War of the Rebellion: Serial 072 Page 0741

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Page 741
Chapter L. REPORTS, ETC. - ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND.

some distance before reaching Vining's the head of my column came upon a strong rear guard of the enemy. The Tenth Indiana Volunteers skirmishing in our front, pressed this party handsomely and vigorously, driving it beyond the road, and the conduct of Colonel M. B. Taylor, commanding that regiment on this occasion, is worthy of praise. On reaching the heights overlooking the station a rebel train was discovered moving south beyond the river, and one of my batteries, hastily brought up, shelled it with much apparent effect. My line of march would at this point have led me to cross the railroad and move in the direction of Pace's Ferry, but encountering the head of Brigadier-General Wood's division, of the Fourth Corps, which came down that road and arrived soon after I did, his column to avoid confusion, was turned to the left toward Pace's Ferry, whilst mine, turning to the right, pursued the railroad. I had marched about one and a half miles along this road, skirmishing lightly, but not strongly resisted, when I came upon the head of our First Division (Fourteenth Army Corps) column which, taking a shorter road, was coming in on my right and reached the railroad in front of me. These troops immediately abutted upon the strong rebel works on the road, a part of the continuous line constituting the tete-de-pont of the railroad crossing. My troops were then formed, by direction of the major-general commanding the corps, so as to connect with the left of the First Division and extending back along the line of the railroad. July 6, 7, and 8, during these days, while other portions of the army were working themselves into position this division remained stationary the skirmish lines alone keeping up a constant and continuous fire from their pits. July 9, having received orders to push out my skirmishers and feel the enemy for the purpose of developing his position I caused Colonel Este, whose brigade was the most advanced, to deploy a heavy line, and, supporting it by a regiment, directed him to make the advance required. I at the same time was informed that the skirmishers of the First Division on my right would advance with ours, and I enemy's works, to keep up their connection with Este's left. Having selected the Tenth Kentucky to support his advance, Colonel Este began his movement at 8 a.m. The more advanced pickets of the enemy were readily driven back and our men gained some hundreds of yards distance to the front. They came, however, upon a very heavy line posted in strong pits and these supported by heavy reserves. The troops on the right had at the same time gained a portion of the rebel works, but were almost immediately driven back, and the enemy then pushed out in superior force upon my men and compelled them to retire almost to their original position. The arrival of another regiment again gave us the command of the position, and the rebels fell back to their pits; but as their presence in considerable force, both in their works and in front on their skirmish line, had been ascertained, a second advance was not ordered. In this little fight, which was brief but severe, we lost 4 men killed and 19 wounded. Colonel Este, who commanded the line in person, was severely bruised by a bullet and narrowly escaped losing his leg. He displayed the utmost bravery, as did the officers and men generally who were engaged. In the afternoon I advanced my whole line and intrenched it, and the Fourth Corps connected with me on the left. July 10, the passage of the river some miles above having been at length effected by the Twenty-third Corps, the



Page 741
Chapter L. REPORTS, ETC. - ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND.