follow in retreat in rear of the brigade with the remainder, but hat not as yet reported to me. The artillery and infantry ordered to protect the rear, after allowing a portion of my brigade to pass, had, for some reason unknown to me, moved forward, and thus left my rear exposed. I immediately posted the Twelfth Louisiana Regiment, with a section of artillery from the Pointe Coupee Battery, in line, with orders to repel the advance of the enemy, and made dispositions to support them. The enemy charged forward, but were met by fire of the Twelfth Louisiana and the artillery, which effectually checked the ardor of his pursuit, and caused him to follow our immediate rear with great caution.
I was then ordered to move to the rear of General Featherston's brigade, which had been placed in position to meet any advance of the enemy, rear, to support Cowan's battery, of Withers' artillery, which was engaging a battery of the enemy and protecting the retreat of Tilghman's brigade.
General Tilghman having gallantly lost his fire in directing the fire of his artillery, I would offer my tribute of respect to his gallant bearing, and his noble devotion and untiring energy in behalf of our cause, alike on the field of battle and in the private circle.
I formed a line in rear of the battery on a commanding position (here losing several wounded, and Captain [W. A.] Isbell, of the Twenty-seventh Alabama Regiment, killed), ordering the Twelfth Louisiana Regiment to proceed to my rear and form at right angles to the road, and hold it, so that we could gain the ford, now about a mile distant.
A message was brought from General Bowen that he had been forced to abandon his position at the ford, as the enemy were flanking him and were between him and Edwards Depot. I was ordered to proceed to the ford and support General Bowen while he drew off. The Twelfth Louisiana Regiment, which had been ordered to form in my rear, as stated above, had received orders from General Stevenson to move forward to the ford in advance of my brigade, and, as I learned several days afterward, had already crossed the creek under a heavy fire of artillery. From the firing on our right it was evident that the enemy had obtained possession of the bridge across the creek on the upper road, and was endeavoring to reach Edwards Depot, and thus cut off our retreat. General Bowen had retired, and when near the ford, it was clearly perceptible that the enemy, with his artillery, was raking the same, and at the same time advancing his columns in that direction. Finding that it was impossible to cross the creek under the fire of the enemy and the dispositions of his infantry, your ordered me to turn my column to the left, and, by going through a plantation, see, a ford lower down. Sending for the Twelfth Louisiana Regiment to rejoin the brigade immediately, and by no mens to attempt to cross the ford, as the enemy was in possession thereof, I turned the column to the left, passed through the plantation, and endeavored to find the ford but could not. It was then determined to try to reach a ford still lower down, distant 2 1/2 miles, and under the guidance of Dr. Williamson, whom I had secured, moved forward. To his knowledge of the country and the plantation roads we are largely indebted for our safe deliverance.
As the enemy were pressing us in front, in rear, and on the flank, it became necessary to tion, and only over neighborhood roads and paths long unused. It soon became evident that the artillery could not travel over the paths which necessity forced us to take. Some of the pieces were, therefore, abandoned after using all possible means of saving them which the retreat, nature the ground, and