War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0904 KY. SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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I changed my course and [moved] again by the left flank across another open valley, through the center of which was a deep ditch. I ordered my left wing to occupy this ditch as a cover, and hold the enemy at bay until the right wing could form in the edge of the timber beyond, but as the mud and water in the ditch were deep and the banks too high I abandoned it as soon as possible, and formed the entire regiment behind a rail fence in the edge of the wood, still on the right of the road and perpendicular to it, and my left about 150 yards from it. This, my fourth position, I held until 6 p. m., it being the first opportunity I had of doing any execution. Finding that all the other forces had retired some time, and the enemy were pressing my right and left flanks, I retired in good order to a position still in the open wood and opposite a large white house, near which were a number of negro quarters. This position was about 200 yards in rear of my last. I saw not other troops near me, but determined on holding this point as long as possible, and ordered Captain Henry W. Johnson to occupy with his company (B) the negro quarters just mentioned, which he did most gallantly. Immediately after taking this position I discovered the enemy attempting to force my right flank, but I succeeded in holding the ground about forty minutes and then retired. seeing which the enemy's cavalry charged on me, attempting to break my left, when I immediately faced about and drove them back in disorder to their former position, about 400 yards. I then retired about 500 yards, and formed again on a ridge on which stood an old cotton-gin and gin-house. Three companies were formed on the right and four on the left of and one occupied the said gin-house, while First Lieutenant John M. Hensley, with Company A, was ordered to occupy and hold a position behind an old hedge, about 100 yards to the right and rear, and prevent a flanking movement in that direction. Having made these dispositions, and being faint from a severe wound in the hip received about 5 o'clock, I here gave up the command to Captain Johnson and retired to the rear. About 200 yards in the rear of my regiment I met Colonel Wilkin, commanding the First Brigade of infantry, who was trying once more to form a line. This was the nearest support I had during the entire engagement. Captain Johnson withdrew the regiment and formed on the right of Colonel Wilkin's command, but it was now 7. 30, darkness threw her mantle over the scene, and we retired to the rear. The regiment left the field in good order, but without ammunition. Company F, in retiring from the first position, inclined too much to the right, and became separated from the regiment and did not join it until after dark, but did good work and nobly contested every step as they retreated. Captain Foster, having now come up with Company F, took command of the regiment, and the retreat was continued all night, during which the men of my command picked up ammunition thrown away by the troops in their advance, so that on arriving at Ripley, early the morning of the 11th, they were found to have about twenty-five rounds per man. Up to this time the regiment was still in good order, a distinct organization, and with the FIFTY-fifth was formed in line and held the closely pursuing enemy in check until all the infantry had succeeded in getting out of town; but here, unfortunately, the enemy's cavalry getting in their rear, they became separated, some getting out on the Salem road, but the greater part, under Captain Foster, taking the road to Saulsbury. Colonel Wilkin commanded the infantry column that took this road, numbering in all about 1,800 men, of which number about 250 were of my command and 200 were of the FIFTY-fifth U. S. Colored Infantry. The colored troops