bed Colonel Wilds, then in command of the regiment, received orders to have the men under arms at precisely 5 o'clock next morning, as the first line was to make a reconnaissance to the front and the Fourth Brigade was to move up to the works as soon as vacated. In obedience to this order, at 5 o'clock the regiment was all in line of battle and ready to move to the works. Having reason to believe the reconnaissance would not last more than one or two hours, as the order was not to bring on an engagement, everything except arms and accouterments were left in tents. At 5.10 o'clock firing commenced on the picket-line of the Eighth Corps.
It was not yet daylight, and a dense fog, which had settled to the ground, rendered it almost impossible to distinguish objects at any distance. Soon after the firing commenced on the left the brigade was ordered to move by the left flank until the left of the Twenty-fourth Iowa rested on the pike. Colonel Wilds ordered me to ride to the left of the regiment and lead it to the place indicated, but before reaching the pike I was ordered to halt and take position, as we were already receiving the enemy's fire. The regiment was halted, and the right thrown forward so as to form a line across the crest of the hill at an angle of 445 degrees with the pike, the right of the brigade, Eighteenth Indiana Veteran Volunteers, supporting the battery on the left of the first line. The fog was so dense that it was impossible to tell what was in front of us, and as the Eighth Corps was falling back at the time our fire was reserved until the enemy had pressed his columns close up to and charged the battery on the right, one piece of which was captured. We held the position, however, until Colonel Shunk, discovering that the enemy had thrown a column across the pike on our left, ordered the brigade to fall back about 500 yards and take position parallel to and facing the pike. This was done in good order, and the position taken and held until it became necessary, in then opinion of General Grover, to fall back in order to prevent being cut off entirely. Up to this time the regiment had lost 6 men killed and about 40 wounded. The order was given to fall back as rapidly as possible in the direction of the camp of the Sixth Corps. The enemy came in heavy force on our left and captured 4 officers and about 40 men. The brigade fell back about one mile and formed between the First Brigade, General Birge, and the Sixth Corps, which was on the left. Previous to this time Colonel Wilds had been wounded and carried from the field. I had also received a bruise on my hip from a piece of shell, and a wound from a musket ball in the left arm, near the elbow, which sickened me so that I could not ride for near an hour, and the regiment was commanded by Captain L. Clark during my absence.
Soon after I returned to the regiment, which was then in the position above mentioned, the enemy made a flank movement to the left of the Sixth Corps, rendering it necessary for it to fall back, and we were ordered to retire by the right of regiment to the rear. We moved in this manner nearly three miles, halted, took position, procured ammunition, and prepared to renew the battle. After we had rested about half an hour, Major-General Sheridan came on the field, having been absent since the morning of the 18th. He ordered the Eighth Corps to take position on the left of the pike between Middletown and Newtown, the Sixth Corps the center, and the Nineteenth Corps the right. Sent two divisions of cavalry to the right and one to the left. The Fourth Brigade was formed on the extreme left of the Nineteenth Corps, connecting
23 R R - VOL XLIII, PT I