previous next

[332] regiments most nobly and gallantly aided my command in repulsing the separated attacks of the enemy. The Forty-fourth Indiana bore itself with special gallantry. I should do injustice to my feelings were I to omit to record the splendid resistance made on my right by General Brannan and his command. It was the ne plus ultra of defensive fighting.

About seven P. M. I received an order from General Thomas to withdraw my command from the field, and retire to Rossville. The order was obeyed without noise, without confusion, and without disaster.

My command left the field, not because it was beaten, but in obedience to an order.

With a fresh supply of ammunition it could have renewed the contest next morning. And here I can appropriately return my thanks to Major-General Granger for a timely supply of ammunition given me during the afternoon, when that in the cartridge-boxes and men's pockets was reduced to two or three rounds per man, and when the prospect of being reduced to the bayonet alone, as a means of defence, seemed inevitable. My own ammunition train had been carried off by the rout from the right.

My command reached Rossville about ten P. M., where it bivouacked for the night. Early next morning, the twenty-first, in obedience to orders, I took a strong position on Missionary Ridge. Strong barricades against an infantry assault were at once made. During the day there was some light firing on my picket front, but nothing serious; the enemy was, however, evidently in considerable force in my front. At ten P. M., on the twenty-first, my command, in obedience to orders, left its position on Missionary Ridge, and withdrew to this place. Early Tuesday morning, the twenty-second, it occupied its present position in the line of defences, and has since been most constantly and actively engaged in strengthening them.

To the officers and men of my command I return my thanks for their gallant bearing; soldierly conduct, and steadfast courage, exhibited both in the contests of Saturday, the nineteenth, and Sunday, the twentieth. Their conduct on both days deserves all praise, and I commend it to the consideration of the commanding General. There were undoubtedly instances of individual misconduct which deserve reprehension, but as a whole the behavior of the command was most satisfactory. Of the numerious killed and wounded I would gladly speak by name, but the list is too numerous. To do so would extend my report beyond all reasonable length. I can only here express my sincere condolence with the relatives and friends of the gallant dead and wounded. The regiments and batteries in my command represented the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Kentucky. The citizens of these great and loyal states have much cause to be proud of their representatives in the late great conflict. They may safely trust their honor and the public weal to such representatives.

For the special commendation by name of the more subordinate officers and men who distinguished themselves, I must refer the commanding General to the reports of my brigade commanders, Colonels Harker and Buell, with their accompanying documents, the sub-reports of regimental commanders. Where so great a portion of my command behaved well, it is difficult to distinguish officers by name, and perhaps may be regarded as making an invidious distinction. Nevertheless I consider it my duty, on account of their distinguished services, to commend to the notice of the commanding General, Colonel Dunlap, commanding Third Kentucky, Colonel McIlvain, commanding Sixty-fourth Ohio, Colonel Opdyke, commanding One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio, and Captain Bradley, commanding Sixth Ohio battery. I desire to commend Colonel Opdyke especially to the favorable consideration of the commanding General. The record of his regiment, a comparatively new one, and never before in a general engagement, in the late battle, will, I am sure, compare most favorably with that of the most veteran regiment engaged. The credit is mainly due to the Colonel commanding. His untiring zeal and devoted attention to his regiment have brought forth fruit worthy of its efforts. I commend him to the commanding General as an officer capable and worthy of commanding a brigade. Colonel Buell, commanding the First brigade of my division, has exercised this command about three months. He bore himself with great gallantry on the field, both on Saturday, the nineteenth, and Sunday, the twentieth. With a little more experience he will make an excellent Brigadier-General, and should receive the promotion. In my report of the battle of Stone River, I especially signalized the services of Colonel Harker, commanding the Third brigade of my division, and earnestly recommended him for promotion, both as a reward for his merits and as an act of simple justice. In the late campaign he peculiarly distinguished himself. He made two of the most daring and brilliant reconnoissances of the campaign, reconnoissances almost without a parallel in the annals of warfare; and his personal gallantry on the battle-field, the skilful manner in which he handled his brigade, holding it well together when so many other troops broke, and his general good conduct, are beyond all praise. To speak of his services in the language of what I conceive would be just encomium, might be considered fulsome praise. I earnestly recommend him for immediate promotion to the rank of Brigadier-General.

Returns herewith submitted show that I went into action on Saturday with an effective force of men and officers of twenty-nine hundred and sixty-five. The return of casualties shows that my command lost in killed and wounded, absolutely known to be such, eight hundred and forty-four; and in killed, wounded, and missing, one thousand and thirty-five. Taking the number of killed and wounded actually known, it will be found to be twenty-eight and eighty one hundredths per cent. (28.80) of the effective force with which I went into action. But it is fair to presume, as we retired from the field Sunday evening, that many of the one hundred and ninety-one reported missing,

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 People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Opdyke (2)
Harker (2)
G. P. Buell (2)
L. Thomas (1)
McIlvain (1)
G. Granger (1)
Dunlap (1)
Brannan (1)
Cullen Bradley (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
21st (2)
19th (2)
22nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: