War of the Rebellion: Serial 050 Page 0279 Chapter XLII. THE CHICKAMAUGA CAMPAIGN.

Search Civil War Official Records

this assault upon my left ceased, the sound of a tremendous conflict reached us from the southwest, beyond Kelly's house. I could not tell how it was progressing, but, knowing it must be a desperate struggle, I sent word to General Thomas that I held the two regiments under Colonel Swaine in reserve, and that if he required them there more than we did that they were disposable. The fighting in the direction I have named was continued throughout the afternoon, with only intervals, when it was partially suspended. During this period re-enforcements seemed to arrive from the direction of Chattanooga, and about 4 o'clock the firing seemed more vigorous than before. At 5 o'clock it had almost ceased, but I was still ignorant of the course of events upon the right, and had no idea that any portion of the troops had given way. An officer then arrived, with orders for myself and General Johnson to withdraw our troops and fall back in the direction of the hills and of Rossville.

Just as this order reached me the heavy firing on the right ceased, and it seemed to be the signal for another attack, the most violent of all, upon my portion of the line. This time the enemy used artillery, and concentrated the fire of three batteries upon us, while his infantry pressed on with the utmost vigor. Still we held our position, yielding not an inch, and I am confident could have continued to do so; to fall back was more difficult than to remain, and I should have taken the responsibility of holding on for a time had I not seen the troops on my right, first those of General Palmer and then those of General Johnson, passing off to the rear. I saw then that no time was to be lost and transmitted the order to my brigade commanders. I am indebted to Captain Forsyth, of General King's staff, for assisting Captain Cary, of my own staff, in bearing this order. The remainder of my staff officers I had sent away upon other missions.

As my men fell back the enemy pressed after them, and in crossing the open field very many were struck down. They reached the woods, west of the road, in as good order as could be expected, but then, uncertain which direction to take, and having no landmark to guide them, many became separated from their regiments, and in groups joined other commands, with which they fell back to Rossville, where all were united during the night. A number, doubtless, became confused at this time and marched into the lines of the rebels. We had, during the day, been fired into from every point of the compass, and when we fell back, no other portions of our troops being in sight, it was impossible to tell where they could be found or when we would encounter the enemy. My loss, up to the time of falling back, was small compared with the punishment inflicted on the rebels. In retiring, it was great. A list of those lost is appended. Brave men, their names will live, the pride of their children and a monument of glory for their country.

On the 21st, at Rossville, my division was again put upon duty to defend one of the main approaches to that position, and I believe it was the only one that was attacked. The gorge which we occupied was shelled during the afternoon, and I lost 5 men in killed and wounded from the brigade of regulars.

During the same afternoon Major-General Rousseau arrived and resumed command of this, his old division, inspiring it with new life after the arduous duties it had performed. By his courtesy I have since remained with it, co-operating with him.

On the night of the 21st our army was withdrawn from Rossville to this place, and the First Division was selected to bring up the