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[382] support on the right or left flank, and, after proceeding about one hundred and fifty yards, the line encountered the enemy advancing rapidly in heavy force in pursuit of the retiring columns of Major-General Walker. The left and centre of Jackson at once, and in a few moments thereafter the entire line, became engaged, and succeeded in checking the advance of the enemy, and handsomely drove him back, with heavy loss, to the distance of about three-fourths of a mile, where he took shelter behind his breastworks, and, assisted by the arrival of heavy reinforcements, checked the further advance of my line. Without support either on my right or left and after a severe engagement of two hours, I directed the three brigades to retire for re-formation, and ordered Generals Maney and Strahl to occupy and hold the positions vacated by Jackson and Smith and make no attempt to advance. Reaching the positions assigned them, Maney's and Strahl's brigades were attacked in front and on both flanks, by the superior numbers of the enemy, and forced to retire and take position in rear of Jackson's and Smith's brigades, which were moved forward in the position held before the advance, and on the right and left of Turner's battery. The enemy, flushed with a supposed victory, boldly advanced upon my line, and, coming within short range, was checked and forced back in disorder by the well directed discharges of shell and canister from the guns of Turner's battery. I made no effort to advance my line after this success, for the reason that the enemy's dispositions on my right and left flank, and from information derived from prisoners captured, satisfied me that the entire corps of the Federal General Thomas, reinforced by the divisions of Vancleve and Palmer, were in my front. I deemed it prudent, therefore, to simply hold my position, and await the arrival of reinforcements. The result of this engagement of about three hours duration, against such heavy odds, with both flanks exposed, was, that my command successfully checked the advance of the enemy, whose purpose seemed to be to seize the crossing of the Chickamauga at Alexander's Bridge and Hunt's Ford. This result was attended with a heavy loss of officers and men, as is attested by the long list of casualties heretofore furnished to the commanding General, and by numerous exhibitions of good conduct on the part of officers and men, particular mention of which is made in the reports of the several brigade commanders, which are herewith forwarded. I cannot, however, forbear to refer to the important service rendered by Lieutenant William B. Turner, commanding battery. Posted on an elevation commanding the approach of the enemy, he used his advantage with great effect, and displayed a degree of efficiency in the service of his guns highly commendable to himself, his officers, and men, and accomplished a result the importance of which it is difficult to estimate. Three pieces of Scoggins' battery were at the same time engaged, and rendered excellent service.

Jackson's brigade, during this engagement, took from the enemy three pieces of his artillery and sent them to the rear. Scoggins' battery, of this brigade, in retiring, under orders, had the horses of one piece and one caisson disabled and left them in the hands of the enemy. The piece and caisson were, however, subsequently recaptured.

Wright's brigade, occupying the extreme left of my line, after a sharp conflict of two hours duration, was found to be exposed to a severe fire on the left flank and forced to retire. Carnes' battery, doing duty with this brigade, after losing one half of its men and horses, was abandoned on the field, but the enemy was unable to remove the guns, and they were recaptured, uninjured, in the advance of the next day.

At six o'clock P. M., the division of Major-General Cleburne arrived on the field, and, with my command, was ordered by Lieutenant-General Polk to attack the enemy at once. My entire command advanced, under a heavy fire of musketry for about six hundred yards, the enemy yielding and giving way at our approach. At this point, orders were given to make no further advance and the firing abruptly ceased, when my lines were re-formed and the division bivouacked in line of battle.

In this night attack, Jackson's and Smith's brigades only, of my command, encountered the enemy. Three hundred of the enemy were captured by Smith's brigade and sent to the rear, and the colors of the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania regiment were captured by Colonel, now Brigadier-General A. J. Vaughn, Jr. It was in this night attack that Brigadier-General Preston Smith, of Tennessee, received his mortal wound, from which he died in fifty minutes. At the head of his noble brigade, of which he had been the commander, as Colonel and Brigadier-General for two years and a half, he fell in the performance of what he himself, with his expiring breath, simply said was his duty. Active, energetic, and brave, with a rare fitness to command, full of honorable ambition, in perfect harmony with the most elevated patriotism, the whole country will mourn his fall and do honor to his memory. Two of his staff, Captain John Donelson, acting Assistant Adjutant-General, and Captain Thomas H. King, acting Aidde-Camp, both officers of excellent merit, were killed within a few minutes of General Smith.

During the night of the nineteenth September, I was notified by Lieutenant-General Polk that the attack would be renewed at daylight. My command was already formed and in expectation of orders to advance at the appointed hour, but, for reasons thus unknown to me, no advance was made until nine o'clock, A. M. When in the act of advancing my line, I discovered that my front was partially covered by Major-General Stewart's division, and, communicating the fact in person to the General commanding the army, was by him directed not to advance, but to hold my command as a reserve.

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