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1 Though it is perfectly settled that Bragg did not pursue, it is not so well established that our army did not flee. On this point, a few citations (out of many that might be made) from eye-witnesses will here be given:Gen. Hazen, after reporting the last attack of the enemy on our right, and its repulse, says:
There was no more fighting. At dusk, I received orders from Gen. 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on Rossville; which I did quietly and in perfect order: the pickets of the enemy following mine closely as they were withdrawn, and confronting an officer, sent to see that it was thoroughly done.Col. A. Wiley, 41st Ohio, of Granger's corps, after describing the final Rebel charge on Wood's division, of which he was among the supports, says:
The possession of the hill was maintained; the regiment losing about a dozen wounded in this part of the action. As soon as it became dark, we withdrew from this position, marched to Rossville, where the regiment bivouacked, and on Monday morning again went into position in the first line on Mission ridge.An account by “Miles,” of the part borne by Steedman's division of Granger's corps in the defense of Thomas's last position, says:
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 farther, and kept them at bay longer, than before. One of our regiments — the 96th 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, Gen. Thomas gave the order to retire; but it failed to reach a portion of the 96th Illinois, and a remnant of the 121st 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, 96th 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, who advised him, if he ever wished to see his regiment again, to hurry on to Chattanooga.
2 Monday, Sept. 21.
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