War of the Rebellion: Serial 050 Page 0782 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA.

Search Civil War Official Records


fourth and Sixth Ohio, with that portion of the Eighty-fourth Illinois, under command of Captain Ervin, to near the position we had taken in the forenoon near the right of General Hazen's brigade, and put my men in position to rest and to await further developments. The Twenty-third Kentucky having remained with General Hazen at that point where I had left it in the morning, the enemy's sharpshooters and occasional cannonading kept up amusement for us in the meantime. It was here, near by me, that Colonel King, of the Sixty-eight Indiana, fell a victim to the aim of a sharpshooter.

In these two days, 19th and 20th, my command took a considerable number of prisoners and sent them to the rear; among them was Captain E. B. Sayers, chief engineer of General Polk's corps. He surrendered to men in person, was put in charge of Lieutenant Scott, my engineer, and sent back to General Thomas' corps hospital. Sayers was one of the Camp Jackson prisoners and formerly a citizen of Saint Louis, Mo. I presume many of the prisoners taken on Sunday escaped. About 4 o'clock a deserter came in and informed us that Breckinridge's division of the rebel army was advancing toward the same point where we had been in such deadly strife during the forepart of the day, which statement was soon verified by the roar of artillery and small-arms in that direction, again moving upon Johnson's and Baird's shattered divisions. About the same time, a heavy force of the enemy commenced and attack to our right and rear, from toward Lee and Gordon's Mills and from the direction we had come in the morning, and opened the most terrific cannonading I had heard during these battles, and in a few moments completely enfilading our entire rear. At fifteen minutes before 5 o'clock, Lieutenant Thomas, Major-General Palmer's aide, brought me the order to retire my command. Which was or where to retire to was not an easy question to solve, the enemy fast approaching from right and left toward our rear, their artillery fire meeting. I, however, immediately sent orders to the regiments there with me to retire across the farm to our rear, passing to the right of the farm-house in the following order: Sixth Ohio, Thirty-sixth Indiana and that portion of the Eighty-fourth Illinois with me, the Twenty-third Kentucky to bring up the rear; portions of the Twenty-fourth Ohio were with each of these regiments. My artillery had been retired to the west of the farm. The forces that were to my left, when faced about, had to retire farther to my right and cross the farm farther north. When I commenced the move, it seemed evident that my now small command would be swept away by the artillery fire of the enemy.

To prevent breaking of ranks or any further panic, and to indicate to the men that this was a time for coolness and steady habits, with Lieutenant Boice, one of my aides-de-camp, he carrying the brigade flag at my side, we rode on the left of the front regiment and in the direction from which the most terrific fire of the enemy emanated, until we passed the ordeal of danger. As soon as we passed the point of greatest danger, I halted the two front regiments, Sixth Ohio and Thirty-sixth Indiana, and into line faced them to the rear to defend and cover the retreat. This was done coolly and deliberately. General Palmer was here to consult with me and give directions. Here was the last I saw of Captain J. R. Muhleman, assistant adjutant-general of the division, and, I presume, he fell near this place, for we were yet under a sharp fire. As soon as all was closed up and had passed this line, I again retired the force across another farm