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[199] as though some mighty broom had swept it.1 This, however, was only a temporary relief. Towards 9 a.m. the enemy began to deploy large masses, which threatened, with their heavy weight, to crush the thinner Southern lines. Beauregard, still fighting steadily at his guns, was ordered to move his battalion back to the Franklin pike; the Granny White pike, our chosen avenue of escape, being already swarming with the enemy. At length the Confederate lines gave way everywhere, and all inditia of defeat were plain to our outnumbered and over weighted army. Never without hope, the army of Tennessee this day lost all save valor.

From December 1st to 15th Gibson's brigade had been incessantly working on the intrenchments before Nashville. The attack of the 5th in other quarters caused such withdrawal of troops that two of Clayton's brigades had to be scattered along the whole front previously held by the corps, and Gibson's brigade was taken out of the trenches and thrown back perpendicularly to check the enemy's advance. About midnight the division was moved back to Overton's hill, on the extreme right of the army. There Gibson sustained a vigorous assault early in the afternoon of the 16th, which was repulsed with slaughter. From 9 o'clock in the morning Gibson's brigade had been under fire of a battery which completely enfiladed them, but they stood fast. Between three and four o'clock they learned that the entire left of the army had given away. Then they moved to the rear, marching out in good order and saving the battery they supported. Fenner, who had been dealing destruction to the enemy, brought off his guns, but three of them were afterward abandoned by order of General Forrest. On the morning of the 17th Colonel Hunter, with the Fourth and Thirtieth, was put on guard in the rear, and while there was captured with

1Captain Beauregard, commanding my artillery, showed merit beyond his years, and managed the battalion not only to my satisfaction but to the good of the service and to his own credit.” Bate's report.

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