Tennessee Regiments, under Colonel [R. W.] MacGavock, were ordered to support me in the attack. On passing the picket station in the field, I was informed by one of the sentinels that the enemy had possession of the woods, and that the commands of their officers could be distinctly heard. I deployed skirmishers in advance of the regiment and moved cautiously into the woods. The skirmishers had to pass over a running stream of water, with steep, abrupt banks, up which they pulled themselves by the roots of trees and bushes, preserving their line and marching all the while in admirable order. The regiment followed at proper distance, observing the general's precaution to maintain perfect silence. They had just crossed the creek when a rapid firing of the skirmishers indicated the presence of the enemy. I proceeded at once to the front, and found that the fire had been directed on a body of the enemy's cavalry. The effect of the fire was highly satisfactory. The enemy fled in every direction, many of the horses without riders, and many of the riders without horses, while a considerable number were left dead on the field. We continued to fire on them as long as they were in sight.
On reconnoitering the position, I found that the battery was supported by a line of infantry, which extended as far as I could see toward our right, their right resting in the woods in which we were standing. On our left another body of troops was seen, but their strength could not be estimated, as they were hidden from view, with the exception of one regiment, by the timber. The space open to view on the right was sufficient to contain two full regiments. I was satisfied that an attack would be uninviting. I therefore ordered the regiment to withdraw from the woods, and, in accordance with instructions received in the forenoon from General Gregg, proceeded toward the left, to prevent the force which I had seen in that direction from outfent Major [C. W.] Robertson to inform the general of the state of affairs and of my movements. He soon rejoined us, stating that he could not learn where the general was at that time. I learned from him that Colonel MacGavock was in the same part of the field with myself. I had supposed until then that he was father toward the right.
The enemy continued to extend their line toward the left, and in endeavoring to keep even pace with them, I passed Colonel MacGavock's command. From him I ascertained that it was the general's intention to attack the enemy's lines, and that he would expect us to advance at once. As there was a wide interval between the Tenth and Thirtieth (now again on our right) and the center regiments, I placed myself under Colonel MacGavock's orders to insure concert of action, which I considered of the greatest importance to the success of the attack. He indicated the position he wished me to occupy, to which I proceeded, formed line of battle, and sent to let him know that I was ready to advance as soon as he gave the word. In answer to my message, he sent word that he would await orders. A short time afterward he moved his regiment toward the right and I lost sight of him.
Our regiment was thus left entirely alone. I sent scouts and skirmishers to the front and to both flanks. In a few moments afterward I heard rapid and continuous firing, indicating a hot engagement between the Tenth and Thirtieth and the enemy, and my scouts returned with information that Colonel MacGavock was driven from his position and was falling back; that the woods which we occupied were full of Yankees, and that they were advancing in large force in front of us. I had scarcely received their reports before a heavy fire was poured into my right flank, and the skirmishers of the enemy were advancing rapidly in my front. I withdrew the regiment in tolerable order and proceeded