command having moved from Cassville to the vicinity of Dallas, the battalion moved into position 500 yards from the enemy's works near Pickett's Mills.
On the 27th the division was relieved from the line to attack the enemy's right flank, and was formed in column with a front of two battalions, this battalion having the right of the first line. The movement commenced at noon, the column marching two miles to the left of the Federal lines, encountering only the cavalry of the enemy. At 4 the attack was made. This battalion moved through an open wood, the right flank passing along the side of an open field, across which, at a distance of 400 yards, were the enemy's works. A deep ravine was soon encountered, the opposite bank covered with an almost impenetrable undergrowth of oak. The skirmish line was stopped by the enemy's fire as it ascended from the ravine, and the battalion closed upon it. The line was here rectified and the ranks closed, when I ordered the charge. The battalion had advanced hardly a half a dozen paces when it was struck by a withering volley of musketry from the thicket in front and from the right. The enemy's fire was sustained in greater severity than would be possible for a single line, and in advancing twenty paces nearly one-third of the battalion was stricken down. The line was within twenty-five paces of the slight barricade behind which the enemy's lines were posted, but it was impossible to carry the position, the line being too much broken and no shelter under which to reform. The battalion was held in this position, the men availing themselves of what shelter was offered by trees, logs, and the conformation of the ground, and opened a rapid fire upon the enemy, the effect of which could be plainly seen, while I dispatched a staff officer to hasten up the second line, hoping to be able with its aid to carry the position. This officer, First Lieutenant Homan, adjutant of the First Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was shot while going back, and a second messenger was sent, but failed to find the proper officer or bring forward the second line. In the mean time the enemy formed a regiment upon our right flank, and opened a battery from the same direction. Their fire was very severe, but the orders having been for an attack in column, I deemed it my duty to hold my battalion (the head of the column) as long as possible. Twice the enemy tried to charge from his works, but was stopped at the outset. Finally he closed upon our right, doubling it back. By strenuous efforts this was restored, but only to be again crushed by a more vigorous advance of the enemy, when, seeing it was impossible to hold the shattered line longer in the position, I ordered the battalion to fall back to the hill in rear. This, except in the case of the three right companies, which the enemy nearly enveloped and pressed with great vigor, was effected in order, and without the loss of a man, but it was impossible to bring off all the wounded. A hundred yards in rear the battalion in its retreat met one of the supporting brigades advancing, behind which it reformed, but was not again engaged. The attack had continued for more than an hour and failed, but it was an honest effort to execute an order, without hesitating to calculate the chances of success, which all who took part in may be proud of. I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of the officers and men under my command in this affair. I saw not a single instance of hesitancy when the order was given to charge, and if devoted gallantry could have won success these men would, have had it. The battalion went into position near the battle-field,