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[337] were officers distinguished for scientific attainments and rare administrative ability.

Troops in line and column checkered the broad plain of Chattanooga.

In front, plainly to be seen, was the enemy, so soon to be encountered in deadly conflict. My division seemed to drink in the inspiration of the scene, and, when the advance was sounded, moved forward in the perfect order of a holiday parade.

It has been my good fortune to witness, on the Champs-de-Mars and on Long Champ, reviews of all arms of the French service, under the eye of the most remarkable man of the present generation. I once saw a review, followed by a mock battle, of the finest troops of El Re Galantuomo. The pageant was held on the plains near Milan, the queen city of Lombardy, and the troops in the sham conflict were commanded by two of the most distinguished officers of the Piedmontese service — Cialdini, and another whose name I cannot now recall. In none of these displays did I ever see anything to exceed the soldierly bearing and the steadiness of my division, exhibited in the advance on Monday afternoon, the second. There was certainly one striking difference in the circumstances of these grand displays. The French and Italian parades were peaceful pageants: ours involved the exigencies of stern war — certainly an immense difference.

I should do injustice to the brave men who thus moved forward to the conflict in such perfect order, were I to omit to record that not one straggler lagged behind to sully the magnificence and perfectness of the grand battle array.

From Fort Wood to the railroad the country is open. South of the railroad, the country passed over is partly open and partly wooded. Hazen's brigade had to pass over the open field, several hundred yards in breadth, and Willich's through the woods. On the southern side of the field the enemy's front line of pickets was posted. The skirmishers were instructed to press forward, as soon as the advance was sounded, as rapidly as possible, and drive in the enemy's out line of pickets on their reserves. This service was excellently performed.

To the proper understanding of the subsequent movements of the division, some explanatory remarks are necessary.

Orchard Knob, given in the order directing the reconnoissance as the guiding point, is a steep, craggy knoll, rising some hundred feet above the general level of the valley of Chattanooga. It is twenty-one hundred yards from Fort Wood. The rebels had held the knob as an outpost since the investment was first established.

A position naturally so strong, they had done little to strengthen it by intrenchments on its summit. To the right of Orchard Knob, looking to the south, a rocky, abrupt, wooded ridge extends several hundred yards toward the south-west. It is not so elevated as the knob. The enemy had formed rude, but strong barricades on the northern slope, just below the crest of this ridge. To the left of the knob, still looking to the south, a long line of rifle-pits extended away off to the northeast, and, trending round, reached almost to Citico Creek. Orchard Knob was the citadel of this line of intrenchments.

General Willich was ordered to direct his brigade on the knob, and General Hazen his brigade on the intrenchments on the right of it. So soon as the skirmishers moved forward, the enemy opened fire. Across the open field and through the woods the skirmishers kept up a sharp, rattling fire, steadily and rapidly driving in the enemy. As the knob and intrenchments were neared the fire became hotter, the resistance of the rebels more determined, but the majestic advance of our lines was not for a moment stayed. Finally, Willich's brigade, which had met with less opposition than Hazen's, having arrived quite near the knob, “by a bold brush,” ascended its steep acclivity, crowned its summit, and it was ours. Reference is made to the report of Brigadier-General Willich for a more full description of this brilliant feat of arms.

In the meantime, Hazen's brigade was encountering a determined resistance from the enemy, sheltered by his breastworks on the rocky ridge to the right. For a few moments the fire was sharp and destructive. More than a hundred casualties in the leading regiment attest the severity of the fire. But nothing could restrain the impetuosity of the troops. In a few moments after Willich's brigade had carried Orchard Knob, Hazen's skirmishers poured over the enemy's barricades. The Twenty-eighth Alabama was captured, with its flag, almost entire. I respectfully refer to the report of Brigadier-General Hazen for a more detailed narrative of this gallant and successful assault. Among the killed we have to mourn the loss of Major Birch, Ninety-third Ohio, who was killed while gallantly leading his regiment to the, charge. So soon as the Knob and the barricades were taken, the enemy fled, to take shelter in his intrenchments at the base of Mission Ridge.

Beatty's brigade, though not playing so distinguished a part as the other two brigades, was doing good service in the part, assigned him. Following the left of Willich's brigade, so soon as the knob was carried, some of Beatty's regiments were brought forward to occupy a portion of the rifle pits to the left of Willich's position. The remainder was held in reserve. Shortly after the successful dash, General Granger, commanding the Fourth army corps, joined me at Orchard Knob. Personal observation assured him of the extensiveness and completeness of our success. The result having been reported to General Thomas, commanding the Department, he ordered the position to be held and intrenched. Soon the men were engaged in this work. While so employed, the enemy opened a most terrific fire of shot and shell on us from

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A. Willich (7)
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