Strong lines of skirmishers were here advanced to the front and along the banks of the river, and this position held until about 2 p.m. of the 19th instant, no attack having been made at this point by the enemy.
About this time orders were received from the colonel commanding the brigade to call in the skirmishers and hasten to the left, there to rejoin the brigade, which was about moving in that direction for the purpose of entering into action.
The skirmishers were recalled and the regiment moved as ordered with 369 men with arms, 27 commissioned officers, and 1 of the noncommissioned staff, making a total of 397 officers and men, who actually were engaged in action.
When the regiment arrived at the spot where it was supposed that the other regiments of the brigade would be found, these regiments had already moved to the left; whereupon this regiment moved at a double-quick and soon came upon the rear of the brigade.
During this time the battle was furious in the direction in which we were moving, and conflicting reports as to the fortune of the hour were circulating.
Having arrived in front of the enemy, this regiment was posted in the second line of battle about 75 paces in rear of the One hundredth Illinois Regiment and on the right of the Thirteenth Michigan. The line thus formed was immediately in rear of the caissons of some unknown battery and of the Eighth Indiana Battery, and within 5 paces of these caissons.
At the time this position was taken, the report was current that the enemy were falling back before our forces, who were fighting a short distance to our front.
To the rear of this line was a large open field; on the front of the left wing about 50 paces distant was a dense wood, while the right wing was covered by an open field, and the whole front of the regiment covered by fencing, but a short distance forward of the line and to the rear of the One hundredth Illinois Regiment.
At ten minutes before 3 p.m. our forces who were engaged immediately in front of this position fell back in disorder before the enemy and rushed through the lines thus formed, and the enemy advanced near the edge of the wood above mentioned,and poured a destructive fire upon the whole brigade.
At this moment the brigade was ordered to charge the enemy. While the regiment was attempting to execute this order the horses of the caissons above mentioned became frightened and unmanageable, and were directed toward this regiment and driven madly through the line, crushing several men and utterly destroying all line or order in the regiment, and cutting off three companies on the left of the regiment.
In this condition the regiment undertook to execute the order to charge. No enemy could be seen, they being concealed by the fence, brush, horses, men, and dust in front.
Having advanced on this charge into the field in front, the regiment was ordered to halt, lie upon the ground, and fire upon the enemy then in the wood.
Within ten minutes after this position was taken the regiments on the right, left, and front gave way,and, so far as could be seen, there was no friendly force within supporting distance of the regiment except the Sixth Ohio Battery, then posted about 150 paces to the rear.