being thrown forward to guard against any advance or surprise of the enemy. In this position I remained until 1.30 p.m., when I was ordered forward to whom I should report, and upon whom I should form, and where was the enemy. I was informed by Colonel Starling, Major-General Crittenden's chief of staff, that I was needed immediately to go forward at once and engage the enemy, that they were on the right of the road toward the creek as we went from Gordon's Mills to the battle-field, that our army was driving them, that I could take them in flank; to go in and act on my own judgment. I accordingly did go in. I formed line of battle at once, Colonel P. T. Swaine having charge of the second, composed of the Ninety-ninth Ohio and Thirty-fifth Indiana.
The timber and underbrush being thick, I moved for a considerable distance by the right of companies to the front, the road being the center of the line for a considerable distance. The artillery moved along the road until within the vicinity of the enemy, when it became necessary to move the brigade to the right of the road over rough ground and into thick timber. Not being able to find a suitable position for the battery, it was not moved into the timber, but halted in rear, near the road, on a commanding position, the enemy being on the right of the road and our army on the left. The fight appearing to drift to the right, I caused my line of battle to bear in the direction of the enemy's flank, in order, if possible, to strike him in the flank, as I was advised I could. I sent aides-de-camp forward to find out where my division commander was. Not finding him, I endeavored to find and report to my corps commander. Not being able to find either, and the fight waxing hotter, I determined to engage the enemy, which I did. We entered the woods to the right of General Carlin's brigade, as I was informed, having no support on the right, expecting, however, to be supported on the right by Colonel Harker's brigade, of General Wood's division, but, as I afterward learned, he was ordered to the left. No sooner had we entered the woods than we met the enemy. A regiment of Colonel Wilder's command, just after we had commenced the action, retired through my command and produced some little confusion. Recovering from this, we continued to advance steadily and rapidly upon the enemy through heavy timber and thick underbrush, fighting our way all the time. My brigade drove the enemy several hundred yards [perhaps 1,000 yards] until the first line, composed as before stated of the Fifty-first Ohio and Eighth Kentucky, became very hotly engaged in front. Soon the enemy appeared in overwhelming force in front and on the right flank, when the right of the first line [Colonel McClain] Fifty-first Ohio, gave way, then the entire regiment, and then the Eighth Kentucky [Colonel Mayhew]. They both retired fighting, passing the second line, which was then lying down. When they passed, the second line was ordered to rise, advance, and fire, by Colonel Swaine, who was in command of it, by my order. They obeyed the order and maintained their position as long as they could, when they were outflanked and compelled to retire.
The officers of the brigade assisted me faithfully in rallying the command. When rallied we fell back to a strong position on the road on which we had advanced. I caused the Eighth Kentucky and Thirty-fifth Indiana to form in two lines on the left of the