As soon as my command could reach the place I formed the line facing northward, General Walthall on the right, Colonel Govan on the left, and at once moved forward to the attack [12.15 p.m.], cautioning Colonel Govan to look well to his left, as I apprehended that wing would strike the enemy first, although he was not then visible on account of the thick undergrowth. In a few minutes we became hotly engaged with the enemy's infantry and artillery, and pressing forward with a shout we captured all the artillery in our immediate front, with many prisoners of the Fifth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-first U. S. Regulars and Fourth Kentucky. I ordered the artillery to be taken to the rear as rapidly as possible, but so many horses had been killed that it was very difficult to secure the pieces.
We had now broken through two lines of the enemy immediately in our front, and were just engaging the third when it was discovered that their extended lines were overlapping and flanking us right and left, upon which it became necessary to retire rapidly by a flank movement to the right, to avoid destruction or capture. After reaching the next hill in rear of us, we found General Cheatham's division taking position, having just come up a little too late to our support in action. It was now perfectly clear that we had been opposed to an entire corps of the enemy [General Thomas'], to drive back which General Cheatham's division soon after proved to be insufficient.
My command now having been reformed and rested for a short time, I was ordered to the extreme right of General Cheatham's line, forming an obtuse angle with it, upon reaching which position, I moved forward to the attack a second time in line nearly at right angle to that assumed by me in the first attack, Colonel Govan now on the right and General Walthall on the left. The latter, finding the enemy well posted and in very strong force, after a contest of half an hour, was compelled to withdraw about 200 yards, the left regiment of Colonel Govan's brigade falling back with him.
The right of Colonel Govan's brigade had captured several pieces of artillery from the enemy, which seemed lightly supported, and while endeavoring to secure them was fired upon through mistake by a Confederate battery from the rear, the position of the line in the underbrush having concealed it from view, thus causing the mistake. This unlucky accident caused him to retire to the same line with General Walthall, without accomplishing his object.
In this last attack we fought over a portion of the ground on the left that we had contended for in the first engagement, the enemy having pushed up and occupied two-birds of it.
It was now within an hour of sunset, when General Cleburne's division came up in my rear, as General Cheatham's had done in the first fight, and, forming his line of three brigades parallel with mine, moved forward over us upon the enemy, engaging him about 200 yards from my front. This attack being sudden and unexpected, the enemy gave way for a distance of half a mile or more, when both parties ceased firing for the night.
It now being dark, we bivouacked where we were, and next morning about 6 o'clock, in obedience to orders received from General Walker, I moved my command, with General Ector's brigade, about 1 1/2 miles to the right on the prolongation and in support of General Breckinridge's right. After arriving there I was ordered to move