in compliance with the orders of the lieutenant-general commanding corps, I moved out along the railroad, formed in two lines parallel to the road, and advanced to attack the enemy's left. We moved forward a distance of one and a half to two miles, getting sight of the enemy's line near Union Church, which, however, hastily retired. By this time, owing to the eagerness of the men, the lines had become somewhat separated, and I halted to reform. In the mean time we were subjected to a heavy fire of artillery, which, however, caused but little or no loss. By the time the lines were reformed night had come on, and I deemed it imprudent to advance farther. Toward midnight, under orders, we retired to our position in line.
On Sunday morning (15th) my line was advanced, the right of it half a mile and passing in front of Mr. Green's house, the left only a few hundred yards, and the new position was soon intrenched. About 3 p.m. I received directions to advance and attack the enemy in my front at 4 o'clock, provided I had not myself been attacked by that time. Shortly previous to 4, information came to me of a heavy movement of the enemy to my front, which information was transmitted to the lieutenant-general commanding corps. My instructions were in advancing to gradually wheel toward the left, and I was notified that Stevenson, on my left, would also advance. At 4 precisely Clayton on the left and Stovall on the right of the front line, were caused each to make a half wheel to the left to place them in the proper direction, and were also instructed to continue inclining by slight wheel to the left in advancing. This, it will be perceived, placed them in echelon, the object being to prevent my right, toward the river, from being turned. Maney's brigade, which had reported to me, and a small body of cavalry under Colonel Holman, were directed to move out on the right, outflanking and covering Stovall's right. Gibson and Baker were brought forward and placed in position as supports to Clayton and Stovall, and the order to advance given. The men moved forward with great spirit and determination and soon engaged the enemy. At this moment an order came by Lieutenant-Colonel Cunningham not to make the attack, which, however, had already commenced. We encountered the enemy in heavy force and protected by breast-works of logs. The ground over which a portion of Stovall's brigade passed was covered with a dense undergrowth and brush. Regiments in consequence became separated, and the brigade soon began to fall back. Hastening to it, and finding it impossible to reform it on the ground it occupied, it was suffered to fall back to its intrenched position, Baker's brigade retiring with it. Clayton being thus unsupported on the right, and Stevenson's division, on his left, not having advanced, also retired, and Gibson fell back by my order, as did Maney also. The attack would have been renewed but for the order received at the last moment countermanding it. During the advance Stanford's battery, on the left, was of material assistance, and I deeply regret the loss of that skillful and brave officer, Captain T. J. Stanford, with whom it has been my good fortune to be associated with little interruption since March, 1862. Attention is called to the statement of Brigadier-General Clayton as to the praiseworthy conduct of Private John S. Mc Math, of the same battery, and also to his report of the conduct of his several regiments, and of Colonel Lankford, Thirty-eighth Alabama,
52 R R-VOL XXXVIII, PT III