To do this, I had necessarily to detach my brigade from General Law's. I sent a courier to inform him of the change.
My line steadily advanced, the enemy stubbornly contesting every inch of ground, until I reached the fence that divides the two fields on the crest of the hill. The thick woods through which my two right regiments (Fourth and Fifth Texas) advanced prevented me from knowing what was on my right, and I was advancing in a direction that separated me from the left of Law's brigade, thus leaving a considerable space uncovered and exposing my right flank. I determined to hold this, if possible, until I could be re-enforced.
As soon as we reached the hill and drove the enemy from it, he opened upon us with grape and canister from two batteries, both of which raked the hill. Seeing that my force was too weak to hold the hill, with my loss momentarily increasing, I ordered them to fall back just behind the crest of the hill. On seeing this, the enemy pushed forward his infantry to the crest. As soon as they appeared on the hill, they were charged and driven back. In this charge I had three regimental commanders wounded, while gallantly leading and cheering their men on, viz, Major J. C. Rogers, Fifth Texas, Lieutenant Colonel J. P. Bane, Fourth Texas, and Captain D. K. Rice, First Texas.
Immediately upon reaching the hill, I sent a courier for re-enforcements, and a staff for a battery. Brigadier-General Benning came up promptly with his brigade, and with his usual gallantry assisted in holding our position until nightfall, when we were moved, by order of General Law, to our position on the left of the division, relieving General Hindman, where we bivouacked for the night.
I sent three different messengers for a battery, all of whom returned without any. I then went myself but could not get the officer in command of the only one I could find to bring his battery up. I have no hesitation in believing that if I could have gotten a battery in position we could have inflicted heavy loss on the enemy, as his infantry was massed in heavy columns at the far end of the field from us. Early in the action and while the Third Arkansas, my left regiment, was driving the enemy in superior number before it, the gallant Major Reedy, of that regiment, fell mortally wounded while leading his men with his usual coolness and daring.
At daylight on the morning of the 20th, we were moved by the right flank to our position, where we remained until about 11 o'clock, when we were ordered to move forward in the rear of General Law's brigade. On reaching an open field, our troops in my immediate front were heavily engaged, and just as I reached the open field they charged and took a battery. There was also a heavy firing on my extreme right. General Benning, on whose left I had started, had been detached, before I reached the field, and moved to the right. On looking to my right, I found that there was a considerable space between our forces on the left and those on the right occupied by the enemy, and I determined to engage them. I moved my brigade by the right flank to the proper point and then changed my front forward on first battalion. I at the same time sent messengers to the forces lying in the field on my right, and requested their commander to join my right and advance with me, and one to those on my left, requesting that they join me on my left and advance with me.
These messages I sent three different times as I advanced through the field, but they failed to do so. I advanced to the top of the hill