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[423] and Baird's, being last, were of course assailed by the enemy in overwhelming force, and suffered considerably. But there was no pursuit;1 and our army retired into and held the Rossville and Dry valley gaps of Mission ridgeCrittenden's corps holding the left of the Ringgold road; McCook's on the right of the Dry valley road, with his right thrown forward nearly to the Chickamauga; while Negley's, Reynolds's, and Brannan's divisions were posted in the Rossville gap and along the ridge on its right; Minty's brigade of cavalry being thrown out over a mile in advance on the Ringgold road. And thus our army stood fronting the enemy unmolested, until 10 next morning; when Minty was driven in by the enemy's advance; which, proving merely a reconnoissance, was easily repulsed, and was not renewed. And thus our army remained unmolested throughout the following day;2 and at night was withdrawn in perfect order, and without annoyance or loss, to the position assigned it by Rosecrans in front of Chattanooga. Bragg followed next day; taking quiet possession of Lookout mountain and the whole of Mission ridge, whence he looked down into the coveted stronghold, which his army was destined never to regain.

As Bragg was fiercely assailed for not pursuing Rosecrans — whom, it is assumed, he had routed — right into Chattanooga, on the evening of the the 20th, the following extract from a Rebel account of the battle by an eye-witness,3 who was nowise partial to him, may serve to elucidate the matter. The reader will excuse the tropical luxuriance of its imagery, and its many mistakes of fact, for the

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on Rossville; which I did quietly and in perfect order: the pickets of the enemy following mine closely as they were withdrawn, and confronting an officer, sent to see that it was thoroughly done.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.

3 S. C. Reid, correspondent Mobile Tribune.

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