Our artillery opened on the brow of the ridge and the infantry became immediately engaged. The firing was very heavy on both sides, and showed that the enemy were in strong force in our front, supported by artillery posted near the junction of the two spurs on which Deas' and Johnson's brigades, respectively, moved. Our line pressed determinedly forward for some time, keeping up an incessant volley with small-arms. But the enemy now evidently received
re-enforcements of fresh troops, which advanced with a shout that was heard all along our lines, and we were driven back to our guns. It was subsequently ascertained from prisoners captured that the re-enforcements were a part of General Granger's corps, which we fought the rest of the day. Deas' brigade and the part of Manigault's next to it fell back to the foot of the hill. Anderson's fell back to its first position, and these three brigades, save two regiments of Manigault's next to Johnson's brigade, did not again enter the fight.
In falling back on the spur on which Johnson' brigade and the two batteries fought, McNair's brigade, which formed a second line, mingled with the troops of the first line on the left of Johnson's and the right of the two regiments of Manigault's brigade, and continued to fight in that position during the rest of the day. The retreat on this hill was precipitate, and called for all the exertions I could command to prevent many of the troops from abandoning it. The officers, however, joined with every energy and zeal in the effort to stay the retreat, and by appeals, commands, and physical efforts, all save a few who persisted in skulking behind trees or lying idly on the ground, were brought up to our lines in support of the artillery.
In the meantime, our batteries were promptly opened and gallantly served amid a shower of the enemy's bullets, and, together with the best and bravest of our infantry, who promptly rallied on our artillery, poured such a volume of fire upon the advancing foe that his onward progress we effectually stayed.
I cannot here speak too highly of the gallantry of the men and officers of Dent's and Everett's batteries on this occasion. It elicited my highest admiration, and I at once endeavored involuntarily to express personally to the commanders my high appreciation of the work they had so nobly done. It is claimed by Johnson's brigade that they rallied to a man at the batteries. I may be permitted to say for these noble men, with whom I have so long been associated, that I then left that every man in the brigades was a hero. Of Gregg's brigade I can speak in no less exalted terms. All, indeed, who now participated in this final, protracted, and trying struggle merit the highest praise.
All our troops had now suffered severely here and in other parts of the field. Hindman's division, it is understood, had been especially weakened in the conflict before it came to our support. Neither McNair's, Gregg's, nor Johnson's brigades mustered over 500 guns. The part of Manigault's brigade adjacent to my division-about two regiments, under Colonel Reid, of the Thirty-fourth
[Twenty-eighth] Alabama Regiment - participated in the invincible spirit which fired our men, and continued to fight with us. I ordered that the hill should be held at all hazards,a nd determinate that all should be lost before I would abandon it. I left that this position on the extreme left was one of the utmost importance and might determine the fate of the day. Indeed, defeat here would have let the enemy's right