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[416] But it seems clear now that, after getting up supplies of ammunition, Thomas about half past 5 o'clock gave the order for the retirement of Reynolds's division through a gap in Missionary ridge in its rear. Corresponding orders were given to all the other Federal divisions. About the same moment orders from General Bragg were reaching the troops on the Confederate right for a third attack. Stewart farther to the left and just opposite Reynolds was preparing to move forward under orders from Longstreet. Liddell's division on the extreme Confederate right, beginning the assault a little ahead of the rest, rapidly reached the Lafayette road for the second time that day, and there had the luck to receive the parting stroke of a sullen, unconquerable giant. Overwhelmed by batteries cunningly placed for the protection of this flank, Liddell was suddenly charged by the whole of Reynolds's division, directed by Thomas himself, as it left its position, upon these daring intruders. Liddell was obliged to retire; but just then a mighty yell rent the skies, and the whole Confederate line, following the lead of L. E. Polk's brigade, which first fought its way into the enemy's works, rushed with fierce joy to the last attack. Night had now fallen, and the enemy, being in retreat or the act to move, gladly welcomed its protecting curtain. With haste and some disorder they rushed through the woods to the gaps in their rear. But the Confederate onset was so sudden that many Federal regiments were captured, and many more would have been overtaken but for a necessity which very quickly arrested pursuit. Longstreet's wing had wheeled to the right, so that at the close of the battle the two wings of the Confederate army stood at right angles to each other. The troops of the Confederate right had not advanced far before they found themselves almost face to face with their own friends, and in the darkness there was great danger of a destructive interchange of fire. A quick halt was therefore ordered, and the Federal army made good its escape through the mountain gaps to rally by-unfrequented paths at Rossville.

The struggle was ended. Twenty-seven thousand men1 lay dead or wounded on this field of carnage.

1 In “Legends of the army of the Cumberland” the Federal losses are given. as follows:

Officers and men killed,1,687
Officers and men wounded,9,394
Officers and men missing,5,255

And the Confederate losses as follows:

Officers and men killed,2,673
Officers and men wounded,16,274
Officers and men missing,2,003

From the official Confederate returns I cannot find that the Confederate losses were so great. Those returns are complete with the following exceptions:

There are no returns from the cavalry except for Scott's brigade. There are no returns from the following infantry brigades: Maney's, Preston Smith's, Ector's, Gist's.

The Confederate reports give, for the commands furnishing returns, the killed and wounded at13,655
Add for Maney's, Smith's, Ector's, and Gist's brigades (estimated),1,880
at the rate of the average loss, per brigade, in the remaining twenty-nine brigades of infantry, including the artillery attached; and for the remainder of the cavalry, on the basis of Scott's brigade, which reported 49 killed and wounded, say400
And we have the total killed and wounded as approximately,15,935

The official reports show only 925 as missing. This number would not probably be carried much beyond 1,000 if the missing in the few brigades not reporting could be ascertained.

The only Confederate returns of losses I have been able to find are those contained in the volume of Official Reports of the Battle of Chickamauga belonging to the collections of the Southern Historical Society.

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