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tween two armies equally brave, equally disciplined, and equally well handled, the decidedly larger—the ground affording no considerable advantage to the defensive—must generally triumph. During the night, Bragg moved Breckinridge's division of Hill's corps from his extreme left to his extreme right: being still intent on flanking our left, and interposing between it and Chattanooga. Our corps commanders reported to Rosecrans after nightfall. Negley had been brought down from our extreme, right during the afternoon, and sent in just before night, on Van Cleve's right, pushing back the enemy. He was now ordered to report to Gen. Thomas; McCook being required to replace him by one of his divisions. McCook was ordered to close well on Thomas, refusing his right, and covering the position at widow Glenn’s, where Thomas had his headquarters. Crittenden was to hold two divisions in reserve, ready to support McCook on our right or Thomas on the left, as should become necessary. These orders being given, our Generals lay down to snatch a brief rest; and the silence was thenceforth unbroken.
At daylight,” Rosecrans, attended'
by part of his staff, was galloping along our lines. IIe found McCook's right too far extended, and Davis, with the reserve division, too far to the right; as were also Crittenden's two divisions in reserve, and ordered the requisite changes of position. Negley had not yet moved when
the General returned from visiting our left, and was now directed to send Thomas his reserve brigade only; holding his place in the line with the other two till relieved. Crittenden, having his reserves at hand, was now directed to relieve him; but failed promptly to do so; and it was nearly 10 o'clock when Negley was relieved and enabled to proceed to strengthen Thomas, where he was sorely needed. Both armies stood to their arms at daylight; and the battle was to have opened at once by an attack by Hilf’s corps on our left; but Polk's aid, sent with the order, could not find him; and the fighting did not commence till 84 A. M. In fact, it could not, without destruction to the assailants; for a dense fog filled the valley, rendering all objects indistinguishable at a few yards' distance; so that an attack might better have been delivered on any moonless but starlit night." Meantime, Thomas's corps (augmented by successive reenforcements, till it was now more than half our army) improved the non-shining hours by throwing up rude breastworks of logs and rails, which stood it in good stead thereafter. The fog having lifted, Breckinridge, facing and overlapping our
GXtreme left, advanced his fresh di
vision, flanking our army, and pushing across the Rossville road, fighting desperately, and facing to the left when he had gone forward toward Rossville so far as his orders required. The movement was taken up in succession by the divisions farther and farther toward the Tebel center— Bragg thus renewing the attempt to interpose between our army and Chattanooga, which Thomas had disconcerted by his advance and attack of the previous day. But now Beatty's brigade of Negley’s division, moving from our right center, came into action beside Baird, on our extreme left, checking Breckinridge's advance; and, Baird and Beatty together being still outnumbered and the latter losing ground, several regiments of Johnson's division, hitherto in reserve, were sent up to Baird and posted by him on his front; and these, with Vandever's brigade of Brannan's division and part of Stanley's of Wood's division, completely restored the battle on this flank, hurling back Breckinridge's command in disorder; Gens. IIelm and Deshler being killed, Maj. Graves, chief of artillery, mortally wounded, and Gen. Adams severely wounded and taken prisoner. Breckinridge rallied his men on a commanding ridge in the rear of his advanced position, where his heavy guns were posted to repel assault. Walker's division first, then Cheatham's Tennesseans, then Cleburne's, and finally Stewart's, were sent to the support of Breckinridge; and the tide of battle ebbed and flowed on this wing, with frightful carnage on both sides, but without material advantage to either. Still, Bragg's attempt to turn our flank, so as to interpose his army between ours and Chattanooga was baffled by Thomas's firmness and that of the veterans under his command; while the struggle along our left center was equally desperate, equally sanguinary, and equally indecisive.
* Sunday, Sept. 20.
“Polk says that, when he was ready to advance and attack, he found a division of the left wing (Longstreet's) directly in his front; so that,
had he literally obeyed his orders, he must have slaughtered their own men. He had no choice but to wait till it was taken out of his way; and this consumed some two hours.
Our right, however, had ere this been involved in fearful disaster. The movement of several divisions from right to left after the battle had actually commenced was at best hazardous, however necessary, and was attended with the worst possible results. Negley's and Van Cleve's divisions were successively ordered by. Rosecrans to move to the support of Thomas on our left; while Wood was directed to close up to Reynolds on our right center, and Davis to close on Wood; McCook, commanding on this wing, being directed to close down on the left with all possible dispatch.
Such movements are at all times difficult of execution in the heat of battle, and in the face of a skillful, resolute, and vigilant enemy. In this instance, the hazard was increased by the fact that they were not clearly comprehended. Wood, understanding that he was ordered to support Reynolds, undertook to do so by withdrawing from the front and passing to the rear of Brannan, who was in Čchelon slightly to the rear of Reynolds's right; thus opening a gap in our front, into which Longstreet at once threw IIood's command, Supported by an advance of Buckner on our right flank.
The charge was decisive. Davis, by McCook's order, was just attempting to fill with three light brigades the gap made by Wood's withdrawal, when IIood's charging column poured into it, striking Davis on the right, and Brannan on the left, and Sheridan, of Crittenden's corps, farther to the rear, cutting off five brigades from the rest of our army, and pushing them to our right and rear, with a loss of 40 per cent. of their numbers.
In short, our right wing, struck heav-, questionable wayfarers, and return ily in flank while moving to the left, their fire if it should be persisted in was crumbled into fragments and sent —an order which that Brigadier proflying in impotent disorder toward ceeded at once to obey. Meantime, Tossville and Chattanooga, with a loss Wood came up, and was directed to of thousands in killed, wounded, and post his troops on the left of Brannan,
- | prisoners. Rosecrans, McCook, and who had already taken post on the
many subordinate commanders, were swept along in the wild rush; Sheridan and Davis rallying and réforming the wreck of their divisions by the way, and halting, with McCook, at Rossville; while Rosecrans—prevented by the enemy from joining Thomas—hastened to Chattanooga, there to make all possible provision for holding the place; since it now looked as though our whole army
was or would be routed, and that desperate effort would be required to hold Chattanooga, so as to save what might be left of it from being captured or driven pell-mell into the
those who had shared or witnessed
the rout and dispersion of our right. Thomas was still fighting stoutly and holding his own on our left; when, not long after noon, Capt. Kellogg, who had been sent to hurry Sheridan, then expected to ròenforce his left, returned with tidings that he had met a large Rebel force advancing cautiously, with skirmishers thrown
out, to the rear of Reynolds's position |
in our center. There was some effort made to believe this was no Rebel
- - . . . force, but Sheridan, till heavy firing
on Thomas's right and rear decidedly
negatived that presumption. Thomas ordered Col. ILooker, whose brigade
held a ridge in the direction of the firing, to resist the advance of these
slope of Mission ridge, behind Thomas's line of battle, and just west of the Chattanooga and Lafayette road, where Capt. Gaw had ere this, by | Thomas's order, massed all the artillery he could find in reserve, and supported it by strong lines of infantry. To this position, Johnson, Palmer, and Reynolds, who, behind their log breastworks, had sustained and repulsed a succession of desperate charges on our center, were withdrawn, and here Thomas's command was now concentrated. Gen. Gordon Granger, with his small reserve corps, had been posted at Rossville, whence Col. J. B. Steedman, with six regiments, made a reconnoissance to within two miles of Ringgold;" discovering enough by the way to convince him that a battle was imminent and he out of place; when he returned to Rossville. Gen. Whitaker's and Col. D. McCook's brigades were next sent forward by Granger to the Chickamauga—the latter supporting Col. Minty at Reid's bridge, where he had a smart skirmish, as did Gen. Whitaker, farther down the stream; each falling back; Gen. Steedman ultimately burning" | Reid's bridge and retreating. Granger held the roads in this direction, on our extreme left, throughout the 19th and till 11 A. M. of the 20th; when, finding that he was not attacked, while the roar of guns on his 'right front,where Thomas was posted,
* Sept. 17.
* Sept. 18.
though three or four miles distant, had become loud and continuous, he could no longer resist their appeal. Moving, therefore, without orders, he reported, at 3 P. M., to Thomas; whom he found holding the ridge aforesaid, while the enemy, in overwhelming force, were pressing him at once in front and on both flanks, while they held a ridge on his right running nearly at right angles with that he occupied, and were advancing Hindman's division in a gorge thereof, with intent to assail his right in flank and rear. The moment was critical. Thomas had work for all his men, and could spare none to confront this new peril. Instantly forming Gen. Whitaker's and Col. Mitchell's brigades, Granger hurled them on the foe : Steedman, seizing the flag of a regiment, heading the charge. Twenty minutes later, Hindman had disappeared, and our men held both gorge and ridge; but Whitaker was knocked senseless from his horse by a bullet, with two of his staff killed and two more mortally wounded. Steedman's horse was killed and he severely bruised by his fall; but he remained on duty to the close of the day. Our loss in this charge was of course heavy; that of the enemy far greater. There was a pause of half an hour, while the enemy was forming and massing for a desperate charge on all points of our position. About 4 P.M., the storm burst in all its fury. The stampede of our right had swept with it nearly or quite all our ammunition trains, so that cartridges had become scarce, and the utmost economy in their use was indispensable. But for the fortunate arrival with Granger of a small supply, which afforded about
ten rounds per man, many regiments' would have been compelled to rely on their bayonets. Longstreet was now here, in immediate command of his own corps —IIood having been wounded and had his leg amputated on the field— with McLaws's, Preston's, Breckinridge's, Cleburne's, Stewart's, Hindman's, Bushrod Johnson's divisions —in fact, all but a fraction of the entire Rebel army—swarming around
the foot of the ridge whereon Thomas,
with what remained of seven divisions of ours—four having vanished with the dispersion of our right— withstood and repelled assault after assault till sundown; when he, by order from Rosecrans at Chattanooga, communicated by his chief of staff, Gen. Garfield, who reached the ridge at 4 P.M., commenced the withdrawal of his troops to Rossville. Gen. Reynolds was ordered, at 5% P. M., to commence this movement, which Wood was directed to cover; Gen. Thomas was riding over to Wood's position to point out the ground he was to hold, when he was cautioned by two soldiers that a large Rebel force was advancing through the woods toward him. Reynolds with his division now approaching, Thomas ordered him to deflect to the left and form line while marching, with his right resting on the State road, thence charging the enemy, who would thus be in his immediate front. The order was promptly obeyed: Turchin's brigade precipitating itself on the enemy with such vigor as to rout them and capture more than 200 prisoners, who were taken off the field in our retreat. Our divisions were withdrawn in succession from the ridge: Johnson's
course assailed by the enemy in overwhelming force, and suffered considerably. But there was no pursuit;" and our army retired into and held the Rossville and Dry valley gaps of Mission ridge–Crittenden's corps holding the left of the Ringgold road; McCook's on the right of the Dry valley road, with his right thrown forward nearly to the Chickamauga; while Negley's, Teynolds's, and Brannan's divisions were posted in the Rossville gap and along the ridge on its right; Minty's brigade of cavalry being thrown out over a mile in advance on the Ringgold road. And thus our army stood fronting the enemy unmolested, until 10 next morning; when Minty was driven in by the enemy's advance; which, proving
merely a reconnoissance, was easily and its many mistakes of fact, for the
repulsed, and was not renewed. And
thus our army remained unmolested throughout the following day;" and at night was withdrawn in perfect order, and without annoyance or loss, to the position assigned it by Rosecrans in front of Chattanooga. Bragg followed next day; taking quiet possession of Lookout mountain and the
whole of Mission ridge, whence he .
looked down into the coveted stronghold, which his army was destined never to regain. As Bragg was fiercely assailed for not pursuing Rosecrans—whom, it is assumed, he had routed—right into Chattanooga, on the evening of the the 20th, the following extract from a Rebel account of the battle by an eye-witness,” who was nowise partial to him, may serve to elucidate the matter. The reader will excuse the tropical luxuriance of its imagery,
* Though it is perfectly settled that Bragg did
troops were arrayed against us, and we in turn