War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0136 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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To support Benton's brigade, orders were received to form the brigade in two lines on both sides of the road, the artillery in the center. Shortly afterward I received orders to change position, and by an oblique movement to the right occupy the ground on the right of Benton's brigade, and meet a movement the enemy were reported to be making in that direction with a view to flank us. This order having been executed, I was instructed by the brigadier-general commanding the DIVISION to move forward slowly and cautiously with my command, and develop and press, back if possible, the enemy's left. Accordingly, I order Colonel C. L. Harris, eleventh Wisconsin Volunteers, who held the left of our new position, to move his regiment forward, through the woods in his front, his skirmishers covering his advance, and the Twenty-THIRD Iowa, colonel Kinsman, to follow him at a distance of 100 yards as a support. At the same time I advance the Twenty-first Iowa Volunteers, colonel Samuel Merrill, into the cleared the skirting Big Black River, with instructions to move forward on a line with the Eleventh Wisconsin. The Peoria Battery was left in position on the rising ground in the edge of the field, and the Twenty-SECOND Iowa in rear as a reserve and support. Meanwhile there had commenced a spirited artillery, engagement between the battery of Benton's brigade and the enemy's cannon in position behind their works. The skirmishers of the First Brigade were actively engaged, and those of the Eleventh Wisconsin Volunteers, which regiment advanced steadily forward through the timber to the field in front of the enemy's works, and distant from them about 400 yards. Here I ordered it to halt, and move down to halt and move down to the right through the field skirting the river, and take position the woods and brush lining this stream. This movement Colonel Harris promptly executed, reaching the position designated without serious loss, though exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy's sharpshooters. The Twenty-THIRD Iowa, colonel Kinsman, having comu u; p after the Eleventh Wisconsin, was ordered to make a similar movement to the right, and to move up under cover of the river bank and take position on the right of the Eleventh Wisconsin and as close as possible to the enemy's works and the Twenty-first Iowa, colonel Merrill, to take position on the bank between these two regiments. I also directed the Peoria Battery to take position in the open field in front of the left of the enemy and to open an enfilading fire on their center batteries, with which the battery of Benton's brigade was engaged. At the same time the Twenty- SECOND Iowa, colonel Stone, was ordered to move forward on the left of the field to within supporting distance. These orders were quickly responded to, and the position thus occupied by the brigade continued to be held without material variation. During the greater part of the forenoon heavy but ineffectual musketry firing was kept up by the enemy upon my men, briskly responded to by our sharpshooters, late in the forenoon, finding it impossible to press farther forward along the river bank toward the enemy, as I had intended, colonel Kinsman, twenty-THIRD Iowa Volunteers, proposed to charge at once the enemy's works and drive them out at the point of the bayonet, and asked my consent to the same. Foreseeing that a charge by a single regiment, unsustained by the whole line, against fortifications as formidable as those in his front, could ; hardly be successful, at the same time I gave my consent to this daring proposition I determined that there should be a simultaneous movement on the part of my whole command. Accordingly, the Twenty-first