The standard tactic employed in a Civil War battle was to turn your opponent's flank, that is, to bring your line of infantry into position perpendicular to the enemy's, giving the flanking soldiers an advantage in firepower. Gen. Mahlon Manson, deployed his brigade in textbook fashion, placing his men in line of battle with his four infantry regiments separated by artillery.
Confederate Gen. Patrick Cleburne positioned most of his infantry east of the Old State road (US 421), his line extending on the east to a stand of woods. Manson, who could not see the entire Confederate line, moved his men forward to determine just where Cleburne's line ended. This action led to an exchange of fire and continuous shifting of troops by both sides. Manson, believing that the Confederates would try to turn his flank, sent his reserve, the 71st Indiana, and seven of the ten companies of the 69th Indiana, to be east to lengthen and strengthen his line. Unfortunately, Manson seriously misjudged the Confederates.
Cleburne skillfully allowed the drama to play out, continuing the engagement at the eastern end of Manson's line. In the meantime, Cleburne's superior, Gen. Edmund Kirby smith, ordered Gen. Thomas James Churchill to move his division to the west of the Union line. Churchill moved his men through the draw created by Mound Creek without being detected by Manson, bringing his men back onto the field between the Palmer House and Mt. Zion Church. When Churchill deployed in the line of battle the Confederates had flanked the Union right. As Churchill emerged from the draw, Cleburne ordered an assault on the Union center.
Manson met Churchill's threat by ordering the 95th Ohio to make a bayonet charge. Manson's mistake, and subsequent orders, brought the Battle of Richmond to a critical juncture.