War of the Rebellion: Serial 050 Page 0730 KY., SW. VA., TENN.,MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA.

Search Civil War Official Records


cleared spot of ground, forming a small semicircular cove in our immediate front. At the latter place the enemy made a stand. He had the advantage of position against line formed on the margin of the plateau. My line was therefore thrown down the side of the bank and rapidly formed on the same level with the enemy. Three of the regiments of the brigade were placed immediately in the fight, the battalion of the First Kentucky for the time being having been place in support of the artillery of the division, a service which it performed well. The brigade was formed in single line, the Second Kentucky on the right, Thirty-first Indiana in the center, and Ninetieth Ohio on the left. Half the battery was opened on the enemy with canister, from the plateau immediately over the heads of the troops, and the other half battery was placed on the ridge, a quarter of a mile to the rear,, to shell the woods in our front and flanks. At this point the line of battle stood N. 20 E. The fight became very severe in my front at 12.40 p.m., and lasted until 2.20 p.m., and hour and forty minutes, with but little intermission in the musketry on both sides. During the action the half battery to the rear was brought up to the left flank of the line, and rendered excellent service by a left oblique fire on the portion of the rebel line which was attacking General Hazen. The enemy made three very obstinate attempts to break my line by charges, and at each time was re-enforced from the woods in their rear. They were on each occasion repulsed, with apparently heavy losses. My command behaved bravely, and steadily held the line. Not a straggler was observed going to the rear. The file-closers did their duty and every officer and man stood to his work. The cartridges of the men, however, began to fail, and the ill-success of attempts to procure a supply from the rear excited for the moment great apprehension as to our ability to hold the position. A few well directed volleys at the crisis drove the enemy from our front, and at 2.20 p.m. his fire had ceased. Skirmishers were now thrown forward and occupied a margin of the wood, beyond the cleared space, some 300 or 400 yards to our front. A general cessation of the firing now also occurred on the flank, during which ammunition arrived from the rear and was served to the men.

About 3.50 p.m. a very severe attack commenced on what appeared to be our extreme right, and rolled along the line toward the left, apparently concentrating its force on the Third Brigade (Colonel Grose) of this division. His line retired rapidly in direction from my right and occupied the extension of the ridge in a south-westerly direction. This position brought his front to the right and rear of my line. The fight became momentarily more critical on the right, and orders were now received from General Palmer to move such portion of my command as was possible to Colonel Grose's aid. The Second Kentucky and Thirty-first Indiana were ordered from my front line (leaving the Ninetieth Ohio and battery alone to hold it); their front rapidly changed perpendicularly to the old line, and moved off to the south along the plateau to Colonel Grose's relief at double-quick. The battalion of the First Kentucky was already in the action in support of the batteries. These two regiments reached Colonel Grose's line only to find it overpowered and giving way, stubbornly, under a most impetuous attack by overwhelming numbers, with its supporting lines on the right wholly gone. They became involved for a moment in the confusion that surrounded them, moved off to the right a short distance to avoid