General James R. Chalmers Mississippi Brigade (CSA) advanced across these fields at 10 a.m. on December 31, 1862, to attack the Union center at the Round Forest. Their advance was part of General Braxton Bragg's plan to crush the Union right flank early in the morning and then turn on the center. After holding for 48 hours, Chalmers' men left muddy rifle pits on a hill 200 yards southeast and advanced past the Cowan House ruins 100 yards to the southeast.
The Cowan House, which burned before the battle, obstructed their advance and forced the brigade to break and re-form in the area under a murderous crossfire of Union artillery and infantry fire from the Round Forest, 200 yards to the northwest. After Chalmers was knocked senseless by an exploding shell, the unit retreated. Later in the afternoon, it re-formed under Colonel T. W. White of the Ninth Mississippi Regiment.