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[37] would have lost terribly, ere he had gained his point. Even as it was, it is likely that starvation alone pushed him to that venture. It was a struggle for life on both sides, with this difference: that whilst Grant was wielding four times our force, and had an army revived in spirit and enthusiastic in its confidence in him, our little remnant, torn by dissensions, and shorn of strength, was placed in such a condition that a victory was an absurdity, and a defeat our only salvation. We were expected to defend a front of six or seven miles, exposed for the whole distance, by the nature of the country, to surprises and snares, but particularly so upon our left. That portion of our line rested on Lookout Mountain, but was cut off from the rest by the deep ravine which separated the mountain from the ridge. It was first attacked and routed, and what few men we had there nearly all killed or captured. That deep, intervening ravine was the door through which ‘fighting Joe Hooker’ entered and gained easy access to our rear, for the simple reason that there was no one for him to ‘fight.’ We had not men enough to guard the point. Whilst the storming of the ridge was going on, the enemy were pouring, almost unmolested, through this road, and had not the defection of our troops taken place, we would all have been captured by night. As it was, our centre broke, almost without striking a blow. The men on the left and right were compelled to give way, and before nine o'clock that night the Yankees, with loud and prolonged shouts, were busy lighting their campfires along the whole length of the ridge.

That day was not one of universal defection. Indeed it is a well known fact that we, on the extreme right, did not even know of any disaster until, after dark, the word came to fall back. We had been fighting all day, and had repulsed the enemy at every point. That was a disgraceful day for us, and yet never did battle-field witness grander heroism than was seen on the right of our line. Both sides showed it. Sherman (for we fought Sherman) threw his blue waves fiercely against us again and again, all day long, and several times they dashed up to our very barricades. (We had thrown up a hasty shelter of logs, rails and whatever we could find on the ground at the moment, on arriving there that morning). One standard bearer, a mere boy, planted his flag on our breastworks, and our men, in admiration, refused to shoot, but contented themselves with capturing him. Several of our regiments got out of ammunition, and fought them back with stones and clubbed muskets. We took several hundred prisoners. The conflict ended only with the night.

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