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[478]

Report of Captain Charles Swett, Acting Chief of artillery.

Artilleiy Encanipment, Liddell's brigade, October 7, 1863.
Captain S. A. Williams, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Captain: I have the honor to make the following report of the action of the artillery of Liddell's division, in the battle of Chickamauga, on the nineteenth and twentieth of September, and also in the affair of the eighteenth ultimo:

On the morning of the seventeenth of September, orders were received to be in readiness for an early movement, and, at three P. M., Liddell's division left Lafayette and moved toward the enemy in the direction of Chattanooga.

At nine o'clock, on the morning of the eighteenth, the command reached a point on Chickamauga Creek, near Alexander's Bridge; but finding it in possession of the enemy, line of battle was formed, and an advance made, in order to dislodge them. The enemy had but one battery, which was posted near a house on the opposite bank of the creek, and which fired upon our skirmishers, a few shots passing over the line. Fowler's battery was moved to the front, and placed in position near the road, and on the edge of a cultivated field, from which place a section of his guns were ordered some three hundred yards further to the front by General Liddell, but do not think he fired from the place designated. The battery under command of Lieutenant Shannon was ordered to the right of Walthall's brigade, to a position commanding the one occupied by the Federal battery. After firing a few rounds the enemy disappeared, as our fire was not returned, nor were they again seen at this place. The fire of our battery was ordered to cease, and the command moved forward, crossing the Chickamauga at Byron's Ford, and camping for the night one mile from that stream.

On the morning of the nineteenth, the command moved at an early hour and formed line of battle a mile distant from our camp of the previous night, and advanced to the support of Ector's brigade, which was then engaging the enemy. The Washington light artillery followed Liddell's brigade, and a portion of Fowler's battery following Walthall's, though neither battery could be brought into action, in consequence of the rapid advance of the command, and of the character of the ground over which we were moving. At this place a flank movement of the enemy caused the division to fall back, though Lieutenant Shannon succeeded in firing a few rounds on retiring, in order to check the enemy; but Fowler's battery could not be brought into action (though it was twice halted by myself for that purpose), as the enemy would have surrounded and captured the guns had they been unlimbered. From this position the division moved to the right near a mile distant, and formed line perpendicular to the formation of the morning. From this point the command advanced with the Washington light artillery, on the right of Liddell's brigade, it being the intention to have Fowler's battery follow on the left of Walthall. As the division moved, a Parrott battery opened upon our line, but a few well-directed shots from Fowler's battery either caused it to change position or to retire, as it did not again open. The division advanced but a few hundred yards, when it retired to the base of an inclination that it had nearly gained the summit of, which movement was, in a measure, owing to a battery firing over our line from the rear, and which was connected with Forrest's command. Before the division retired, I moved to the front and left, to secure a position for Fowler's battery, and, while gone, Captain F. permitted one of his Lieutenants to move with the brigade to which he is attached, with the section under his command, which resulted in the loss of one Napoleon gun and fourteen horses, though the gun was subsequently retaken. The Washington light artillery was taken at dusk to a position in the rear and to the right of Cleburne's division, where for about half an hour we shelled the enemy's rear. A caisson and three limbers were taken from the field on the return of the battery to our line, and a James rifle gun and limber was hauled to the company by hand and turned over to Lieutenant Shannon, by members of the brigade. The division remained in this position till the following morning, when it was moved by the left flank about one mile, and afterwards two miles to the right, to a position in the rear and to the right of General Breckinridge, who was then engaging the enemy. The division remained here till ten A. M., when it was ordered forward to the support of General Breckinridge. On reaching the rear of General Breckinridge's command, it was found to be falling back, though repeatedly rallied and renewed the contest. The artillery was ordered into position in rear of the line, on the left of the road, and fronting the west, which position we were ordered to defend; but did not find it necessary to fire. Fowler's battery was here moved forward and an effort made to gain a position on the right of our line, which could not be done in consequence of the infantry continually giving way. We remained here till half past 4 P. M., when we moved against the enemy, the artillery following by the road, and ascending a hill and taking position in an orchard near McDonald's house, and on the right of the division, we succeeded in getting seven guns in position and engaged a Parrott battery of the enemy, distant about eight hundred yards, but had no sooner opened than we were fired upon by a masked battery, two hundred yards from our right flank, and by one one thousand yards from and south-west of us, and by another on the left flank of Liddell's brigade. The effect of our fire was very destructive to the enemy, but we were forced to leave the ground, as the advance of a line of the enemy at a double-quick on the left flank of Liddell's brigade, together with the artillery fire made the position untenable. The


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John R. Liddell (8)
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