War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0240 KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA., AND N.GA. Chapter XLII.

Search Civil War Official Records

Early in the morning General Forrest asked for a brigade of infantry, and the commanding general [General Bragg] directed me to order a brigade to report to him. Shortly afterward, hearing firing, I remarked to the commanding general [General Bragg] that I thought Wilson's brigade was engaged, and that I would hasten to it. He directed me to attack with all the force I had. [General Liddell labors under a misapprehension in the first part of his report when he speaks of my sending for orders and making a reconnaissance. I had been on the field before I saw General Liddell, and had received orders from the commanding general, as I state in my report, before I went on the field, and was satisfied of the large force of the enemy and sent for re-enforcements before I met him. When I did meet him we had some conversation about the force, &c., which I do not remember. He is mistaken in regard to time.] On reaching the ground I found that Wilson's and Ector's brigades [Ector having also been taken by Forrest without any authority from me] were heavily pressed, and from the greatly superior numbers of the enemy were compelled to fall back.

I refer you to Colonel Wilson's report for the part his brigade took in the action. General Ector is absent, his brigade having been ordered to Mississippi, and I have no report from him, but his brigade acted with the greatest gallantry. I ordered Liddell's division up as soon as I reached the ground, and they came up as quickly as possible, formed in line of battle, and moved up in gallant style and attacked the enemy. I refer you to General Liddell's report and to General Walthall's and Colonel Govan's for particulars. This division, too, after a desperate and gallant struggle, had to fall back.

Discovering, on my arrival on the ground, that my command had encountered a heavy force, I sent immediately back to the commanding general for re-enforcements. About 1 o'clock General Cheatham came up and was informed by me where his division was needed. I refer you to his own report for his part in the action.

About 5 p.m. [I had no watch, but this was about the time] General Polk came up and took command, and my command acted under his orders. I am satisfied that there were more than Thomas' corps engaged, and all Northern accounts state that parts of Crittenden's and McCook's were engaged.

The unequal contest of four brigades against such overwhelming odds is unparalleled in this revolution, and the troops deserve immortal honor for the part borne in the action. Only soldiers fighting for all that is dear to freemen could attack, be driven, rally and attack again such superior forces. Two lines of battle of the enemy were broken in the first attack by Wilson, and when he was compelled to retire from the front of the breastworks which the enemy had fallen behind, the fight was taken up by Liddell's division and the enemy's lines broken again, when he again took refuse behind his breastworks and Liddell was compelled to fall back. The troops were rapidly formed again, and the unequal contest was carried on from between 9 and 10 a.m. by my command until about 1.30 p.m., when, as I have said, Cheatham's division came up.

In the afternoon, at about 5, my command was ordered by General Polk to support Cleburne. General [Polk] will doubtless report what then happened.

I was directed Saturday night by General Polk [to whom I was ordered to report] to hold my Reserve Corps in readiness to support an attack upon the enemy which would take place at daylight, and