War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0783 Chapter LI. NORTH Georgia AND NORTH ALABAMA.

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skirmishers, and just after passing the five-mile post skirmishing became very brisk, when I threw forward the balance of the Seventh Illinois Infantry, as skirmishers and drove the enemy's skirmishers some distance, when they took up a very strong position on the crest of a hill, behind works made of rails, and the road strongly barricaded. One section of Battery B, First Michigan Artillery, was at once got into position, when, after firing three or four rounds, the enemy entirely disappeared. At this point the mounted troops, under command of Colonel Spencer, came up and took position on either flank. The command then pushed forward, meeting with but slight resistance, though skirmishing nearly all the way, the enemy halting their line at every good position, but to no purpose, for we readily drove them at every point. Just beyond what is called the forks of the road (Coosaville and Cave Spring), after passing through the timber into the clearing, I found the enemy off a little to the right near a church, posted in some force, with two pieces of artillery. Deployed Seventh Illinois and Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry as skirmishers, with Fiftieth and FIFTY-seventh Illinois Infantry as support. Our skirmishers here labored under many disadvantages across the open field, some places quite swampy and wet, all the while under the enemy's fire, who were well covered on the crest of a hill. Here the fighting was more severe than at any other point previous, but the men moved gallantly forward, and soon drove the enemy, who were seen to fly in confusion. Just after passing the church the enemy's shell for a short time was very accurate, and annoyed our advance very much, particularly the right. Here, unfortunately, the Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry got out of ammunition just as I was [about] to throw them forward, which I believe would have succeeded in capturing both pieces of artillery and many prisoners. After passing the church about half a mile the road turns directly to the left, a short distance from which we soon found the enemy again in position, but soon routed him, driving him before us until, when within about one mile from the cross-roads, one of which leads directly to the crossing on the Coosa, I encountered their artillery again, this time opening upon us with a four-gun battery at long range, and making some very close shots, though fortunately doing no particular harm. Here I ordered forward one regiment from the Second Brigade, which I posted on the left of the THIRD Brigade, sending Colonel Spencer around to the right to strike the road leading to the pontoons, thereby cutting off their retreat in that direction, hoping to be able to capture the entire battery or a portion at least, but before this could be brought about I received orders to return at once to Rome. I immediately called in the cavalry, after which my infantry skirmish line, reformed the brigade, and at about 4. 30 o'clock commenced the retrograde movement, and arrived at Rome at about 8. 30 p. m., ordering the regiments and battery to their camps. The last place we engaged their artillery was on quite a hill in an open field, where we had a good view of them with a glass. I observed that they were all dressed in dark clothes-I should think nearly or quite as dark as ours. They had a small-battle flag or guidon on the field near their guns, which was red entire, with a black or very dark cross in the center. From the best information I could get the force we met consisted of Armstrong's brigade of cavalry, with four pieces of artillery, no infantry having been seen at any point during the day. The point at which I was ordered back is a little more than eleven miles from the Etowah crossing, making the entire march about twenty-three miles, and I here wish to state that after skirmishing nearly all