2 miles' march was much impeded by stragglers from the field, returning batteries, &c., but in less than forty minutes we were on the field I was immediately ordered to form line of battle on the left of Brigadier General Burbridge, filling up a space between the left and right of General McClernand's line. Before placing my command in position, I made a careful reconnaissance of the ground, and soon discovered a large force of sharpshooters and infantry immediately in my front, occupying a natural rifle-pit, formed by a wash in the main road; also concealed behind a long line of fence and skirts of brush and timber. This force was supported by a battery of four 24-pounder howitzers, in a commanding position in their rear, so as to complete rake any column or line that might be advanced against their infantry. Finding the enemy thus disposed, I immediately ordered the Eighth Illinois Infantry, under command of Colonel John P. Post, into line of battle, under the crest of a hill, about 200 yards distant from the advance of the enemy. At the same time suggested to Major Stolbrand, chief of artillery, and Captain De Golyer, to place his guns in position on the crest of the hill, the Eighth Illinois Infantry acting as a support to his battery. As soon as this disposition was made, De Golyer opened with canister and shell upon the rebel sharpshooters and infantry, causing considerable commotion among them, and evidently causing them to retire under their cover of brush and timber. So soon as this was effected, the firing of the battery ceased, there being all the time a spirited fire returned from the rebel sharpshooters, resulting in the killing and wounding of a number of men at the point occupied by De Golyer's guns.
At this time, General Burbridge informing me that there was a gap in his line, and asking for regiment to cover the ground, I ordered Colonel James J. Dollins, with his regiment, Eighty-first Illinois Volunteers, with his front well covered with skirmishers, to immediately occupy the vacant space, which order he obeyed with the utmost promptness. Discovering immediately in advance of the Eighth Illinois Volunteers, 200 yards distant, that there was a commanding hill held by the rebels, which, if we could gain, would give us command of the ground, I ordered the Eighth Illinois, with their line well covered with skirmishers thrown out in advance, to enter a dense canebrake separating them from the hill I proposed to occupy. They promptly moved forward, by the flank of companies, and, after a spirited skirmish with the advance skirmishers, forced the enemy to retire, and occupied the hill. At this point, Colonel Post, of the Eighth Illinois Volunteers, in the face of the enemy, left his command, and came to where I was, some 200 yards distant, and asked permission, on plea of fatigue, to turn over his command to his junior officer, which I instantly assented to, and did not see him again on the field. I then, finding the enemy stronger than I apprehended, ordered the Thirty-SECOND Ohio Infantry, Colonel B. F. Potts commanding, to support the Eighth Illinois, advancing over the same ground, which movement was promptly executed. I then, in order to dislodge the enemy from the road in our front, ordered the Seventh Missouri Infantry, Major Edwin Wakefield commanding, to occupy the ground on the right of the Eighth Illinois, their right resting on the left of General Burbridge's line, which was done under a heavy fire from the enemy, killing 1 man and wounding a number of others.
Having made this disposition of my command, an advance of the whole line was then ordered, which was met by a spirited fire from the enemy. Finding it impossible to dislodge the enemy with infantry, I caused the ground under the crest of the hill, occupied by the Eighth