right flank, and moved forward to the attack, and proceeded some two hundred yards, when the brigade was halted and ordered to lie down. In a few minutes we rose up and advanced to the front, and occupied some time in getting our position. It was now getting dark, but the firing was still heavy and constant between the enemy and some brigade opposite our extreme right and perpendicular to our line. We were not more than a hundred yards from his right flank, where he had a battery of artillery firing at the troops on our right. We remained here some minutes. Brigadier-General Deshler did not know but that the battery was our own, and declined to advance on it in the dark; it being then impossible to distinguish friend from foe. The contest in front of our right was soon decided in favor of the Confederates. The enemy was beaten back, and there was a temporary lull on the field. The skirmishers from Colonel Wilkes' regiment, in moving forward in the dark, came suddenly and unexpectedly on the enemy's line and were captured. He, in attempting to retreat from the brigade in his front, as unexpectedly came upon Colonel Wilkes' regiment on his flank, where he was greeted with a volley that killed and wounded several and caused them to propose a surrender, when about one hundred prisoners, including several officers, were taken, together with two stand of colors from the Seventy-seventh Illinois and the Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania, by Colonel Wilkes' regiment, against which the main force came. Some dozen or more were taken, each, by Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson and Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchinson. In this affair Colonel Wilkes also recaptured his skirmishers. This, with the exception of occasional firing by our skirmishers, terminated the fighting for the night. We moved back several hundred yards and formed line of battle, and lay down to rest till morning. In the night our line was again re-formed, throwing forward our left wing. About half-past 9 o'clock, on the morning of the twentieth, we moved off a short distance by the left flank, and then advanced to the front, passing through a portion of Major-General Cheatham's division. Having gained an open ground several hundred yards in our front, the enemy began, from one or two long-range guns, to shell our line, and, as we approached nearer, gave us several shots of canister, killing and wounding some fifteen or twenty men. We finally arrived, about ten o'clock A. M., on the ground we were ordered to occupy. We found it being hastily abandoned by the troops who were occupying it before we came. We advanced to the crest of the hill, some two hundred yards in front of the enemy's barricades and breastworks, when he opened a destructive fire upon us. We were ordered to lie down and commence firing. We now began the engagement in earnest, but at great disadvantage. The enemy was behind his defences, and we without cover; he had two batteries of artillery, we had none, our own battery not being able to get a position to give us aid. Captain Semple's splendid battery was on the hill with us, and on the extreme left of the brigade, when we moved up and occupied the hill. It fired a few shots, and was moved to some other portion of the field. The enemy poured on our heads, from ten o'clock A. M., to half-past 1 o'clock P. M., a constant and terrible fire of artillery and musketry, which we returned with our rifles, with the same constancy and stubborness. About twelve o'clock M., our supply of ammunition began to give out, and I sent a courier to Brigadier-General Deshler to inform him of the fact and to ask where we could get more. A few minutes after, I saw him coming towards my right, some forty paces from me, when he was struck by a shell in the chest and his heart literally torn from his bosom. I may pause here to pay a passing tribute to the memory of our fallen chief. He was brave, generous, and kind, even to a fault. Ever watchful and careful for the safety of any member of his command, he was ever ready to peril his own. Refusing to permit a staff officer to endanger his life in going to examine the cartridge-boxes to see what amount of ammunition his men had, he cheerfully started himself to brave the tempest of death that raged on the crest of the hill. He had gone but little way when he fell — fell as he would wish to fall — in the very centre of his brigade, in the midst of the line, between the ranks, and surrounded by the bodies of his fallen comrades. He poured out his blood upon the spot watered by the best blood of his brigade. Among the host of brave hearts that were offered on the altar of sacrifice for their country on that beautiful Sabbath, there perished not one nobler, braver, or better than his. He lived beloved, and fell lamented and mourned by every officer and man of his command. He sleeps on the spot where he fell; on the field of his country's victory and glory, surrounded by the bodies of those who stood around him in life, and lie around him in death. A messenger from Colonel Wilkes' regiment informed me of the fact soon after General Deshler fell, also that Colonel Wilkes was wounded and not with the regiment. Just at this critical juncture our ammunition was exhausted, and no one knew where to get more. I assumed command, and, supposing that the enemy would advance as soon as the firing ceased, I ordered bayonets fixed and the cart-ridge-boxes of the wounded and dead to be gathered, and one round from them to be given to each man to load his gun with, and hold his fire in reserve to repel an assault. While this order was being executed, Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, who was on the left of my regiment, sent Lieutenant Graham to inform me that the four left companies had not been firing. Being at too great a distance from the enemy, he had the good sense to prevent them from wasting their ammunition unnecessarily. I immediately ordered those four companies to the front on the
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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