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[530] command into great confusion, and before he could possibly restore order the enemy was upon him. This accident for which the troops who suffered by it were not responsible, and which scarcely could have been avoided by any precaution, is deeply deplored by the officers and men of that gallant division, whose steady courage and discipline have been too often and well tried to be doubted now. Notwithstanding this disaster, three regiments of the right, composing these two brigades, namely, Forty-fourth Indiana volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrich; Ninth Kentucky, commanded by Colonel Cram, and Seventeenth Kentucky, commanded by Colonel Stout, rallied and formed on the right of our main line, and, fighting all day, only left the field when ordered.

The little force brought by General Van Cleve to the support of the battery was insufficient. I rode rapidly toward the next ridge, hoping to find some general officer, and to obtain support for my battery. I had ridden but a few yards down the hill when I heard the batteries moving quickly away. Nothing but the greatest energy enabled their officers to save any of their guns.

The enemy had come close up to the batteries on the left while pouring in a severe fire from sharp-shooters from the front. All the horses attached to one of the guns of Lieutenant Cushing were shot almost at the same moment, yet he succeeded in bringing away three guns, losing but one. For the good conduct of artillery officers in this and other positions during the day, I refer you to the report of Major Mendenhall, Chief of Artillery, and to the reports of their division commanders.

On reaching the crest of the next hill I found only a small number of men — less than a hundred--who had been rallied by a captain of the Eighteenth regulars, as he told me, and whom he kept in line with great difficulty. I remained here for some time, probably a half hour, expecting to meet some officers of the commands which had been posted to my right. After this lapse of time Major Mendenhall informed me that the enemy had turned our own guns upon us from the hill we had just left. I then determined to go immediately to Rossville and Chattanooga, if it was practicable. I could hear nothing of General Rosecrans, nor of Generals McCook, Sheridan, and-Davis, and I greatly feared that all had fallen into the hands of the enemy. I should have ridden rapidly to Rossville or Chattanooga, to apprise whoever was in command of the actual state of things on our right, but that I feared to add a panic to the great confusion. The road was filled with soldiers, wagons, cannon, and caissons all the way to Rossville. All were moving without organization, but without undue haste or panic. After leaving the hill and riding slowly about a mile and a half, I met Colonel Parkhurst with his regiment, and with men enough whom he had stopped to make another regiment of ordinary size, and who seemed to be well organized. The Colonel rode up to me, and asked if I would take command. I told him no, that he was doing good service, and directed him to hold his position, and let the artillery-wagons, etc., pass, and then follow on, covering the rear.

About this time, I learned the General Commanding had not been captured, but that he had gone to Chattanooga. I rode to Rossville, where I expected to find some troops and to learn something of the locality of the main army and its condition, but finding no one who could give me any information, I rode to Chattanooga, where I found the General commanding the department, and reported briefly to him.

The General Commanding, having ordered the army to withdraw to Rossville, directed me to report to Major-General Thomas at that place for orders. I rode that night to Rossville, reported to General Thomas, and early in the morning of the twenty-first placed the two divisions of my command, which were at this place, (Wood's and Palmer's,) in the position assigned them. General Van Cleve, having collected about one thousand two hundred of his men, sent me word that he was encamped a few miles distant on the road leading from Chattanooga to Bridgeport, and that he had received orders from the General commanding the army. The enemy made some demonstrations during this day on my front, which covered the road leading from Ringgold to Rossville, but was easily made to keep a respectful distance, and after night, in obedience to orders, my command withdre w so quietly to Chattanooga that our own pickets were not aware of the movement. General W. C. Whitaker had reported to me on this day with two brigades and occupied the extreme left of my line. His were the last troops to withdraw, and I remained until he moved away with his command. On reaching Chattanooga, I was assigned to the position I now hold.

It is a source of much regret to me that circumstances made it impossible, with any regard to the interests of the service, for my corps to act as a unit in these battles. The pride of the corps was such that I think its attack would have been irresistible, and an attack upon it fatal to the enemy. But the great object of the battle was obtained. We foiled the enemy in his attempt to reoccupy Chattanooga; we hold the prize for which the campaign was made; and if nothing has been added to the fame of the corps, it is only because its noble blood has been shed in detachments on every part of the field where an enemy was to be encountered, instead of flowing together, as at Stone River. The people will look with hissing and scorn upon the traducers of this corps, when they learn with what stubborn bravery it poured out its blood in their cause.

The army of the Cumberland matched itself against one army, and for two days disputed the field with three veteran armies, and then unmolested by them we moved to the coveted place, which we now hold, and where they have not ventured to assail us.

The conduct of the various detachments from

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Grisby Thomas (2)
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