Captain Cary, one of his staff. Heavy firing to my front and on my right. On investigation found the enemy advancing in heavy columns on my right flank. Wheeled directly to the right and took position; no sooner done than found that the enemy were moving in heavy columns on my then right, late my rear. Immediately changed direction by moving to the right, faced to the front and retired on my right and left so as to form a half semicircle, covering, as was supposed, the advance of the enemy; I immediately ordered my battery in position and ordered Lieutenant Searles, my acting assistant adjutant-general, to the rear, to report the disposition of my own command and the position of the enemy's advance. The order had only been issued when the enemy struck me with heavy columns on my the right and front. At this moment my adjutant-general, Lieutenant Searles, was killed.
Finding the enemy so strong on my front and to my right, in order to save my command from destruction a slow retirement was ordered to the ridge directly to the rear, by obliquing in direction to the left from my front, or to the right when faced to the rear. This movement was accomplished as well as could have been expected under the circumstances, three or four discharges only having been made by my battery and about the same number by my troops. Formed my command on the retired ridge, and reported my position and the condition of affairs in person to General Thomas. The enemy was then struck by some of our troops in his rear and on his flank, throwing him into confusion, thus leaving my guns not withdrawn untouched. All these movements were covered by my skirmishers, who changed direction as I changed direction. I immediately set to work to place my battery again in fighting condition; received orders from general commanding to close on First and Third Brigades, taking position in support of General Johnson's division. Was then ordered to move forward so that my right regiments might lap the left regiments of General Johnson's division [at his request]. First Brigade was in position on my left, swung around by a left half wheel in support of General Johnson's lines, by his [General Johnson's] request and by order of general commanding. The troops upon my right and front being hard pressed by the enemy, and their ammunition being reported as failing, the whole line was ordered to move forward to the support of the first line; my battery, two guns, being thrown into position in center of brigade.
By this time it was dark, and artillery of the first line. Supposing that the First Brigade was moving parallel with the Second by a left half wheel, no caution was taken on my part to prevent any accident arising from the First Brigade being in a wrong position. The regiments on the right lapping the left regiments of General Johnson's division were instructed not to fire unless their position was changed so as to put them in fighting position, which, of course, was done by the movement of left half wheel, unmasking Johnson's troops, and the command was then moved forward and immediately brought under the heavy and murderous fire of the enemy. The troops of the First Brigade also opened fire, but having swung or obliqued to the right instead of moving parallel to the Second Brigade by a left half wheel, opened with their fire upon the left regiments of my brigade and the left of Johnson's division, thus destroying my men by a rear and right-oblique fire, as well as by the front fire of the enemy.