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Headq's army of Cumberland,A desperate engagement commenced this morning at 11 o'clock. The rebels made a heavy attack on the corps of Gen. Thomas, forming the left wing of our army, and at the same time they attacked the right wing, which was thought to be a feint. Gen. McCook's and Gen. Crittenden's troops were thrown into the engagement as convenience offered, the main portions of their forces being on the march at the time. The fight on the left was of a very desperate character. The enemy were repulsed, but on being reinforced gained their position, from which they were subsequently driven, after a severe engagement of an hour and a half. Gen. Thomas's forces then charged the rebels for nearly a mile and a half, punishing them badly. About two o'clock in the afternoon the rebels made a fierce dash on our centre, composed of the divisions of Gens. Van Cleve and Reynolds. Gen. Van Cleve's forces were struck on the right flank, and, being vigorously pushed, fell back until Gen. Carter's line was broken, and the troops became much scattered. Gen. Thomas on the left, and Gen. Davis on the right, then pushed forward their forces vigorously toward the Gap, and, after a hard fight, recovered the ground which had been lost on the extreme right. The fight disclosed the intention of the rebels, which evidently was to get between us and Chattanooga. The general engagement, which commenced at 11 A. M., ended about 6 P. M. Gen. Palmer, who had gathered together our scattered forces, and Gen. Negley, who had been sent from the right flank to feel the centre, pushed forward and re-established our line, as it had been before the battle began, along the Chickamauga Creek. The country where the battle was fought is level, but thickly overgrown with small timber and brush wood, and is very unfavorable for the use of artillery, very little of which was used. The casualties in wounded are heavy, but supremely light in killed for so heavy a musketry engagement. The fight on the left was one continuous roll of musketry for an hour or more. No General officers were injured. Col. Heg and Col. Bradley, commanding brigades, were wounded. Col. Jones, of the 36th Ohio regiment, and Col. Carroll and Maj. Vannetta, of the 10th Indiana regiment, were also wounded. Lieut. Jones, of company A, 10th Indiana regiment, was killed. Lieut. Col. Hunt, of the 40th Kentucky regiment, and Lieut. Col. Maxwell, of the 2d Ohio regiment, were wounded. Lieut. Degraw, Lieut. Ludlow, and Lieut. Fessenden, of battery H, 5th Artillery, were wounded. Lieut. Boyd, of battery I, 4th artillery, and Capt. Brown, of the 31st Illinois regiment, were wounded. Capt. Searies, Assistant-Adjutant-General of Stark weather's brigade, was killed. Battery H, of the 5th artillery, was lost and afterwards recaptured by the 79th Indiana regiment. The battle is not yet over. It will probable be renewed to-morrow. Rebel prisoners represent that the corps of Gens. Hill, Polk, Johnston, and Long street were in the engagement. Our men are in the best of spirits and eager to begin a new. A dispatch dated Washington, the 20th, says: ‘ A dispatch has been received from Gen. Rosecrans, stating than a reconnaissance in force was made on Friday, resulting in losses on both sides, with general advantage in favor of our troops. We lost seven pieces of artillery and captured eleven. Prisoners were taken representing forty-five rebel regiments. It was expected that a heavy battle would be fought yesterday. ’ The Tribune comments on the news in a long editorial, which contains much interesting information about the strategy and movements of Rosecrans and Burnside. We copy a portion of it: One of the greatest battles of the war was begun at eleven o'clock on Saturday, continued during the day with varying fortune, and was not decisively concluded at nightfall. The position of the field on which it was fought is not indicated by the dispatch clearly enough to be accurately placed on the map. Chickamauga Creek flows northeasterly into the Tennesseee from the mountain slopes in the northeastern angle of Georgia. Parallel ranges seem to lie on either side of it, and Gen. Rosecrans's line of battle extended along its banks. But his advance, under Gen. Thomas, was at Lafayette, some distance beyond the river, more than a week ago, and other columns were moving toward that point. We infer therefore, that for the sake of a strong defensive position, and in order more rapidly to concentrate his forces, Gen. Rosecrans fell back upon the creek, and formed his line with such troops as had been at Lafayette, or within supporting distance of that place.--Other divisions arrived during the battle in column, and were deployed under fire to meet the rebel attack. It had already been intimated that Gen. Rosecrans was to assume a momentary defensive attitude. The immense importance of Atlanta, toward which the national forces were steadily pressing would not permit its abandonment without a desperate effort at defence, and here, as so often before the best and perhaps the only sound defence for the rebels consisted in assuming the offensive at once. The armies of Bragg and Johnston were united. The Georgia Militia was hurried forward. Conscripts, guerillas, deserters, and what ever she could to swell the waste ranks of the rebel army, were swept in from all sides. Lastly the army of Virginia was drawn upon. It is beyond question that reinforcements were sent to Georgia. -- Accounts were received last week of the presence of Longstreet near the scene of action, and in the dispatch we print this morning, we have the positive assertion of rebel prisoners that the corps of both Longstreet and A. R. Hill were in the engagement. But those corps comprised more than two thirds of Lee's army, and unless the Virginia campaign is reduced to the garrisoning of Richmond, it is impossible to suppose that such a proportion of that army has been transferred to Georgia soil. Still it is evident that some of the rugged veterans who fought against Meade at Gettysburg did on Saturday confront the lines of Rosecrans to the southward of Chattanooga. * * * * * The meagre account received yesterday reads not unlike the dispatches which announced the second day's engagement at Gettysburg. It is the resolute effort which the rebels never fail to make to pierce the line opposed to them. Break through somewhere — at any cost of life, or of success at other points. Here also the attack is upon the flank, and its object is to cut off our forces at Chattanooga, a purpose which if successful would equally have resulted in cutting our army in two. But it was not successful. The momentum of the rebel columns carried them through at least one weak spot in the centre, where Van Cleve and Reynolds commanded, and apparently also carried at one time the portion, or a part, of the portion held by Gen. Thomas on the left. But the latter gallantly retrieved whatever disaster he may have suffered at first, and co-operating with Gen. Davis on the right, drove back the rebels on the right and left, and recovered the ground which had been lost. We judge also that the centre was regained by the same manœuvre, since a repulse on either flank would have made it impossible for the rebels to maintain their ground, if they really held for any length of time the centre which they once seized. At all events, either by this or some similar movement, the whole battle- field was finally regained, the rebels repulsed and pursued, and the line re-established along the river, just where the colors had been planted when the battle begun. We lost no general officer, and but few killed. The casualties in wounded are numerous, but no estimate is given. Since, therefore, the rebels attacked, and the attack was beaten off, the day ended with a clear success for the National arms — such a success as yesterday or to-day may be expected to develop into a decisive victory. The rebels can have no choice but to renew the attack, if they have strength to renew it; but, failing at first, they will remember Gettysburg too keenly to be likely to succeed in the second attempt. Later or at least fuller news is on the way from Chattanooga, but cannot be received in season for comment. We rejoice in the belief that the forces under Gen. Burnside were last week so far on their way to Gen. Rosecrans that they will arrive in season for the present conflict.--at latest must come up in season to prevent disaster or to press a pursuit. It is an assurance for which the country has too often waited in vain, that all available troops were to be on the spot at the decisive moment, and being there would every man be put into battle and wisely handled. The country has all confidence in Gen. Rosecrans and his army. Well is it for us that the confidence is not misplaced, for no battle of more rital importance has been fought during the rebellion than that which is impending or already decided.
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