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[233] this little knob from which we are gazing upon the animated scene we have described. Since Napoleon stood in the midst of his marshals, on that eventful morning when the sun of Austerlitz broke from behind the eastern walls of the world, scarcely had a more distinguished group of personages been collected together than that which I there beheld.

There was General Smith, Chief of the Engineer Department, a useful, industrious, scientific man, concealing, under a somewhat repellent exterior, a generous, kindly nature. There was Hunter, without command, but assisting by counsel — Hunter, honest, patriotic, conscientious, bold. There was Meigs, too, smooth, plausible, discreet, and wise. There was the keen, talented, energetic, capable Wood. Willich, brave, unselfish, and true — an old veteran, animated by the hopes and ardor of youth. Gordon Granger, brave, able, sensible, rough. Reynolds, in whom courtesy and courage, gallantry and prudence, firmness and moderation, wisdom and enthusiasm, are all combined. Thomas, cold, stern, earnest, unbending, dignified, erect.

And there too was the king among his compeers, the “giant among giants,” a man whose placid countenance, which apparently no care could disturb, was lighted up by a piercing eye, whose gaze nothing could escape — a mild, quiet, unassuming man — the solid, sound, subtle, persevering, comprehensive Grant.

Such was the stage — such were the actors.

The battle began upon the extreme left, Sherman, about ten A. M., making an attack upon Tunnel Hill, a point in Mission Ridge just south of the one we had occupied the night before, and separated from it by a small ravine. General Corse's brigade and Colonel Jones's, supported by Colonel Loomis's brigade to the rear and right, advanced to the assault, fought gallantly for a time, fully developed the enemy's position, and then fell back to their intrenchments.

An hour after, the attack was resumed, General Matthies and General Giles A. Smith's brigades, of John E. Smith's division, reenforced afterward by Ranne's brigade, stepped gallantly from behind their works, and marched as if on parade up the hill, on the side of which was a large cleared field, until, despite a plunging fire from the enemy's artillery upon the crest, they entered the timbered portion near the summit; were met by showers of stones and rifle-balls, as well as by a storm of grape; but still refused to retire, and lay down within a hundred yards of the muzzles of the rebel cannon!

General Howard's troops also became engaged here, and though at times somewhat roughly handled, behaved in a manner highly honorable to themselves and the noble men who led them.

General Baird's division of the Fourteenth corps, was at this time marching by the flank, in front of Fort Wood, for the purpose of taking position between General Wood's division and Howard's left. This movement of his, plainly perceived by the enemy, fully impressed them with the conviction that our grand assault was to be made upon their right, and instantly a massive column of their forces began to move northward along the crest of the ridge. It was a splendid spectacle, as regiment after regiment, brigade after brigade, filed off toward our left; and it was well for Sherman's brave men that they could not see these battalions, for they impressed each beholder with an idea of almost resistless power.

Suddenly the storm burst upon Matthies's brigade and the left of Howard. The fierce flames from thirty pieces of artillery leaped athwart and across the ravine which separated the two hills, and a flash of lightning from ten thousand muskets blinded the eyes of our men. They rose from the ground and retured the fire; they even endeavored to advance, but, against such overwhelming odds, to persevere in either was annihilation; General Matthies was wounded and disabled; a score of officers were shot down; files of our soldiers were swept away at each discharge; and at last, unable longer to endure this useless slaughter, they broke and fled down the hill. For a moment the heart of the beholder was filled with anguish as he saw them hastening in wild confusion back across the field over which they had so gallantly advanced; but he felt reassured when he saw that the moment they had got beyond the fire of musketry, and while still in full range of the enemy's cannon, they re-formed their ranks and were ready for another combat! But their work for the day was over.

And now came the great crisis of the battle.

The men who held in their hands the destinies of the army, had marked from their position on Bald Knob the movement of the rebel legions toward the left, and in an instant perceived their advantage. In the face of three such leaders as Baird, Wood, and Sheridan, Bragg was repeating the old fatal error which lost the allied armies Austerlitz, and the Union Chickamauga — he was weakening his centre and making a flank movement in the presence of his enemy.

In an instant Granger and Palmer hurled Wood and Sheridan down the slope of the ridge upon which they had been posted, and Baird across the lower ground to the left. Through the woods concealing the rebel rifle-pits they charged, and burst like a torrent into and over the same, scattering the terrified rebels who occupied them like thistle-down or chaff.

Here, according to original orders, our lines should have halted; but the men were no longer controllable. Baird had carried the rifle-pits in front of his position, and the shout of triumph rousing the blood to a very frenzy of enthusiasm, rang all along the line. Cheering each other forward, the three divisions began to climb the ridge,

A fiery mass
Of living valor rolling on the foe!

The whole Ridge blazed with artillery. Direct, plunging, and cross fire, from a hundred pieces of cannon, was hurled upon that glorious band of heroes scaling the ridge, and when they were

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