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[421] In short, our right wing, struck heavily in flank while moving to the left, was crumbled into fragments and sent flying in impotent disorder toward Rossville and Chattanooga, with a loss of thousands in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Rosecrans, McCook, and many subordinate commanders, were swept along in the wild rush; Sheridan and Davis rallying and reforming the wreck of their divisions by the way, and halting, with McCook, at Rossville; while Rosecrans — prevented by the enemy from joining Thomas — hastened to Chattanooga, there to make all possible provision for holding the place; since it now looked as though our whole army was or would be routed, and that desperate effort would be required to hold Chattanooga, so as to save what might be left of it from being captured or driven pell-mell into the Tennessee.

But matters, though bad enough, were not so bad as they seemed to those who had shared or witnessed the rout and dispersion of our right. Thomas was still fighting stoutly and holding his own on our left; when, not long after noon, Capt. Kellogg, who had been sent to hurry Sheridan, then expected to reenforce his left, returned with tidings that he had met a large Rebel force advancing cautiously, with skirmishers thrown out, to the rear of Reynolds's position in our center. There was some effort made to believe this was no Rebel force, but Sheridan, till heavy firing on Thomas's right and rear decidedly negatived that presumption. Thomas ordered Col. Hooker, whose brigade held a ridge in the direction of the firing, to resist the advance of these questionable wayfarers, and return their fire if it should be persisted in — an order which that Brigadier proceeded at once to obey. Meantime, Wood came up, and was directed to post his troops on the left of Brannan, who had already taken post on the slope of Mission ridge, behind Thomas's line of battle, and just west of the Chattanooga and Lafayette road, where Capt. Gaw had ere this, by Thomas's order, massed all the artillery he could find in reserve, and supported it by strong lines of infantry. To this position, Johnson, Palmer, and Reynolds, who, behind their log breastworks, had sustained and repulsed a succession of desperate charges on our center, were withdrawn, and here Thomas's command was now concentrated.

Gen. Gordon Granger, with his small reserve corps, had been posted at Rossville, whence Col. J. B. Steedman, with six regiments, made a reconnoissance to within two miles of Ringgold;1 discovering enough by the way to convince him that a battle was imminent and he out of place; when he returned to Rossville. Gen. Whitaker's and Col. D. McCook's brigades were next sent forward by Granger to the Chickamauga — the latter supporting Col. Minty at Reid's bridge, where he had a smart skirmish, as did Gen. Whitaker, farther down the stream; each falling back; Gen. Steedman ultimately burning2 Reid's bridge and retreating. Granger held the roads in this direction, on our extreme left, throughout the 19th and till 11 A. M. of the 20th; when, finding that he was not attacked, while the roar of guns on his right front,where Thomas was posted,

1 Sept. 17.

2 Sept. 18.

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