Numbers 32. Report of Brigadier General August Willich, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
HDQRS. FIRST Brigadier, SECOND DIV., TWENTIETH ARMY CORPS,
Tullahoma, July 6, 1863.
CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders, I have the honor to submit report of the part taken by the First Brigade in the action of the 24th and 25th of June.
My brigade was ordered to march from our old camp near Murfreesborough at 5 a.m. on the 24th of June, at the head of the Second Division. By other command with which our movements were combined, our march was delayed until 8 a.m., when the brigade followed the Shelbyville pike for some 6 or 8 miles, and then turned to the left on the road to Liberty Gap. Colonel Harrison being in advance with five companies of his mounted regiment (Thirty-ninth Indiana Volunteers), saved us a great deal of (for infantry) useless patrolling.
At about 2 p.m. Colonel Harrison informed me that he was skirmishing with some 800 infantry. I ordered him to halt, advanced with the brigade, and, reaching his skirmish line, I deployed the Fifteenth Ohio Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Askew commanding, to the right of the road; the Forty-ninth Ohio Volunteers, Colonel William Gibson commanding, to the left of the road; skirmishers, with support companies, in front; the Eighty-ninth Illinois, Colonel C. T. Hotchkiss commanding, on the right; the Thirty-Second Indiana Volunteers, Major Glass commanding, on the left, and the First Ohio Battery, under Captain Goodspeed, in reserve, beyond the reach of the enemy's fire.
On my advance, the enemy's skirmishers fell back on their reserves, which were posted on the crest of the hills forming the northern entrance of Liberty Gap. There the enemy had a very strong, and, in front, easily defended position. The hills are steep, to half their heights open, then rocky and covered with woods. I felt the enemy in front to ascertain whether he would make a decided resistance, and found him in force and determined. A mere front attack was out of the question, as we would have to pay 10 for 1. I ordered the Forty-ninth Ohio Volunteers to deploy more to the left and the Fifteenth Ohio Volunteers more to the right, to find, if possible, the flank of the enemy. The Forty-ninth Ohio Volunteers had five and the Fifteenth Ohio Volunteers had eight companies deployed, without reaching the end of the enemy's lines, when Colonel Gibson reported that his left was outflanked. To support Colonel Gibson, Captain Mank, of the Thirty-second Indiana Volunteers, with two companies (A and B), was sent to the front. At the same time I ordered Colonel Harrison with his five companies to protect the left flank and to flank the enemy's right. He went there in full gallop, and arrived just in time to drive back about 200 infantry, who were advancing toward out flank. In the mean time the brave Forty-ninth Ohio and the two companies of the Thirty-second Indiana had advanced straight up the hill, and, under a murderous fire, drove the enemy before them. Colonel Harrison, on his part, outflanked him continually. One regimental camp, with tables set, fell into our hands. Meanwhile, Brigadier General R. W. Johnson, commanding division, had placed the regiments of the Second Brigade at my disposition. I directed the Twenty-ninth Indiana Volunteers to the right flank of the Fifteenth Ohio Volunteers, with orders to find the weak point, or the end of the enemy's line, then to take the crest of the hill, to swing round toward the left, and