and after advancing about a quarter of a mile the enemy's skirmishers were encountered in front of my left and center, the two regiments on the right [Twenty-fourth Mississippi Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel McKelvaine, and Twenty-seventh Mississippi Regiment, Colonel Campbell] meeting no opposition, except in front of the two companies on the left of the Twenty-seventh Regiment.
The road on which my left rested in the beginning of the movement turns to the right at a point 200 or 300 yards from the bridge, forming a right angle. At this point, the Thirty-fourth Mississippi Regiment, Major Pegram commanding, and Thirtieth Mississippi Regiment, Colonel Scales commanding, in advancing passed across the road into an open field, and the Twenty-ninth Mississippi Regiment, Colonel Brantly [the center regiment of my command], being immediately opposite the bridge, was stubbornly resisted for about fifteen minutes, and in the meantime the regiments to the left of this, driving the skirmishers of the enemy before them, swung round under the enemy's artillery fire through an open field until the line they formed was nearly at right angle to that formed by the other three regiments, conforming in the main to the general direction of the creek. When the bridge was gained by the Twenty-ninth Mississippi Regiment it was done under a heavy fire from the enemy posted on the opposite bank of the creek, which along my line was narrow, but deep, with steep banks and impassable. The bridge had been torn up by the enemy, but this fact, owing to the density of the undergrowth, could not be ascertained until the bank of the creek was occupied. The Thirty-fourth and Thirtieth Mississippi Regiments, after swinging to the right as above mentioned, in the field, had been halted by their commanders and the men ordered to lie down, the enemy having disappeared in their front. I then directed the skirmishers of these regiments, which I had previously ordered to be pressed forward, to be recalled and the regiments to move by the right flank until they closed up an interval between the Thirtieth and Twenty-ninth near the angle in the line.
Fowler's battery, of my brigade, during the engagement, was put in position, by the brigadier-general commanding, on an eminence to the left of my line, to operate on a battery of the enemy which had been shelling my line, but the enemy withdrew his pieces while Captain Fowler was getting in position, and in the meantime the bridge was taken.
In this action the Twenty-ninth Mississippi Regiment lost heavily, and in the Thirty-fourth 1 officer and 24 enlisted men were wounded. The Twenty-fourth sustained no loss, and Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth but slight.
When the condition of the bridge was reported to Major-General Walker, he directed me to move my command by the right flank, under the direction of a guide furnished me, toward Byram's Ford, about 1 mile below Alexander's Bridge, where my command, followed by the rest of Major-General Walker's corps, crossed without opposition, and moved about a mile toward Lee and Gordon's Mills, on the Vineyard road.
Night in the meantime coming on, halted under orders from the brigadier-general commanding, and the next morning soon after daylight, I moved out left in front, following Colonel Govan's brigade. The column had not moved more than three-quarters of a mile when it was halted and rested on the roadside until about 11 o'clock, when I received orders from the brigadier-general com-