War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0160 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLII.

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me to move forward (the guide being upon my brigade), and if I met with any batteries not to delay, but charge and take them. I communicated this order to each of my colonels. Skirmishers were thrown out only 300 yards in advance. Firing of pickets was all this time going on in our front, and I hear it remarked that a line of our troops were in that direction. The ordered was now given to advance. We soon came to a line of our men lying down, which we passed over. In a few minutes our skirmishers were engaged, and the line pressed rapidly to the front, passing through a wooded and slightly undulating country until we reached a field. The line touched the fence in a slight ravine or hollow the ground gradually ascending in the field in front. The opening covered nearly the length of my brigade, and was about 200 or 300 yards across in depth.

The enemy were strongly posted in rear of this field, having constructed breastworks of rails and logs. They opened fire as we crossed the fence with great rapidity. The command moved up vigorously against a foe almost wholly protected from our fire, and delivering volley after volley into our ranks. When we had reached the farther side of the field many of the still remained behind their defenses, and shots were delivered in 20 paces of each other. In crossing this field Colonel Lowrey, of the Thirty-second Mississippi Regiment, greatly distinguished himself by his continued exertions in urging forward his command.

The enemy were routed from their defenses and driven into the woods. In advancing, the brigade to my right had changed direction to the left, which threw its in front of my right and prevented Colonel Lowrey's command and Major Hawkin's sharpshooters from firing. I sent my assistant adjutant-general, Captain Palmer, to order them to cease firing, but before he arrived Colonel Lowrey had anticipated the order by giving it himself. The Forty-fifth Alabama Regiment, next to the right, was now in advance of Colonel Lowrey, and halted, ceasing to fire at this time, as did also the Sixteenth Alabama, the enemy having fallen back. The Thirty-third Alabama being my left in advancing, was pressed upon by the right of Deshler's brigade, which I strove to prevent; the direction of their line being slightly oblique to mine, and it being dark, some little confusion occurred as to the position of the different commands, which was soon rectified. Skirmishers were ordered out in front of the brigade and then doubled.

We captured over a hundred prisoners besides the wounded left on the field. Most of them were taken at the log defenses, which they said they had been instructed to hold to the last.

In no action has this command ever displayed more eagerness to engage the enemy or been more successful in their attack. The brunt of the action was on the left of Polk's brigade and across mine. We alone advanced through an open field and against the defenses of logs and rails. Other troops had failed to carry this position during the day, as we heard. The confusion which happened to one of the regiments was the result of some unauthorized person giving a command to retreat (see report of Sixteenth Alabama Regiment), and that was soon rectified by Major McGaughy. The whole command lay upon their arms during the night in line of battle.

Semple's battery (attached to my brigade) was not under my control during this action. I, however, saw it placed in position by the division chief of artillery, and its fire was of the greatest service in routing the enemy and silencing his batteries.