General Alexander was ordered to knock the rails about them and drive them out, and was partially successful, but the enemy got back before our infantry could reach them, so we had to carry the line by assault.
Part of our line drove up in fine style, and was measurably successful, but other parts, smarting under the stiff musket fire, hesitated and lay down under such slight shelter as they could find, but close under fire,--so close that to remain inactive would endanger repulse.
Captain Winthrop, of Alexander's staff, appreciating the crisis, dashed forward on his horse and led the halting lines successfully over the works.
In his gallant ride he received a very severe hurt.
Neither our numbers nor our condition were such as to warrant further aggressive action at the moment, nor, in fact, until the column from Virginia joined us. Our sharp-shooters were advanced from night to night and pitted before daylight, each line being held by new forces as the advance was made.
el McElroy, of the Thirteenth Mississippi Regiment, and Colonel Thomas, of the Sixteenth Georgia, who also died in the ditch; Lieutenant Cumming, adjutant of the Sixteenth Georgia Regiment, who overcame all obstacles, crowned the parapet with ten or a dozen men, and, entering the fort through one of the embrasures, was taken prisoner; and Colonel Fiser, of the Eighteenth Mississippi, who lost an arm while on the parapet.
Not the least of the gallant acts of the campaign was the dash of Captain Winthrop, who led our once halting lines over the rail defences at Knoxville.
The transfer of the army to the east bank of the river was executed by diligent work and the use of such flat-boats and other means of crossing as we could collect and construct.
We were over by the 20th, and before Christmas were in our camps along the railroad, near Morristown.
Blankets and clothes were very scarce, shoes more so, but all knew how to enjoy the beautiful country in which we found ourselves.