at the time when Burnside
was beginning to get in serious work upon their right.
The battle was now practically finished upon the Federal
right and centre, and finished in a draw.
We may now turn to their left.
In his final report, dated Aug. 4, 1863, McClellan
writes that he sent an order to Burnside
to carry the bridge in front of him at 8 A. M., but in his preliminary report, Oct. 15, 1862, he says the order was communicated at 10 A. M. Burnside
's report, dated Sept. 30, gives the same hour.
, who had charge of the initial operations, in his report, dated Sept. 23, gives the hour as 9 A. M., and all the circumstantial evidence bears this out as correct.
The immediate defence of the bridge was made by Toombs
with the 2d, 20th, and 56th Ga. regiments, about 600 men, supported by Richardson
's, and Eubank
His infantry was partially covered by a thin wood, but the ground, sloping toward the stream, gave little shelter from the enemy's fire.
's corps comprised four divisions of two brigades each, averaging about 1500 men to each brigade.
's division was sent to the extreme left, to make its attack upon a ford a half mile below the bridge, where a reentrant angle gave the Federals
a strong attack.
There was here only a Confederate picket.
The other Federal divisions were under cover opposite the bridge, with abundant artillery on the hills.
When the orders to attack were received, the artillery fire, of which there had been some all the morning, was redoubled, and skirmishers were pushed forward close to the stream.
's brigade was directed to approach as nearly as possible, unobserved, and then to make a dash for the bridge.
missed his direction, and when he came near the stream he found himself somewhat above the bridge, and under such a heavy fire that he could not approach closer.
He took what cover he could get and opened fire on the Confederate
So the first Federal effort was a failure.
A second effort was soon organized to be made by Sturgis
sent two regiments from Nagle
's brigade, covered by the fire of the rest of this brigade and of Ferrero
Their hot reception by Toombs
's Georgians checked