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[248] the troops on the left actually broke, and were thrown into some disorder. But it is also true that when the desired point was gained the troops were readily halted and rallied with but little difficulty. Once, the One Hundred and Fifteenth Illinois--which did exceedingly well that day — seemed unable to rally; but General Steedman was near at hand, and, seizing the colors from the standard-bearer, advanced toward the enemy, saying to the men: “Boys, I'll carry four flag if you'll defend it.” They rallied around him and did noble deeds. There was not one instance of failure to rally the troops, though the leaden hail fell so thick and fast among them that nothing but their native heroism and the animating courage of their officers could have kept them up to the work. Let it not be forgotten that on that afternoon there was but little fighting, except upon Thomas's lines, whose right Steedman held, and on the right the fiercest fighting apparently was done. There was nothing to prevent the enemy from sending almost overwhelming forces against us, and we learn from prisoners, and we judge from the incidents and character of the contest, that they were fighting Steedman with the odds of at least three to one in their favor. Thomas was holding their whole army in check, saving from irretrievable disaster the army of the Cumberland; and there was nothing akin to a holiday parade in the terrible momentum of their assaults to break through that bulwark, or the heroic endurance with which our soliders met and repulsed them. More depended upon the individuality of the soldier than upon the harmonious movements of regiments and brigades. This was felt by our officers and soldiers. There was little manoeuvring, but there was a great deal of fighting. There was no waiting for commands in detail — no firing of volleys by platoons and companies. When we had gained a position in advance, and the line was halted in view of the enemy, the men fired at will, each intent only on doing his own duty well.

After that repulse another assault was made, and with the same result. The rebels advanced, were checked; we drove and followed them until fresh troops were arrayed against us, and we in turn were forced to retire. But this time we drove them further, and kept them at bay longer, than before. One of our regiments — the Ninety-sixth Illinois--pursued them nearly half a mile, and held that advanced position until it began to receive an enfilading fire from some of our own troops.

Thus the contest continued until dark, and all the time we held the ridge. Sometimes a regiment or more would fall back beyond the ridge, but enough always remained to hold it. At last General Thomas gave the order to retire; but it failed to reach a portion of the Ninety-sixth Illinois, and a remnant of the One Hundred and Twenty-first Ohio, who at the time occupied a position on the right, somewhat advanced beyond the line, and there for a considerable time they continued to fight with unabated vigor. The order to retire was at last given to this devoted band, who reluctantly left their position. That closed the fighting for the day. We retired from the field, not knowing that the enemy was at the same time also retreating, baffled and discouraged, in fact beaten.

So the bloody field was left unoccupied that night. No, not wholly unoccupied; for James T. Gruppy, a private of company D, Ninety-sixth Illinois, not knowing that our troops had fallen back, slept upon the battle-field, and next morning, as he awoke, found a rebel surgeon near him, looking for rebel dead, and who advised him, if he ever wished to see his regiment again, to hurry on to Chattanooga.

The fight was over, and while the Union army was sad, the rebels were not exultant. The fight was over, and Steedman's division had made its record. It had done more than that. Said General Thomas to General Steedman: “You have saved my corps!”

That was a deed worthy to be proud of; for from what disaster did not that corps save our army and our cause!

But there was little feeling of pride that night among the troops of the First division of the reserve. We were busy in reckoning up our losses, and they were appalling! The long list of killed and wounded is a sad proof of the trial by fire to which, that afternoon, our division was subjected.

Was ever such havoc made with a staff as that which General Whittaker's suffered? There were eight of them, including the General. Three were killed, three wounded, one captured or killed, and only one escaped. How often has it happened that a regiment, in one afternoon's engagement, has endured a greater loss in killed and wounded than the Ninety-sixth Illinois? It took into battle four hundred and fifteen men. It lost forty-two killed and one hundred twenty-one wounded--considerably more than one third. Of its twenty-three field, staff, and line-officers engaged, eleven were killed and wounded. It happened that that regiment, during the fight, was always in the front line, and was greatly exposed to the enemy's artillery; but, under the cool and able leadership of Colonel Champion, it maintained its place, and, with the One Hundred and Twenty-first Ohio, was the last to leave the field.

Whittaker's brigade of six regiments lost nearly one thousand men, killed and wounded, and Colonel Mitchell's brigade of four regiments lost nearly four hundred.

There were many noble men who foll on that hard-fought field — many who deserve special mention. I know but few of the many, yet let me speak of two or three.

Captain S. B. Espy, Assistant Commissary on General Wittaker's staff, was a very lion that day. He was advised to remain with his trains; but, too noble-spirited for that, he remained on the field, fearless of danger, doing wonders in

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