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[225] remained there until the close of the fight, and despatched me the triumphant defence our troops there made against the assaults of the enemy.

The fight on the left after two P. M., was that of the army. Never, in the history of this war at least, have troops fought with greater energy and determination. Bayonet-charges, often heard of, but seldom seen, were repeatedly made by brigades and regiments, in several of our divisions.

After the yielding and severance of the division of the right, the enemy bent all efforts to break the solid portion of our line. Under the pressure of the rebel onset, the flanks of the line were gradually retired until they occupied strong, advantageous ground, giving to the whole a flattened crescent shape.

From one to half-past 3 o'clock, the unequal contest was sustained throughout our line. Then the enemy, in overpowering numbers, flowed around our right, held by General Brannan, and occupied a low gap in the ridge of our defensive position, which commanded our rear. The moment was critical. Twenty minutes more and our right would have been turned, our position taken in reverse, and probably the army routed.

Fortunately, Major-General Granger, whose troops had been posted to cover our left and rear, with the instinct of a true soldier and a General, hearing the roar of battle on our left, and being beyond the reach of orders from the General Commanding, determined to move to its assistance. He advanced and soon encountered the enemy's skirmishers, whom he disregarded, well knowing that, at that stage of the conflict, the battle was not there. Posting Colonel Daniel McCook's brigade to take care of any thing in the vicinity and beyond the left of our line, he moved the remainder to the scene of action, reporting to General Thomas, who directed him to our suffering right.

Arrived in sight, General Granger discovered at once the peril, and the point of danger — the gap — and quick as thought he directed his advance brigade upon the enemy. General Steadman, taking a regimental color, led the column. Swift was the charge and terrible the conflict, but the enemy was broken. A thousand of our brave men, killed and wounded, paid for its possession, but we held the gap.

Two divisions of Longstreet's corps confronted the position. Determined to take it, they successively came to the assault. A battery of six guns, placed in the gorge, poured death and slaughter into them. They charged to within a few yards of the pieces, but our grape and canister and the leaden hail of our musketry, delivered in sparing but terrible volleys from cartridges taken, in many instances, from the boxes of their fallen companions, was too much even for Longstreet's men. About sunset they made their last charge, when our men, being out of ammunition, rushed on them with the bayonet, and they gave way to return no more.

The fury of the conflict was nearly as great on the fronts of Brannan and Wood, being less furious toward the left. But a column of the enemy had made its way to near our left and to the right of Colonel McCook's position. Apprised of this, General Thomas directed Reynolds to move his division from its position, and, pointing out the rebels, told him to go in there.

To save time, the troops of Reynolds were faced by the rear rank, and moved with the bayonet at a double-quick, and with a shout walked over the rebels, capturing some five hundred. This closed the battle of the twentieth. At nightfall the enemy had been repulsed along the whole line, and sunk into quietude, without attempting to renew the combat.

General Thomas, considering the excessive labors of the troops, the scarcity of ammunition, food, and water, and having orders from the General Commanding to use his discretion, determined to retire on Rossville, where they arrived in good order, took post before morning, receiving supplies from Chattanooga, and offering the enemy battle during all the next day, and repulsing his reconnoissance. On the night of twenty-first we withdrew from Rossville, took firm possession of the objective point of our campaign — Chattanooga — and prepared to hold it.

The operations of the cavalry during the battles on the nineteenth were very important. General Mitchell, with three brigades, covered our right flank along the line of the Chickamauga, above Crawfish Springs, against the combined efforts of the great body of the rebel cavalry, whose attempts to cross the stream they several times repulsed.

Wilder fought dismounted near the centre, intervening two or three times with mountain howitzers and Spencer rifles very opportunely.

On the twentieth, Minty covered our left and rear at Missionary Mills, and later in the day on the Ringgold road.

General Mitchell, with his three brigades, covered our extreme right, and with Wilder, after its repulse, extended over Missionary Ridge, held the whole country to the base of Lookout Mountain, and all our trains, artillery, caissons, and spare wagons, sent there for greater safety, retiring from the field. He was joined by Post's brigade of Davis's division, which had not closed on the army, and was not in action.

On the twenty-first the cavalry still covered our right as securely as before, fighting and holding at bay very superior numbers. The number of cavalry combats during the whole campaign have been numerous, and the successes as numerous, but the army could not have dispensed with those of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first.

Our artillery

fired fewer shots than at Stone River, but with even greater effect. I cannot but congratulate the country on the rapid improvement evinced in this arm of the service. Our loss of pieces is in part attributable to the rough wooded ground in which we fought and the want of experience in posting artillery, and partly to the unequal nature of the contest, our infantry being heavily outnumbered.

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