War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0268 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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"forward" the troops advanced gallantly an without hesitation, it was almost vain to assay a line, owing to the nature of the ground, yet three times, under a most galling and destructive fire, did these regiments halt and dress upon their colors; the nerve and self-possession of both officers and men perfect; not a man flinched from his post. Having advanced some 400 yards, I discovered that the men were thoroughly exhausted, and halted the left wing under the crest of a hill from 65 to 75 yards from the ditch and parapet, and where they were comparatively sheltered from the small-arms of the enemy. Returning to reconnoiter the position of my right wing under the crest of a hill, from my view by the embankment of the road, I perceived their colors advanced to the very base of the parapet, and also that my brigade was alone, unsupported on the left or right, save by portion of the Thirteenth Regulars, who Indiana and One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois.

To the left, as far as I could see(and from an elevated point I had great range), not a soldier to be seen, and only an occasional puff of smoke from the riffle of a sharpshooter, concealed far away among the hills, revealed the fact that we had friends near us outside of our DIVISION. Therefore I determined to that my command, report, and wait for further orders, especially as from the position my left wing occupied (that which General Ewing is now fortifying) great execution could be done by my men upon the sharpshooters of the enemy, who from the trees close behind the works, were picking off our officers with devilish skill.

Returning to the front, I sent and aide-de-camp to General Blair with report. I received in answer orders from General Sherman "to get my men as close to the parapet as possible, and be ready to jump in when they began yield,"coupled with the assurance that McPherson was well engaged, and that General Grant was on the ground, and that the artillery, of the enemy, which began to enfilade us, would be silenced. I ordered my men to cease firing and fix bayonets, with intent to charge, when, upon closer view, I discovered the works too steep and high to scale without proper appliances; a few men could have been got over by the aid of a ladder of bayonets of digging holes in the embankment, but these would have gone to destruction. I could not make a demonstration with my isolated command that would have resulted permanently; therefore I determined to maintain the position and await developments. The sequel to the attempt at assault is my guarantee for the course I pursued.

Meanwhile details were ordered back and ammunition furnished in abundance; the most accurate marksmen were thrown forward, with carte-blanche to select the best cover. Companies were advanced from each regiment and relieved as ammunition gave out or guns became for. A most deadly fire was kept up, and none of the enemy ventured his head above the wall who failed to pay the penalty. At the same time the right wing, with stern determination, maintained their ground. Their loss had been fearful, falling upon their best line and non-commissioned officers. Captain after captain had been shot dead; field-officers were falling; still, there was no flinching. I communicated through my aides.

As night fell, I received a verbal order, through an unusual source, to fall back to my original position. This order was in immediate conflict with two received from General Sherman, and gave me no little surprise. I had won by severe loss the best position to fortify in our whole front. Already I had made arrangements to plant batteries upon the