War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0126 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., N. ALA. AND N. GA. Chapter XLII.

Search Civil War Official Records

great caution lest they should fire on a line of friends, who, he had been informed, were on our front and that ours was a supporting line. Having thrown forward skirmishers, as above ordered, we moved forward some 400 or 500 yards rapidly through a thick woods, some portions of which were densely lined with undergrowth, when, somewhat to our astonishment, instead of friends, who were supposed to be on our front, we found ourselves suddenly in contact with the enemy, not more than 100 yards distant, who had already commenced fire upon us as we came upon them concealed behind breastworks. Our line in moving up to this point had been brought most of the way in double-quick time; therefore the skirmishers had not kept far in advance of the line. The skirmishers were not,, therefore, blamable for this sudden contact with the enemy, for the firing came upon the line about the same time that it did upon the skirmishers;hence the enemy got the first fire upon us. But nothing daunted, my brave boys fired promptly at the command and moved forward a few paces, when they were ordered to fire and load lying down. This order was executed for more than one hour in splendid style, when, from an overpowering fire both of infantry and artillery from the enemy, who were securely fixed behind said breastworks immediately on our front, my line was for a moment driven back about 50 yards. It was immediately rallied again under the unceasing fire of the enemy, and much to the credit of my officers and men, they moved firmly forward again, and in a moment retook position even in advance of the ground they first held. Here they fought with desperation and unyielding determination, returning volley for volley until, from an overwhelming cross-fire from the front, made more terrific by an enfilading fire from the left, and receiving at this time information that the enemy were flanking our left, and being ordered to move by the left flank to meet said flank movement, my command was accordingly brought to their feet and put in motion by the left flank. By this last movement the men were more fully exposed to the deadly fire of the enemy, and we were ordered to retire, and we did then retire about 150 yards. Here they were reformed and were again ready to face the enemy in further combat, when, on the arrival of supporting columns, we were ordered by the right of battalion to the rear. Having replenished

our cartridge boxes and canteens with ammunition and water, we were formed on the right of the position which we occupied in the above engagement. Nothing worthy of notice occurred after this until late Sunday evening, when we participated in the last charge, which resulted in driving the enemy from his main stronghold. In this we had 3 more men wounded.

The casualties of this regiment in the entire engagement sums up as follows: Killed outright, 9; 6 more died soon after being moved to the rear; wounded,70; making the aggregate loss, 85. None are reported missing. We went into the engagement with 308 men, including field and staff, infirmary corps, provost guard, &c.

Much is due my associate field officers-Lieutenant-Colonel Crook, Major Smith, and Adjutant Whitfield-for the energy and courage displayed on their part i aiding me to rally and stimulate the men to action, while the sound of musketry, cannon, and shell would have rendered it impossible for one officer to have been hear or the command extended along the whole line but for this gallant co-operation on their part. The subordinate officers and men throughout the entire engagement behaved nobly, and showed themselves worthy