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[529] from your command out, with instructions to hold their ground until driven in, and then to retire slowly, contesting the ground stubbornly.


I proceeded at once to remove General Wood back to the reserve position, leaving the grand guards as directed, and by daylight, September twentieth, I found General Van Cleve in the valley very near his new position. General Palmer (with my strongest division) having been sent to General Thomas the day before, was to remain with him. About eight or nine o'clock on the morning of the twentieth, I was ordered to move General Wood's division up to a position in front which had been occupied by General Negley, and to keep General Van Cleve in reserve and in supporting distance of Wood. This order had been executed but a short time, when I was ordered to move General Van Cleve with two brigades (his other brigade having been sent with General Wood, who otherwise could not have filled the place General Negley occupied) several hundred yards to the left and some two hundred yards to the front. His guns were placed in position on the crest of the ridge, and his command placed near the foot of the slope, formed in column, doubled on the centre and halted.

The General Commanding the department was at this time in the field near by. I was soon ordered to move Van Cleve directly to the front, to take part in the battle now raging in that direction. The order was immediately given, and I said to the Commanding General, as this was the last of my corps not already disposed of, I should accompany it. I rode immediately after General Van Cleve, whose troops were already in motion. On reaching the woods I was surprised to find Van Cleve's command halted. On inquiry, I was informed Van Cleve had run upon Wood's command. I directed him to take ground to the left, to pass through the first interval he could find, and engage the enemy. At this moment an officer rode to me from General Thomas, saying that the General still wanted support on his left. I directed this officer to General Rosecrans's position, then not far distant, and did not stop the movement of General Van Cleve, as he was going in the right direction, if the General Commanding the department should change my orders, and send him to General Thomas's left. In a few moments I received orders to move General Van Cleve's division with the utmost despatch, not exhausting the troops, to the support of General Thomas's left. I gave the order immediately to General Van Cleve, and its execution was at once begun. At this moment I received a message from General Wood that it was useless to bring artillery into the woods. The Chief of Artillery to this corps was ordered to put the batteries back on the ridge in a commanding position, with several hundred yards of open country in front, when I hoped, in the event of any reverse, these guns would cover our retiring troops. I now received a message from General Wood, informing me that he had received an order direct from headquarters of the department to move at once to the sup port of General Reynolds. Looking at the artillery which Major Mendenhall had just put in position, and not knowing exactly what to do with it under my last order, my difficulty was suddenly removed by the enemy. While we had been steadily from the beginning of the battle, and very properly, in my judgment, weakening our right and strengthening our left, the object of the enemy being clearly to throw himself between us and Chattanooga, the enemy had been receiving accessions of fresh troops, and now made a sudden attack on our right and right centre, driving these attenuated lines from the field.

Upon turning from the batteries and looking at the troops, I was astounded to see them suddenly and unaccountably thrown into great confusion. There was but little firing at this moment near the troops, and I was unable, until some time afterward, to account for this confusion. In a moment, however, the enemy had driven all before them, and I was cut off from my command, though not a hundred yards in rear and in full view. The enemy had attacked and run over our extreme right at the same time. I was now cut off entirely, both on the right and left, from all our troops. The way, however, was open to the batteries, and I rode immediately there, hoping that stragglers enough, both from right and left, would rally there to hold the position, or at least enable me to carry off the guns. Upon reaching the batteries, I found them without the support of a single company of infantry. It was a time of painful anxiety; I still hoped that support would come from somewhere or be driven to me. But the signs grew rapidly worse. Lieutenant Cushing, commanding battery H, Fourth United States artillery, rode up to me. at this moment, and said he thought the enemy's cavalry had got in our rear. Upon asking him for his reason, he answered that a shell had just been thrown from our rear. I started to look if this could possibly be so, stating to Lieutenant Cushing that I did not think it possible. He asked me, in case he was driven, which way he should go. I replied he must not be driven, still hoping for support. He said he would like to know what road to take in case he should be driven, and I pointed out the direction.

A short distance in rear of the guns, just at this moment, I met about sixty or seventy men, apparently rallied and led up to the batteries by a young officer whom I did not recognize, but who were nobly rallied and brought up by that purehearted and brave officer, Brigadier-General Van Cleve.

It will be best here to explain the cause of the confusion and consequent disaster which but a little while before had befallen two brigades of his division. While in the act of passing to the support of General Thomas, troops in his front — I do not know of what division — ran in great confusion, and a battery at great speed was driven through the ranks of his men, wounding several seriously. This, of course, threw his


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