and finally complete. A few light attacks on this front were made up to one o'clock P. M., after which every thing was comparatively quiet. The value of this simple breastwork will be understood, since my loss behind it this day was only about thirteen men, during a period of more stubborn, fighting than at Shilon or Stone River, when the same brigade at each place lost over four hundred men. Our left flank was twice turned and partially driven this day, but the enemy was easily checked and our lines speedily restored. At about ten o'clock A. M. our couriers for ammunition, previously prompt to return, did not come back, and it soon came to be believed that our trains had been captured. I at once cautioned my colonels, who fired only by volleys, not to waste a single round of ammunition, and my battery was similarly cautioned. During the quiet that afterward settled upon us, several officers were struck by sharp-shooters from distant trees. Ascertaining the proper direction, I caused volleys to be fired into the tops of the trees, and thus brought several of them from their hiding-places, checking for a time this species of warfare. Skirmishers sent out along this front reported the execution of our arms during the engagement to have been terrible, beyond any thing before seen in this war, as I believe the fight from eight to eleven o'clock to have been. The stillness that now hung over the battlefield was ominous. We had four divisions in line that, although they had withstood one of the most terrific assaults on record, had hardly felt the breath of the battle. There were four more upon our right with general Thomas, as fresh as we were. But the feeling that our ammunition was gone, was like a leaden weight in the breast of many. The men, however, were confident of success. It afterward appeared that the breaking up of the troops on our right had swept away our ammunition and much else along with their fragments to Chattanooga. No new dispositions of troops on our part of the line were made, except that General Reynolds's right was somewhat withdrawn, to cover that flank. General Wood, General Brannan, and two divisions of the reserve corps were found in a line at right angles with, and directly in rear of the position before described, the left of this line being about one half mile from, and opposite Reynolds's right. At about three o'clock P. M. a fearful onslaught was made upon this line. The battle raged for an hour with apparently varying fortunes, when several general officers at our position expressed a sense of the necessity for a brigade to move over and strike the deciding blow. No one appeared to have any ammunition. I found upon examination that I still had forty rounds per man, and immediately moved my men over at double-quick with a front of two regiments. Arriving near the scene of action, I caused a partial change of direction to the left, and was quickly pouring in volleys, my second line alternating with my first. The action lasted but a few minutes, the enemy retiring. There was no more fighting. At dusk I received orders from General Thomas to retire on Rossville, which I did quietly and in perfect order, the pickets of the enemy following mine closely as they were withdrawn, and confronting an officer, sent to see that it was thoroughly done. There are several lessons to be learned from this fight, and to me, none more plainly than that the iron hand that strikes justly yet firmly, can alone make the soldier that can be relied upon in the hour of trial. The effect of firing by volleys upon the enemy has invariably been to check and break him. It further gives a careful colonel complete control of his fire. The effect of sending in fractions to battle with an entire army is to waste our own strength without perceptibly weakening the enemy. My entire brigade has my warmest thanks for its services. Colonel O. H. Payne, One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Ohio volunteers, and Colonel George F. Shackelford, Sixth Kentucky volunteers, both of whom fell early in the fight of Saturday, carried in their commands bravely and at the opportune moment. The One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Ohio volunteers, although in its maiden engagement, bore itself gallantly and efficiently. Major Hampson, who commanded this regiment after the fall of its Colonel, bore his part with ability and success. Colonels Wiley, Forty-first Ohio volunteers, and Suman, Ninth Indiana volunteers, with their regiments, are veterans of so frequent trial that it would be mockery to praise them with words. The country cannot too highly cherish these men. Colonel Wiley had his horse shot from under him. The services of Lieutenant-Colonels Kimberly, Forty-first Ohio volunteers, and Lasselle, Ninth Indiana volunteers, were conspicuous and valuable. Lieutenant-Colonel Kimberly had two horses killed under him. Of the noble dead there are Lieutenant-Colonel Rockingham, Captains McGraw, Johnson, Marker, Lieutenants Lockman and Ewbanks, all of the Sixth Kentucky; Lieutenants Crisswell, Nickeson, and Parks of the Ninth Indiana, with a long list of others, as brave and true, but bearing no title. Many tears are shed for them. My staff were efficient, performing every duty assigned them with promptness and accuracy. Captain H. W. Johnson, Forty-first Ohio, Acting Quartermaster, was with me the entire day on Saturday, and at night brought upon the battle-field such portions of his train as were needed for the comfort of the command, taking them away before daylight the next morning. Captain John Crowell, jr., Assistant Adjutant-General, and my Aids, Lieutenants Wm. M. Beebe and E. B. Atwood, Forty-first Ohio; my Inspector-General, Captain James McCleery, Forty-first Ohio; my Provost-Marshal, Captain L. A. Cole, Ninth Indiana; my Commissary of Subsistence, Lieutenant F. D. Cobb, Forty-first Ohio; and my Topographical officer, Lieutenant A. G. Bierce,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.