War of the Rebellion: Serial 050 Page 0632 KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA. Chapter XLII.

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learned, belonged to Heg's brigade, of Davis' division. It was evident a crisis was at hand. The advance of the enemy, before which these men were retiring, must be checked at once, or the army would be cut in twain.

Desiring Major Mendenhall, of the corps commander's staff, who chanced to be near me at the moment to go and rally the fugitives rushing across the field on the west of the road, I at once commenced my dispositions to check the advancing foe. When I first met General Davis on the field I had inquired of him where the fight was. He pointed into the woods whence the roar and rattle of a very sharp musketry fire resounded, and told me that Heg's brigade was heavily engaged in there. I immediately directed Colonel Harker to form his brigade in battle array nearly parallel to the Rossville and La Fayette road, advance into the woods, and engage the enemy. But the evidence immediately brought to my notice that Heg's brigade was retiring made a change in this disposition necessary. I consequently directed Colonel Harker to throw forward his right, holding his left as a pivot on the road, thus giving his line an oblique direction to the road, and then advance his whole line. By this disposition I hoped to be able to take the enemy's advancing force in flank. These dispositions, though most expeditiously made, were scarcely completed when a staff officer rode up and reported that the enemy had gained the road and was advancing up in, i.e., in the direction of Gordon's Mills.

This information rendered necessary a further change in the arrangement of Harker's brigade. I ordered him to refuse his left, which brought the left half of his line at right angles with the road and gave to his whole front the form of a broken line, with the apex toward the enemy. In this shape he advanced rapidly, engaged the enemy and drove him between a half and three-fourths of a mile. I followed his advance nearly half a mile, and finding he was doing well, as well as having perfect confidence in his ability to handle his brigade, I remarked to him that I would leave him and go to look after my other brigade, Colonel Buell commanding, which had followed Harker's to the field of battle. For the details of the severe conflict through which Harker's brigade passed in this stage of the battle, for an account of the valuable services it rendered in checking the force which threatened to cut the right of the army from the left, for a report of the heavy loss of gallant officers and men which occurred here, and for a description of the skillful manner in which the brigade was extricated from the perils by which it became environed from encountering in its advance a vastly superior force, I must refer to the more detailed report of the brigade commander. The list of casualties attests the severity of the fighting. The gallant commander himself had 2 horses shot under him. Bradley's battery, attached to Harker's brigade owing to the density of the woods into which the brigade advanced, did not accompany it. The signal service which this battery rendered at a little later period of the action will be chronicled at the proper time. Leaving Harker's brigade, I returned to where I had ordered Colonel Buell to halt and form his brigade.

When I first met General Davis on the field of battle I was informed by him that Carlin's brigade, of this division was hotly engaged in the woods in advance or eastward of the corn-field in which our meeting occurred. The sharp and quick rattle of musketry fully assured the correctness of the statement. Seeing to other reserves