forces and the strength of the enemy. I received his orders to look after the left, composed of the Fifth Arkansas Regiment and two companies, or three, of Colonel Josey's regiment, while he went to the right. About an hour after, and when I was on the line, I received information that the enemy had turned the right, and that I had better retire to arrange of hills about a quarter [of a mile] in rear of our camps. The enemy was at this time pressing heavily in front, and my men being well secured, and doing full execution, I delayed for two reasons: First, my bullets were doing fine execution; second, I did not wish to withdraw under a heavy fire.

Some time after this (an hour, I suppose) I received a second notice of the right wing falling back, accompanied with an order to retire to the range of hills in rear of camp. By this time my left flankers were giving way. I gave orders to retire, which was done in good order, and drew up as directed. I was then met by a courier, and informed that the brigade was about half a mile to the rear, and to retire to that point. I did so, and, after supplying my skirmishers with cartridges, the regiment was left in command of Colonel Murray, and I carried them back to the brow of the hill on which the brigade, or a part of it, was formed, and connected with the skirmishers of Second Arkansas Regiment. After a short time the enemy's skirmishers advanced. So fast and accurate was the fire of my skirmishers, that they [the enemy] soon concealed themselves in the thick willows that lined the banks of a branch about 200 yards in front of my line and ceased firing. They were followed by a regiment of infantry, but in less than half an hour they also took shelter as the skirmishers and ceased firing. Not long after the enemy had stopped firing, a courier, whom I had sent to Lieutenant-Colonel Murray with orders to bring up the regiment, returned and informed me that Colonel Murray had orders from General Liddell to remain where he was. Lieutenant [William P.] Atkins, Company H, also informed me that the skirmishers of the Second had fallen back, and that the enemy were passing to my right. I deemed it prudent to withdraw it, it being nearly night and raining hard. Before reaching the ground where the brigade was formed, Major [P. V.] Green met and gave information that it was already on the march to Bellbuckle, Tenn., and would bivouac at that place; reached it late at night.

On the morning of the 25th, about 9 o'clock, according to orders, with my regiment I took position on a hill 600 yards west of the one on which I last engaged the enemy, between which lay an open field 400 yards wide. Near 11 o'clock, with a heavy line of skirmishers, I advanced to feel of the enemy on the hill where I last engaged them, and was soon engaged along my entire line, from the crest of this hill to the northern slope; 150 yards is covered with heavy natural growth, and from the crest on the east about 50 yards; then an open field about 100 yards wide; along the crest ran a high fence. On this hill I engaged the