previous next
[420] farther toward the Rebel center — Bragg thus renewing the attempt to interpose between our army and Chattanooga, which Thomas had disconcerted by his advance and attack of the previous day. But now Beatty's brigade of Negley's division, moving from our right center, came into action beside Baird, on our extreme left, checking Breckinridge's advance; and, Baird and Beatty together being still outnumbered and the latter losing ground, several regiments of Johnson's division, hitherto in reserve, were sent up to Baird and posted by him on his front; and these, with Vandever's brigade of Brannan's division and part of Stanley's of Wood's division, completely restored the battle on this flank, hurling back Breckinridge's command in disorder; Gens. Helm and Deshler being killed, Maj. Graves, chief of artillery, mortally wounded, and Gen. Adams severely wounded and taken prisoner. Breckinridge rallied his men on a commanding ridge in the rear of his advanced position, where his heavy guns were posted to repel assault. Walker's division first, then Cheatham's Tennesseans, then Cleburne's, and finally Stewart's, were sent to the support of Breckinridge; and the tide of battle ebbed and flowed on this wing, with frightful carnage on both sides, but without material advantage to either. Still, Bragg's attempt to turn our flank, so as to interpose his army between ours and Chattanooga was baffled by Thomas's firmness and that of the veterans under his command; while the struggle along our left center was equally desperate, equally sanguinary, and equally indecisive.

Our right, however, had ere this been involved in fearful disaster. The movement of several divisions from right to left after the battle had actually commenced was at best hazardous, however necessary, and was attended with the worst possible results. Negley's and Van Cleve's divisions were successively ordered by Rosecrans to move to the support of Thomas on our left; while Wood was directed to close up to Reynolds on our right center, and Davis to close on Wood; McCook, commanding on this wing, being directed to close down on the left with all possible dispatch.

Such movements are at all times difficult of execution in the heat of battle, and in the face of a skillful, resolute, and vigilant enemy. In this instance, the hazard was increased by the fact that they were not clearly comprehended. Wood, understanding that he was ordered to support Reynolds, undertook to do so by withdrawing from the front and passing to the rear of Brannan, who was in échelon slightly to the rear of Reynolds's right; thus opening a gap in our front, into which Longstreet at once threw Hood's command, supported by an advance of Buckner on our right flank.

The charge was decisive. Davis, by McCook's order, was just attempting to fill with three light brigades the gap made by Wood's withdrawal, when Hood's charging column poured into it, striking Davis on the right, and Brannan on the left, and Sheridan, of Crittenden's corps, farther to the rear, cutting off five brigades from the rest of our army, and pushing them to our right and rear, with a loss of 40 per cent. of their numbers.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Chattanooga (Tennessee, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: