Lieutenant G. B. Jewell, of the brigade staff, are entitled to my thanks for promptly reporting to me when Brigadier-General Deshler fell, and for their valuable services rendered to me during the engagement. The aggregate strength of the brigade, including the battery, on the morning of the nine-teenth, was seventeen hundred and eighty-three. I lost in the fight fifty-two killed and three hun-dred and sixty-six wounded. I have the honor to be, &c.,
R. Q. Mills, Colonel, commanding Brigade,
Report of Col. J. H. Lewis, commanding brigade.
headquarters Helm's brigade, before Chattanodga, September 30, 1863.Sir: The death of Brigadier-General B. H. Helm makes it my duty, as senior Colonel commanding, to report the part taken by this brigade in the actions of the nineteenth and twentieth instant: On the afternoon of the eighteenth the brigade took position on the right bank of West Chickamauga, near Glass's Mill, except the Second Kentucky regiment deployed on the opposite side as skirmishers. On the morning the nineteenth the command, with Cobb's battery, crossed the stream. About nine A. M., a shot from the battery into a house about five hundred yards off, where the enemy's skirmishers were concealed, excited an immediate response from the enemy farther to the right, followed soon after by a spirited artillery duel, in which Slocum's battery, which had, in the meantime, crossed over, participated; resulting in silencing the enemy. Soon, however, another battery of the enemy opened fire still farther to the right. In a short time, orders having been issued from Major-General Breckinridge to that effect, the whole command re-crossed the stream and moved to the Chattanooga road. Fourteen men of this brigade were killed and wounded on this occasion. From thence we moved towards Chattanooga, to the position held by and relieving Deas' brigade. About two hours after nightfall we reached a point one half mile beyond Alexander's Bridge, where we bivouacked until three A. M., twentieth instant, when we were ordered to our position in line of battle one mile or more beyond and on the left of the division. We got into position and were ready to advance by about half past 5 A. M. Soon after getting into position, one company from each regiment was, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Wickliffe, of the Ninth Kentucky, deployed two hundred and fifty yards in advance as skirmishers. Becoming hotly engaged with the enemy, the Fourth Kentucky regiment, Colonel Nuckolls commanding, was ordered to their support. The skirmishers of the enemy, having the advantage in position, showed determination and kept up a rapid fire, wounding several officers and men before the advance of the brigade. Amongst others severely wounded was Colonel Nuckolls, by which his command was thereafter deprived of the services of this gallant and meritorious officer. Between nine and ten A. M., the brigade advanced in the following order, viz.: the Sixth Kentucky, Colonel Lewis, and the Second Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel Hewitt commanding, on the extreme right and left respectively. The Fourth Kentucky, Major Thompson, and Ninth Kentucky, Colonel Caldwell commanding, on the right and left centre respectively, and the Forty-first Alabama, Colonel Stansell commanding, in the centre. The enemy's fortifications did not extend the entire length of the brigade front, but the Sixth and Fourth, and seven companies of the Forty-first, in advancing, passed to the right and clear of them, consequently fighting the foe on some-thing like equal terms. This portion of the command, with but a momentary halt and no hesitation, steadily drove the enemy back to within one hundred yards of the Chattanooga road, when I discovered a battery of two Napoleon guns fifty yards beyond the road. Here I also discovered, for the first time, what the thicker growth of timber had prevented me from observing before, that the left of the brigade was considerably in rear. Neither a halt nor retreat at this time was, in my judgment, proper or allowable. So the command was given to take the battery, and it was done. Soon after crossing the road, Captain McCawley, of General Helm's staff, informed me that the General had been mortally wounded, near the position occupied by the left of the brigade. The right not being then under fire, I left it in command of Lieutenant-Colonel Cofer, and started, on Captain McCawley's horse, to where the other portion of the brigade was. I encountered considerable difficulty in re-uniting the brigade, on account of the distance apart and the want of staff aid-having no one with me but Captain Hewitt, and not him immediately, on account of the loss of his horse. Although not personally cognizant of the behavior of the left of the brigade previous to assuming command, yet I am warranted by information of an entirely satisfactory kind in speaking of it. Justice to the living, and affectionate memory of the dead, make it a duty and a pleasure to allude to their conduct in terms of praise. After advancing about four hundred yards, they encountered a heavy musketry and artillery fire in front, and also an enfilading fire from the left, which the failure of the command to their left to advance simultaneously with Breckinridge's division enabled the enemy to pour into their ranks. Besides, I am satisfied they were subjected to a fire on their right from the two pieces subsequently captured by the right of the brigade. Yet three several times this devoted little band charged the enemy, securely fortified and in a favorable position. Though necessarily repulsed, their frightful loss shows their constancy and bravery. Here the kind, pure, brave
Major James Wilson, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Major James Wilson, Assistant Adjutant-General: