The battle of Chickamauga.further particulars of the fight — Scenes on the battle field. --the Losses — reinforcements, &c., &c.,
The Atlanta papers contain some additional particulars of the battle of Chickamauga. The accounts include some meagre description of the fight of Sunday. We give a letter from the Intelligencer. written on the 22d inst.: The preliminary fight commenced, it may be said, on Friday, the 18th inst., at Alexander's bridge, eight miles west of Ringgold. Walthall's brigade was principally engaged and suffered most, one regiment losing 73 killed and wounded. Gen. Bushrod Johnson's brigade moved up at the time from Ringgold, crossing the Chickamauga above at Reed's bridge, the enemy falling back before us and marshalling their forces in line of battle. Their advance on Georgia soil had been so successful and easy that they seemed surprised at the idea of being checked, contemplating a triumphant entrance into Atlanta. On Saturday, the 19th, the two contending armies confronted each other in battle array. Our line extended from Reed's bridge to Lee & Gordon's mills, a distance of between seven and ten miles, over a rugged, barren country of hill and dale. Between 8 and 9 o'clock A. M. the battle opened on our right, in the course of an hour the firing because heavy and rapid, the batteries of Forrest's and Walker's divisions, and the reserve, Capt. Lumsden's battery, in command of Major Palmer, Chief of Artillery, keeping up a perfect roar of fire, which was fully returned by the enemy. The lines of both armies moved to and fro like the advancing and receding waves of the sea. Cheatham's division soon became under fire, with its artillery under command of Major Melauthon Smith. The fight was kept up with varied success, when the gallant division of General Cleburne charged the enemy after dark, by moonlight, and drove them two miles from their first line of battle and in front of Alexander's bridge. It was here the brave Gen. Preston Smith fell. After this victorious and most brilliant achievement our army rested on their arms for the night. During the fight Capt. Carnes's battery was captured, all the horses being killed, and all the artillerists being either killed or wounded. This battery was afterwards retaken by General Smith's brigade, and also one or two other pieces which had been abandoned, the horses being killed. That day we took the enemy's celebrated Loomis battery of six guns, and four other pieces, and 1,200 prisoners. The fight on Saturday commenced on this side of the Chickamauga river, extending from the right of Lee and Gordon's mills to what is known as the new bridge across that stream, a distance of about five miles, with a flanking force well out on either wing. In the evening the Yankees retreated across that stream, burning the new bridge behind them, the river dividing the two armies for the night. That night the Yankees were hard at work digging entrenchments, and threw up three lines of works towards the Missionary Ridge. Sunday morning the 20th, before day, the banks were dug down on each side of the stream, just below the point where the bridge had been burned, and our forces forded the stream and drew up in line of battle about 8 o'clock. Gen. Polk, who commenced the right, had a hot day's work before him, but he felt confident of success. The battle-field was an undulating or rolling open wood, so much so that artillery had room and range enough for full play. The attack was commenced by our forces shortly after nine o'clock A M. Our line of battle was four miles west of Chickamauga, and half a mile cast of the main road leading from Lafayette to Chattanooga. We pressed the enemy sorely from the start, who, though strongly contesting the ground inch by inch, gradually fell back before our braves. Charge after charge was made on the enemy, and one vociferating yell prevailed our ranks, we turning their left on their centre, and driving back his right at the same time. In the afternoon the enemy attempted to throw reinforcements from the left to the right across an open field and the Chattanooga road. Major Williams's battery was concentrated on this road, and cut off the enemy, the whole forest being completely mowed down with grape, canister shrapnel, and shell; it was at this time we took several thousand prisoners. It was after dark that Gen. Polk carried the last line of the enemy's entrenchments, when a thrilling yell of triumph rang out on the air, which told of our glorious victory. The enemy was completely routed, and in full retreat. Gen. Breckinridge's division, and Gen. Preston's of Buckner's corps, also core a most gallant part in the charging of the enemy's entrenchments, who were driven three miles, back to Missionary Ridge, and from which the enemy were driven to within five miles of Chattanooga. Gen. Bragg was on the field with the troops, night and day, and in riding down the lines in front of Gen. Breckinridge's division, on the night of victory, he was most enthusiastically cheered by Breckenridge and his brave Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida troops. We have captured over 40 stand of colors 45 pieces of artillery, and taken over 6,000 prisoners. Our loss is estimated from eight to ten thousand, killed and wounded; the enemy's cannot be less than from twenty to twenty five thousand. The battle field extended about ten miles, and the carnage was the most frightful yet witnessed, far exceeding Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Murfreesboro', or Shiloh. The constant and terrific roar of artillery never was exceeded. The fighting of our men on Sunday evening in carrying the enemy's entrenchments was magnificent, grand, and terrible. They faced the whirlwind of lead and iron with the steadiness and composure of a summer's rain. Then came charge after charge, the frightful gaps in our lines being immediately closed up, and with the yell of demons our battle cry, arose above the roar and crash of musketry and artillery, while the terror stricken foe fell back aghast as our braves mounted and carried their entrenchments, line after line, over the dead carcases of the Abolition foe, who fell in heaps in the pits they had but dug for them selves. The battle-field that night by moonlight — the glittering beams shining on the ghastly faces of the dead, distorted in expression from the wounds of their torn and mangled bodies, with heaps of the wounded and dying, with scattered arms strewn every where, broken artillery carriages and caissons, dead horses, and all that makes up the debris of a bloody contested field.--was terrible and appalling. Gen. Polk fought his corps with great skill and ability, and with all the coolness that bravery can command. The noble divisions of the heroic Breckinridge and chivalrous Cheatham carried the last entrenchments and they slept upon the field with the wreath of victory crowning their brows.--McNair's brigade, attached to Bushrod Johnson's division was on the left of Gen. D. H. Hill's corps, and charged the entrenchments Sunday with its famed and distinguished gallantry, taking 14 pieces of artillery. Gen. McNair was wounded, and the noble Col. R. W. Harper, commanding a brigade, was killed. Col. Harper was a Marylander but a citizen of Arkansas, and had previously distinguished himself at Oak Hills, Elk Horn, and Murfreesboro'. Gen. Buckner's and Hill's corps also won imperishable renown. Capt. James Stone of Buckner's escort, (who took Gen. Willich prisoner at Murfreesboro'.) also added to his laurels. On Monday, the 21st, Gen. Forrest pursued the enemy, capturing a squadron of Gen. Stanley's Yankee cavalry, and general skirmishing taking place, the enemy retreating on Chattanooga. Gen. Wheeler had also captured a large train of wagons, burning a large portion and securing over 1,000 prisoners. To-night, (Tuesday,) as I close this letter, which I send by private express, a courier just in reports that the enemy are burning their stores at Chattanooga and crossing the river. When it is taken into consideration that our army had to travel ankle deep in dust, over a wild, barren, broken country without affording any subsistence, and our men on half rations undergoing forced marches and terrible sufferings without a murmur, and then to contemplate their heroism on the field, which has won us so great and glorious a victory, it cannot be doubted but that the God of battles favored our arms. But for the want of rations Gen. Bragg would have followed up his victory the next day; but our troops were unable to move until our supplies came up. In this great battle Gen. Bragg has exhibited a military sagacity far over reaching Rosecrans, and by his masterly manœuvres has handled his army with a skill and judgment that only could have secured to us such a glorious victory.
Casualties.Brig-Gen. B. H. Helm, who was killed, was leading his men on to victory, when he fell mortally wounded in the abdomen by a Minnie ball. He was taken back to the hospital, six miles above Ringgold, where he expired during the night. He was a grandson of Ben Hardin, the celebrated Kentuckian.--He entered the Southern army without a commission, but from the rank of private he was soon made Colonel and commanded the 1st Kentucky cavalry in the Confederate service. When the battle of Shiloh was brewing, he closely watched the movements of Gen. Buell, and kept Gen. Johnston constantly advised of the enemy's whereabouts and movements. He was made Brigadier General in March, 1862. and took command of a Kentucky brigade at Vicksburg last summer. His wife is a half sister of Mrs. Lincoln, and a sister of Alex, Todd, who was killed at Baton Rouge. It will also be remembered that Lieut. Todd, who was killed at Shiloh, was his brother in-law. His wife is now in the city, and shares the sympathy of hosts of Kentucky friends and the people of the South generally. Before Gen. Helm died, the chaplain conversed and prayed with him, and he expressed perfect resignation to his fate, which he met in the same cheerful spirit that he has so well served his country. Thus, without a murmur, passed away another of the numerous through of brave defenders of truth, justice and liberty. In Helm's 1st Kentucky brigade 1,763 men went into action--432 only came out of it. Among the killed of this brigade we learn the following: Major Rice Graves. Breckinridge's staff, Col. J. M. Hewitt, 2d Kentucky regiment; Capt. Harry Rogers, do.; Lieut. M. M. Carson, do.; Adj't W. Bell, do.; Capt. Daniels, 9th Kentucky; Lieut. Bell. 4th Ky. Cheatham's division is reported to be in possession of Gen. Thomas's body. Col. Bland and Major Hard, 7th S. C., and Col. Ould, of the 8th S. C.; Col. Hewett, 2d Ky; Lieut. Col. Inge, 18th Ala; Col. Wheaton, 22d Ala., were killed. Col. John M. Lillard, 20th Tenn., and Major Haskell, 19th Tenn., dangerously wounded. Col. Richmond, Gen. Polk's Aide-de-camp, was killed by a Yankee sharpshooter just after the fight was over. He was riding between the lines of the two armies and after he was shot and had fallen from his horse he wrote in his memorandum book the request that his body should be taken to his home for interment, for which service his legal representative would pay $500 in gold. The Federals have a jolly way of throwing down their guns and rushing to the rear of our troops when they have enough of our musketry. While Gen. Lyttle was not far from our line his men suddenly rushed forward, and when he was for a moment amazed at the brilliant charge made without orders, and then when he saw that their muskets had been thrown away, he sought himself to escape with his staff. He turned his horse to fly, but it was too late; he, and every man near him, was killed. He was shot through the head, the ball entering just above the neck and coming out above his nose. Brig Gen. Preston Smith, who was killed, was a brave Tennessean.
The prisoners and wounded.The train on Tuesday evening brought down the first installment of Yankee prisoners from Bragg's army. They were part of some 2,500 captured on Saturday, and were full of bombast. In conversation one of them informed us that he believed "Rosecrans would get whipped this time, but he had too many pontoon-bridges to cross the Tennessee and get away with." They are the most hang-dog looking scoundrels we have ever seen, their appearance not being one-half as fine as the men of Grant's army. They appeared not in the least surprised at the intelligence of Rosecrans's rout on Sunday and Monday, but assert that they have a plenty of troops to protect their retreat after they cross the Tennessee. The number that arrived yesterday is 1,634. Among them are one Colonel and several Lieutenant Colonels and Majors, all the remaining officers being subalteras. They mostly belong to McCook's and Thomas's corps, composed of Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois troops. Some of the officers among the prisoners who arrived last night asserted that Rosecrans had a reserve which was not engaged in the battles on Saturday and Sunday. consisting of McPherson's corps from Grant's army, and sixteen thousand under Burnside. The former they stated were resting on the north bank of the Tennessee, and the latter were in the vicinity of Chattanooga We doubt the correctness of these representations, but are glad to know that Gen. Bragg will not be without a large additional strength in the next conflict. Among the prisoners we have soldiers from Meade's army, and they tell us that Sherman's corps is on the march from Huntsville, Ala; that Burnside is coming down from East Tennessee, and that Grant is ascending the Cumberland river.
A reconnaissance towards ChattanoogaMr. Rushton, agent of the East Tennessee and Georgia railroad, endeavored to reach Chattanooga with an engine, Wednesday, for the purpose of ascertaining the condition of the track, via Cleveland. The report made of this reconnaissance at Dalton was, that on reaching a point within five miles of Chattanooga they met Pegram's cavalry, about 1 o'clock, who ordered the party back to Dalton, and informed them the Federals were still in the town. Pegram had received orders to fall back to Chickamauga. When the engine passed Cleveland on its return Bird's brigade of Federal cavalry were reported within six miles of the town. Our forces stationed there being small in numbers were obliged to leave. It is evident we must have another struggle before Rosecrans is driven across the river. Rosecrans has certainly been concentrating his forces since Sunday, and that he has been able to gather as much physical force as he lost, may be true. Burnside's disposable force may have joined him, and his garrisons left lower down and north of the river may have been hurried to his support. And it will be remembered that the letter of our correspondent, "Kingston," published yesterday, (who writes advisedly,) informs us that five brigades of infantry, one of cavalry, and several batteries of artillery, left Huntsville, Ala, on the 13th inst. If this force had not come up in time to participate in the late battle, they will have had time to make the march ere this. It is the impression of our officers they were engaged before, but the Federal officers captured say not. It may be so.
Gen. Braggs' Dispatch to Gen. Beauregard.
9 miles Northwest of Ringgold,
September 22, 1863.