War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0756 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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my companies (F) was already skirmishing. I moved, leaving Captain James P. Files in command with Companies A, Captain Samuel Atwell and Lieutenant George W. Rankin; C, Lieutenant John C. Lewis; H, Lieutenant James J. Travers, in column of company, and deployed Companies A and H to left and on the Villanow road, [and] holding Company C as a reserve, pushed out, joining Company F (Lieutenant Josiah Joiner, Company E), which was covering the Villanow road, thus forming a slight skirmishing line 1,000 yards in length, as follows: Company F on the right, H in the center, A on the left. I pushed on, driving the enemy's skirmishers from line of old rifle-pits WEST of town, and at this time discovered there was a creek in front; that the enemy was in force on the hill to the right of the Villanow road beyond the bridge, putting two guns in position, and a heavy column moving in the distance to the right toward the railroad north of town. I immediately notified Colonel Wever verbally, by courier, of the movements of the enemy, and orders were sent to feel of them. I then advanced the whole line, shifting Company C near the road to assist Company F to hold the bridge and road. Swinging the line around to the right, conforming to the shape of the creek and underbrush, I moved on within 300 yards of the enemy's line of battle, posted near the house beyond the bridge, and found their heavy skirmish line along the underbrush bordering the creek and on my left flank, the column still passing in the distance to the right.

At this time a mounted force was plainly seen in line along the road beyond the creek. Twice they advanced, but were as often repulsed by Companies F and C, which were now within 100 yards of the bridge. I again reported to Colonel Wever the condition-that the enemy were in force too strong for me to safely venture farther and were endangering my right and left flanks. At the request of Captain Samuel Atwell I permitted him to retire his line to the hill beyond the rifle-pits. I now received Colonel Wever's answer, "All right. " At this time, 3. 30 p. m., skirmishing was quite heavy in my front, and quite active on my right around to the railroad north of town; in fact, it became evident that the place was pretty near invested. I, however, held my position under heavy fire until 4 p. m., when the enemy advanced with a flag of truce on the Villanow road, when I ordered firing to cease. Company F, having run short of ammunition, were relieved a few moments previous by Company C, Lieutenant Lewis, who halted the truce party FIFTY yards in advance of the skirmish line. I advanced to meet them and was fired on by the enemy's skirmishers posted on the line to the left. All was soon, however, quiet in my front. When I approached the party I asked who they were and what their business was. The officer in command replied that he was Lieutenant-Colonel Cunningham, inspector-general on General Lee's staff, bearing a communication from General D. H. [J. B.] Hood, C. S. Army, to the commanding officer of the U. S. forces at Resaca, offering me a paper which I declined to receive, and having no instructions [I told him] I should require him to remain until I could report to my commanding officer that he could determine whether the communication would be received on the line or the party admitted, to which he readily assented. I ordered them to about face, i. e., turning their backs on the line, and then proceed to town and found Colonel Wever in the WEST fort, and reported to him that there was a flag of truce at the line, bearing a communication which I refused to accept. I returned to the line with Captain W. W. McCammon, acting assistant adjutant-general, Second Brigade, who received the communication from the truce party. I returned with him to Colonel Wever, received