Every battalion and battery of the Union
army in line was distinctly seen.
The corps of the Confederate army which were advancing or forming for the attack could also be seen, though less clearly on account of their greater distance, while the Confederate cavalry could be dimly discerned moving to the fords of the river above Franklin
Only a momentary view was permitted of this scene of indescribable grandeur when it was changed to one of most tragic interest and anxiety.
The guns of the redoubt on the parapet of which I stood with two or three staff officers had fired only a few shots over the heads of our troops at the advancing enemy when his heavy line overwhelmed Wagner
's two brigades and rapidly followed their fragments in a confused mass over our light intrenchments.
The charging ranks of the enemy, the flying remnants of our broken troops, and the double ranks of our first line of defense, coming back from the trenches together, produced the momentary impression of an overwhelming mass of the enemy passing over our parapets.
It is hardly necessary to say that for a moment my ‘heart sank within me.’
But instantly Opdycke
's brigade and the 12th and 16th Kentucky sprang forward, and steadily advanced to the breach.
Up to this moment there had been but little firing at that point, because of our own troops and the enemy coming in pell-mell; hence there was not much smoke, and the whole could be seen.
But now all became enveloped in a dense mass of smoke, and not a man was visible except the fragments of the broken brigades and others, afterward known to be prisoners, flocking to the rear.
A few seconds of suspense and intense anxiety followed, then the space in the rear of our line became clear of fugitives, and the steady roar of musketry and artillery and the dense volume of smoke rising along the entire line told me that ‘the breach is restored, the victory won’!