advanced in heavy columns-regimental front-his left attacking Willich's and Kirk's brigades, of Johnson's division, which, being disposed, as shown in the map, thin and light, without support, were, after a sharp but fruitless contest, crumbled to pieces and driven back, leaving Edgarton's and part of Goodspeed's battery in the hands of the enemy.
The enemy following up, attacked Davis' division and speedily dislodged Post's brigade. Carlin's brigade was compelled to follow, as Woodruff's brigade, from the weight of testimony, had previously left its position on his left. Johnson's brigades, in retiring, inclined too far to the west, and were too much scattered to make a combined resistance, though they fought bravely at one or two points before reaching Wilkinson's pike. The reserve brigade of Johnson's division, advancing from its bivouac, near the Wilkinson pike, toward the right, took a good position, and made a gallant but ineffectual stand, as the whole rebel left was moving up on the ground abandoned by our troops.
Within an hour from the time of the opening of the battle, a staff officer from General McCook arrived, announcing to me that the right wing was heavily pressed and needed assistance; but I was not advised of the rout of Willich's and Kirk's brigades, nor of the rapid withdrawal of Davis' division, necessitated thereby-moreover, having supposed his wing posted more compactly, and his right more refused than it really was, the direction of the noise of battle did not indicate to me the true state of affairs. I consequently directed him to return and direct General McCook to dispose his troops to the best advantage, and to hold his ground obstinately. Soon after, a second officer from General McCook arrived, and stated that the right wing was being driven-a fact that was but too manifest by the rapid movement of the noise of battle toward the north.
General Thomas was immediately dispatched to order Rousseau, then in reserve, into the cedar brakes to the right and rear of Sheridan. General Crittenden was ordered to suspend Van Cleve's movement across the river, on the left, and to cover the crossing with one brigade, and move the other two brigades westward across the fields toward the railroad for a reserve. Wood was also directed to suspend his preparations for crossing, and to hold Hascall in reserve. At this moment fugitives and stragglers from McCook's corps began to make their appearance through the cedar-brakes in such numbers that I became satisfied that McCook's corps was routed. I, therefore, directed General Crittenden to send Van Cleve in to the right of Rousseau; Wood to send Colonel Harker's brigade farther down the Murfreesborough pike, to go in and attack the enemy on the right on the right of Van Cleve's, the Pioneer Brigade meanwhile occupying the knoll of ground west of Murfreesborough pike, and about 400 or 500 yards in rear of Palmer's center, supporting Stokes' battery (see accompanying drawing). Sheridan, after sustaining four successive attacks, gradually swung, his right from a southeasterly to a northwesterly direction, repulsing the enemy four times, losing the gallant General Sill, of his right, and Colonel Roberts, of his left brigade, when, having exhausted his ammunition, Negley's division being in the same predicament, and heavily pressed, after desperate fighting, they fell back from the position held at the commencement, through the cedar woods, in which Rousseau's division, with a portion of Negley's and Sheridan's, met the advancing enemy and checked his movements.
The ammunition train of the right wing, endangered by its sudden discomfiture, was taken charge of by Captain Thruston, of the First Ohio Regiment, ordnance officer, who, by his energy and gallantry,
13 R R-VOL XX, PT I