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Doc. 36.-the battle of Chickamauga.

General T. J. Wood's report.

headquarters First division Twenty-First army corps, Chattanooga, Tenn., September 29, 1863.
Sir: At early dawn of the morning of Sunday, the sixteenth August, I received an order to move with my division from Hillsboroa, Middle Tennessee, by the most practicable and expeditious route across the Cumberland Mountain to Sherman in the Sequatchy Valley.

Wednesday evening, the nineteenth, was the time fixed for the division to arrive at the destination assigned to it.

The Second brigade (Wagner's) had for a month previously occupied Pelham, near the foot of the mountains, and General Wagner had been ordered to repair the road up the mountains known as the Park road. As the order of movement left to my discretion the route by which my division should cross the mountains, I determined to make the ascent by the Park road, thence to Tracy City, thence by Johnson's to Purdon's, where I would fall into the road leading from McMinnville, by Altam Cut, to Thurman.

Immediately on receiving the order I despatched instructions to General Wagner to commence the ascent of the mountains, and to insure his being out of the way of the other two brigades, I directed he should continue the work of getting up his train during the night of the sixteenth. This was done, and early on the morning of the seventeenth, the road being free, the First and Third brigades, with their baggage trains and the ammunition and supply trains of the division, began to ascend the mountains.

The work was continued unintermittedly through the day and entire night of the seventeenth, and by ten o'clock of the eighteenth the whole was up. Wagner's brigade had advanced to Tracy City Monday morning, the seventeenth, with orders to move forward as far as the Thurman, or Anderson road, on Tuesday, the eighteenth. I allowed the First and Third brigades, Buell's and Harker's, to rest until one P. M., on the eighteenth, and then moved to Tracy City. Wagner was ordered to advance on the Thurman road to Thurman, Wednesday morning, select a good encampment, and await my arrival there with the other Second brigades and the heavy trains. The distance from Tracy City to Thurman is twenty-eight miles, which had to be accomplished in one day, with the First and Third brigades, their batteries, and the trains to be at the rendezvous assigned me at the designated time. At four o'clock A. M., on the nineteenth, the march was commenced, and a little after nightfall the brigades encamped at Thurman.

The order for the general movement directed me to take with me two days subsistence for the men, and ten days grain for the animals. I descended into the Sequatchy Valley with twenty-five days subsistence for the men, and sixteen days grain for the animals.

I do not mention this fact in a spirit of egotism, but simply to show what can be accomplished by intelligence, good judgment, energy, and a willingness to make some sacrifice of personal comfort by commanders.

Every experienced and educated soldier knows that one of the greatest drawbacks on the mobility and activity, and consequently on the offensive power of an army, is to be found in the immense baggage and supply trains that usually accompany its movements: hence, whatever lessens the number of vehicles required for the transport of baggage, by so much increases the efficiency of the army. I transported all the supplies I took into Sequatchy Valley in the wagons originally assigned to my division for the transportation of regimental and staff baggage.

I was then prepared with my division for a campaign of twenty-five days on hull rations, or fifty days on half rations. The additional forage required beyond what I brought with me could have been found in the country.

In conformity with the order for the general movement I despatched Wagner's brigade early on Thursday morning, the twentieth, to the easttern slope of Naldron's ridge, to make something of a show of force, and at the same time closely observe, and, if opportunity permitted, to threaten the enemy. With the other two brigades, First and Third, I remained encamped at Thurman till the early morning of the first of September; I then moved, in conformity to orders, to Jasper, lower down in the valley.

Late in the afternoon of the second I received an order to send one of my brigades to Shellmound, to cross the Tennessee River. The First brigade was immediately put in motion under this order, and, under the skilful management of Colonel Buell, was thrown across the river rapidly and without accident during the night. Early on the morning of the third, I moved with the Third brigade and the ammunition and ambulance trains to the crossing, and with the energetic and judicious assistance of Colonel Harker, had everything passed rapidly across without accident. I remained encamped at Shellmound until Saturday afternoon, the fifth, awaiting orders, the delay being occasioned by the necessity of waiting for the supply trains, which had been sent across the river at Bridgeport.

During the afternoon of the fifth I received an order to move with the two brigades of my division with me, via Whiteside and the river road, to the junction of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad with the Trenton Railroad, for the purpose of observing and threatening the enemy posted on the spur of Lookout Mountain. I advanced as far as Whiteside Saturday afternoon and evening. Early Sunday morning I continued to advance, Harker's brigade leading. Soon very light parties of the enemy were encountered, but they rapidly fell back before my steady onward movement, though the country through which my line of march led me is most favorable to a prolonged and obstinate resistance by a small force.

Crossing Raccoon Mountain, I descended into [325] Lookout Mountain Valley, and then followed down the valley northward to the junction of the two railways. As I moved down the valley the enemy's signal stations on the crest of Lookout Mountain were in full and perfect view, evidently watching my advance, and rapidly communicating the result of their observations to the rear. At the junction of the railway my command was about two to two and a half miles from the enemy's advanced works; but the outposts and pickets were much nearer each other, in fact, in hearing distance. As I was well aware that the enemy had been able to learn from his signal stations with very close approximate correctness the strength of my command, and hence would be most likely disposed to take advantage of my inferiority of force and attempt to crush me by a sudden blow, I immediately made the best possible disposition to foil him in such an attempt. In making these dispositions I soon became convinced of the utter untenableness of the position at the junction of the railway for an inferior force to receive an attack from a superior one. The position is entirely open, capable of being assailed simultaneously in front, on both flanks, and in rear. I was well satisfied I was in the immediate proximity of a very large force of the enemy, (which could be still further swelled in a very short time.) This information I had gained satisfactorily during my advance; and it was strengthened and corroborated during the afternoon and evening of the sixth. At two o'clock P. M. I communicated to the Corps commander my position seven miles from Chattanooga, (being at the junction of the railway,) informed him of my immediate proximity to the enemy, and attempted to describe briefly the objects which debarred my farther progress to Chattanooga. At four P. M. I communicated to him the result of further observations, and some facts omitted in my note of two P. M. In my note of two P. M. I suggested that he should move part of the force immediately with him, to cover my rear from a reverse attack. This he declined to do, on the ground of a want of authority, and indicated that in case I should be attacked by a superior force I would have to fall back on him, also indicating that if I should have to retreat, I had better do so by the Trenton road. I had already opened communication with him by that road. Not intending to retreat except as a matter of direct necessity and last extremity, and as the evidence continued to increase during the evening that I would be attacked in heavy force early next morning, I determined to shift my command a mile and a half to the rear, to a very strong and highly defensible position, in which I was satisfied I could maintain myself against almost any odds for a long time, and if finally overpowered, could draw off my command to the rear. From this position I could maintain my communication by the Trenton road with the force immediately with the Corps commander. The movement was commenced at ten o'clock P. M., the sixth, and made with perfect success, though my pickets were at the time in hearing of the enemy's pickets. My command was thus safely extricated from immediate imminent danger. I learned satisfactorily, during the afternoon of the sixth, that the spur of Lookout Mountain was held by Chatham's division, supported immediately in rear of Hindman's (late Withers's) division, being the whole of Lieutenant-General Polk's Corps. My two small brigades confronted this force. About eight A. M. in the morning of the seventh, I received a copy of a communication addressed by the commanding General to the Corps commander, saying that he thought it would be safe (judging from some indications he had obtained of the movements of the enemy) to threaten the enemy on the spur of Lookout Mountain with a part of my force. This communication the corps commander appears to have construed into an order to make a reconnoissance in force, and accordingly ordered that I should make such a reconnoissance without loss of time. I accordingly commenced at once to make my preparations for making the reconnoissance, and actually made it at the earliest possible moment compatible with the safety of the command and the assurance of the success of the reconnoissance itself. As the results of the reconnoissance have hitherto been reported, I will not now recapitulate them. After taking the necessary precautions for insuring the safety, as far as possible, of the command to be engaged in the reconnoissance, and the assurance of the success of the reconnoissance, I committed the conduct of it to that gallant and accomplished officer, Colonel Harker, commanding the Third brigade of my division. I instructed him to proceed with the utmost circumspection, but to force his command as near to the enemy's position as he might deem prudent. This point I was of course compelled to submit to his judgment. It affords me the greatest satisfaction to record, in a permanent, official manner, that Colonel Harker conducted the reconnoissance in exact conformity with my wishes and instructions.

Securing well his flanks and rear from being assailed without timely notice, he drove his solid line to within some thousand yards of the enemy's batteries, (and his line of skirmishers to within some six hundred yards,) when twelve guns opened on him, and then drew off his command, with the loss of but one man. I know no parallel in military history to this reconnoissance. My command being much jaded and worn by the labors of the several preceding days, I allowed it to rest during the eighth. But I was on the alert to gain information of the movements and designs of the enemy. Near nightfall I obtained some information which led me to suspect the enemy was evacuating Chattanooga, but the individuals who gave it were by no means positive. With a view to verifying this information, I addressed a note to the Corps commander, informing him that I had observed some mysterious indications on the part of the enemy, of which I proposed to compel a development by a reconnoissance in force early next morning. During the night I received a reply to my note, saying the Corps commander could not approve the making the reconnoissance on account of some indications of a general movement of the army, but that he would refer my note to the commanding [326] General. Confidently believing the commanding General would approve my proposition to make the reconnoissance, I held my command in readiness for the movement. In the mean time General Wagner, having with him the Second brigade of my division, had received information on the northern side of the river that the enemy was evacuating Chattanooga.

The information having been communicated to the commanding General of the army, an order was despatched to me to move my command to Chattanooga, prepared for a vigorous pursuit of the enemy.

This agreeable order was joyfully obeyed, and in a very few minutes my command was in rapid motion. Between my late camp in Lookout Mountain Valley and the spur of the mountain my command was overtaken by the Ninety-second Illinois mounted infantry, commanded by Colonel Adkins, who informed me he had been ordered to press forward to Chattanooga with all haste, to secure any property the enemy might have left behind, and to discover something of his lines of retreat. I allowed his regiment to pass my command; but on the spur of the mountain I overtook the regiment, halted, when the Colonel informed me that the enemy's skirmishers outflanked his, and his further progress was debarred. I immediately threw forward the Twenty-sixth Ohio, Lieutenant-Colonel Young commanding, to the right and higher up the mountain side than the skirmishers of Colonel Adkins extended, and rapidly drove the enemy's skirmishers from the mountain side. No further opposition was encountered in occupying Chattanooga, and the Ninety-second Illinois pushed rapidly into the town, followed by my First and Third brigades. The Second brigade crossed from the north side of the river during the afternoon and evening of the ninth. The colors of the Ninety-seventh Ohio, of the Second brigade of my division, were the first planted on the works of Chattanooga, having been brought across the river by a few men in a small boat early in the morning. Thus was this great strategic position, the long-sought goal, gained to us, and occupied by our troops!

Placing myself as soon as possible after the occupation in communication with most intelligent and reliable citizens, I learned that a portion of the enemy's troops had retreated by the Cove road, and that the remainder, with the baggage and the material of war, had retreated by the Rossville and Lafayette road, I was informed further that Buckner's command, which had been posted at Tyner's Station, on the railway, had retreated by Johnson, to Ringgold; but I subsequently learned that he did not go so far eastward as Ringgold, but passed through Greysville, and thence to Lafayette. The bulk of these facts I reported to the commander of the Corps immediately on his arrival, and by him I am informed they were communicated to the commanding General. My division remained in Chattanooga until the morning of the tenth. I then received an order to detail one brigade to occupy the town, and move with the other two in pursuit of the enemy by the Rossville and Ringgold Road. The Second brigade was detailed to remain in Chattanooga. At ten A. M. of the tenth, I led the First and Third brigades out of Chattanooga, to commence the pursuit of the enemy. At two P. M. of that day I advised the Corps commander of the reported presence of a considerable force on my right flank, and at half past 7 P. M. I further advised him that I had taken a “contraband” during the late afternoon, who reported the bulk of the rebel army, with General Bragg in person, at Gordon's Mill, on the Chickamauga, where it is crossed by the Rossville and Lafayette road. I was incredulous of the story, and so expressed myself; but if true, it was so important it should be known, that I deemed it my duty to report his narrative. It is due to the humble person who furnished me this invaluable information to record that subsequent developments proved his report to be singularly accurate and correct. Based on my note of half past 7 P. M. of the tenth, a communication was sent me by the commanding General to send a brigade by the way of Rossville, to make a reconnoissance in the direction of Gordon's Mill, with a view to verifying the truth of the “contraband's” report. The order was received at early daylight of the morning of the eleventh. Colonel Harker's brigade was immediately sent to execute this service. About the time Harker's brigade was moving, the Corps commander arrived at my camp. I was directed by him to move forward with my remaining brigade two miles on the Ringgold road, and there to await further orders. The order was obeyed. At half past 3 P. M., while awaiting further instructions, I received an order from the commanding General to move across the country, by the shortest and most expeditious route, to the Rossville and Lafayette road, to support Colonel Harker. Near the same hour I received a note from Colonel Harker, informing me that he had been driving the enemy all day, and had arrived within three miles of Gordon's Mill. I immediately sent him an order to press forward to the mill, and informing him that I would make a junction there with him during the evening. The junction was made, and fortunately, for Harker had been driving his little brigade all day against a vastly superior force, the rear guard of the enemy's great army. A full report of this brilliant and dangerous reconnoissance has been already made, and it is not now necessary that I should say more than that it was superbly made.

When I arrived at Gordon's Mill, at half past 8 P. M., of the eleventh, the enemy's camp fires could be distinctly seen on the other side of the creek. Their light reflected over a wide section of the horizon, and extending upward on the heavens, told that the foe was present in considerable force. It was my intention to continue the pursuit early next morning, the twelfth, but till eiget o'clock A. M. the atmosphere was so loaded with haze, fog, and smoke, that it was difficult to see a hundred yards in advance. While I was waiting for the atmosphere to become sufficiently clear to continue the pursuit I received an order to remain at Gordon's Mill until the Corps commander arrived there with [327] the other two divisions of the corps. This was done during the afternoon of the twelfth. My two brigades remained quiet during the thirteenth, enjoying much needed rest. During the evening of the thirteenth a copy of a letter of instructions from the commanding General to the Corps commander was furnished me by the latter, in which he was directed to leave my command at Gordon's Mill, and proceed with the other two divisions to a position on Missionary Ridge, with a view to facilitating the concentration with the other corps of the army. My orders directed me to try stoutly to maintain the position at Gordon's Mill, but if attacked by a superior force, to fall back slowly, resisting stoutly, to Rossville, where it was supposed I would be supported by Major-General Granger's force, in case of extremity; and in case I should not be supported at Rossville by Granger, I was directed to select a position guarding the roads leading to Chattanooga and around the point of Lookout Mountain, and hold them at all hazards. Resolved to make the most stubborn resistance at Gordon's Mill, I took advantage of the creek, a very strong and defensible position, and barricaded my entire front and flanks strongly. So strengthened, I could have successfully resisted a front attack of a vastly superior force.

With the exception of an occasional firing on my pickets, the enemy left me undisturbed at Gordon's Mill till between eleven A. M. and twelve M., of Friday, the eighteenth instant. A rapid advance of his light troops, supported by troops in a solid line on my right front, drove in my pickets as far as the creek, but no effort was made to pass the stream. Such an attempt would have been foiled, and cost the enemy dearly. At about one o'clock P. M. a force, apparently about a brigade of four regiments, emerged from the woods on the southern side of the creek, nearly opposite the centre of my position, apparently with the intention of forcing a passage at the ford near the mill. A few well-directed shots from Bradley's battery soon forced him to relinquish this design, and seek the shelter of the woods. The enemy continued to hover in my front during the whole afternoon, making, however, no serious attempts, and I accordingly became reasonably satisfied that his demonstrations were only a mask to his real design, that of passing a heavy force across the creek lower down, with a view to turning our left, and cutting our communications with Chattanooga. I communicated my opinion on this point to the commanding General at his headquarters during the evening of the eighteenth. It was verified by the opening of a terrific engagement on our left as early as half past 8 A. M. on the nineteenth; troops had been moved to our left during the night of the eighteenth to meet the exigency. The battle continued throughout the forenoon and into the afternoon, but my command was left at Gordon's Mill until three o'clock P. M. At this hour I received a verbal order from the Corps commander, through one of his staff, to move with my command, and to take position, as well as I now remember, on the right of some part of General Van Cleve's division. Throughout the entire preceding part of the day I had distinctly observed a considerable force in front of my position at Gordon's Mill, and just before I had received the order to move into action a “contraband” came into my lines, from whom I learned that this force was the division of General Bushrod Johnson.

Knowing that it would pass the creek immediately on my evacuating my position, if it should not be occupied by some other troops, I despatched one of my Aids-de-camp to the commanding General, to inform him of the presence of this force in my then front, and to suggest that at least a brigade should be sent to occupy the position so soon as I should vacate it. On his way to the headquarters of the commanding General my Aid-de-camp encountered Major-General McCook, to whom he communicated the object of his mission to headquarters. General McCook immediately ordered a brigade from his corps to move into position at Gordon's Mill. My Aid-de-camp rode on to headquarters and reported what had been done to the commanding General, who approved the disposition. No delay, however, had occurred on this account in the movement of my command from Gordon's Mill. Immediately on the receipt of the order my command was put in rapid motion for the scene of the great conflict. As already remarked, the order directed me to take position on the right of General Van Cleve's command, but as I was totally ignorant of his position in the battle, and met no one on my arrival on the field to enlighten me, I found myself much embarrassed for the want of information, whereas I could bring my command judiciously and effectively into action. It should be borne in mind that many of the troops were engaged in the woods, and that it was next to impossible to gain information by sight of the arrangement of the troops already engaged.

This information could only be given by general and staff officers, posted in advance to aid in bringing the troops arriving freshly on the ground into action properly. Fortunately, shortly after my arrival on the field I met General Davis, from whom I received some useful information in regard to the status of the conflict. From him I learned that his left brigade, Haynes's, was sorely pressed and needed assistance. While I was in conference with him, a staff officer informed him that Colonel Haynes reported he could not maintain his position, and at the same instant I saw a stream of fugitives pouring out of the woods across the Rossville and Lafayette road, and over the field to the west of it. These, I learned, belonged to Haynes's brigade of Davis's division. It was evident a crisis was at hand; the advance of the enemy, before which these men were retiring, must be checked at once, or the army would be cut in twain. Desiring Major Mendenhall, of the Corps commander's staff, who chanced to be near me at the moment, to go and rally the fugitives rushing across the field on the west side of the road, I at once commenced my dispositions to check the advancing foe. When I first met General Davis on the field I had inquired of him where the fight was. [328] He pointed into the woods, whence the roar and rattle of a very sharp musketry fire resounded, and told me that Haynes's brigade was heavily engaged in there. I immediately directed Colonel Harker to form his brigade in battle array nearly parallel to the Rossville and Lafayette road, advance into the woods, and engage the enemy. But the evidence immediately brought to my notice, that Haynes's brigade was retiring, made a change in this position necessary. I consequently directed Colonel Harker to throw forward his right, holding his left as a pivot on the road, thus giving his line an oblique direction to the road, and then advance his whole line. By this disposition I hoped to be able to take the enemy's advancing force in flank. These dispositions, though expeditiously made, were scarcely completed, when a staff officer rode up, and reported that the enemy had gained the road and was advancing up it in the direction of Gordon's Mill. This information rendered necessary a further change in the arrangement of Harker's brigade. I ordered him to refuse his left, which brought the left half of his line at right angles to the road, and gave to his whole front the form of a broken line, with the apex towards the enemy. In this shape he advanced rapidly, engaged the enemy, and drove him between a half and three fourths of a mile. I followed his advance nearly half a mile, and finding he was doing well, as well as having perfect confidence in his ability to handle his brigade, I remarked to him that I would then leave him and go to look after my other brigade, Colonel Buell commanding, which had followed Harker's to the field of battle. For the details of the severe conflict through which Harker's brigade passed at this stage of the battle, for an account of the valuable service it rendered in checking the force which threatened to cut the right of the army from the left, for a report of the heavy loss of gallant officers and men which occurred here, and for a description of the skilful manner in which the brigade was extricated from the perils by which it became environed from encountering in its advance a vastly superior force, I must refer to the more detailed report of Colonel Harker. The list of casualties attests the severity of the fighting. The gallant commander himself had two horses shot under him. Bradley's battery, attached to Harker's brigade, owing to the density of the woods into which the brigade advanced, did not accompany it. The signal service which this battery rendered at a later period of the action will be chronicled at the proper time. Leaving Harker's brigade, I returned to where I had ordered Colonel Buell to halt and form his brigade. When I first met General Davis on the field of battle, I was informed by him that Carlin's brigade of his division was hotly engaged in the woods in advance, or eastward, of the cornfield in which our meeting occurred. The sharp and quick rattle of musketry fully assured the correctness of the statement. Seeing no other reserve at hand, and assured that both Harker and Carlin were seriously engaged, I determined to hold Buell's brigade in hand to meet emergencies. And it was fortunate I did so, for ere long Carlin's brigade was swept back out of the woods, across the cornfield, and into the woods beyond the field on the western side of the road, carrying everything away with it. When I observed the rush across the cornfield, I was near to the One Hundredth Illinois. With a view to checking the advancing and exultant enemy, I ordered Colonel Bartleson, commanding One Hundredth Illinois, to fix bayonets and charge on the foe. The bayonets were properly fixed, and the regiment had just commenced to advance, when it was struck by a crowd of fugitives, and swept away in the general melange. The whole of Buell's brigade was thus carried off its feet. It was necessary that it should fall back across the narrow field on the western side of the road to the edge of the wood, under whose cover it rallied. As soon as possible it was formed along the fence separating the field from the woods, and, with the aid of a part of Carlin's brigade, and a regiment of Wilder's brigade, dismounted, repulsed the enemy. This result was greatly contributed to by the heavy and most effective fire, at short range, of Bradley's and Estep's batteries. At this critical moment these two batteries were most splendidly served. The narrow field separating the woods on the west from the Rossville and Lafayette road is scarcely two hundred yards wide. Buell's brigade was formed just east of the road, when it was struck by Carlin's brigade; it hence had to retire, but the distance of less than two hundred yards to get the shelter of the woods for re-forming. But in crossing this narrow space it suffered terribly. The killed and wounded were thickly strewn on the ground. Captain George, Fifteenth Indiana, of my staff, was struck by a ball and knocked from his horse by my side.

So soon as the enemy was repulsed, I addressed myself to forming Colonel Buell's brigade, for the purpose of advancing it to recover the lost ground. Order being restored, and a sufficiently solid formation acquired to warrant an advance, I led the brigade back in person, and reoccupied the ground from which it had been forced, the side on which it was orignally formed.

In this advance my horse was twice shot, the second one proving fatal. I dismounted one of my orderlies near me and took his horse. In this advance a portion of Carlin's brigade participated, led by General Carlin. Estep's battery, attached to Buell's brigade, accompanied the advance. Scarcely had the lost ground been repossessed, when the enemy emerged from the woods on the eastern side of the cornfield, and commenced to cross it. He was formed in two lines, and “advanced firing.” The appearance of his force was large. Fortunately reenforcements were at hand. A compact brigade, of Sheridan's division, not hitherto engaged, was at the moment crossing the field in the rear of the position then occupied by Buell's brigade and the portion of Carlin's. This fresh brigade advanced handsomely into action, and joining its fire to that of the other troops, most materially aided in repelling a most dangerous attack. But this was not done until considerable [329] loss had been inflicted on us. The enemy advanced near enough to cut down so many horses in Estep's battery that he could not bring off his guns; but as our infantry held its ground, they did not fall into the hands of the enemy.

After the attack had been repelled some of the men of the brigade of Sheridan's division kindly drew the pieces to the ravine, or rather dip in the ground in rear of the ridge on which the battery was posted, where Captain Estep retook possession of them. For this act of soldierly fraternity and kindness I desire publicly and officially to return my thanks, and those of my division, to the troops who rendered it, and I only regret that I do not know the number of the brigade and the name of its commander, that I might more distinctly signalize them in my report. The day was now far spent, in truth, it was now near sunset. No further serious demonstrations were made by the enemy on our immediate front. The troops were posted in a strong position to resist a night attack, the brigade of Sheridan's division and Buell's brigade being in juxtaposition, the former on the right and the latter on the left.

Harker's brigade was held as a reserve in the edge of the woods on the western side of the road, and Bradley's battery was posted near to it, to cover the troops in the front line. Just after nightfall a sharp fire ran along the line, caused by some movement of the enemy, which at first was taken for an advance, but in the end proved it to be nothing more than a picket demonstration. Jaded, worn, and thirsty, the men laid down to pass a cheerless, comfortless night on the battlefield. It affords me much pleasure here to record a Samaritan deed rendered to my division during the night by Colonel Harrison, of the Thirty-ninth Indiana, and a part of his mounted regiment. The men were very thirsty, but the distance to water was so great that but a few could hope to get permission to go for it. During the night Colonel Harrison brought us some four hundred canteens of good water. They were distributed among my men as equitably as possible, and proved the cooling drop to the thirsty soldiers. Estep's battery was refitted during the night, and was ready for service the next morning. Between midnight and daylight of the morning of the twentieth I received an order to move my command to a position on the slope of Missionary Ridge, to be held there as a part of the reserve of the army in the coming conflict of the morning.

The movement was quietly and successfully made. In the early morning I was directed to move my division to the eastward from the slope of Missionary Ridge, and take the position hitherto occupied by Negley's division, keeping my left in constant communication with General Brannan's right. Colonel Barnes's brigade of Van Cleve's division was ordered to report to me for service during the day.

Placing his brigade on the left, Harker's in the centre, and Buell's on the right, (the whole formed in two lines, the first one deployed, the second one in double column closed in mass, with their batteries following and supporting,) I advanced my command, and occupied the position assigned. In doing so I met with no opposition from the enemy. I was instructed not to invite an attack, but to be prepared to repel any effort of the enemy. In throwing out skirmishers to cover my front I aroused the enemy, and had quite a sharp affair with him. By a very imprudent advance of his regiment at this moment, done without an order, Colonel Bartleson (moving himself in advance of his troops) was shot from his horse, and either killed or very severely wounded; it was imposssble to decide which, on account of the proximity of the place where he fell to the enemy's lines. He was an accomplished and gallant officer, and a high-toned, pure-minded gentleman. His loss is a serious disadvantage to his regiment and to the service. The position my command then occupied closed the gap in our lines between Sheridan's left and Brannan's right. Although I had not been at all seriously engaged at any time during the morning, I was well satisfied that the enemy was in considerable force in my immediate front, consequently I was extremely vigilant. Such was the status of the battle in my immediate vicinity when I received the following order:

headquarters, D. C., September 20, 10.45 A. M.
Brigadier-General Wood, commanding Division:
The General commanding directs that you close up on Reynolds as fast as possible, and support him.

Respectfully, &c.,

Frank J. Bond, Major, and A. D. C.

I received the order about eleven o'clock. At the moment of its receipt I was a short distance in rear of the centre of my command. General McCook was with me when I received it. I informed him that I would immediately carry it into execution, and suggested that he should close up his command rapidly on my right to prevent the occurrence of a gap in our lines. He said he would do so, and immediately rode away. I immediately despatched my staff officers to the brigade commanders with the necessary orders, and the movement was at once begun. Reynolds's division was posted on the left of Brannan's division, which, in turn, was posted on the left of the position I was just quitting. I had consequently to pass my command in rear of Brannan's division to close upon and go to the support of Reynolds. So soon as I had got the command well in motion I rode forward to find General Reynolds, and learn where and how it was desired to bring my command into action. I did not find General Reynolds, but in my search for him I met Major-General Thomas, to whom I communicated the order I had received from the commanding General, and desired to know where I should move my command to support General Reynolds. General Thomas replied that General Reynolds did not need support, but that I had better move to the support of General Baird, posted on our extreme left, and who needed assistance. I exhibited my order to him, and asked whether he would take the responsibility of changing it. He [330] replied he would, and I then informed him I would move my command to the support of General Baird. I requested General Thomas to furnish me a staff officer to conduct it to, and report it to General Baird. I then rode to the other two brigades, for the purpose of following with them in the rear of Barnes's brigade to the assistance of General Baird. When I rejoined them I found the valley south of them swarming with the enemy. It appears that when I moved my command to go to the support of General Reynolds that the gap thus made in our lines was not closed by the troops on my right, and that the enemy poured through it very soon in great force. The head of his column struck the right of Buell's brigade, and cutting off a portion of it, forced it over the adjacent ridge, whence it retired, as I have subsequently learned, with the vast mass of fugitives from the troops on the extreme right towards Rossville. In moving to the support of General Reynolds, naturally following the shortest route, I moved through the woods. My two batteries, Estep's and Bradley's, could not follow their brigades through the woods, and consequently were compelled to make a short detour to the left to get into the open fields on the slope of the ridge, intending to move thence parallel to their brigades. But they were caught in the movement by the rapidly advancing columns of the enemy. Estep's guns were captured, (in the neighborhood of infantry on the right, which, as I understand, might have supported him if it had stood,) while Bradley's battery, more fortunate, succeeded in getting over the ridge, and drew off towards Rossville, with the tide of fugitives setting strongly in that direction.

For further details in regard to the movement of the batteries at this stage of the action, I must refer to the reports of Captains Bradley and Estep. I will only remark, that while their movements did not occur under my immediate observation, but took place beyond the reach of my infantry support, I am fully satisfied from all I have learned that neither Captain Bradley nor Estep can be censured for what occurred. When I discovered the enemy in force in the valley south of my command I at once divided his intention, and appreciated the terrible hazard to our army, and the necessity for prompt action. His object was clear. Having turned our right, and separated a portion of our forces from the main body, he was seeking the rear of our solid line of battle to attack it in reverse, hoping thus to cut our communication with Chattanooga, and capture and destroy the bulk of the army. I had with me at the time but one brigade — Harker's, and a portion of Buell's. I immediately formed a line across the valley, facing southward, determined if possible to check the advance of the enemy. He was in full and in plain view in the open fields, and it was evident his force far outnumbered mine. But I felt this, was no time to be comparing numbers. The enemy, at all hazards, must be checked! I was without the support of artillery, and knew I had to depend alone on the musket. I formed my line in a skirt of woods reaching across the valley. In front of me was the open field, across which the the enemy was advancing. It was a matter of great importance to get possession of the fence which bounded this field on the northern side. My line, as formed, was some one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards from the fence north of it, while the enemy's lines were perhaps as much as three hundred and fifty yards south of it. In person I ordered the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio, Colonel Opdyke commanding, to advance and seize the fence. There was a momentary hesitation in the regiment to go forward. Its gallant Colonel immediately rode in front,of the centre of his regiment, and taking off his hat, called on his men to advance. His regiment gallantly responded by a prompt advance, as men ever will under the inspiration of such leadership. The enemy quickly lined the fence; when a sharp fire was opened on the enemy. Soon the Sixty-fourth Ohio, Colonel McIlvain commanding, followed, and formed along the fence on the left of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio.

This bold and rapid offensive movement seemed to take the enemy by surprise, and disconcert his movements, for his hitherto advancing lines halted. The other regiments, Sixty-fifth Ohio and Third regiment, Major Brown commanding the former, and Colonel Dunlap the latter, of Harker's brigade, with the Fifty-eighth Indiana, of Colonel Buell's brigade, Emler commanding, were formed on the right of the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio, higher up the fence, and on a hill dominating the field in which the enemy had halted. The One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio and Sixty-fourth Ohio again advanced, and took position behind a copse of wood near the centre of the field, the now debated ground of the contending bodies. The movements of the enemy at this moment were so singular, and his blurred, and greasy, and dusty uniform so resembled our own when travel-stained, coupled with the fact that it was expected a part of McCook's command would come from that direction, (the terrible disaster to his force on the right not then being known by us,) that for a few minutes the impression prevailed, and the cry ran along my line, that the troops in front of us were our own. I ordered the firing to cease; the thought of firing on our comrades in arms being too horrible to contemplate. In a few minutes, however, the delusion was dispelled, the enemy commencing to advance in a way that left no doubt of his identity, for he advanced firing on us. I do not mention this mistake on account of its possessing any particular importance per se, but rather record it as an instance of the strange delusions which sometimes occur on the battle-field without any sufficient cause, and without the possibility of a reasonable explanation. This mistake was the more remarkable, as the enemy was probably not more than three hundred, certainly not over three hundred and fifty yards distant, and was halted in a broad open field. But for the mistake we could have punished him most severely at the time he was halted. The hour was now about high noon, possibly it may have been as late as half past 12 P. M. [331]

When the One Hundred and Twenty-fifth and Sixty-fourth Ohio advanced to the copse in the open field, I ordered Colonel Opdyke to line the southern side of the copse with skirmishers, with a view to annoying and delaying the progress of the enemy. As he advanced he inclined to his left, evidently with the intention of outflanking my line and turning my right. This movement of the enemy made it necessary I should gain a position in which I could form a shorter and more compact line, in which my right would be more protected by natural obstacles. I accordingly retired my little command to a narrow and short ridge which shoots out nearly at right angles as a spur from the general ridge, which is parallel to the Rossville and Lafayette road. The short and narrow ridge extends athwart the valley in nearly an east and west course.

The abprutness of the declivity on either side of it almost gives to this ridge the quality of a natural parapet. Troops holding it could load and fire behind, out of reach of the enemy's fire, and then advance to the crest of it to deliver a plunging fire on the fore.

In addition, there was a moral effect in its command over the ground south of it, which inspired the courage of the troops holding it. Here I determined to make an obstinate and determined stand. When General Brannan's right was turned, (by the opening of the gap in our lines, by the movement of my division to support General Reynolds,) he had been compelled to fall back to the general ridge in closing on the west, the valley in which the great battle was fought, which ridge, as already remarked, runs nearly parallel with the Rossville and Lafayette road. When I took position in the narrow ridge, extending partially across the valley, with Harker's brigade, General Brannan formed his command on my right, and higher up on the main ridge, thus giving to our united lines something of the shape of an irregular crescent, with the concavity towards the enemy. This disposition gave us a converging fire on the attacking columns. When my arrangements in this position were concluded, it was probably one P. M., or a little after. The enemy did not leave us long in the quiet possession of our new position. Soon a most obstinate and determined attack was made, which was handsomely repulsed. Similar attacks were continued at intervals throughout the entire afternoon.

To describe each one in detail would be unnecessary, and only add useless prolixity to my report. But I deem it proper to signalize one of these attacks specially. It occurred about four o'clock, and lasted about thirty minutes. It was unquestionably the most terrific musketry duel I have ever witnessed. Harker's brigade was formed in two lines. The regiments were advanced to the crest of the ridge alternately, and delivered their fire by volley at the command, retiring a few paces behind it, after firing, to reload.

The continued roar of the very fiercest musketry fire inspired a sentiment of grandeur, in which the awful and the sublime were intermingled. But the enemy were repulsed in this fierce attack, and the crest of the ridge was still in our possession.

Finally the evening shades descended and spread the drapery of moonlight over the hardly contested field. The battle ceased, and my command still held the position it had taken about one o'clock, maintaining with glorious courage a most unequal contest in point of numbers.

But our inferiority did not seem to appall my men. Their courage and steadfast resolution rose with the occasion. I do not believe that history affords an instance of a more splendid resistance than that made by Harker's brigade, and a portion of Buell's brigade, from one o'clock P. M. on the twentieth to nightfall. A part of the contest was witnessed by that able and distinguished commander, Major-General Thomas.

I think it must have been two o'clock P. M. when he came to where my command was so hotly engaged. His presence was most welcome. The men saw him, felt they were battling under the eye of a great chieftain, and their courage and resolotion received fresh inspiration from this consciousness. At a most opportune hour in the afternoon, probably between two and three o'clock, Major-General Granger arrived on the field with two brigades of fresh troops, of the division of General Steadman. They were brought into action on the right of General Brannan, (who was on my right,) and rapidly drove the enemy before them. This movement very considerably relieved the pressure on my front. The gallant bearing of General Granger during the whole of this most critical part of the contest was a strong reenforcement. It affords me much pleasure to signalize the presence with my command for a length of time during the afternoon (present during the period of the hottest fighting) of another distinguished officer, Brigadier-General Garfield, chief of staff. After the disastrous rout on the right, General Garfield made his way back to the battlefield, (showing thereby that the road was open to all who might chose to follow it to where duty called,) and came to where my command was engaged. The brigade which made so determined a resistance on the crest of the narrow ridge during all that long September afternoon had been commanded by General Garfield, when he belonged to my division. The men remarked his presence with much satisfaction, and were delighted that he was a witness of the splendid fighting they were doing. Early in the afternoon my command was joined by portions of two regiments belonging to Van Cleve's division, the Seventeenth Kentucky, Colonel Stout commanding, and the Forty-fourth Indiana, Lieutenant-Colonel Aldrick commanding. The fact that these parts of regiments, preserving the form of a regimental organization, did not leave the field after the disaster on the right, when so many other troops fled from the contest, is certainly most creditable to them. This fact also affords very just ground for the inference, that if a more determined effort had been made by the officers, many other regiments that left the field might have been kept on it. The remains of the two [332] regiments most nobly and gallantly aided my command in repulsing the separated attacks of the enemy. The Forty-fourth Indiana bore itself with special gallantry. I should do injustice to my feelings were I to omit to record the splendid resistance made on my right by General Brannan and his command. It was the ne plus ultra of defensive fighting.

About seven P. M. I received an order from General Thomas to withdraw my command from the field, and retire to Rossville. The order was obeyed without noise, without confusion, and without disaster.

My command left the field, not because it was beaten, but in obedience to an order.

With a fresh supply of ammunition it could have renewed the contest next morning. And here I can appropriately return my thanks to Major-General Granger for a timely supply of ammunition given me during the afternoon, when that in the cartridge-boxes and men's pockets was reduced to two or three rounds per man, and when the prospect of being reduced to the bayonet alone, as a means of defence, seemed inevitable. My own ammunition train had been carried off by the rout from the right.

My command reached Rossville about ten P. M., where it bivouacked for the night. Early next morning, the twenty-first, in obedience to orders, I took a strong position on Missionary Ridge. Strong barricades against an infantry assault were at once made. During the day there was some light firing on my picket front, but nothing serious; the enemy was, however, evidently in considerable force in my front. At ten P. M., on the twenty-first, my command, in obedience to orders, left its position on Missionary Ridge, and withdrew to this place. Early Tuesday morning, the twenty-second, it occupied its present position in the line of defences, and has since been most constantly and actively engaged in strengthening them.

To the officers and men of my command I return my thanks for their gallant bearing; soldierly conduct, and steadfast courage, exhibited both in the contests of Saturday, the nineteenth, and Sunday, the twentieth. Their conduct on both days deserves all praise, and I commend it to the consideration of the commanding General. There were undoubtedly instances of individual misconduct which deserve reprehension, but as a whole the behavior of the command was most satisfactory. Of the numerious killed and wounded I would gladly speak by name, but the list is too numerous. To do so would extend my report beyond all reasonable length. I can only here express my sincere condolence with the relatives and friends of the gallant dead and wounded. The regiments and batteries in my command represented the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Kentucky. The citizens of these great and loyal states have much cause to be proud of their representatives in the late great conflict. They may safely trust their honor and the public weal to such representatives.

For the special commendation by name of the more subordinate officers and men who distinguished themselves, I must refer the commanding General to the reports of my brigade commanders, Colonels Harker and Buell, with their accompanying documents, the sub-reports of regimental commanders. Where so great a portion of my command behaved well, it is difficult to distinguish officers by name, and perhaps may be regarded as making an invidious distinction. Nevertheless I consider it my duty, on account of their distinguished services, to commend to the notice of the commanding General, Colonel Dunlap, commanding Third Kentucky, Colonel McIlvain, commanding Sixty-fourth Ohio, Colonel Opdyke, commanding One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Ohio, and Captain Bradley, commanding Sixth Ohio battery. I desire to commend Colonel Opdyke especially to the favorable consideration of the commanding General. The record of his regiment, a comparatively new one, and never before in a general engagement, in the late battle, will, I am sure, compare most favorably with that of the most veteran regiment engaged. The credit is mainly due to the Colonel commanding. His untiring zeal and devoted attention to his regiment have brought forth fruit worthy of its efforts. I commend him to the commanding General as an officer capable and worthy of commanding a brigade. Colonel Buell, commanding the First brigade of my division, has exercised this command about three months. He bore himself with great gallantry on the field, both on Saturday, the nineteenth, and Sunday, the twentieth. With a little more experience he will make an excellent Brigadier-General, and should receive the promotion. In my report of the battle of Stone River, I especially signalized the services of Colonel Harker, commanding the Third brigade of my division, and earnestly recommended him for promotion, both as a reward for his merits and as an act of simple justice. In the late campaign he peculiarly distinguished himself. He made two of the most daring and brilliant reconnoissances of the campaign, reconnoissances almost without a parallel in the annals of warfare; and his personal gallantry on the battle-field, the skilful manner in which he handled his brigade, holding it well together when so many other troops broke, and his general good conduct, are beyond all praise. To speak of his services in the language of what I conceive would be just encomium, might be considered fulsome praise. I earnestly recommend him for immediate promotion to the rank of Brigadier-General.

Returns herewith submitted show that I went into action on Saturday with an effective force of men and officers of twenty-nine hundred and sixty-five. The return of casualties shows that my command lost in killed and wounded, absolutely known to be such, eight hundred and forty-four; and in killed, wounded, and missing, one thousand and thirty-five. Taking the number of killed and wounded actually known, it will be found to be twenty-eight and eighty one hundredths per cent. (28.80) of the effective force with which I went into action. But it is fair to presume, as we retired from the field Sunday evening, that many of the one hundred and ninety-one reported missing, [333] were either killed or wounded, and that their bodies fell into the hands of the enemy. Taking the number of the killed, and wounded, and missing, it will be found to be thirty-four and ninety one-hundredths (34.90) per cent. of my whole command. These figures show an almost unparalleled loss. They attest the severity of the conflicts through which my command passed on the nineteenth and twentieth. The record of its participation in the great battle of the Chickamauga is written in blood. Before closing my report, I deem it my duty to bring to the notice of the commanding General certain facts which fell under my observation during the progress of the conflict on the twentieth. As I was moving along the valley with my command, to the support of General Reynolds, in conformity with the order of the commanding General, I observed on my left (to the west of me) a force posted high up the ridge. I inquired what force it was, and was informed it was a part of a brigade of General Negley's division. I was informed that General Negley was with this force in person. I remember seeing distinctly a battery on the hill-side with the troops. At the time, it was certainly out of the reach of any fire from the enemy. This was between eleven and twelve o'clock in the day. A little later in the day, perhaps a half or three fourths of an hour, when I became seriously engaged, as already described, with the large hostile force that pierced our lines and turned Brannan's right, compelling him to fall back, I looked for the force I had seen posted on the ridge, and which, as already remarked, I had been informed was a part of General Negley's division, hoping, if I became severely pressed, it might reenforce me, for I was resolved to check the enemy if possible. But it had entirely disappeared. Whither it had gone I did not then know, but was informed later in the day it had retired towards Rossville; and this information I believe was correct. By whose orders this force retired from the battle-field I do not know; but of one fact I am perfectly convinced, that there was no necessity for its retiring. It is impossible it could have been at all seriously pressed by the enemy at the time; in fact, I think it extremely doubtful whether it was engaged at all.

Near sundown of the twentieth I met General John Beatly not far from where I had fought the enemy all the afternoon. He was entirely alone when I met him, and did not seem to have any special command. I at once came to the conclusion that he had not retired from the battle-field when the bulk of the division he is attached to did. At the moment I met him I was engaged in halting some troops that were crossing the valley north and east of my position, and who appeared to have straggled away from the front on which General Thomas's command had been engaged all the day. General Beatly desired to know where I desired these troops re-formed. I pointed out a position to him, and desired him to re-form them, which he said he would do. I then rode back to my command.

It is proper that I should remark that I did not see the Corps commander from about nine and a half o'clock A. M. on Sunday, the twentieth, to some time after sunrise of the twenty-first, when I met him at Rossville.

The officers of my staff performed their duties well in the late arduous campaign, as well on the march and in camp as on the battle-field. I deem it due to them to record their names in my official report, and to thank them individually for their valuable assistance and cooperation: Captain M. P. Besto, assistant adjutant-general, Lieutenant J. L. Zargaw, Fifty-eighth Indiana, aid-de-camp, Lieutenant George Shafer, Ninety-third Ohio, aid-de-camp, Lieutenant-Colonel T. R. Palmer, Thirteenth Michigan, inspector-general, Surgeon W. W. Blair, Fifty-eighth Indiana volunteers, medical director, Captain L. D. Myers, assistant-quartermaster, Captain James McDonald, commissary subsistence, Captain William McLaughlin, Thirteenth Michigan, topographical engineer, Captain J. E. George, Fifteenth Indiana, commissary of muster, Lieutenant P. Halderman, Third Kentucky, ordnance officer, Captain M. Reiser, Sixty-fourth Ohio, provost-marshal, up to the occupation of Chattanooga, when his leg was accidentally broken, since which time his duties have been well performed by Lieutenant Ehlers of the same regiment. Captain Cullen Bradley, Sixth Ohio battery, who, in addition to commanding his own battery, ably performs the duties of chief of artillery. It affords me much pleasure to mention in my official report the true courage and faithful devotion exhibited throughout the entire conflict by two members of my personal escort. Early in the conflict of Sunday my color-bearer was wounded. The colors were then taken by Sergeant Samuel Goodrich, company A, One Hundredth Illinois, who bore aloft my standard through the remainder of the day, remaining with me all the time. Private Robert Lemmon, company I, Fifty-eighth Indiana, a member of my escort, rode immediately in rear of me through the whole conflict of Sunday, the twentieth. Whenever I called, this brave and devoted boy, a youth of not more than sixteen or seventeen years of age, responded.

I have the honor to forward herewith, as accompaniments to my report, first, official report of Colonel Harker, commanding Third brigade, (with sub-reports of regimental commanders,) marked “A;” second, official report of Colonel Buell, commanding First brigade, (with sub-reports of regimental commanders,) marked “B;” third, return of effective force taken into action nineteenth September, marked “C;” fourth, return of casualties in the battles of the nineteenth and twentieth, marked “D” fifth, map showing the various positions of command in the battles of the nineteenth and twentieth, marked “E.”

I cannot conclude my report of the participation of my command in the great battle of the Chickamauga, a battle in which the fate of the proud army of the Cumberland hung. trembling in the balance,--in truth, a battle in whose result the great nation's life seemed involved,--without returning thanks to Almighty Providence for his merciful deliverance vouchsafed to us from the hosts of our enemies. For his protection of myself [334] through all the dangers of the bloody conflict I am humbly thankful.

I am, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Th. J. Wood, Brigadier-General U. S. Volunteers, commanding.

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